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Wikipedia as a source

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posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 12:58 AM
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We all know that Wikipedia entries can be changed by anyone with an account on Wikipedia's site. So, why is it such a common source? It seems that something that had pages deliberately changed by Stephen Colbert fans is not a great source and yet time and time again it pops up.

I think it's intellectually lazy to use Wiki. Every time you Google something in the first handful of links there is it's Wiki entry. So, someone copies the link and posts it in a reply and they base an argument off of it or try to one up someone as fast as possible. I have used Wiki before, but was extremely selective on what I used it for. Now, I'm not going to use it at all if possible.

What do all of you readers think of Wiki as a source?
edit on 1/23/2011 by PhantomLimb because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 12:59 AM
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reply to post by PhantomLimb
 


I think that Wiki is a great overview source. I often use it just to establish a basic understanding of what I am writing about.

But I do agree, for highly controversial or technical issues, Wiki is not always on the ball.

~Heff



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 01:03 AM
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Originally posted by Hefficide
reply to post by PhantomLimb
 


I think that Wiki is a great overview source. I often use it just to establish a basic understanding of what I am writing about.

But I do agree, for highly controversial or technical issues, Wiki is not always on the ball.

~Heff


I totally agree with you on that.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 01:06 AM
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As Hefficide said, it makes for a good overview of information, if the information is questionable you can often find the sources of that information linked by wikipedia.

I often chase those sources back before deciding if the information is good enough or not.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 01:06 AM
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Originally posted by PhantomLimb
We all know that Wikipedia entries can be changed by anyone with an account on Wikipedia's site. So, why is it such a common source? It seems that something that had pages deliberately changed by Stephen Colbert fans is not a great source and yet time and time again it pops up.

I think it's intellectually lazy to use Wiki. Every time you Google something in the first handful of links there is it's Wiki entry. So, someone copies the link and posts it in a reply and they base an argument off of it or try to one up someone as fast as possible. I have used Wiki before, but was extremely selective on what I used it for. Now, I'm not going to use it at all if possible.

What do all of you readers think of Wiki as a source?
edit on 1/23/2011 by PhantomLimb because: (no reason given)


Yes, but not for all types of information.
If I want to catch up on my comic books or read up information about my favorite video game developers will I go to Wikipedia. If I want to learn a little bit more about a film and have all aggregated reviews given to me will I go to wikipedia.

If you want to truly educate yourself then you are better off smashing your head in with a baseball bat. Wikipedia will have the same effect on your brain anyway and at least you won't need to suffer half a page worth of bad spelling and tasteless played out internet memes.


edit on 23-1-2011 by Segador because: (no reason given)

edit on 23-1-2011 by Segador because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 01:06 AM
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I'll agree to a point. Wikipedia is also heavily monitored for factual inaccuracies which are investigated by researchers. I use it to formulate a base for writing or research, usually taking citations off the site to check whether the source is credible. As long as I've got an idea what I am looking for I usually use google and pick my way through the junk.

The system Wikipedia uses for hierarchical sourcing proves beneficial the majority of the time. External article linking for instance and using citations.

I'm still a fan but it is by no means my first choice for research and investigation.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 01:10 AM
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Wikipedia can obviously be a valuable source of information on a wide variety of topics.

Unfortunately, some people believe a long list of controversial or contentious topics are controlled by a cabal and persons posting under what are called sockpuppets; i.e. the same person posting under many user names and pretending to be different people. This may include a number of administrators. The people who really know what they're doing in this respect would use private proxies that they set-up in different states to show a variety of IP's and user agents. This allows persons with an obsession with certain subject matter (or who may be being paid) to exert heavy influence over the content of such subject matter.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 01:12 AM
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So how do you explain the factual accuracies in most Wikipedia articles when compared to say.. a common Encyclopedia?



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 01:43 AM
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Just because Colbert can send his fans in to decimate the credibility of a legitimate website trying to foster better info sharing doesn't mean it's a bad source. It just means Colbert is a douche for putting people up to this.

I happen to think a lot of the info there is accurate. I used it recently to help describe Pakistani gun culture. I have studied Middle Eastern gun culture and found the article very accurate barring one instance where an opinion piece was used to tie Pakistani gun culture to extremism. A tie that is simply not there in reality.
edit on 23-1-2011 by projectvxn because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 01:46 AM
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reply to post by PhantomLimb
 


I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one, most everything on Wikipedia is Sourced from other publications anyways, so most everything on there is legit, if sourced properly.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 02:13 AM
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I agree with Heff. It's good for base facts about things that there really isn't that much debate or controversy about. Where it's "close enough." For example, I just used a link to a list of coup d'etats throughout history by country.Even if it's off by a bit, it's still okay for the fundamentals. I don't mind it to round out, fill in, or jumpstart a discussion.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 02:17 AM
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reply to post by PhantomLimb
 


I have nothing but great things to say about wikipedia. Despite any perceived flaws it is a great tool and I have learned A LOT from it.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 02:41 AM
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I usually find the content of the discussion I want to illuminate for the sake of the thread, then I "Copy" "Quote" and am forced to source my resource link, not that that is a bad thing or troublesome, just that the Wiki is a good and easy process to access what one is looking for.
After all, if I had too explain it myself, we all would not like my posts!!!



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 02:29 PM
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reply to post by PhantomLimb
 


It depends on what you are using it for. The wiki community is pretty hardcore about edits done to pages. They try not to let non sense go down. You only really have to be concerned about misinformation on wiki articles about powerful people that are alive, corporations, and likely some government info.

I think it's ok to use as a source, just be prepared to go beyond that.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 02:36 PM
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Wiki is good a for a quick glance and rundown of a topic,event etc Of course when it comes to in depth, accurate information other sources are much more suited, it just depends in what context you are using it imo. But it is definitely a good starting point in which to then expand regarding any research you are doing that may be new to you.
edit on 23-1-2011 by Solomons because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 04:04 PM
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I agree with most others that it's at least a good starting point. I also know that my daughter is not allowed to use it for research on school papers and projects. I think this is good for students because it forces them to verify their information from more than just one source. I use Wiki quit often but you can't take everything in it as the absolute truth, I've found inconsistencies and dis info occasionally.
edit on 23-1-2011 by mtnshredder because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 04:26 PM
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Most info that one would use wiki for are sourced as well.
Alot of people have an aversion to wikipedia, and understandable, but I have only seen a few times through the years werw wiki has been that far from the truth (barring the instances of staright out vandalism)

With that being said, I usually find the wiki entries first, then back track the sourced material.
It just takes an extra question of reliability of the source out of the question that way.

But I have no problem with wiki in most cases.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 04:26 PM
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I personally think wiki is a good starting point for just about anything. It's just not a stopping point. Nevertheless, there are others that feel even stronger than you do about it.

Note that this is an old article. Credibility Of Wikipedia Takes a Dive After Wired Exposé


The credibility of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia has taken another dive after a newly developed software program exposed how the CIA, corporations like Diebold and others routinely edit entries to bury criticism and manipulate the truth. In one of our previous investigations, we revealed how a group of trolls were engaged in a concerted campaign to erase the 9/11 truth movement, along with a host of other controversial subjects, out of cyber existence by voting to delete pages about subjects and individuals that obviously warrant a page on Wikipedia. Examples we cited included such manifestly provable "conspiracy theories" as "List of Republican sex scandals," "People questioning the 9/11 Commission Report" and "Movement to impeach George W. Bush". Trolls were even allowed to delete the Wiki page for Dylan Avery, who has appeared on Fox News, CNN and in hundreds of newspaper reports. Avery is the producer of the most watched documentary film in Internet history, he clearly merits a biography page on an online encyclopedia, but Wikipedia had no qualms in letting Morton Devonshire and other trolls deep six the entry.


Not saying I agree or disagree with the article, I just found it to be an interesting read.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 04:56 PM
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Sorry folks, I wasn't trying to shut down the thread....leaves quietly... carry on.



posted on Jan, 23 2011 @ 05:01 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


From your source...


The Wikipedia Scanner (wikiscanner.virgil.gr...) also allows users to type in an IP range and find out which organizations are editing what pages on Wikipedia.

"The result: A database of 5.3 million edits, performed by 2.6 million organizations or individuals ranging from the CIA to Microsoft to Congressional offices, now linked to the edits they or someone at their organization's net address has made. Some of this appears to be transparently self-interested, either adding positive, press release-like material to entries, or deleting whole swaths of critical material," concludes the Wired report.


All this states, for certain, is that Wiki can be edited by an expansive number of people, some of whom may or may not work at Langley, Virginia. This does not prove CIA manipulation.

Wiki is a self righting mechanism for the most part. If I logged in now and changed Abraham Lincolns date of death to 1/23/2011, this factual inaccuracy might remain there for a minute, or a day. But it would be caught and changed back to the correct date.

Manipulating a collective creation is very difficult.

~Heff




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