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mrhiyuck
25th October 2008, 3:38 AM
Recently I was in a class, and the teacher said that we should not use wikipedia at all. I was thinking about this. I understand that wikipedia is useless on controversial subjects (why it's not allowed in the debate forum) or recent topics due to many changing them. But is it really as inaccurate as some say?

This leads me to think about other sources of information. Are they really generally more accurate? Are sources produced by only a select few more accurate then large amounts of wikipedia users? I see the effort to avoid incorrect information by using other sources, but it seems that the same general effort to avoid inaccurate information is used by many on wikipedia. So is it really that different?

I guess the main question is, "Is wikipedia, information from a large group, generally less accurate then information from smaller groups?" Think about this before you reply. While in cases that may be true (almost indefinitely on new or controversial subjects), is this a safe bias?

Reply...

Korobooshi Kojiro
25th October 2008, 3:40 AM
Sure, anyone can edit it, but that doesn't mean everything is wrong like some people act like.

MasterCharizard15
25th October 2008, 4:31 AM
Actually...
I perfer to look at Wikipedia for information about shows and used it once for a project.
I got an A+ on so you judge...
I say its good.

Bobtron
25th October 2008, 4:33 AM
I say it's alright. I use it to look up information about songs, bands, games, and it all seems pretty accurate to me…

Atoyont
25th October 2008, 4:37 AM
I read somewhere (I think that someone was arguing with Babylon how Wikipedia was about as accurate as Encyclopaedia Britannica) that yes, Wikipedia is usually pretty accurate. However, there are some people who like to edit the pages to make them humorous (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Spacetime&oldid=174718206). Plus it's not as specific as some things are, which is why Wikipedia's resources are good for starting a search on a topic (see the citations), but not good as an actual source.

Misfit_PM
25th October 2008, 5:00 AM
The best way(and only good way to use wiki in my opinion) is to look at where they got there info(the sites at the bottum) and get the info from there. You have NO idea what some one could have done to the info on it's way to wiki, so, play it's safe, and check out their sources!

That is, if you are doing work there. If you are just checking something out, or getting the gist of things, go ahead, feel free, by all means, GO!

Wiki is not 100% accurate!(sometimes it isn't even 50% accuate, but that's not my point...) But general info is usualy good.

Hakajin
25th October 2008, 6:47 AM
I usually use Wiki to get a summary of what I'm talking about, then use other web-sites when I get more specific. They tend to take down bogus articles (like the one a kid in my class wrote about Kevin Federline), but there's still some bias on the part of the authors. Wikipedia does try to find that and make a note of it when that's the case, though. But it's generally not specific enough to use by itself when it comes to a project.

The_Panda
25th October 2008, 12:44 PM
I personally encourage and support the use of possibly multiple scholarly articles that have undergone the process of peer review as they are much more likely to be reliable. Wikipedia often sources from these articles and I admire the creators of Wikipedia for their endeavor: I confess I have spent hours before reading through things that interest me. However while it's a good source of more casual information, I don't think it's a good source to draw upon in a debate as its information is volatile and possibly inaccurate. It's useful if you want to draw upon its citations, but still be careful that such citations aren't misquotes. Also NEVER use anything that has some sort of warning of verification, validity or bias: unfortunately though not every page that has these things is flagged.

Putty
25th October 2008, 12:46 PM
as long as you use the referencing at the bottom of the page and know where the info is coming from, wikipedia is one of the greatest inventions of the internet.

Hejiru
25th October 2008, 12:47 PM
It bothers me when people say Wikipedia is an unreliable source. It is well on its way to containing all human knowledge. Have you SEEN how many pages in detail on every imaginable subject?
People think that because anyone can edit it, its unreliable. This is not true, because if the Wiki people decet a change, they check it, and if its vandalizism, it's switched back within a few hours.

PsychedelicJellyfish
25th October 2008, 12:53 PM
I usually find the info on Wikipedia to be fairly good, and when I come across something stupid I generally edit it out.

Putty
25th October 2008, 1:28 PM
It bothers me when people say Wikipedia is an unreliable source. It is well on its way to containing all human knowledge. Have you SEEN how many pages in detail on every imaginable subject?
People think that because anyone can edit it, its unreliable. This is not true, because if the Wiki people decet a change, they check it, and if its vandalizism, it's switched back within a few hours.
few hours? it's usually sorted out within the minute. they've got some team of mods that hate sunlight and are sharp on the PC.

DGCatAniSiri
26th October 2008, 10:44 AM
The problem with the hide-bound encyclopedias is that by the time that they get published, they're already out of date. Wikipedia, being entirely on line, is capable of being updated instantly.

It seems to me that Wikipedia should be classified as a legitimate resource like any other, since most of the topics you can trust to be at least mostly true. Now, yeah, there are the jokers who will change the destination of links, but for the most part, it seems there is an unwritten rule to Wiki that you don't mess with it and fix any errors you find.

That's not to say that it should be a sole resource, but it is a valid and legitimate one as far as I'm concerned.

CyanFox27
26th October 2008, 7:56 PM
I use the links at the bottom of Wikipedia articles as byways to more legitimate (according to my professors) sites when it comes to actual school projects. If I was found quoting anything off of the site in itself as fact, I would be penalized. Still, despite its inaccuracies, I don't think it's a bad site, just one I'd never use for serious research.

randomspot555
26th October 2008, 8:39 PM
Recently I was in a class, and the teacher said that we should not use wikipedia at all. I was thinking about this. I understand that wikipedia is useless on controversial subjects (why it's not allowed in the debate forum) or recent topics due to many changing them. But is it really as inaccurate as some say?

The reason your teacher doesn't want you to use it is because it can't be cited as a source. As anyone can edit it, what it says can be completely different or non-existant when someone goes to check on the source.

Also, encyclopedias (real books OR Wikipedia) are never to be used as sources on academic papers. They are good starting points, and you should use the sources that they cite. But they themselves are not a source for an academic paper.

It doesn't matter if the topic is controversial. Articles from making home-made butter to Barack Obama can change in a matter of minutes, thus invalidating a source claim.

mew801
26th October 2008, 9:30 PM
I normally use wikipedia, but i will always find another site which has the same info to make sure that it hasn't been edited, but it is generally good for quick info and dates of things. i do think its a bit silly that anyone can edit it though.
my teachers also say that we shouldn't use wikipedia, i think its because its a really easy way to get info lol.

randomspot555
26th October 2008, 9:33 PM
my teachers also say that we shouldn't use wikipedia, i think its because its a really easy way to get info lol.

No, it's because encyclopedias are reference points for info, rather than an academic source. In addition, Wikipedia can be changed by anyone so what you cited as a source may no longer exist when someone goes to check it.

HoennMaster
27th October 2008, 4:39 AM
It really depends on what your using it for. If it is for new anime titles such as Pokemon, then don't immediately trust it. However I do use if for projects often. I just make sure that the info is sourced and I check out the source.

randomspot555
27th October 2008, 5:52 AM
It really depends on what your using it for. If it is for new anime titles such as Pokemon, then don't immediately trust it. However I do use if for projects often. I just make sure that the info is sourced and I check out the source.

So for television it's no good, but academic researc a-okay?

Seems a bit backwards.

Dr. MECha
28th October 2008, 6:14 PM
The reason your teacher doesn't want you to use it is because it can't be cited as a source. As anyone can edit it, what it says can be completely different or non-existant when someone goes to check on the source.

Also, encyclopedias (real books OR Wikipedia) are never to be used as sources on academic papers. They are good starting points, and you should use the sources that they cite. But they themselves are not a source for an academic paper.

It doesn't matter if the topic is controversial. Articles from making home-made butter to Barack Obama can change in a matter of minutes, thus invalidating a source claim.
That's the whole reason why Serebii don't want us to use Wikipedia in debates like this. Encyclopedias are there to give you a general idea on the topic on the whole and shouldn't be treated as an article made by a certified expert or a well known journalist. They should be treated as study, a guideline if you will, that help you prepare for the difficult tests, and projects.

If you're doing an article based on a subject, then base it on an already made one by an individual, like a Professor or a Journalist. Don't get it from a chimera that collect facts that may be either logical or emotional. Also, if you do plan to use wikipedia, use the sources it use to make it's article instead. I hope that make your assignment much easier than before.

The Admiral
28th October 2008, 7:26 PM
The reason your teacher doesn't want you to use it is because it can't be cited as a source. As anyone can edit it, what it says can be completely different or non-existant when someone goes to check on the source.

Actually, it's very easy to go recheck the history.

I dare say that it's easy to spot bollocks on Wikipedia. That's a basic skill. Well, so I argued to my British lit teacher... got some asinine responses. Wikipedia can be a good source for a source list about the topic, really, if anything.

Korusan
28th October 2008, 9:25 PM
Wikipedia is biased. They delete articles with "not enough notability" when we damn well know it has the same number of verifiable sources as any other article in the same catergory.

randomspot555
28th October 2008, 10:31 PM
Actually, it's very easy to go recheck the history.

That's not the point. You aren't citing a history, you're citing the article. And if the article's been changed, then it's no longer the same source that you cited.

But that's ignoring the fact that encyclopedias are not meant to be sources in academic papers and journals, journalistic endeavors, or anything that wants a source with a shred of dignity. Encyclopedias are just general reference points. Wikipedia is not only a general reference point, but also something that can be edited by anyone. So the quote that you find might not even be there in an hour/tomorrow/in a month.


I dare say that it's easy to spot bollocks on Wikipedia. That's a basic skill. Well, so I argued to my British lit teacher... got some asinine responses. Wikipedia can be a good source for a source list about the topic, really, if anything.

If you use a source such as an academic journal, databases, scientific studies, and journalistic publication, you pretty much won't have to worry about telling what is bullocks and what isn't. You can identify any potential bias by the source/author, and all the facts and opinions will be clearly differentiated, unlike Wikipedia.

The problem with Wikipedia isn't just how reliable the "serious" stuff is (historic, politics, etc...), it's how everything is written. It's not uncommon to read into, and interpret what one wants to hear and thus write it as such.

This is quite common in articles on fictional characters. "So-and-so is this person's best friend", and the quote from an episode features them saying something complimentary about the other character. But being nice and then going to best friend is a stretch, and that's why Wikipedia isn't even reliable for pop culture stuff.

Again, Wikipedia is a good starting point. But there's no substitute for a good, reliable source.

redpanda
28th October 2008, 11:01 PM
I use Wikipedia a lot for finding everyday information, like what is a mimosa tree(I had to know for some reason). However, I don't really use it much for school related projects and such because the teachers usually ban it as a source. I find the information I get from Wikipedia is about as accurate as many other sites. Usually when people change it, and I've only encountered this a few times, it is very obvious and I just go to another source. All in all, I like using Wikipedia because it's pretty convenient and usually has accurate information.

qwerqwer
29th October 2008, 4:16 AM
I don't see much of a conflict in this. while wikipedia may be cited as a source in my previous school, i attempted it only once because wikipedia is comwhat difficult to cite, and also not very deep. the references section if great for sources.

Mr. Mudkip
31st October 2008, 6:11 AM
it's sad. Wikipedia has good information, and who goes on it to change info on anything that matters, you don't get amy reactions, so there's no lulz. There's nothing wrong with using wikipedia a source on a story about George washington carver or something like that, IMO.

EmpoleonStaraptorStarch
31st October 2008, 6:19 AM
Wikipedia is completely fair game. And honestly "banning" it on a debate forum is like "banning" it on a paper. If I want to use it I will. I'll get my info, then find "sources" that support what I obtained from there. That simple. I also think we shouldn't restrict kids/people from using specific internet sources because anyone edit it. It's their own risk, as is using any other website's information. Anyone can create a website, hmm? Their putting their own credibility at stake, and it is no one's right to tell them if they can do that or not.

Freedom 101. You're risking your own credibility by using that source (as with any source), and no one should be able to restrict you from that. It's your life, not theirs.

randomspot555
31st October 2008, 9:29 AM
Wikipedia is completely fair game. And honestly "banning" it on a debate forum is like "banning" it on a paper. If I want to use it I will. I'll get my info, then find "sources" that support what I obtained from there. That simple. I also think we shouldn't restrict kids/people from using specific internet sources because anyone edit it. It's their own risk, as is using any other website's information. Anyone can create a website, hmm? Their putting their own credibility at stake, and it is no one's right to tell them if they can do that or not.

Freedom 101. You're risking your own credibility by using that source (as with any source), and no one should be able to restrict you from that. It's your life, not theirs.

You're right. It is that simple. So skip the middle man (WIkipedia) and go straight to the sources. Wikipedia is great for reading in your spare time, or maybe as the START for research, but it should never, ever, be a source (and the same goes for any encyclopedia).

The_Panda
31st October 2008, 12:32 PM
Wikipedia is completely fair game. And honestly "banning" it on a debate forum is like "banning" it on a paper. If I want to use it I will. I'll get my info, then find "sources" that support what I obtained from there. That simple. I also think we shouldn't restrict kids/people from using specific internet sources because anyone edit it. It's their own risk, as is using any other website's information. Anyone can create a website, hmm? Their putting their own credibility at stake, and it is no one's right to tell them if they can do that or not.

Freedom 101. You're risking your own credibility by using that source (as with any source), and no one should be able to restrict you from that. It's your life, not theirs.

Firstly the attitude that you'll look on Wikipedia then go looking for better sources to support that is total unscholarly and against the spirit of debating and intellectualism. The idea of research is to gain a balanced view through multiple scholarly sources and use that to create a balance argument, not presuppose something then go out looking for support. Doing the latter is just totally narrow-minded and unacceptable. Secondly, may I remind you as well that we're not telling people they can't look it up. I'm know many debaters like myself who despise its use for citation use it frequently; just because it is unreliable does not mean it's useless. However what is banned is using it to support an argument: I've seen many times Wikipedia been used on the debate forum to explain something and that usage is fine. However using it as a concrete source for an argument in a debate is just unsatisfactory; any argument sourced from Wikipedia is seriously unreliable: we just don't know who wrote it, anyone can slant the perspective, the information is volatile, et cetera.

SlickSlicer
31st October 2008, 2:32 PM
I hate wikipedia for the most part. It can be good to find very general information on things that don't require a "super-accurate, reliable source" (i.e. information on games or characters in games, or something), but beyond that it shouldn't be used as a source for subjects like history, science, and so on. There are much better sources and wikipedia is just the lazy man's source.

Wikigroaning exists for a reason. The best articles on wikipedia are usually the ones about things that don't require a lot of factual corroboration. I'd rather look up Final Fantasy IX on wikipedia than I would John F. Kennedy.

DarkRidley
1st November 2008, 11:39 AM
Meh. I know that Wikipedia can be full of bollocks, but I never seen anything incorrect on it so far. I generally don't use it for anything more than to look something up in my spare time, as it's been drummed into my head that Wikipedia is wrong; however, as I said, I've never seen incorrect information on Wikipedia. The only thing I've ever seen was some person's idea of a joke - in other words, it was blatantly complete rubbish, some nonsense about having some famous scientist as a physics teacher added on to the end of a paragraph, written in leetspeak.

In other words, it's all right for casual stuff, but I would be unsure about relying on it heavily for anything else.

Shepard
1st November 2008, 3:55 PM
I personally encourage and support the use of possibly multiple scholarly articles that have undergone the process of peer review as they are much more likely to be reliable.

I agree with Panda. Speaking both as someone who is qualified to be a teacher (Bachelor of Education), and has done scholarly work in English Literature (Bachelor of Arts), wikipedia should only ever be used for general background information, but never for actual research. The reason why wikipedia is so looked down upon as a source for scholarly work is just as Panda put it - there is already a system of scholarly reference in place in which contributor's work is reviewed by experts in their field and deemed to have merit.

The reason why teachers can't allow wikipedia as a source is linked to this as well; for someone whose job it is to encourage the development of research skills in their students, wikipedia is a step backward. Real research is a lot more involved than just plugging in a subject into a wiki search and then copying down everything it says. Students need to learn to sort, manage, and evaluate information for themselves. The day may come when there is a single encyclopedia of acquired human knowledge which is a go-to source for all research, but that's not today or tomorrow. That's like hundreds or thousands of years down the road, if at all (bear in mind that human knowledge is growing at an increasing rate all the time as well). Even then, I don't know but that would even be an improvement - I think that learning to do all the legwork of research is a skill that should have to be learned.

On a humourous note, anyone who likes penny-arcade may have already seen this, but it's one of my favs:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/12/16/

Hunter_RuLe
4th November 2008, 10:15 PM
Everything you'll ever read is biased in some way. It is technically impossible to make an objective statement because you always (on purpose or not) choose to point out things while leaving other things behind. In this way Wikipedia isn't different from other resources.

The downside about Wikipedia is that everyone can edit it, anonymously. Therefore there is next to no risk for people when posting wrong information (as a joke, personal preference or because of the lack of knowledge). This tends to lead to worse information than a book written by an authority. An upside about Wikipedia is however that the knowledge of millions of people can come together so personal bias can be limited.

In conclusion Wikipedia is a really usefull extra source which you can use to compare your other (main) information with, but it shouldn't be used as main source because it's reliability at a certain time is highly questionable.

Pingouin7
4th November 2008, 10:28 PM
I also think we shouldn't restrict kids/people from using specific internet sources because anyone edit it.

I think you're right.

What about other websites? People make them, and the fact that they aren't editable by many people won't stop the creators to put up wrong information.

Teachers may as well stop kids from using any sources, be it a website or a book, for their projects. It wouldn't be right yes? They would have to imagine information, and since teachers couldn't verify it, they would instantly get A+ or E, depending on the teacher's mood.

In other words, Wikipedia is just like another website, since another website can be edited to put wrong information. Yes, there's less chance to get false information from another website than Wikipedia, but keep in mind that "It's from Wikipedia, it could be wrong because anyone can edit it." is wrong in a way.

randomspot555
4th November 2008, 10:36 PM
I think you're right.

You're wrong.


What about other websites? People make them, and the fact that they aren't editable by many people won't stop the creators to put up wrong information.

EXACTLY. This means there is someone to be held accountable. Not just for wrong info, but also to indicate any bias or conflict of interest. With Wikipedia, there is none of that.


Teachers may as well stop kids from using any sources, be it a website or a book, for their projects. It wouldn't be right yes? They would have to imagine information, and since teachers couldn't verify it, they would instantly get A+ or E, depending on the teacher's mood.

An e?

This is ridiculous. No one has to imagine information. Books are reliable because there is an author, a publisher, likely an editor and a legal team that looked over the book, to hold accountable for wrong info, bias, and conflict of interest. With Wiki, there's none of that.

[quote[In other words, Wikipedia is just like another website, since another website can be edited to put wrong information. Yes, there's less chance to get false information from another website than Wikipedia, but keep in mind that "It's from Wikipedia, it could be wrong because anyone can edit it." is wrong in a way.[/QUOTE]

Also, "another website" shouldn't be used. People using the Internet for actual research (like something to show your boss or teacher) should stay away from personal web sites. Databases archive books, magazines, newsppaers, academic journals and so on. And these can be accessed via academic and public libraries. Websites of organizations are honest with their bias and cite where they get their facts/stats/etc...

Wikipedia is not a source because anyone can edit it. There is no accountability. And "anything can be wrong" is not an argument to use other crappy internet sources. It just means stop using crappy Internet sources, which include but is not limited to Wikipedia.

Jaguar297
5th November 2008, 2:08 AM
Unfortunately I use Wikipedia for all my work. And sometimes other webs too. I think its a good source of Calcium which are good for your bones and teeth!(Which they are of course)

legendary master Jose
5th November 2008, 2:22 AM
what people are ignorant too is that almost all of the well written article have the sources listed at the bottom of the article

now i will say thought that wikipedia proabably shouldnt be used for every paper but in general it should be allowed to be used as a source

randomspot555
5th November 2008, 2:26 AM
what people are ignorant too is that almost all of the well written article have the sources listed at the bottom of the article

Then you use those sources, not Wikipedia. The sources it cites can be held accountable for the facts, opinons, and so on. wikipedia can not.

legendary master Jose
5th November 2008, 2:36 AM
Then you use those sources, not Wikipedia. The sources it cites can be held accountable for the facts, opinons, and so on. wikipedia can not.

but then you list atleast 30 different sources instead of just listing all of them put together as 1

randomspot555
5th November 2008, 2:38 AM
but then you list atleast 30 different sources instead of just listing all of them put together as 1

Wikipedia isn't a reliable source due to

A: Encyclopedia

B: Anyone can edit it at any time. What you cite in one minute might not be there the next.

C: No accountability

And yes, if it ends up that you need 30 sources, then you need to cite all 30 sources. However, I'm betting that it could be whittled down.

CrystalSaurTower
5th November 2008, 10:06 PM
It's really strange; I hear 'don't trust the wiki ANYONE CAN EDIT IT' over and over again, but I've never really seen an article that's a total abomination to the subject. I mean, any group of people willing to spend time making dozens of paragraphs dedicated to Hitler: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler or suicide bombings in Iraq: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_bombings_in_Iraq_since_2003 are probably be damned concerned about their authenticity.

randomspot555
5th November 2008, 10:26 PM
It's really strange; I hear 'don't trust the wiki ANYONE CAN EDIT IT' over and over again, but I've never really seen an article that's a total abomination to the subject. I mean, any group of people willing to spend time making dozens of paragraphs dedicated to Hitler: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler or suicide bombings in Iraq: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_bombings_in_Iraq_since_2003 are probably be damned concerned about their authenticity.

It doesn't matter how correct they are right now. Just the simple fact that it can change in 30 seconds means it can't be cited as a source.

This is in addition that there is no accountability on Wikipedia. The sources it cites, however, do. Scroll to the bottom and use those sources. They (should) list their sources, how they gather data, who the authors are, publishers, and so on. Wikipedia has none of that.

dragoniteKnight
6th November 2008, 2:58 AM
generaly the facts on wikipedia can be trusted as if they dont site thier sources the page will be marked as unsourced, id say its ok to use it but dont use wikipedia as your ONLY SOURCE


It doesn't matter how correct they are right now. Just the simple fact that it can change in 30 seconds means it can't be cited as a source.

This is in addition that there is no accountability on Wikipedia. The sources it cites, however, do. Scroll to the bottom and use those sources. They (should) list their sources, how they gather data, who the authors are, publishers, and so on. Wikipedia has none of that.

THEY DO LIST THE SOURCES, at the very bottom they ussualy give a link to the sites they got thier information on

randomspot555
6th November 2008, 3:53 AM
generaly the facts on wikipedia can be trusted as if they dont site thier sources the page will be marked as unsourced, id say its ok to use it but dont use wikipedia as your ONLY SOURCE

It shouldn't be sourced at all because there's no accountability, and that what you source in one minute can be changed or removed completely the next minute.




THEY DO LIST THE SOURCES, at the very bottom they ussualy give a link to the sites they got thier information on

I never said they don't list sources. I said there's no accountability. Big difference.

And of course, since there are sources out there that aren't an "encyclopedia" written by Battlestar Galactica fans, then use the sources Wikipedia cites, rather than Wikipedia.

mangaeyes
7th November 2008, 7:38 AM
Well I think that if your using wikipedia you can tell the true stuff from the fake stuff. Okay they might actually be off by a couple of numbers or words by mistake but if its for homework then its not like it has to be 100% accurate I'm sure the teacher will allow a few tiny errors. I was on Shakespeares wiki and it said right at the bottom 'he liked to party lots', now I knew this was fake so I didn't use it. Simple ^_^

Mew's desire
7th November 2008, 2:14 PM
our teacher deosnt approve wikipedia too because its written by everyone so she says its full of lies but some are true!
So Wikipedia's nice for me

The Thrashmeister
7th November 2008, 5:23 PM
For every sour edit that's made to Wikipedia, there's always someone to clean it up. I have no problem with using Wikipedia as a reliable source, and most of my teachers have no problem with it either.

Lugia Kuriarhia
8th November 2008, 2:53 PM
It bothers me when people say Wikipedia is an unreliable source. It is well on its way to containing all human knowledge. Have you SEEN how many pages in detail on every imaginable subject?
People think that because anyone can edit it, its unreliable. This is not true, because if the Wiki people decet a change, they check it, and if its vandalizism, it's switched back within a few hours.
Sometimes it can take months.


For every sour edit that's made to Wikipedia, there's always someone to clean it up. I have no problem with using Wikipedia as a reliable source, and most of my teachers have no problem with it either.
Well sometimes, there is no-one to clean it up. The wiki people don't check every single change that is made.
Also when bad changes are made its not always because of vandalism, as some one already said, ignorance can lead to a bad change as well. There was once a member of this forum (a super mod actually), who upon seeing what was said in a wikipedia article and being not understanding it, thought it must be false and changed the article. The article was in fact correct and what he changed it to made no sense.

I knew of the change but I left it just to see if it would be fixed soon. After almost a month and a half(I just went and checked how long), no one had come to clean up the mess that this guy had made, so I changed it back. However, I am not about to become wikipedia police and who knows how many more ignorant people have changed articles with nobody noticing.


Meh. I know that Wikipedia can be full of bollocks, but I never seen anything incorrect on it so far. I generally don't use it for anything more than to look something up in my spare time, as it's been drummed into my head that Wikipedia is wrong; however, as I said, I've never seen incorrect information on Wikipedia. The only thing I've ever seen was some person's idea of a joke - in other words, it was blatantly complete rubbish, some nonsense about having some famous scientist as a physics teacher added on to the end of a paragraph, written in leetspeak.Well if you are not an expert in the field of the article that you are viewing there might be something incorrect and you just not notice. Sometimes things are not blatantly false, just subtly incorrect, but even when they are blatantly incorrect, you might not know enough to notice.



Everything you'll ever read is biased in some way. It is technically impossible to make an objective statement because you always (on purpose or not) choose to point out things while leaving other things behind. In this way Wikipedia isn't different from other resources.Have you ever read a mathematics research paper?


generaly the facts on wikipedia can be trusted as if they dont site thier sources the page will be marked as unsourced, id say its ok to use it but dont use wikipedia as your ONLY SOURCE

THEY DO LIST THE SOURCES, at the very bottom they ussualy give a link to the sites they got thier information onNot all articles list their sources. In fact I have seen many, that have no sources at all.

Diarkia124
9th November 2008, 4:46 AM
I heard that Wikipedia had a filter to block any information from being edited. However, if it is a small change, it could be edited.

crobatman
9th November 2008, 6:26 AM
I use wikipedia for mostly trivial information anyway. I can spend hours on there just researching the Marvel Universe. Professors want us to use academic , peer-reviewed journals for research papers because that is part of their job sometimes. If I had a Phd. i would want people reading my research in stead of the internet.

The only time I have used wikipedia for an assignment was making powerpoints for presentations in Anthropology and my Organic Chemistry class. I looked for pictures of different cultures and the chemical formula of Ibuprofen.

Hunnuli
12th November 2008, 11:33 PM
Wikipedia as a source is just as good as using any other Encyclopedia. In fact it may be even better since edits are so easily done to it(thus it is more likely to be update than most Encyclopedias and errors can be quickly fixed(fixing errors in printed material is much harder)).

Any online source will suffer from the fact that it could change or no longer be there when it is checked. True archive sites are far more static than Wikipedia is, however, there have been news/mag/whatever archive sources I used back in Jr. High that no longer have that particular article available.

Against its accuracy... no doubt it suffers from some inaccuracy, however, I doubt that it is far more so than other sources.



Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia and it should be used as such. This of course means that some academic papers will not accept it, however, I have had plenty of instructors willing to allow you to use ONE encyclopedia source. Generally for a 'side' focus of your paper. I.E. the paper focuses on the political environment of abortion but uses an encyclopedia as an overview source for some of the points that you are only doing a very general look at.

In other words an encyclopedia source is suited for a point that is only going to be general at best. In other words a side focus with low priority.

randomspot555
13th November 2008, 3:12 AM
TLDR: If it's on Wikipedia (and the Wikipedia article is a quality article, which many are not), then there are reliable primary and secondary sources to use. Use those, not Wikipedia. And because Wikipedia has a No Original Research policy, there is not a single bit of information that's on Wikipedia that isn't available elsewhere.


[color=#facade]Wikipedia as a source is just as good as using any other Encyclopedia. In fact it may be even better since edits are so easily done to it(thus it is more likely to be update than most Encyclopedias and errors can be quickly fixed(fixing errors in printed material is much harder)).

This paragraph fails on multiple accounts.

Encyclopedias are like a database of general knowledge, as far as general encyclopedias go. Like a dictionary, you'll get the bare minimum on the subject, just like a dictionary will give you the bare minimum on the meaning of the word. But much is left out, mainly due to lack of space. Go to the sources they use, read them, and cite them in whatever the professional writing is for.

More specific encyclopedias, such as medical ones or ones on certain points of history, may be very lengthy and composed by professionals in the field. But they're still basing all of their information from primary and secondary sources. Again, go to the actual source, rather than getting it second hand from a heavily edited encyclopedia.

Your argument of "edits are so easily done" can easily come apart. They can just as much be edited in a bad way as much as they can in a good way. Add on that it can be done at a moment's notice, by anyone, and it makes the source completely unreliable. You have no way of knowing if the article, with the URL you cite right now, will be there tomorrow, in the same way you cite it.

In fact, let's see what Wikipedia has to say about being a primary source (I know the rules say No Wikipedia, but this is a topic on Wikipedia, so:

Wikipedia: No Original Research (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research)


* Primary sources are sources very close to the origin of a particular topic or event. An eyewitness account of a traffic accident written or narrated by the eyewitness is an example of a primary source. Other examples include archeological artifacts; photographs; audio and video recordings; historical documents such as diaries, census results, maps, or transcripts of surveillance, public hearings, trials, or interviews; tabulated results of surveys or questionnaires; written or recorded notes of laboratory and field research, experiments or observations, published experimental results by the person(s) actually involved in the research; original philosophical works, religious scripture, administrative documents, patents, and artistic and fictional works such as poems, scripts, screenplays, novels, motion pictures, and television programs.[4]
* Secondary sources are accounts at least one step removed from an event.[5] Secondary sources may draw on primary sources and other secondary sources to create a general overview; or to make analytic or synthetic claims.[6][7]

* Tertiary sources are publications such as encyclopedias or other compendia that mainly summarize secondary sources. For example, Wikipedia itself is a tertiary source. Many introductory undergraduate-level textbooks may also be considered tertiary sources, to the extent that they sum up multiple secondary sources.


Bold=thread! But I'll continue anyway, because I'm a bit bored.


Any online source will suffer from the fact that it could change or no longer be there when it is checked. True archive sites are far more static than Wikipedia is, however, there have been news/mag/whatever archive sources I used back in Jr. High that no longer have that particular article available.

Reliable sources, and not just random web sites, won't disappear off of the face of the earth. Digital databases (accessible by many companies, governments, academic environments, and libraries) archive all kinds of print, television, radio, and digital media/journalism, as well as academic reports, texts and so on. Major newspapers, magazines, journals, and television stations archive literally everything they do. It's very hard to publish something in a professional environment or release it in any form of media and it not get archived somewhere.

And online sources, at the very least, disclose biases and have accountability. It's not "According to Wikipedia, Joe Schmoe hates Barack Obama because he's black", it's "According to the Harlington Gazette, Joe Schmoe hates Barack Obama because he's black."

Which sounds better? Which makes the sentence more reliable? Of course, there's the alternate "According to Wikipedia, Joe Schmoe hates Barack Obama because he's black, based off of an article in the Harlington Gazette."

Again, cut out the middle man (or in this case, third) Wikipedia, and cite the actual, real source.


Against its accuracy... no doubt it suffers from some inaccuracy, however, I doubt that it is far more so than other sources.

The problem isn't who is more accurate more often. The problem is Wikipedia isn't a primary or secondary source and thus, not accountable for the information it publishes. There are always better sources to use than Wikipedia, because Wikipedia articles are based off of those good, reliable, primary and secondary sources.

It doesn't help that encyclopedias are never intended as primary sources, or that Wikipedia articles can be changed at a moment's notice in a variety of ways. That's just icing on the cake.


Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia and it should be used as such. This of course means that some academic papers will not accept it, however, I have had plenty of instructors willing to allow you to use ONE encyclopedia source. Generally for a 'side' focus of your paper. I.E. the paper focuses on the political environment of abortion but uses an encyclopedia as an overview source for some of the points that you are only doing a very general look at.

High school teachers can either be notoriously lazy or stupid. They should be preparing you for college. And Wikipedia shouldn't be allowed by anyone who wants to go to college.

You're right about one thing. It's an encyclopedia and should be used as such. Encyclopedias are starting points. They are a source of information, but not a good source as far as research goes.

EDIT: As I read your whole post...well, as a whole post, we might agree more than we disagree. But my (lengthy) points isn't necessarily directed at you. It's addressed to anyone reading this thread who doesn't want to automatically fail a [subject]101 paper their freshman year at college.

Hunnuli
13th November 2008, 4:16 AM
Yes I would thing we agree a bit more than we disagree.

As for college level papers those are the teachers I was talking about, my highschool teachers were out right inflammatory about encyclopedia resources. But my College teachers were much more lax on it. Basically stating that it was fine if it was for a side point that didn't need an in depth look. That isn't to say that they wouldn't prefer a non-encyclopedia source, however, they would except it as long as it wasn't your only source for your main point type of deal. Or in other words a basic overview source for a point that only needs a basic overview.

Really I think where we get hung up on is that I view tertiary sources as viable in their own way(even in papers when approached correctly) even if they aren't the best. Remember one of the purposes for citing sources is to allow those reading it to read further into it. If you paper only needs the most rudimentary knowledge of say astrophysics than a encyclopedia article on it may very well be an 'appropriate' source.

Basically you don't need to cite a super technical paper that has your data in it if the much simpler encyclopedia also has that same data and is more appropriate for your audience.




As for my electronic point. I am merely pointing out that much of what we print will soon become online resources. Due to the dynamic nature of the internet you can never be 100% sure that the link you site will be the exact same 10-20 years down the road(of course it will likely remain the same in a few weeks so for assignments it doesn't really matter). Of course you most likely will still be able to hunt it down on internet archive sites(ones that archive whole pages), however, that isn't the source you cited(most likely).

A step further would be other online Encyclopedia's. I don't doubt Britannica will quickly squash any errors they find or are reported, or perhaps even change organization of articles for easier reading on a purely dynamic online encyclopedia.

Basically when citing any dynamic source you have to take into account that it might change, even if just a little[of course using archives can help prevent this since archives are usually as static as you can get online]. It really irks me how often I'll share a link to a news article only to be told a week later that the link is no longer valid or some such. Happens all the time to me with those sites(like CNN, Newyork Times or local newspapers, etc) :(.


And I went off tangent... Though I have a lot of horror stories of online resources from newspaper places and magazine places just up and vanishing on me(in high school we may do the research months before we even start 'writing').

randomspot555
13th November 2008, 4:35 AM
That's because web sites get redesigned. The articles still exist, and can be easily found by utilizing any number of resources.

It's a weird thing for modern day students to actually go to a library, but many keep old (really, really old) copies of magazines and relevant newspapers, with microfilm for the super old. Public libraries and academic institutions often have access to digital academic database, such as Oxford Music Online, and relevant newspapers. My public library card gets me into my local daily's archives, and my college gets me into the NYT and many others. Every intro English level college course should teach students how to utilize databases, since they gather a variety of information ranging from photographs and video clips, news articles, to the lengthy academic reports of the head shrinking tribe that lives in South America.

**Of course, in the case of a news article, it's almost always sufficient to just cite the publication, author and date. As said, just because the exact link doesn't work doesn't make the article untraceable.

Hunnuli
13th November 2008, 6:35 PM
Ah, but neither are Wikipedia articles. If you know the date accessed you could very likely with a bit of effort locate an archived version of that article at that date. A smart student could simply refresh right after it was archived to double check that what he was sourcing wasn't changed. Viola, you have a static Wikipedia article.


And it wasn't a redesign that invalidated my link. It is the fact that the sites doing this to me periodically prune articles off the site. Most of those guilty are local papers though, and my area is so stupidly back water that what passes for a good website should probably get the web designer shot!

Shiny qwilfish of doom
13th November 2008, 7:42 PM
i usually trust wikipedia,when was the last time they announced a fake south park episode title? But...

pokemon anime wise,it has not updated in forever. Pretty soon stupid people are going to sign up and edit the accurate topics on porpuse to make them look like crap. But luckily,most people there are smart and know not to do that. Thank god the important articles are protected.

~NeonFire~
21st November 2008, 3:17 PM
I find Wikipedia is reliable, for the most part. I always check the sources though.

Bad Religion
22nd November 2008, 5:15 PM
I got told by my lecturers at my University not to use wikipedia, which is just a crock of **** in my opinion. Most of the information on there is factual and has cited evidence for proof, so why not use it? Besides, I'll just go on there and check the footnotes for the original sources for some of the information and use that instead of citing wiki. Either way, I'm still using it!

randomspot555
22nd November 2008, 6:07 PM
I got told by my lecturers at my University not to use wikipedia, which is just a crock of **** in my opinion.

Your opinion is wrong. Wikipedia is not a primary source. Wikipedia itself doesn't consider itself a primary source.


Most of the information on there is factual and has cited evidence for proof, so why not use it?

Then use the cited source, not Wikipedia. Wikipedia itself can be edited and re-edited so many times that there's no telling if the link you give will say the same thing the next day. Not to mention the lack of accountability, and the whole "Wikipedia says not to use Wikipedia as a source" thing.


Besides, I'll just go on there and check the footnotes for the original sources for some of the information and use that instead of citing wiki. Either way, I'm still using it!

...That's perfectly fine. It's just Wikipedia is not a source, and should not be cited as such. That's what your professors are (Rightly) saying.

silbirnite
22nd November 2008, 6:12 PM
i use wikipedia to get an idea of what i should look up and use the links at the bottom, and if i need more info i use wikipedia and just use one of the bottom links as my source...

Bad Religion
22nd November 2008, 6:50 PM
Your opinion is wrong.

Does not compute.

But thanks for the pointless side commentary on telling me what I've already said.

ShinyCollector007
22nd November 2008, 6:54 PM
I try to use Wikipedia as less as posible but at certain times I really need it

Kipcha
22nd November 2008, 7:17 PM
I use Wikipedia all the time. I know the people can edit it to whatever they want it to say, but I don't use it as my sole resource. Usually my teachers tell me to have a minumum of seven resources, so I look and compare the information from the Wikipedia page on the subject, and if it's accurate I'll use that as a source. If it's not, then I look around some more. I have yet to come across an incorrect Wikipedia page, so either I am lucky or it just isn't as unreliable as some people lead others to believe.

ForeverFlame
22nd November 2008, 9:13 PM
I use Wikipedia when I'm looking for information on Anime, Manga and stuff. For those it's great, though you have to watch out for spoilers that aren't covered up at all. :/

Of course, you should never use Wikipedia for like a University Class or whatever... There's textbooks for that. But for general use, it's perfectly fine.

Revender
24th November 2008, 2:08 AM
It shouldn't be used all of the time, but it still should be used.

porygonfan
24th November 2008, 3:23 AM
I heard this too. When I was in school and had to write a Thesis paper we were not allowed to use Wikipedia, because anyone can post there. That means they can post a famous quote, or false info, so it was not a credible place to read 100% of the time. That is why, but the majority of stuff it posts is accurate.

Mew's desire
24th November 2008, 8:27 AM
the thing is, once I made my own fake article on Wikipedia.
this proves Wikipedia is..totally 40% fake cuz people go on it and write rubbish

treespyro
24th November 2008, 8:31 AM
Never ever use Wikipedia for Assignments, Projects, Assessments or anything major

Lecturers hate it and will mark you down, Well they did to my buddy

Personal I hate using it, because it is unreliable but for useless non-important stuff

Jessie&James
24th November 2008, 8:33 AM
My teachers tells us not to use Wikipedia as anyone can edit and write the wrong information.

I usually use Wikipedia to search up non-school relating topics such as anime and manga.

Krake
26th November 2008, 3:22 PM
I'm not allowed to use it for research papers because it's an encyclopedia, but being editable by anyone would also be a good reason why it's not allowed.

I also noticed that some articles are smaller than others, which I understand if there's not alot to write about or if not much is known about it, but sometimes one article that has a lot in common with another has more content and detail to it than the other.

Mr. Mudkip
26th November 2008, 5:35 PM
When I was younger I was like Wikipedia HAHAHA what a funny name

What a great argument >.>

And whoever posted that page with the edited dialga/palkia thing, $5 says you did that to prove your point. What are the odds you found such a random article and it's been changed to have pokemon junk in it?

ShinyCollector007
26th November 2008, 5:37 PM
sorry for pointlessness but i thought i was getting a rank up but I rarely ever use Wikipedia

randomspot555
26th November 2008, 6:12 PM
Does not compute.

Actually, it does. You can have an opinion, but it's a bad (and in my view, wrong) when you back it up with anything less than fact. When you base an opinion on false and bad information, it's wrong.

Fact: Wikipedia is not a primary source or secondary source, according to Wikipedia. This means you will never find information on Wikipedia that isn't published elsewhere. Your professors do not want you to use it as a primary or secondary source, and tertiary sources generally aren't used in a professional or academic environment. Just because you think it's a "crock of blah" doesn't make your professors wrong. It just makes it even more evident that proper sourcing is required in an academic environment.