Can you trust Wikipedia?

Must be the question of the moment. There’s been a discussion over the last few days at H-Teach. The Guardian asked the question last week. And if:book has been discussing the issues too.

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7 Responses to Can you trust Wikipedia?

  1. Steve says:

    If Wikipedia can keep on providing material for the usual hacks then it can’t be all bad, can it?

    The Great Unwashed V The Fourth Estate? I think I know who I trust more. :-p

  2. All I can say is, I looked at some of the articles in my field, and many of them are really poor. More troubling is the fact that, even when they cite sources, the citations are often bad, in the sense that the author doesn’t understand the source. One of my faves is one of the articles on some Frankish thing — Franks or Merovingians, I think. Not only do I know a wee bit about Franks myself, but I know one of the authors cited in the article. I asked him if, as implied in the article, he thought Clovis was the first king of France. He was a bit dumbfounded at the question, I think.

  3. Chris Williams says:

    One solution to this problem was advanced here by Phil Edwards:

    http://existingactually.blogspot.com/2005/09/couldnt-be-simpler.html

  4. Sharon says:

    There seems to be enormous variability in quality across different subjects. Some can be extremely good – but if you’re not an expert in a subject, how do you know whether you’re looking at a good ‘un or a pile of shite?

  5. I never cite Wikipedia articles unless I have enough basic knowledge of the subject to spot obvious errors. Of course, that still leaves the possibility of missing the non-obvious ones.

  6. Steve says:

    Quote: “…how do you know whether you’re looking at a good’un or a pile of shite?”

    Answer: you never do. Without wishing to get into some time-wasting empiricist argument here, ultimately, you have to research it for yourself. There’s an underlying fear from journos, and yes, maybe even some academics, when things like Wikipedia turn up. A bit like when police forces only started to discredit video evedence when camcorders became affordable to all. But it’s to late – we, the people, demand our right to research on Google just like all the hacks out there, and inflict our flawed findings on whoever cares to read it.

    For non-inspirational tat just in time for Christmas click here:
    http://www.despair.com/idiocy.html

  7. Pingback: Serendipities

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