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?

Publish this article on your blog with a followed link to http://www.smoblogger.com/.

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

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90 comments

  1. Wikipedia will continue to suck as long as its self righteous a-hole editors refuse to allow anyone except their own little band of no life troglodytes control the content.

    I tried to add a 3 sentence addition to an article, backed up by two legit sources (The AP and JAMA) and within 5 minutes, some self appointed “guardian” of that page decided it was wrong. Not only did he remove it, he threatened me in the edit’s comments and on my talk page. He said that I am not allowed to add something to the page until it has been approved by “consensus” and he was in charge of it.

    I didn’t care what would happen and told him to go “F” himself which of course got the account banned. That’s okay, I have about 25 more I can use at anytime.

    • Yes, Wiki is infested with many self promoting “editors” and “contributors” trolling from page to page “monitoring” contributions adding nothing but roll back changes if they don’t comply to strict Wiki posting rules WP:XXXXX (Such as formating, bold face sections title, …etc bullshit) – worst they override contributions from domain experts on pages/domain where they know nothing about, in name of protecting Wiki.
      Such self promoting editors are evident by numerous but extremely shallow edits across many different domains/subject matters. And very often they will profess their love for this “Open” (But Highly censored) on their own userpage.

    • Sounds exactly like my experience with Wikipedia. Make a valid contribution and some self-professed “editor” who is either unemployed and/or has no purpose in life other than to stake out his chosen pages will quickly edit out any changes or additions. These “editors” typically live on Wikipedia, proudly display their silly Wiki awards, and obviously have no life whatsoever. Wikipedia gives these egotistical morons a platform to compensate for their lack of ability and power in the real world.

    • Hold on. What he did was actually against wikipedia policy, per WP:OWN. You could have reported him.

  2. this is as biased a blog as any bad Wiki article. it’s nothing more than “me too” and groupthink. nothing constructive and a lot of people seem to be keen on letting strangers know that they stopped using Wiki. what a great achievement, I bow to you, sirs.
    it’s basically like writing an article on the fact that the combustion engine is far from perfect and concluding that it deserves to be loathed and banned.

    • No, not really. Wikipedia would be the equivalent of some new, crappier, less efficient, prone-to-breakdown, designed-and-built-by-non-engineers internal combustion engine. Those who insist the one designed and built by engineers is superior are shouted down. “I don’t have a piece of paper that says I’m an engineer, but hey, my contributions to this project are as valid as the next unqualified man’s!”

  3. Yes Wikipedia Sucks and the so called righteous administrator is d*mn rude, refers to the idiotic WP-BLA BLA rules which in return a lot of article were not touched just because they like it or as they say notable article bull. Here’s another one why Wikipedia Sucks. http://bestwikiever.wikidot.com/wikipedia-sucks

  4. Sorry but I am jus bloody mad with Wikipedia

  5. yeah i tried to type there and back again on wikipedia for the movie but it take me back to the film hobbit series instad whats up with that its april 9 for crying out loud.

  6. I’ve never been so frustrated with a website as with the most user-unfriendly Wikipedia site. Instead of a simple question/answer tutorial to help the novice, one gets threats about violations based on the dumbest rules ever encountered, receives messages from strangers that can’t be answered via a simple tweet or e-mail, or is referred to hundreds of Wiki pages, one more confusing than the other. What a waste of time! I’ve been problem-solving/fixing/installing computers and software, and building websites for 25 years, but the Wikipedia site is a software monstrosity. To make matters worse, Wiki-ans rather let some ignorant bum edit an article with incorrect information than allowing experts or topic insiders to add accurate facts to enhance an entry. According to Wikipedia that’s a violation called COI or Conflict of Interest!! Hellooo??!! Stupid, arrogant Wiki-Freaks.

  7. The only thing more spot-on than this article are the comments I’m finding under it that are also critical of Wikipedia. Never ever remove this from the internet. This is gold.

    There needs to be wider spread denouncing of Wikipedia, because it’s arguably harmful, not just annoying. I don’t need to parrot the reasons plenty have already offered here as I wouldn’t say them any better anyway.

  8. Omy eff..bejus…this here lays it out so well.

    the people with the knowledge or the knowledge of /ability to research and or find the right info to add and back up their claims are ALWAYS SIDE LINED by some idiot whose main goal is to rack up wiki credits to their name.

    Most of the info from wpedia is lifted from the first few lines of a Google search, or from someone who is clueless and without knowledge that writes a web article which is then lifted and then taken out of context to mean a whole genre or a time period etc

    The info in Wikipedia is taken as from god himself from a 12 year old to doctors and lawyers because its in Wikipedia therefore it must be totally right because supposedly so many people are adding and editing…THIS IS SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH

  9. If you thing Wiki sucks, go check quora.com. What a bunch of self-infatuated successful losers.

  10. Interesting article

    There’s also this interesting article detailing the administrator abuse side of wikipedia. as in what administrators do to users to make wikipedia a complete hole of crap.

    http://g-liu.com/blog/2009/09/why-other-people-really-hate-wikipedia-administrators-as-well/

  11. I made a dinky little edit in the form of adding “piano” to W. Axl Rose’s list of Instruments. This edit was reversed. When I inquired about it, I was told it was because Rose is “not widely known” for playing the piano. Yet, “guitar” is listed for Michael Stipe’s instruments. I’m fairly sure Stipe is not widely known for being a guitarist, or at least less known as such than Rose is for being a pianist.

    Bizarre.

  12. I LOVE this. Look, plain and simple, I HATE Wikipedia, for all the reasons posted here, and then some!

  13. I had no idea it was so with wikipedia. Thanks I’ve learned something.

    Greeting
    NJ

  14. There is an article you could write about the phases of crowdsourced sites in general.

    Wikipedia only needed you to get started. Now they want you out.
    Kickstarter, Udemy, Makezine all made money on your free help.
    The only exception is Youtube which pays.

    I should know, I run wikispeedia.org which pays.
    It’s the new breed of crowdsourcing. Pay it back.

  15. I also believe that Wikipedia is not too good. It’s my theory that users are more concerned with speaking to one another in talk pages rather than improving the encyclopedia. I have made some good edits on wikipedia but those edits should have been there in the first place. Frankly, I feel that my efforts to improve Wikipedia are futile because Wikipedia is so large and I’m just one editor. But, I don’t know what others are talking about when they say that Wikipedia does not allow them to edit. If it’s an informative edit it stays,

  16. wickepidia does suck

  17. Ezekiel Dangalan

    Is wiki how same as Wikipedia?

  18. Great blog post!

    I know a fraudster online with a Wikipedia page. She created the page and the dummies at Wikipedia approved it. There is nothing proving this woman is legitimate. She is the daughter of some African politician. Her sources are blogs and a couple of news articles that were written by some writer in some rag newspaper in Canada. That reporter was writing everything she told him. Wikipedia put a conflict of interest notice at the top of the page. They won’t take it down despite there being lots of proof that this woman’s credentials are bs.

    Somebody posted a link that this woman was wanted for a few felonies in the U.S. with links proving it and Wikipedia deleted it. She fled to Nigeria instead of going to trial. That should put huge holes in her credibility???

  19. It should also be said that many articles, specifically scientific ones, doesn’t have a structure. Many articles dig deep into specialized subtopics without knowing what aspects they’re trying to present and what conclusions they are going to draw, thus simply leaving the reader in mere confusion. Assumptions regarding the background knowledge of the reader are very arbitrary and vary by large degrees, ranging from very basic introductions to highly narrowed down technical discussions, while, as an encyclopedia, information is expected to be provided rigorously at the introductory level. Also referencing, other than to other wikipedia articles, is very poor, a clear evidence of the non-scholar background of the authors.

  20. I enjoy (in theory) editing WP, and find many of your complaints invalid on the grounds that they fault WP for being what it says it is. (I.e., no in-depth information. WP specifically claims a superficial, encyclopedic role. It’s one-stop, quick-overview information. You want more, that’s what the refs are for.)

    That said, I’m afraid the bit about entrysteading, which you hinted at in the post and others have banged on the head here in the comments, is completely, tragically accurate, and it is indeed harming WP deeply.

    First off, the “notability” rule is ridiculous in and of itself. Who cares if a topic is “notable” (notable to whom?) as long as you’ve got a reference? If your friend’s garage band got a write-up in the local paper, and that article is available online, you’re in. Or you should be. One or two paragraphs under the topic are more than reasonable.

    But what’s even worse is how even the existng standards of notability are applied. These days I rarely attempt to add any information to a WP article; it’s almost certain the work will be blanked. (Usually within hours, often within _the_ hour, which is a clear indication of entrysteading.)

    To cite just one example, recently I allowed myself to try adding a particularly juicy bit of info that clearly belonged in an article. (Told myself not to waste my time, but the data point was just too useful to readers.) It turns out a major American writer published a whole book about the article’s arcane topic in his early years. The book isn’t well-known today, and doesn’t have its own WP entry, but it’s covered in the author’s own entry.

    So I added exactly 2 lines about this. And within hours it was gone. My colleague wrote that “if the book had its own entry, this would be notable.” Riiiiight. If a random curmudgeon can declare a book published by major writer, from a major publisher, “unnotable”, and blank the information without discussion, you don’t have a serious publication.

    And that’s what’s killing WP: obsessive aspies who blank others’ work. That’s why well-meaning, good-faith contributors like me, with a great deal of experience editing on- and off-site, stop participating. It’s just too exhausting.

    These days I mostly edit tiny points of grammar on WP, and you wouldn’t believe the firefights I can get into just over something as meaningless as that. (My favourite: the trog who squats the European Parliament entry has repeatedly blanked _invisible housekeeping code_ that WARN OTHER EDITORS NOT TO FIX BAD GRAMMAR that appears in a quotation there. (You don’t change quotations, of course. This code, which is entirely invisible to readers, says, in effect: “Heads up, grammar gnomes: this is a quote; don’t fix it.”)

    But this arrogant troll insists the entry is “his”, so he and his band of two or three other nutjobs gaily reverts any attempt to insert this code, with the admonition “Please do not tamper with quotes.” Allow me to repeat: THIS INVISIBLE CODE EXISTS FOR THE SOLE REASON OF ACCOMPLISHING THAT.

    A reliable site would have banned that lunatic years ago. As it is, he’s sadly exemplary of a great many encounters I’ve had on WP.

    And that’s a shame. Because WP really is pretty awesome. More awesome than people give it credit for. It just has these little ideological hang-ups that it seriously needs to adjust, in light of reality.

  21. Not only are wiki pages very poorly written, with mostly just opinions and hardly any facts until what they deem is a reliable source, but a lot of users are such pathetic little nitpicks who have zero humility. Meaning that they will not tolerate anyone editing there edits in the slightest, as if what they typed out or the whole page belongs to them and no one else. They will only back off if there are too many people editing the page. Not only will some of these users “undo” your work, but they will undo other edits you did, even if they were correct… they just want to prove a point and will harass you.

    Wikipedia is simple an unreliable source for accurate information on anything.

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