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Wikipedia aint bad

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Wikipedia is bad, no discussion. Its info comes from unreliable people and it’s untrustworthy. Right? Well I don’t think so, and I say this because Wikipedia’s reputation has taken quite the beating, and I feel it isn’t deserved. Now it shouldn’t be a source on an assignment, but most of the time it’s pretty reliable. And here’s why.

Now, one of the most common criticisms of Wikipedia and its articles is the fact that any old troll can go onto a Wikipedia article and input wrong information to fool the average Joe. While this is a problem, what’s failed to mentioned most of the time is the fact that Wikipedia has system operators, also known as admins. Admins who can, according to Wikipedia itself, block and unblock certain accounts and IP addresses from editing, delete pages with fewer than five-thousand revisions, view and restore deleted pages, delete page revisions, provent pages from being edited by non-admins and more. This means any potential harm a person could cause on an article not protected would probably be changed back immediately. And not anyone can become an admin, the process to becoming one is an intensive process that includes a discussion about whether or not the candidate should be accepted that takes place for seven days. I’d say most of the admins are pretty qualified.

Another problem with this criticism is the fact that it’s one of Wikipedia’s greatest strengths, as well being a great weakness. The fact that any person can edit an article means that hundreds of qualified people can and will add or improve the information shown in the article. This means that most of the articles, or at least the most visited ones, are pretty well fleshed out.

If you don’t trust the information, try looking at the sources Wikipedia links. Any contentious, poorly sourced info and/or information with no sources cited is likely to be deleted by an admin. In fact, any material likely to be challenged by others is required by Wikipedia sourcing policy to have inline citations. Inline citations allow a reader to connect any piece of information to reliable sources to support it. This policy applies to ALL material on Wikipedia, no exceptions. It especially applies to contentious material about people, helping making sure that well known or historical individuals aren’t defamed just because they aren’t liked by someone. And if a topic doesn’t have reliable sources, Wikipedia policy requires there to be no article on the subject. These polices and some others help the reliability and accuracy of Wikipedia articles.

Now, I’m not saying Wikipedia is perfect. Wikipedia’s problems are legitimate. While I’m sure the editors and admins of Wikipedia do their best to raise the quality of the many articles they have, they can’t solve every bit of vandalism, errors, and wrong information on the articles that are open for editing. When any jerk can trash an article, there’s bound to be issues. Wikipedia isn’t a good source for academic writings or research or really anything you need in depth stuff for. But that’s not really what Wikipedia was made for in the first place. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; it’s whole purpose is to be a source somebody could quickly refer to for particular information, not to be an essay source. And really, this is where Wikipedia excels. So no, Wikipedia isn’t a good source to get all your knowledge on a subject from or to use as a main source on a project. But if you need an easy to navigate place to quickly go to for bits of info, Wikipedia is pretty alright.

 

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Wikipedia aint bad