snopes.com Post new topic  New Poll  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » SLC Central » Soapbox Derby » Is Wikipedia a reliable reference? (Page 0)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3   
Author Topic: Is Wikipedia a reliable reference?
Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ganzfeld     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I found the Nature study comparing Wikipedia to an encyclopedia interesting. (However, in the discussions, the results have been exaggerated in Wikipedia's favor -- the encyclopedia had far fewer mistakes by the ratio given, 3 on average vs. 4 on average, in my opinion. I have to agree with nearly all of the encyclopedia's rebuttal.)

But in discussing whether or not Wikipedia is an acceptable reference, the real question is: is any encyclopedia acceptable as a reference? If it's a post on the ULMB, or perhaps a short report, an encyclopedia makes a good reference but I would never use an encyclopedia as a reference for real research, not even for a term paper. Encyclopedias are supposed to be starting places for research, places to "get the big picture", not places where you get specific facts. That's my opinion.

As my colleague told me yesterday, "Books are no good as references!" Anyone can publish a book just as anyone can make a web page. The publisher's name may lend credibility but Wikipedia doesn't have that credibility yet. (They've still got a long way to go.)

Posts: 4922 | From: Kyoto, Japan | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
WittySquirrel
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for WittySquirrel   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
As someone who has spent quite a lot of time on Wikipedia doing research, tidying articles and just generally reading them out of interest, I do not recommend using Wikipedia as your only source of reference.

The less notes and refererance an article has, the less credibility it has. Though the only exceptions are articles which have attained Featured Article status, there's a star on the top right corner of the article. So I'd say it's safe to use those articles.

--------------------
My blog. (WARNING: May contain nuts)

Posts: 158 | From: Penang, Malaysia | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
A megabyte (abbreviated MB) is about 1 million bytes. For a precise definition of megabyte, please see " target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megabyte.[/quote]

Why bother with the link, it's just as easy to just write that it's 1048576 bytes, especially since the linked page is empty?

Or at least link to http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Megabyte , which gives a full explanation...

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 08 posted      Profile for Llewtrah   Author's Homepage   E-mail Llewtrah   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by callee:
I cannot believe that no one has yet given a link for that absolutely hilarious parady in the recent onion...

You mean this one? Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence; Founding Fathers, Patriots, Mr. T. Honored

quote:
"At 750 years, the U.S. is by far the world's oldest surviving democracy, and is certainly deserving of our recognition," Wales said. "According to our database, that's 212 years older than the Eiffel Tower, 347 years older than the earliest-known woolly-mammoth fossil, and a full 493 years older than the microwave oven."
quote:
"Little did such founding fathers as George Washington, George Jefferson, and ***ERIC IS A FAG*** know that their small, querulous republic would later become the most powerful and prosperous nation in history, the Unified States Of America."

"All our lives, we are taught about the achievements of Washington, Jefferson, and FAG, but we seldom consider the factors and conditions that led them to risk everything for a republican cause,"

quote:
The exhaustive entry also includes links to video clips of the First Thanksgiving, hosted by YouTube.
Even as a non-USAnian I find it darned funny.

I'm a Wikipedian. One discouragement I've had is that someone removed some of my content because it "plagiarised", wait for it, my own website (where I had licensed the appropriate content under the GFDL and even emailed them explicit permission to use it). When I get more research information, I like to update my site and the appropriate Wikipedia entries in tandem. Also people ask for cites (references) when inappropriate e.g. when documenting oral tradition or where it is original research (as some of my genealogy/genetics material is). It's also a pain when methodically researched material is edited and made incorrect by someone whose entire knowledge comes from an out-of-date 3 minute soundbite on Discovery Channel.

--------------------
Messybeast Cat Resource Archive
Llewtrah's Soapbox

Posts: 2040 | From: Chelmsford, Essex, England | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 08 posted      Profile for Llewtrah   Author's Homepage   E-mail Llewtrah   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WittySquirrel:
As someone who has spent quite a lot of time on Wikipedia doing research, tidying articles and just generally reading them out of interest, I do not recommend using Wikipedia as your only source of reference.

The less notes and refererance an article has, the less credibility it has. Though the only exceptions are articles which have attained Featured Article status, there's a star on the top right corner of the article. So I'd say it's safe to use those articles.

Except those articles might have been edited and rendered inaccurate since being featured? Or do they lose the star once edited after being a feature article?

--------------------
Messybeast Cat Resource Archive
Llewtrah's Soapbox

Posts: 2040 | From: Chelmsford, Essex, England | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Except those articles might have been edited and rendered inaccurate since being featured?
I would like to be able to link to a specific version of a wikipedia article. That way, people could edit as much as they want, but my link would still refer to the same article.

Not that I'm the right person to complain, my wikis can't do that either...

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
El Camino
We Three Blings


Icon 1 posted      Profile for El Camino   E-mail El Camino   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Well, they store all the old editions under history. Is it possible to link those in a permanent way, or are there no permanent links?
Posts: 1048 | From: Brunswick, Maine | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Dieter Meyer
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Dieter Meyer     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I think it's possible; this Dinosaur Comic strip features a link to this wiki page on (Irish) evil.

--------------------
"Soyons désinvoltes; n'ayons l'air de rien" - Noir Désir

Posts: 255 | From: Norvegr | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Joe Bentley
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Joe Bentley   Author's Homepage   E-mail Joe Bentley   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Wikipedia is... quirky to say the least. But I do think that we need to move away from this idea that information has to be handed down from some ivory tower to be reputible.

--------------------
"Existence has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long." - Rorschach, The Watchmen

Posts: 8929 | From: Norfolk, Virginia | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ganzfeld     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
Wikipedia is... quirky to say the least. But I do think that we need to move away from this idea that information has to be handed down from some ivory tower to be reputible.

I get what you're saying but what specific "ivory tower" are you talking about? Is the ivory tower possibly just a myth?
Posts: 4922 | From: Kyoto, Japan | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
FireSpook
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for FireSpook   E-mail FireSpook   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
quote:
Except those articles might have been edited and rendered inaccurate since being featured?
I would like to be able to link to a specific version of a wikipedia article. That way, people could edit as much as they want, but my link would still refer to the same article.

Not that I'm the right person to complain, my wikis can't do that either...

you can: by going to history you can read old articles and link to them by clicking the 'date'

--------------------
WARNING
The message above may have statements that only make sense in this user's mind.

Read at your own risk.

Posts: 667 | From: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
you can: by going to history you can read old articles and link to them by clicking the 'date'
Shit, then my wikis are left behind... [Smile]

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bug Muldoon
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Bug Muldoon   E-mail Bug Muldoon   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
Wikipedia is... quirky to say the least. But I do think that we need to move away from this idea that information has to be handed down from some ivory tower to be reputible.

What you call an "ivory tower", I call competent professionals. There's a reason why such a thing as laymen exists: is the difference between knowing what the hell you're talking about and not having a clue. Which of these would you trust to gave accurate information?

--------------------
All along the untrodden paths of the future, I can see the footprints of an unseen hand.

Posts: 6912 | From: Flanders | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
WittySquirrel
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for WittySquirrel   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Llewtrah:
quote:
Originally posted by WittySquirrel:
As someone who has spent quite a lot of time on Wikipedia doing research, tidying articles and just generally reading them out of interest, I do not recommend using Wikipedia as your only source of reference.

The less notes and refererance an article has, the less credibility it has. Though the only exceptions are articles which have attained Featured Article status, there's a star on the top right corner of the article. So I'd say it's safe to use those articles.

Except those articles might have been edited and rendered inaccurate since being featured? Or do they lose the star once edited after being a feature article?
If the article has turned into one big mess, definitely! The articles get demoted through the same way they were promoted, which is through consensus at Featured Article Review.

--------------------
My blog. (WARNING: May contain nuts)

Posts: 158 | From: Penang, Malaysia | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
terralioness
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for terralioness   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
Or at least link to http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Megabyte , which gives a full explanation...

The linked page on Wikipedia is empty because of the period at the end; I typed it as it is in the textbook, but since you can't click on paper, they didn't leave the space after the URL to make it a working link.

(And here I was debating whether to leave the space, and going for accuracy instead of functionality! Shoot! [Smile] )

--------------------
"I never liked Hemingway."
"I never liked you."

Posts: 543 | From: Brooklyn, NY | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Donovan
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Donovan   E-mail Donovan   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
One bad thing about 'Featured Articles' is that they are also a big target for vandals that day. If you are checking out one, it's a good idea to look back at the last few changes.

There are some days that I get bored and just go vandal quashing.

--------------------
Illius me paenitet, dux (Latin for fun and business)

"It's like trying to hawk pork chops at a kosher PETA banquet." - Esprise Me

Posts: 429 | From: Alabama | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
jimmy101
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for jimmy101   E-mail jimmy101   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
quote:
A megabyte (abbreviated MB) is about 1 million bytes. For a precise definition of megabyte, please see ]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megabyte.

Why bother with the link, it's just as easy to just write that it's 1048576 bytes, especially since the linked page is empty?

Or at least link to http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Megabyte , which gives a full explanation...

Ya, you would think the author would have just given the reason for why a computer-jargon MB is what it is. It took more typing to link to a, possibly rotted URL, explanation than the explanation itself.

BTW, In computerese,
1KB = 210 = 1024
1MB = 220 = 1,048,576
1GB = 230 = 1,073,741,824
Much easier to remember 220 then 1,048,576! And, it is much clearer why it is what it is. (No, a computer nerd didn't pull "1,073,741,824" out of his rear-end, it really has a logical explanation.)

Edited becuase I dropped a minor factor of 103 (which in computerese is not a kilo).

Posts: 629 | From: Greenwood, IN | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Donovan
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Donovan   E-mail Donovan   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Oh, BTW, this page has had some interesting edits. Check out the talk page.

--------------------
Illius me paenitet, dux (Latin for fun and business)

"It's like trying to hawk pork chops at a kosher PETA banquet." - Esprise Me

Posts: 429 | From: Alabama | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
FireSpook
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for FireSpook   E-mail FireSpook   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bug Muldoon:
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
Wikipedia is... quirky to say the least. But I do think that we need to move away from this idea that information has to be handed down from some ivory tower to be reputible.

What you call an "ivory tower", I call competent professionals. There's a reason why such a thing as laymen exists: is the difference between knowing what the hell you're talking about and not having a clue. Which of these would you trust to gave accurate information?
Ha! don't make me laugh. what makes you think the the people in EB are competent professionals in the fields of celluar Biology or physics?

I'd rather trust a Wikipedian with a PHD in Cell biology or physics then EB.

I remember once, reading a user page of a student going through university studing nuclear phyics.

To answer your question, I'd rather trust the sciencists, and the people, who make what the article is about, not people who tirelessly edit a book.

You can't assume that everyone that edits a wikipedia page isn't an expert on the subject, or not doing research

--------------------
WARNING
The message above may have statements that only make sense in this user's mind.

Read at your own risk.

Posts: 667 | From: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
faceless007
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for faceless007   E-mail faceless007   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
You can't assume that everyone that edits a wikipedia page isn't an expert on the subject, or not doing research
I absolutely can and do make that assumption, since there is no verification or qualification in the site to prove otherwise.
Posts: 940 | From: California | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Steve
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Steve     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm, Shogun:
quote:
Originally posted by Bug Muldoon:
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
Wikipedia is... quirky to say the least. But I do think that we need to move away from this idea that information has to be handed down from some ivory tower to be reputible.

What you call an "ivory tower", I call competent professionals. There's a reason why such a thing as laymen exists: is the difference between knowing what the hell you're talking about and not having a clue. Which of these would you trust to gave accurate information?
Ha! don't make me laugh. what makes you think the the people in EB are competent professionals in the fields of celluar Biology or physics?

I'd rather trust a Wikipedian with a PHD in Cell biology or physics then EB.

Sounds good to me, but I'm not sure how to tell if a Wikipedian has a PhD. or not. And what makes you think that Bug trusts EB? I don't see him mentioning it at all.
quote:


I remember once, reading a user page of a student going through university studing nuclear phyics.

To answer your question, I'd rather trust the sciencists, and the people, who make what the article is about, not people who tirelessly edit a book.

You can't assume that everyone that edits a wikipedia page isn't an expert on the subject, or not doing research

Of course not. But you can't assume that they are, either. That's the point.
Posts: 1699 | From: New York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


Icon 504 posted      Profile for Silas Sparkhammer   Author's Homepage   E-mail Silas Sparkhammer   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm, Shogun:
quote:
Originally posted by Bug Muldoon:
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
Wikipedia is... quirky to say the least. But I do think that we need to move away from this idea that information has to be handed down from some ivory tower to be reputible.

What you call an "ivory tower", I call competent professionals. There's a reason why such a thing as laymen exists: is the difference between knowing what the hell you're talking about and not having a clue. Which of these would you trust to gave accurate information?
Ha! don't make me laugh. what makes you think the the people in EB are competent professionals in the fields of celluar Biology or physics?


They're not; they're experts in explaining subjects for their readers.

quote:

I'd rather trust a Wikipedian with a PHD in Cell biology or physics then EB.



How do I know he's not a creationist, or a looney of some other variety? Hell, how do I know he's really a PhD in Biology? On the internet, everyone's credentials are suspect.

(I am the Venga Avest of Corbo!)

quote:

You can't assume that everyone that edits a wikipedia page isn't an expert on the subject, or not doing research

You shouldn't assume they are, either. To my way of thinking, that error is far more dangerous than its reverse. On the Internet, everyone is a liar until proven otherwise.

Wikipedia is useful for contemporary popular culture, and vaguely helpful for indisputed matters of fact (when did Charlemagne live?) It is useless for anything involving even the slightest element of controversy.

Silas

Posts: 16801 | From: San Diego, CA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
FireSpook
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for FireSpook   E-mail FireSpook   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve:
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm, Shogun:
quote:
Originally posted by Bug Muldoon:
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Bentley:
Wikipedia is... quirky to say the least. But I do think that we need to move away from this idea that information has to be handed down from some ivory tower to be reputible.

What you call an "ivory tower", I call competent professionals. There's a reason why such a thing as laymen exists: is the difference between knowing what the hell you're talking about and not having a clue. Which of these would you trust to gave accurate information?
Ha! don't make me laugh. what makes you think the the people in EB are competent professionals in the fields of celluar Biology or physics?

I'd rather trust a Wikipedian with a PHD in Cell biology or physics then EB.

Sounds good to me, but I'm not sure how to tell if a Wikipedian has a PhD. or not. And what makes you think that Bug trusts EB? I don't see him mentioning it at all.
that's what he is, however implying, that wikipedians are laypeople, as apposed to EB or other 'ivory towers' who are 'experts'

some wikipedians have bios on their user pages, they may put that information there.

quote:


You can't assume that everyone that edits a wikipedia page isn't an expert on the subject, or not doing research

Of course not. But you can't assume that they are, either. That's the point. [/QUOTE]
So? Even if you're not a nuclear physics PHD holder, that doesn't mean you can't research it at a local libery, etc.

I mean, that's what snopers do all the time.

--------------------
WARNING
The message above may have statements that only make sense in this user's mind.

Read at your own risk.

Posts: 667 | From: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Steve
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Steve     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm, Shogun:
that's what he is, however implying, that wikipedians are laypeople, as apposed to EB or other 'ivory towers' who are 'experts'

some wikipedians have bios on their user pages, they may put that information there.

Sure. Some pages on wikipedia are, no doubt, well done. But how many people who browse on it check out the bios of every writer? I also don't get what you mean by putting experts in quotes above. Do you mean that the educated people at EB (which, I have to point out again, Bug never mentioned) aren't necessarily experts? Fine, but then I'm not sure why the fact that some wikipedians have their PhD. is a sign that they know what they're talking about.

quote:



So? Even if you're not a nuclear physics PHD holder, that doesn't mean you can't research it at a local libery, etc.

I mean, that's what snopers do all the time.

Er, ok. I mean, the average person can go to the library and learn about physics. But he's not going to check out a few books and become Oppenheimer.

As you point out, we snopesters talk about a lot of subjects on which we aren't experts. And we make a lot of mistakes. I think there might be a correlation there.

Posts: 1699 | From: New York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Steve
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Steve     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 

Posts: 1699 | From: New York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
FireSpook
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for FireSpook   E-mail FireSpook   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve:
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm, Shogun:
[qb]that's what he is, however implying, that wikipedians are laypeople, as apposed to EB or other 'ivory towers' who are 'experts'

some wikipedians have bios on their user pages, they may put that information there.

Sure. Some pages on wikipedia are, no doubt, well done. But how many people who browse on it check out the bios of every writer? I also don't get what you mean by putting experts in quotes above. Do you mean that the educated people at EB (which, I have to point out again, Bug never mentioned) aren't necessarily experts? Fine, but then I'm not sure why the fact that some wikipedians have their PhD. is a sign that they know what they're talking about.
I can't see the people in EB having PhDs in every field of science, and subfield. a PhD, in my mind, shows that you understand the ideas very well, and can discuss them.


quote:

Er, ok. I mean, the average person can go to the library and learn about physics. But he's not going to check out a few books and become Oppenheimer.

I never said it would, but if they go and write an article on rat behavour (for example) after reading a few books, and states the sources, then the article, is going to be more correct already, then, a day later, someone else comes in with more books, adds, subtracts, and reorganizes the article to include more information, then it is even more correct. over time this builds up into a very good article.

Sometimes, yes, the article isn't correct, but nothing truelly is. IF you see something you think is wrong, ask! that's why there's a talk page.

--------------------
WARNING
The message above may have statements that only make sense in this user's mind.

Read at your own risk.

Posts: 667 | From: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Steve
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Steve     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm, Shogun:
I can't see the people in EB having PhDs in every field of science, and subfield. a PhD, in my mind, shows that you understand the ideas very well, and can discuss them.

OK. Let's say EB sucks. How does this back up your point that wikipedia is reliable?


quote:
I never said it would, but if they go and write an article on rat behavour (for example) after reading a few books, and states the sources, then the article, is going to be more correct already, then, a day later, someone else comes in with more books, adds, subtracts, and reorganizes the article to include more information, then it is even more correct. over time this builds up into a very good article.

Sometimes, yes, the article isn't correct, but nothing truelly is. IF you see something you think is wrong, ask! that's why there's a talk page.

As you point out, this often leads to a good article, and sometimes the article has flaws. I agree. But you also point out that the information in that article came from books. Which is, after all, the "ivory tower" that was before dismissed as a source of information.
Posts: 1699 | From: New York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
FireSpook
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for FireSpook   E-mail FireSpook   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve:
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm, Shogun:
I can't see the people in EB having PhDs in every field of science, and subfield. a PhD, in my mind, shows that you understand the ideas very well, and can discuss them.

OK. Let's say EB sucks. How does this back up your point that wikipedia is reliable?
I'm not saying that EB sucks, I'm just pointing out that, they're not experts like Bug suggests. but they have experts helping them. Wikipedia hs experts writing the article, and dozens of others that help with grammer and spelling and sentiences, I'm not saying wikipedia is better then EB, but I am tired of dismissioning it just because it's made by 'laymen'

quote:
quote:
I never said it would, but if they go and write an article on rat behavour (for example) after reading a few books, and states the sources, then the article, is going to be more correct already, then, a day later, someone else comes in with more books, adds, subtracts, and reorganizes the article to include more information, then it is even more correct. over time this builds up into a very good article.

Sometimes, yes, the article isn't correct, but nothing truelly is. IF you see something you think is wrong, ask! that's why there's a talk page.

As you point out, this often leads to a good article, and sometimes the article has flaws. I agree. But you also point out that the information in that article came from books. Which is, after all, the "ivory tower" that was before dismissed as a source of information.

[/QUOTE]

But EB also has it's flaws, nothing is ever perfect.

I'm not dismissing the irovy tower, but I'm just pointing out that wikipedia shouldn't be dismissed just because it ISN'T an irovy tower.

--------------------
WARNING
The message above may have statements that only make sense in this user's mind.

Read at your own risk.

Posts: 667 | From: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Steve
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Steve     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm, Shogun:
I'm not saying that EB sucks, I'm just pointing out that, they're not experts like Bug suggests.

Oy.

Where was this suggested? It's frustrating to point out for the third time that Bug never said this.but they have experts helping them.
quote:

Wikipedia hs experts writing the article, and dozens of others that help with grammer and spelling and sentiences, I'm not saying wikipedia is better then EB, but I am tired of dismissioning it just because it's made by 'laymen'

Sometimes experts write wikipedia articles, sometimes they don't. That's the point that you don't respond to. Some articles are well done, some are sloppy. You're concentraitng on the well-made articles, forgetting that if we are to discuss the reliability of wikipedia, we have to take into account the articles that are poorly written.

quote:

But EB also has it's flaws, nothing is ever perfect.

Oy again.
quote:

I'm not dismissing the irovy tower, but I'm just pointing out that wikipedia shouldn't be dismissed just because it ISN'T an irovy tower.

OK. But it's less reliable than other sources. That's pretty much the whole point. I'm not sure if you agree with that or not.
Posts: 1699 | From: New York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
FireSpook
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for FireSpook   E-mail FireSpook   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve:
Oy.

Where was this suggested? It's frustrating to point out for the third time that Bug never said this.but they have experts helping them.

Bug implied, that, he'd rather trust a Ivory tower type source, rather then a non-ivory tower source, like wikipedia. The Ivory tower of course repersenting a company like EB.


quote:
quote:

Wikipedia hs experts writing the article, and dozens of others that help with grammer and spelling and sentiences, I'm not saying wikipedia is better then EB, but I am tired of dismissioning it just because it's made by 'laymen'

Sometimes experts write wikipedia articles, sometimes they don't. That's the point that you don't respond to. Some articles are well done, some are sloppy. You're concentraitng on the well-made articles, forgetting that if we are to discuss the reliability of wikipedia, we have to take into account the articles that are poorly written.
okay then, sloppy articles, could you find an example of one?

quote:
quote:

But EB also has it's flaws, nothing is ever perfect.

Oy again.
quote:

I'm not dismissing the irovy tower, but I'm just pointing out that wikipedia shouldn't be dismissed just because it ISN'T an irovy tower.

OK. But it's less reliable than other sources. That's pretty much the whole point. I'm not sure if you agree with that or not.

is wikipedia reliable? yes, but not one hundred percent as a publised book because it's always changing. you can't expect the article to remain static.

--------------------
WARNING
The message above may have statements that only make sense in this user's mind.

Read at your own risk.

Posts: 667 | From: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bug Muldoon
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Bug Muldoon   E-mail Bug Muldoon   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Bug implied, that, he'd rather trust a Ivory tower type source, rather then a non-ivory tower source, like wikipedia. The Ivory tower of course repersenting a company like EB.
Bug said that an "ivory tower" type source - that is, anyone who publishes works based on peer-reviewed study - is by design infinitely more reliable than a webpage which can be edited by anyone, at any time, without structured oversight.

I use Wikipedia. I use it if I need to quickly look up a name, or an old TV show, or if I need a starting point to find more information. I will never, ever take a Wikipedia entry at face value, because for every article that was written by a competent professional there's a dozen made by well-meaning enthusiasts that get their facts mixed up, or conspiracy nuts peddling their pet theories, or worse. Is any random Wikipedia page inaccurate? No; many are well-researched articles that wouldn't look out of place in a textbook. But unless I can get a guarantee that the information is correct, I cannot rely on it.

The EB is accountable and involatile; wiki, by design, is not. It has it's place and it's use, but it is not, by far, on the same level as an actual, respected encyclopedia.

As for "ivory towers" in general - the term is appaling. I can understand why people can get frustrated when they feel excluded from discussions that go above their head, but I don't see the need to attack professionals for it.

--------------------
All along the untrodden paths of the future, I can see the footprints of an unseen hand.

Posts: 6912 | From: Flanders | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Vik61
Miso Horny


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vik61     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I think it's a very reliable source. If an article has a problem, the problems are usually spelled out on the page. If you want to see the process of any given article, read the "discussion" page--they can become heated or even more informative than the article itself many times.

I think a lot of the posters in this forum would be excellent contributors to wikipedia.

After having contributed to wikipedia, I can only say, it's a brilliant undertaking.

If you know something about a megabyte, go add to the page or start up a new page!!!

WARNING: contributing to wikipedia is addictive as all get-out.

Posts: 28 | From: El Paso, TX | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
El Camino
We Three Blings


Icon 1 posted      Profile for El Camino   E-mail El Camino   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Once again, both wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica have mistakes. I wouldn't really trust either as a sole citation in a serious paper. And especially for EB, the information contained in those articles is so widely known it probably does not have to even be cited.

But if you want reliability, if you want a real "ivory tower" of experts, look to the peer-reviewed literature. Like Nature, for example, an ivory tower and reliable source of information if I ever saw one. (Of course nothing's perfect, but it's as good as it gets).

So, wikipedia is a reliable source for amusement, personal knowledge, and the like. It is not a good source for a paper, just as EB isn't either.

Posts: 1048 | From: Brunswick, Maine | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
FireSpook
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for FireSpook   E-mail FireSpook   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by El Camino:
Once again, both wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica have mistakes. I wouldn't really trust either as a sole citation in a serious paper. And especially for EB, the information contained in those articles is so widely known it probably does not have to even be cited.

But if you want reliability, if you want a real "ivory tower" of experts, look to the peer-reviewed literature. Like Nature, for example, an ivory tower and reliable source of information if I ever saw one. (Of course nothing's perfect, but it's as good as it gets).

So, wikipedia is a reliable source for amusement, personal knowledge, and the like. It is not a good source for a paper, just as EB isn't either.

you mean the same nature that opened a wiki for peer-review [Wink] ? (looking for the cite)

--------------------
WARNING
The message above may have statements that only make sense in this user's mind.

Read at your own risk.

Posts: 667 | From: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jonny T
Little Sales Drummer Boy


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jonny T   Author's Homepage   E-mail Jonny T   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I've never had any real problems with Wikipedia in terms of accuracy or reliability. While we're not allowed to use it as a reference at university, most articles include references which - with a look through to ensure they contain the relevant info - do just as well and keep examiners happy.

I have used it in pretty much equal measure for politics and computing. With the latter things are fairly straightforward - if you're claiming C is derived from C++ rather than vice versa someone's gonna pick up on it pretty quick.

With politics things are a little more fraught but even then, the problems I've encountered have largely been ones of perspective and bias rather than actual misinformation. For example, this article initially contained large amounts of commentary which was deliberately intended to provoke an emotional response while adding no factual information. Without too much hassle the situation was resolved.

Where I find wikipedia useful is in its ability to decentralise our means of obtaining information. If I am competent enough in C to teach a friend to program in it, why am I not competent enough to write an article on it on the internet - particularly if any errors I make are subject to the scrutiny of anyone and everyone, including people who may have more knowledge than I and will therefore be able to correct any mistakes I may make.

Obviously, anything should be taken with a pinch of salt, as the system is open to abuse. But the dismissal some give to Wikipedia due to its open nature is IMO inaccurate.

- Jonathan

--------------------
Hello, I love you - won't you tell me your name?
Hello! I'm good for nothing - will you love me just the same?

Greetings from the dark side...

Posts: 2731 | From: York/Reading, England | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
  This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  New Poll  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2