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Old November 25 2008, 07:02 PM   #1
R’cher
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Do you trust Wikipedia?

If you're like me, you're skeptical about anything you read on the internet unless you know the source, even then you'll still believe it when you see it.

that having been said, what kinds of information do you trust Wikipedia to provide you with?

I basically use it for accessing general run-of-the-mill, Final Jeopardy trivial stuff, nothing too important.

you?
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Old November 25 2008, 07:17 PM   #2
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

I would not trust it for a major endeavour but as a general starting point it's fine, I would not trust a paper encyclopedia either since they're not supposed to be exhaustive sources of information.

I know enough about how Wikipedia works, given that I'm a frequent contributor, that I know to check the history of anything that looks suspect.
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Old November 25 2008, 07:25 PM   #3
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

For basic info, sure, but I would never trust it for, say, an academic resource. I mainly use it for checking little things. For instance, just the other day, I wanted to know if Pluto wasn't a planet, then what was it? So I read the article in Wiki to satisfy my own curiosity. But if I were going to present the information to someone academically or professionally, then I would certainly not use Wiki, except perhaps to see what works they cited, and then look up THOSE works for possible references.
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Old November 25 2008, 07:29 PM   #4
John Picard
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

My Humanities instructor was laughing the other day, telling us how some students have tried to use Wiki as a credible source. As stated above, perhaps for some basic info or what might spark a synapse or two in my own thoughts, but other than that it is not trustworthy. Damn, looks like old-school (encyclopedias) win out in this battle.
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Old November 25 2008, 08:33 PM   #5
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

I agree with everything said above.

One thing that does annoy me, however, is people automatically dismissing something that's on Wiki just because it's Wiki. At least have the courtesy to read it, check the sources, etc. Some people act like every article has had the nouns changed to "penguin" or something, it's just not the case. Most articles are quite accurate, some do have leanings and apparent biases but they tend to be the less important ones. And they are usually referenced to death, you can always look those up too.
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Old November 25 2008, 08:35 PM   #6
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

I use wiki to check some background facts or to look up a bunch of topics to see if they fit together. Usually history stuff where I want to look up a specific date for my own edification.
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Old November 25 2008, 08:37 PM   #7
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

I use it for basic information about whatever I'm looking up. Sometimes the articles are really in depth, so I'll try to verify the info with another source if I can.
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Old November 25 2008, 08:45 PM   #8
JoeZhang
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

John_Picard wrote: View Post
My Humanities instructor was laughing the other day, telling us how some students have tried to use Wiki as a credible source.

I'd take a big red pen to any student's work that used wikipedia - it's not a reliable source for citation (which is also wikipedia's own position), fantastic resource however for getting an overview and helping you to form your information seeking strategy.
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Old November 25 2008, 08:47 PM   #9
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

I usually checked the referenced sources if it's important. Otherwise, yes, I tend to take quite a lot of general information there at face value. So far, most of what I've checked against other sources appears to have been correct (not counting articles already flagged).
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Old November 25 2008, 09:27 PM   #10
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

FordSVT wrote: View Post
One thing that does annoy me, however, is people automatically dismissing something that's on Wiki just because it's Wiki. At least have the courtesy to read it, check the sources, etc.
I do automatically dismiss anyone who cites Wiki as evidence in an argument or discussion, and the burden isn't on me to go out and check the sourcing - it's on the person who cited it in the first place. They can go to the original source if they want to provide credible evidence.

Wiki can be a legitimate starting point for some research, but if you never get beyond it, you haven't got anything.

Citing Wiki is just pure laziness, because the vast majority of Wiki entries are sources to online articles anyway. A little research beyond just searching Wiki can provide some actual credible information.

And no, I don't trust Wiki, because anyone can go in and write and edit the content - and there have been countless cases of Wiki used to spread disinformation, propaganda and just plain wrong information.
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Old November 25 2008, 09:36 PM   #11
captcalhoun
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

i use it for info on TV shows, comics and basic data. i mean, the other day i was reading up on World War I because i basically didn't know why it all kicked off beyond some Serb shooting some dude with a band named after him. it gave me enough info for me to understand which is what i wanted.

i also use if for basic data on stars for my book, but i look at other sites beyond wiki such as atlasoftheuniverse.com and solstation.
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Old November 25 2008, 09:36 PM   #12
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

I'll admit that I don't generally trust Wikipedia; however, I was shocked to read that some universities are starting to accept it as a scholarly resource. I was reading in a text book for a class recently and it cites Wikipedia as a source.
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Old November 25 2008, 09:38 PM   #13
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

nx1701g wrote: View Post
I'll admit that I don't generally trust Wikipedia; however, I was shocked to read that some universities are starting to accept it as a scholarly resource. I was reading in a text book for a class recently and it cites Wikipedia as a source.
Eh? can you link to somewhere? I've never encountered such a thing. It might used as a resource discussing the use of wikipedia but otherwise...

If you tried to use in a proper peer reviewed paper, you might as well scrawl "I stink of piss" across the top.
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Old November 25 2008, 09:39 PM   #14
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

Actually Wikipedia is a pretty good general reference for less controversial and more esoteric subjects, particularly in the sciences. Sometimes it's a great way to get scientific and technical information that's hard to find elsewhere. And it's usually pretty good as a reference on pop culture.

Of course it shouldn't be relied on as an uncorroborated source, but the same goes for pretty much any source. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica has been known to contain errors. It's just a matter of general principle that every source's claims should be corroborated by other sources rather than taken on faith. And the advantage of Wikipedia over a print encyclopedia is that its errors or biased statements are much easier to correct, and a record is kept of all changes so the process is completely transparent and the reader can judge for oneself.
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Old November 25 2008, 09:42 PM   #15
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Re: Do you trust Wikipedia?

After I edit the Wiki entry to match something I've said, I can then point to it to show that I'm right!
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