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WIKIPEDIA: Broken beyond repair - old news?

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posted on May, 12 2010 @ 06:14 AM
I'd like to address what seems to be a recent slew of "Bad research" on ATS.

I'll say bad research, but counter that with "Good ideas", sometimes anyway. There have been a lot of recent postings on here using wikipedia as the only "evidence" for an Original Post. In the areas of the web that I use, it's fairly common knowledge that wikipedia or wiki is broken and not a decent or reliable source of information. I also move within some academic circles in the UK where, at least amongst the lecturers I know wiki is regarded as a joke.

Anecdotally, I know of someone that failed their first year of University because they'd used wiki as their only source for their final written piece - the lecturer that told me this was fuming at the stupidity of the student, especially as they'd driven the point home that wiki is only (potentially) a starting place for research.

Anyway, here's a quote from Co-Founder Larry Sanger:

My lazy research link

stated that the site is no longer useful, and suffers from many problems ranging from “serious management problems, to an often dysfunctional community, to frequently unreliable content, and to a whole series of scandals.”

Now this might be fairly old news to some of us, the article is from 2007 - but I can't see the situation on wiki to have improved, it's user-generated content. For those that don't know... ANYONE can create an account and start editing and create articles. Myself, personally edited the article on the place where I live to state that there was a "Unicorn farm, to protect the rural community from Goblins" - it stayed on wiki for 6 months before someone noticed/cared enough and it got removed.

I know that wiki has gotten better at spotting vandalism and deliberate errors, but the problem still persists that there are good-intentioned people, that simply don't know their facts.

There is also the problem of long-term, dedicated vandals that are determined to ruin wikipedia, seemingly because of the hubris of those that run it. I didn't realise, until I did some research into this that wiki is rife with in-fighting and peer vandalism.

Here's another link to show examples of the schism within wiki - WARNING PROFANITY!!!
Prior to reading this link though, be warned - PROFANITY... but just filter out those words if they offend you, because even though this article is tongue in cheek, it does site numerous links and articles about why wiki is frudged.


To sum up, I just wanted to make (those of us that might care) a little more aware of the dangers of lazy research and the damage it can do to our "reputations" - if they matter, but more importantly to the articles we post and the discussions surrounding them.

Edit to add: MODS, not too sure where this should be, please feel free to shift it.

Edit: Probably multiple for layout, formatting, spelling etc.

[edit on 12/5/1010 by jokei]

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 07:01 AM
Here's what I've noticed through my personal use if wikipedia: Some articles have warnings at the top that the article needs to have sources provided for the information, or other such warnings. I find those articles to be the least reliable.

If the article is well sourced, that is, with a list of external references at the end, and many places in the article referring to those external references, then in fact even though you're reading Wikipedia, it's not really the ultimate source, unless it's just misrepresenting those sources, and I have yet to find a case of that though it's probably happened, but I expect it's not too common.

So I really can take either side and find both pro and con arguments for Wikipedia. If you avoid the articles with the warnings that say they may be substandard articles (need more sources, etc), it's still not perfect, but it's not as bad as some people claim it is, and in some cases it's pretty good.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 07:32 AM
Wiki can be useful for sound-bites but as you say, the author of any new material that references Wiki or any other source should the validity of the original documentation and claims anyway. Source checking has always been important and when it is neglected... well, wars have been started on the basis of incorrect information from uninformed sources.

Mind you, is ATS really the place to argue 'informed sources'?

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 07:33 AM
reply to post by Arbitrageur

I totally agree with you, there's a few articles I've read that have been great references, others - shockingly bad.

The main problem, perhaps one not prevalent amongst the more seasoned members, is there is a belief amongst some - specifically on ATS (but also In Real Life) that wikipedia is gospel.

I agree it's easier to spot the good articles, because they are extensively referenced and sourced and provide links to these - this is also my major gripe with people that use wikipedia as a source and don't do this, it implies they're not bothering to reference their research (etc) properly and don't realise that wikipedia should be doing this too.

Find it ironic that my wiki/rant uses wiki as it's source?

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:38 PM
99% of Wikipedia's admin seem to be psychopaths. If you have ever read their administrator noticeboard you would see a site that is run by some extremely disturbed people.

[edit on 12-5-2010 by Red Cloak]

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:45 PM
reply to post by Red Cloak

No, I've never read the admin board, but if you could either link to some stuff (is that possible or is it Admin only?) or if you'd care to share some anecdotes about it, I would be very interested.

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:52 PM
Regardless of your opinions on wikipedia, if you're doing a research paper, its never a good idea to use only one source. NEVER. That kid was stupid because he used only one source, not because the source was wikipedia. For most of the mild-mannered insignificant research that I do wikipedia is okay. I don't think anyone here on ATS is writing a thesis. And how about attacking the bad information that you see and debunking it with good information instead of just attacking the source of the information. If I said "mirrors reflect light" and linked wikipedia as my source, you're really going to say that that info is wrong just because its wikipedia?

Posted Via ATS Mobile:

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 03:54 PM
I've tried to link like 10 times to the admin boards and I can't. ATS won't let me. What is the deal?

The incidents board and archive is the main one where all the trash posts. Clearly, the site is run by very disturbed psychopaths. I do not trust that site at all.

[edit on 12-5-2010 by Red Cloak]

[edit on 12-5-2010 by Red Cloak]

posted on May, 12 2010 @ 07:12 PM

Originally posted by Red Cloak
I've tried to link like 10 times to the admin boards and I can't. ATS won't let me. What is the deal?

How exactly is ATS stopping you? You mean the links don't work when your post shows up in ATS? Some links don't display right and you have to tell people to click on "quote" so they can see the raw text, then they can copy and paste the link into their browser. Not very elegant, but it's a workaround, unless you're saying the ATS mods forbid you from doing it?

I'm interested to see what you're talking about too.

[edit on 12-5-2010 by Arbitrageur]

posted on May, 13 2010 @ 05:28 AM
reply to post by dbloch7986

I do agree with you completely, especially about only using one source - however, this thread is highlighting the fact that Wikipedia is flawed, you know, because that might be considered attention-worthy to some who might not have realised.

Where possible I do try to help with information and sources if I can, but I do that in the relevant threads - as opposed to in this one, it wouldn't make sense for me to be addressing Nibiru/Grays etc in this thread when the OP is about wikipedia. I'm not meaning to be argumentative, but if you're suggesting - attacking bad information, maybe re-read my OP with a less haughty attitude. This OP isn't an attack on anyone, it's trying to highlight the need for better research.

I think there are some people on ATS that are writing theses - I am.

reply to post by Red Cloak

I think the admin boards are probably protected - you need to log in to view them? I'm not sure on the ethics, but you could just copy/paste some choice parts maybe?

I don't think it would be an ATS issue.

Clearly I would not argue against a (accepted) truth because it's verified on wikipedia - I'm talking about a lot of the topics on here that are tenuously verifiable (at best) using wiki as the be all and end all of research. I'm especially thinking of OPs that go with titles involving words like FACT and TRUTH, that turn out to be little more than skim-reading of wiki pages.

If you read the entire thread (which isn't very long), you'll see I've said there are good articles on wikipedia.

I hope this doesn't feel like I'm ranting at you, but I do feel slightly attacked by the tone of your post - I may be misinterpreting it though. I have given you a star though because I think your intention is correct.

[edit on 13/5/1010 by jokei] to add reply.

[edit on 13/5/1010 by jokei]

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