Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wikipedia - Stop the Stress and Help Clean the Mess

"Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade?"

This article talks about the good and the bad of the wonder that is Wikipedia. Scholars have largely been against even the thought that Wikipedia might be a creditable source of information. They site the simple fact that anyone is able to edit anything at anytime on the website. But there are a few that recognize the efforts taken by the site’s administrators to keep it as factual as possible. When compared to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, it is very similar in its accuracy. It is pointed out that the highest trafficked areas of the website are the cleanest and most accuracte.

The problem with Wikipedia is not that is contains a lot of false information that is available to the masses; but instead, there are few cases of slight misinformation or disinformation that have a big affect. For instance, a journalist called Mr. Seigenthaler realized that Wikipedia claimed him to have been involved with the Kennedy assassinations. It was picked up by other websites and it greatly hurt his reputation.


Wikipedia is amazingly convenient but should not be used as or considered scholarly. Yes, anyone can edit anything and any given time. But when you need to look up something for personal knowledge or to back up a casual argument or whatever, it is a great tool. Of course, students should not reference the site and people should not use information on it in a professional manner. That doesn’t mean Wikipedia does not serve the public a great service and is very helpful.

It is so unpopular by scholars and professionals because it is so popular by students and the younger generations. Instead of resisting change, professors should stopping stressing about it and start helping clean up the information mess. They should work with Wikipedia and make their students aware of its pros and cons.
“Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade?" by Brock Read - Chronicle of Higher Education 10/27/2006


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