12
Dec 11

10 Reasons Why Wikipedia Doesn’t Suck

Kudos to the Brain Host team for bravely taking up the challenge to write a counter post to my Wikipedia Sucks diatribe. Check out what they came up with. Then respond as to what you think of Wikipedia.

Some people claim that Wikipedia is a terrible source for information and that it should never be used in any academic paper. However, Wikipedia does have many ways in which it is a valuable source of information that should be used whenever looking something up. Here are 10 reasons why the site should be considered.

1. First-hand Sources
At the bottom of every article are the sources listed to gain the information needed to create a Wikipedia article. This is a great way to find sources that you can use to further your research and form opinions on topics. This also helps to ensure that the information contained in the Wikipedia article is accurate. (1)

2. Anyone Can Contribute
The best thing about Wikipedia is that anyone can contribute. As long as you cite sources, who says that only professionals can put information online? This allows users who might not otherwise be heard to have an authoritative voice online and ensures that most Wikipedia articles are well-rounded and worked on by a number of different contributors. (2)

3. Create A Page About Anything
You can create a page for anyone, and it can make you somewhat famous. If you found out that your co-worker had a page made, wouldn’t you want to hype that up? Using Wikipedia to create a page for your business, product, service, or website is a great (and free) way to get the word out and attract customers. And because Wikipedia has a strict editing process and requires all information to be cited, readers are able to feel confident that the information provided is accurate. (3)

4. A Handy Reference For Information
If you want to know about the history of Buffalo Bills football, you know there will be a section about that on Wikipedia. It is a good place to get quick, general knowledge information without having to do a Google search. You can find information on just about any topic on Wikipedia. If you notice a topic that you’re interested in is not represented, you can always start a page for that topic yourself.

5. Edit It As Things Change
As our knowledge changes, someone dies, or we can prove something is inaccurate, the page can be changed to reflect current information. It keeps the site accurate and up to date in a world where we want 100 percent up to date accuracy. Since anyone can edit an entry at any time, chances are that whatever entry you are looking at is as up to date as possible.

6. Wikipedia Stays Relevant
Thanks to constant updating, the information on a page stays relevant. A paper encyclopedia can become outdated and worthless quite quickly. That will never happen when you have constant updating and verification done all the time. You can browse Wikipedia with confidence, knowing that all of the information contained on the site is accurate and relevant. (4)

7. Articles Are Written Without Bias
The articles on Wikipedia are written in a strictly factual basis, meaning that you don’t need to read through political bias and editorials while doing research. This makes Wikipedia a great resource for your business, because if you can manage to get a page created for your business, readers will know that all of the information on that page is unbiased and honest. This will help them to trust you and feel confident in doing business with you. (5)

8. Wikipedia Entries Are Easy To Read
If you have a topic that you need to study real quick, you can get your information and go. You don’t need to be too technical, or have a PH.D in order to understand what is written. Because the entries on Wikipedia are written by all different people from all walks of life, the majority of the entries are easy to read and understand. You won’t find much technical language or jargon on the site, and where it does appear you can usually find a link to click on that will explain the term in question. (4)

9. Build Your Portfolio Through Wikipedia
Authors might have a hard time being published. Wikipedia is a site where you can get published and most likely get page views for it. It can start your career for you. Wikipedia is a great resource to use for this purpose because it is free to create an entry, the entries rank well in major search engines like Google, and be attached to a site like Wikipedia can lend a lot of credibility to your work.

10. Wikipedia Is Community Oriented
This means that not one idea is shoved down the throats of the readers. If someone thinks something is wrong, it goes to the community for discussion. This helps to ensure that all information is accurate an up to date, and also that there aren’t any annoying sales pitches thrown in. (6)

Thanks to Brain Host for this guest post about Wikipedia. If you’re not familiar with them, Brain Host is an industry-leading web hosting company that offers affordable shared hosting packages, unlimited disk space and bandwidth with 24/7 monitoring.  For more information about Brain Host, please visit http://www.brainhost.com.

References:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_sources

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About#Editing_Wikipedia_pages

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Policies_and_guidelines

5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:NPOV

6. http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/root/vumc.php?site=socialmediatoolkit&doc=29274


11
Oct 09

Wikipedia Sucks: Here are 10 Reasons Why

There are many reasons why Wikipedia represents a flawed model for publishing accurate information. These 10 reasons critique Wikipedia and will hopefully provide some impetus for improvement.

  1. The theory that everyone’s contributions to a topic are equally valuable sounds good, but is clearly nonsense.
  2. Wikipedia has no way of recognizing expert knowledge over inexpert knowledge. The members with most authority are the ones who have spent the most time working on Wikipedia – their “knowledge” is often just a combination of Google results and prejudice.
  3. Wikipedia gives people’s opinions undeserved authority by virtue of its search engine rankings and authoritative presentation and identity.
  4. Too many people (especially students) who use Wikipedia believe the articles will be reliable – and Wikipedia’s stance as an encyclopedia encourages this misguided belief.
  5. At the core of Wikipedia is the idea that bad articles will eventually be edited by the community until they become good (i.e. factual and well-written). In fact, they are likely to be edited until all but one member loses interest or gives up trying.
  6. “If you don’t like an entry, you can fix it yourself”(1). But I came here for information, not to provide it.
  7. “Wikipedia pages have become increasingly complex and Wikipedia doesn’t support a WYSIWYG editor.”(3) This and other technical aspects of Wikipedia effectively prevent many people with valuable knowledge from participating.
  8. The lack of any required standard of writing, error-checking and fact-checking means that many Wikipedia entries are poorly-written and contain factual inconsistencies.(1)(2)(4)
  9. Wikipedia articles only ever skim the surface. Which is fine – but they don’t ever indicate what might be below the surface either, leading people to believe that everything is as simple and uncontroversial as Wikipedia says it is. (2)
  10. Wikipedia entries are meant to be “notable” – but only Wikipedia’s (self-appointed) editors have to think so. Is Stroyent really important?

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References

1. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/18/wikipedia_quality_problem/page2.html
2. http://www.techcentralstation.com/111504A.html
3.http://www.calacanis.com/2007/02/20/technological-obscurification…
4.http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2005/10/the_amorality_o.php