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

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16 comments

  1. It’s easy to sneer at Wikipedia, but let’s face it – it’s invaluable!
    Reputation Management Guy recently blogged – How to Avoid the Google Sandbox

  2. Honestly, I find Wikipedia very useful to me. But there are times that the information doesn’t seem reliable.

  3. Hi, you make some convincing points why Wikipedia is a good resource but my experience with it has been that the information is very questionable. I looked up my home town and there were so many errors that it wasn’t worth anything.

  4. “Articles Are Written Without Bias”

    That’s the most ridiculous thing I have read in quite some time. The more controversial the topic, the more bias in the article – usually left-leaning. The entries about comic book characters and TV shows are more reliable and less biased than many entries about real-world topics.

  5. “First hand sources” are accepted IF YOU’RE LUCKY. I can’t tell you how many times that didn’t hold up in instances where a longer time, self-assuming “veteran” of Wikipedia decides the source isn’t good enough, even though it is.

    They often remove entire chunks of edits as “PoV edits”, even though you could edit in complete common sense and blatant observation, they say it’s PoV. I don’t mean something like “it sucks”, I mean something like “it’s the same piece used in *this*”, they still act like Nazis and demand some kind of papers for the obvious connections. It’s like … “man, just LOOK, that part is clearly connected with this part, visibly. Here’s a link.” and all it takes is one guy to be like “you need a source saying it outright! Oh yes, and *this* and *this* website isn’t any good either, because I say so”.

    Entire articles of reputable topics are often approved, then soon removed, because the policy allows just one loser to come along and say “well I never heard of this, so it must not count!”.

    Entire votes are held among Wikipedians at times to take down a page on a topic they are not familiar with, as one guy can propagate that the page didn’t meet approval screening in the first place even IF IT DID. All his goon buddies will follow suit and believe him without exploration of the sources and have the page removed in some kind of microcosm of a democratic vote, albeit provably misinformed.

    TRUST ME, I’ve seen this happen, mostly for pages on obscure musical acts or independent artwork with a recorded subculture following, that simply wasn’t familiar to the Wikipedians. It’s a broken site, period.

  6. Number 5 and 6 is such a power. How many times do you search for some sort of information and you think you have found something, just to realise that the information is more than 2 years old and might not be at all correct or current.
    And now you compare that to how often that happen with the information you read on Wikipedia. Never..
    Yes yes, I know you are kind of not allowed to take wiki info as academic information whatever, but never ever have I seen outdated information there. Someone will updated it, and that is such a power. It gets updated by the readers. People that are actually interested.

    Good post!

  7. Like Drew says, it’s a geek fiefdom. If one person who has been an ‘editor’ for a longer time wants your changes or article out for POV, it’s done. Regardless

  8. I’m a freelance writer and wikipedia is one of the very first places I check. Though you really must find some supporting evidence elsewhere, it is always a good place to start. As for reliability, the fact that anyone can create some page really does put it on shaky ground. What would stop me from creating a page totally against some person I don’t like and putting it on wiki? Feelings, personal opinion and preference could easily get in the way of fair thinking.

  9. Wikipedia is a good source of information. I use it a lot specially when I have a homework. And it very accessible, too.

  10. All of this articles premises rely on one very weak link: You are trusting that people that edit Wikipedia are being unbiased, educated and good intentioned. It is like saying you can leave your door unlocked because there are laws against robbery and most people are good.

    The reality is very different. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone and that includes people with agendas, paid editors, trolls, spammers and people with very poor writing skills.

    Editors use sources but only the ones that support their point of view. Sure you can edit an article with information that contradicts the bias. But then that said editor and his friends will erase your information and flag it as PoV or Vandalism. \

    Sure you can take it up to the moderators and your information will be restored but why bother; In a few weeks another biased editor will again erase your information and you have to fight it all over again.

    There is a strong reason why Courts, employers, and Universities do not consider Wikipedia a reliable or acceptable source.

  11. You suck, Wikipedia rulez!!!

  12. I think Wikipedia is one of the better sites at the web. I use it very often to find information around items. When watching TV is very handy to type the name of the movie star and find more info at Wikipedia. It’s the first site which a gave a free donation to keep up the good work.

  13. Stephen McCloud

    “First-hand Sources”? Just links to other Internet sites that are inaccurate. Wiki enties based on real sources are not accepted. The Interenet validates itself? Oh, please.

  14. ““Articles Are Written Without Bias”

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

  15. All information is revised previously and have to be accepted by a Crow of Idiots and freaking nerds (according to their own judgments and beliefs). WP Is a totalitarian corporation with an strict control of opinions and nothing more.
    The scientific content is poor. Their manipulated propaganda works in favor of the entity and the freedom of opinion is nothing less than the medieval.
    Check the British encyclopedia and avoid any other Wiky-nism
    Only free minds are candles in the darkness.

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