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Citing Wikipedia as Evidence

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posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 07:50 PM
I joined ATS a couple of months ago. I have noticed in many threads, especially heated discussions, that Wikipedia is cited as evidence (proof). My personal opinion is that when stating something as evidence you should really quote the source. I have seen some posts where this was questioned and the response was that the responsibility for validation lies with the individual who is critical. Surely the onus should be on the individual presenting the evidence?

I found an interesting article related to this.

Wikipedia: The Source of All Knowledge?

Nevertheless, some web sources are more reliable than others, and nothing illustrates this better than the phenomenal growth of Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia written by unpaid, anonymous volunteers. Wikipedia aspires to be a source of information on everything, literally everything, from nuclear physics to the latest movies. It is self-correcting, with readers posting comments on inaccurate content and gradually clearing up mistakes. So pervasive and convenient are Wiki articles that some academics have begun citing Wikipedia as references. This is a bad idea.

Shortcomings of Wikipedia
As an avid user of Wikipedia I find its articles to vary greatly in quality. Some are scholarly, impartial, and well researched. Others are sloppy, superficial, and full of errors. Well, what do you expect for nothing? I am fine with using Wikipedia to check on the atomic weight Cesium or to get a quick overview of electron spin resonance, but that is about all. I have found chemical equations listed that were wrong—the formula for oxygen balance, for example, does not include halogens, although it should. The self-correcting aspect of Wikipedia works better in theory than in practice. More than a year ago I saw a mistake in the biography of a recent American president, George H. W. Bush. I signed on to Wikipedia and posted a correction to an article, writing up the revised paragraph and citing references to support my correction. Nothing happened. The mistake is still there.

Valid Uses of Wikipedia
Wikipedia does have its uses for an academic researcher. It often provides a good starting point for further research, particularly on recent events and publications. Wikipedia is not supposed to contain original research and its references and citations often excellent and can give a researcher a head start for digging deeper. By all means use Wikipedia. But no citing Wikipedia in research. And take everything you read there with a large dash of salt.

This article is related to academia but should we not use the same standard when presenting evidence? In academia it is regarded as intellectual dishonesty by many if you do not quote the original source.

How do others feel about this?


posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 07:54 PM
a reply to: deliberator
The onus is on the claimant to cite evidence. Wiki is evidence. Whether or not it is good evidence is up to you. Either vet the Wiki claim, or dismiss it simply based on the source, as many here do.

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 07:58 PM
I used to make a point to reference the reference and cite the source of the Wiki page, however, if its pretty common facts or theories, or a large amount of evidence resides elsewhere sometimes I just cite it directly simply because its the easiest source to find.

If you get a wiki source its still better than no source. And 90% of the arguments you come across will not be sourced at all, so even if its on the other side, I don't really mind it. If I contest the information being posted I will cite my own sources. Fair?

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 08:02 PM
a reply to: deliberator

Wikipedia also cites sources, so its a good starting point for research. More "advanced" knowledge might need better sources, but wiki is a valid source, it is up to us, to validate or debunk the evidence we are given

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 08:07 PM
I have always looked at Wikipedia as the Real world Equivalent of "The Hitchhikers Guide to Everything" Because while it may have glaring Mistakes, and wrong information it scores over the pedestrian works of Britannia in two great ways, 1. you do not need a Dump truck to carry it around and 2. It's cost for quick information vs time researching is significantly lower.

As were watching it grow, we will see it change and take better shape until it supplants the encyclopedias then it Morphs into the Killer AI we all know is coming in the singularity. After all the great Profit Douglas of the Adams has predicted it to be so.


I forgot my

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 08:07 PM
Post are not peer-review essays. The board has no standard set of rules for citing material. As this is an open discussion board, people should be free to just voice opinions if they so choose. If you wish to hold your own post to a certain academic standard that is your choice, but you will probably find that people will respect your opinion more, which is a good thing.

In a professional paper, I would never use Wikipedia, and I agree with you completely when it comes to professional academic writing.

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 08:12 PM
a reply to: deliberator

You're not gonna like this...but...

There's a Wikipedia article for EVERYTHING!
edit on 25-11-2015 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 08:15 PM
If I were to use Wikipedia though for a paper I would use it as a reference work to look for credible sources, Wikipedia would not be where I site from it would be what I use to find out where to look for citations.

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 08:22 PM

originally posted by: Revolution9
a reply to: deliberator

You're not gonna like this...but...

There's a Wikipedia article for EVERYTHING!

I like it:

Personal experience
Scientific evidence
Physical evidence
Trace evidence

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 08:41 PM
a reply to: deliberator

Wikipedia is peer edited and as such, can be less than reliable from an academic standpoint.

However, if educational information is required to help someone who wishes to understand a concept, Wikipedia is often simply and clearly written. In this case, it is just the tool for the task.

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 08:46 PM
a reply to: deliberator

All evidence of any kind is subjective no matter what the source is. For instance many people have no problem quoting the Bible as a source of "fact" when the translation has been lost and manipulated for God only knows how many centuries.

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 09:02 PM
a reply to: hubrisinxs

There are sites that are not permitted to be used on these boards.

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 09:05 PM
Proof ? Nope
Evidence? Hardly
Reference? Sure

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 10:05 PM
One would have to look up the references provided from the wikipedia info. Wasn't there a study lately saying that people are no longer willing to learn, they just look it up on the net without research. Later on they forget, espcially due to it being so easy to find answers that they assume as truth without looking further into it.

For example in many partisan divided forums, many know that articles and information is displayed as a one sided agenda. That seems to be widely known. Some other factors are not. One site explains on why not to trust wiki pages; Take note of the following,

4. The number of active Wikipedia editors has flatlined. The number of active Wikipedia editors (those who make at least five edits a month) has stopped growing. It remains to be seen whether the current number of active editors can maintain and continue updating Wikipedia.

3. It has become harder for casual participants to contribute. According to the Palo Alto Research Center, the contributions of casual and new contributors are being reversed at a much greater rate than several years ago. The result is that a steady group of high-level editors has more control over Wikipedia than ever.


posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 10:17 PM
I use wikipedia a lot for quick supporting facts to points I'm trying to make. For papers that I've actually written for classes no I wouldn't but as others have said it's a great starting point to utilize for it's citations. Quick overview > read the sources cited. Sometimes just the quick overview can make something click in your brain so that you can narrow your focus or to figure out exactly what you need/want to research within a broad topic.

I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand and I certainly wouldn't critique the use of it for posts or even threads without checking the citations of the quoted material as I couldn't know whether it's a garbage article or not until I found the citations flawed or misused in the article.

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 10:29 PM
Wiki isn't good evidence, being any Tom, Dick or Harry can go in there and edit it, but it will suffice as a decent source in most cases. Depends on the topic being argued.
edit on 25-11-2015 by violet because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 10:46 PM
a reply to: deliberator

I've looked at Wikipedia on topics that I've studied, and it could be completely truth or complete BS, depending on the sentence. Just be very careful in believing it. Some of the "sources" are also complete BS, so be careful about ANYTHING on the internet. Even Nat Geo and other supposedly "educational" sites are falling to crap.

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 11:16 PM
Wikipedia the source of all knowledge?

That's some serious comedy right there...

Did you know that Jimmy Wales was a porn king who sold online pornography before launching Wikipedia – the world’s online trove of collective knowledge? Wikipedia was started with revenue from soft-core porn. Did you know that Wikipedia is anti-science and is actually edited by corporate-paid trolls on important topics such as GMOs, vaccines, chemotherapy and pharmaceuticals, and not by anonymous volunteer editors as claimed?

Jeff Merkey, a former Novell chief scientist, accused Jimmy Wales of extortion. He stated that Wales agreed to place him under his “special protection” as an editor in exchange for a substantial donation and other financial support of the Wikimedia Foundation projects.

Jimmy Wales traded Wikipedia edits for sex by exploiting his editorial position over a female editor, ordered the intimidation and harassment of Wikipedia editors who attempted to maintain a truly “neutral point of view” about Jimmy Wales himself, and exploited his position within the Wikimedia Foundation to attempt to bury details about his own past.

10 Facts About Wikipedia Founder That Will Shock The Hell Out Of You

One editor openly accepts payments for his editorial efforts on Wikipedia. He works for notorious folks who have problems with what Wikipedia says about them. He's a hired gun who fights to modify entries in his clients' favor.

One editor described life on the inside as an all-out turf war. Wikipedia is anything but an open collaboration. It's a dog-eat-dog battle for precious internet real estate. And it's the fat cats who sit back and win, time and time again.

Things Wikipedia health editors have told me

It might not be news to everyone that Wikipedia has issues with editors using Wiki articles to spread political propaganda and libeling innocents, sometimes being bribed to do so. Most of Wikipedia readers should have noticed that articles related to anything controversial are heavily biased if not purely propagandistic.

Well, now there is compelling evidence proving Wikipedia has a problem with wild, biased, and even bribed editors. This is pretty much the equivalent of letting Benito Mussolini and his black shirts write the article on Fascist Italy; of course it’s going to be a bunch of propaganda. But as evidence of bribed editors appeared around the web, Wales ultimately decided to side with the editors instead, for the sake of defending Wikipedia.

Corruption and bribes in Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a major source of propaganda and disinformation. If you correct some bankster propaganda (lies) on Wikipedia, it is perverted right back into its original lie within a day or two ~ usually word for word ~ and sometimes within an hour or two. WIKI is merely a net extension of lame stream press propaganda and cannot be trusted whatsoever.

Wikipedia exposed as a blackmail racket that extorts small businesses while publishing corporate propaganda

Jimmy Wales attended Soros birthday party. Wales also sits on the board of the Soros funded Sunlight Foundation.

George Soros and the corruption of Wikipedia from within

Wikipedia is a prime target for spin-doctoring. A new identification program on the site reveals that some of the most prolific contributors to Wikipedia are the CIA, the British Labour Party and the Vatican - and they are not just updating their own entries. The Wikiscanner site shows the CIA has edited entries on many issues relating to the United States Government, including presidential biographies and descriptions of military operations.

And among the usual list of companies and celebrities spinning their online image are some unusual mentions, including the British Labour Party, the Church of Scientology and the CIA. Mr Byrne says proof that the CIA is editing on Wikipedia will fuel internet conspiracy theories. He says Wikipedia is just one place where government agencies are watching people.

Program shows CIA behind Wikipedia entries

Like National Geographic, the Washington Post and WebMD, Wikipedia publishes bias to suit its own agenda and the corporate sponsor platforms of Western Medicine, “Junk Science” and Big government.

Now that the truth about Wikipedia being a blackmail extortion racket has emerged, people are starting to connect the dots on the criminality and corruption that dominates the discredited disinfo site. Not only was Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales a “porn king” who sold online pornography before launching Wikipedia, we also know that wikipedia deliberately censors large categories of truthful information on natural healing, the dangers of vaccines, the crimes of Hillary Clinton, the corruption and criminality of the biotech industry and much more.

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder

It is also heavily influenced by paid public relations professionals who do not disclose their conflicts of interest. Despite its official "neutrality policy," Wikipedia has a strong liberal bias. In his article entitled Wikipedia lies, slander continue journalist Joseph Farah stated Wikipedia "is not only a provider of inaccuracy and bias.

It is wholesale purveyor of lies and slander unlike any other the world has ever known." Although Wales "made his original fortune as a pornography trafficker," he has since tried to clean up his image and demands retractions when people report this fact.

Examples of Bias in Wikipedia

edit on 26-11-2015 by Murgatroid because: felt like it...

posted on Nov, 25 2015 @ 11:22 PM
a reply to: deliberator

I link to wikipedia a lot, but not for "evidence". I usually link to it to show that what I'm talking about is an established "thing", and not just some random word or phrase I came up with.

For example, suppose I say Reagan & fiscal conservatives believe in "starving the beast". Anyone can say "Hey! I'm a fiscal conservative & I don't believe in starving anything! You're a liar!". To preempt that, I'll link the wikipedia article for "Starve the beast", which details the political strategy by conservative leaders which goes by that name. Of course, people can look up more info online or through academic sources if they want to. I'm just showing that it's an actual "thing".

posted on Nov, 26 2015 @ 02:36 AM
I find wiki good for the basics, whats the length of an f-16, who stared in a certain movie (imdb normally can be better) but sometimes good for a 2nd read as it might have extra stuff. Normally i treat it as a bit like the guy down the pub after a few jars in that it could be right or he could be talking out of his 'you know what' but normally if i see a lot of revisions it can be good to see if there's some sort of fight going on between editors

The main thing is to always consider any source of information on Wikipedia slightly suspect as 4chan used to regularly visit random pages and put in a mention of Hitler etc for the lulz, so its very unlikely to think that Hitler and Socrates used to regularly go to the police academy's blue oyster bar

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