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Help find the best alternative to Wikipedia - by testing them - An Experiment

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posted on Sep, 16 2011 @ 05:56 AM
It's no secret that Wikipedia suffers from much inaccurate information that is never fact checked. Many schools are now forbidding students to site Wikipedia as a source for their papers. There are lots of alternatives to Wikipedia that are in fact good but they lack the popular amount of content that would make them worth using. What I want to know is what is the best Wikipedia alternative that has the most content.

I propose we put them through the wringer and find out. I think the ATS community would be well suited for this task as we can think of odd, obscure or "off the norm" things to search for better than anyone else. This would give us a broad sampling of search terms that would indicate which online resources may have the most content.

I will post a few sites that have lists of Wikipedia Alternatives, between these, all or most online resources should be covered. From these pages pick anyone you like or pick one or two and start searching. Write down the ones you like the best, what you searched for and what you like about it. Together we can find the best Wikipedia alternatives.

I have spent a couple of hours doing this already and my results are not promising. I choose to search for two things that are dear to me, but not very popular in the mainstream, they are: Electronic Cigarettes and Electric Bikes. Of the resources I searched only one had both of these and that was Helium at

Where to find Wikipedia alternatives: - Top 8 online encyclopedias alternative to Wikipedia - Alternatives to Wikipedia, Some other web sites - Top 7 Alternatives to Wikipedia - 47 Alternatives to Wikipedia - 100 alternatives to wikipedia - When Wikipedia Won't Cut It: 25 Online Sources for Reliable, Researched Facts
edit on 16-9-2011 by JohnPhoenix because: addition

posted on Sep, 16 2011 @ 07:22 AM
reply to post by JohnPhoenix

What I want to know is what is the best Wikipedia alternative that has the most content.
Wikipedia relies on user generated content, that has helped make it the largest online encyclopedia in existence. If you want a perfectly reliable encyclopedia than try a real encyclopedia (aka a book).

Only naive teachers prohibit the use of Wikipedia. They should try thinking more like this.

posted on Sep, 16 2011 @ 08:21 AM
A study was done a few years ago by Nature, comparing various subjects between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica, both had similar amounts of error.

For its study, Nature chose articles from both sites in a wide range of topics and sent them to what it called "relevant" field experts for peer review. The experts then compared the competing articles--one from each site on a given topic--side by side, but were not told which article came from which site. Nature got back 42 usable reviews from its field of experts.

In the end, the journal found just eight serious errors, such as general misunderstandings of vital concepts, in the articles. Of those, four came from each site. They did, however, discover a series of factual errors, omissions or misleading statements. All told, Wikipedia had 162 such problems, while Britannica had 123.

That averages out to 2.92 mistakes per article for Britannica and 3.86 for Wikipedia.

"An expert-led investigation carried out by Nature--the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica's coverage of science," the journal wrote, "suggests that such high-profile examples (like the Seigenthaler and Curry situations) are the exception rather than the rule."

And to Wales, while Britannica came out looking a little bit more accurate than Wikipedia, the Nature study was validation of his service's fundamental structure.

Read more:


Personaly, I feel that a lot of people here have a bad opinion of wikipedia and I am not sure why. I find that such a big repository of knowledge, free of charge and mostly accurate is one of the best thing to happen to society since the invention of printing. To have all that knowledge, accesible through my cell phone is awesome. You still have to read criticaly and to check the sources, but I think that wikipedia is a great way to begin to learn about something.

posted on Sep, 16 2011 @ 08:54 AM
Wikipedia is pretty reliable. Check for yourself, where else if not at Wikipedia:
Reliability of Wikipedia

btw I love how the neutrality of this article is disputed. So much pun!

posted on Sep, 16 2011 @ 12:54 PM
While Wikipedia is not the ultimate source for research (no one site is) it has one monumental advantage over most others.... if you find an error you actually can become 'engaged' in the article and help correct it.

Don't bother even trying that with commercially run sites like Britannica...

I'll have to check out a few of the ones I have never seen before.. good thread!

posted on Sep, 16 2011 @ 01:01 PM
Thanks for the post, some good alternatives to consider. I've used wikipedia as a jumping off point because there are often times numerous references for the information listed here. I would say you shouldn't rely on any one source for information anyway.

posted on Sep, 16 2011 @ 01:10 PM
And to add to it, what ever you may have to say about the content of an article on Wikipedia you always have the options to follow the source links. That is a tremendous boon to researching. If a article doesn't have a source, that's when you get a little hesitant. But if it has a source, follow it! Problem solved.

posted on Sep, 16 2011 @ 04:34 PM
A few of the resources listed in those pages have like Wikipedia content that is created by users. They just don't have a lot of content because they are not as popular. But many of those will edit by using hard facts, not just siting sources for reference. The thing is someone with know how has to be the stop gap guy to say, this is not a fact even if the source seems reliable. Lots of Wikipedia sources do not have reliable hard facts. Many times something is considered a fact if it's a wildly held belief and sited by many reputable websites.. even though the fact is dead wrong.

Some like Scolarpedia shine in this respect because they only let experts edit content with provable facts. But Scolarpeedia can be more ridged than many people like because of this they don't have a lot of content. That's why I'm trying to determine the best Wikipedia alternative that has lots of content and is more strict on facts than Wikipedia. There has to be among all those resources a site that has both.

If you read the Wikipedia discussion pages, you will get an idea how things are done. There is no system in place to make sure only facts are posted ( even though the owner claims the staff of volunteers is there to do this, you will see how this fails reading the discussion pages) Generally, if all members of the discussion agree that such and such should be added.. it gets added even if it's not a provable fact. Many opinions often get sited as facts with reputable sources to back it up.

Still waiting for some folks to actually do the above experiment and post the results of their findings. That's why I made this post as an experiment, I knew I would get lots of opinions and I didn't want that. I wanted folks to help me do this research and post findings, not opinions.

If we could find the one or two best alternatives to Wikipedia, and have results to show for it, then we can help those grow more by adding content to them knowing they will be worth using.

posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:29 AM
reply to post by JohnPhoenix

That's why I'm trying to determine the best Wikipedia alternative that has lots of content and is more strict on facts than Wikipedia. There has to be among all those resources a site that has both.
Any encyclopedia which is very selective about who can add and edit information will always have much less content than more open encyclopedias. Even a real encyclopedia is not 100% correct, as shown by another poster, the difference in errors isn't actually very high. The problem is, a good encyclopedia is supposed to basically explain essentially everything, so you need an expert for each an every subject if you want 100% facts...but even then the professionals aren't always right. You need collaboration.

In my opinion Wikipedia is the best type of encyclopedia because it allows for maximum collaboration and openness. You don't need to be an expert to know something an expert might not know. Wikipedia is just one source, and anyone who relies on one source is a fool. If you find a mistake in what Wikipedia says, then why not fix it, and add to the quality of the free encyclopedia which you claim is flawed.

posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 03:09 AM

Originally posted by ChaoticOrder
If you find a mistake in what Wikipedia says, then why not fix it, and add to the quality of the free encyclopedia which you claim is flawed.

Because it doesn't always work that way. There are teams of people hired by professional organizations, large corporations who's purpose is to scan certain topics and and re-edit those topis in keeping with the company line. Wikipedia is used as a platform to push agendas and force many non truths or heavily biased data onto the public in belief that one day people will believe those things as truth from having been bombarded with the info for so long.

This happens all the time. It shows up after you edit many pages, your changes even though they may be factual and have reputable sources will get removed in favor of The Opinion they want you to believe. This shows up in the discussions of pages too if you read enough of them carefully on certain subjects.

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