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  • Should academics collaborate to improve Wikipedia?

    I believe that in any descent university, citations to Wikipedia is often considered to be a sort of an offense. And I understand why because the content is often flawed and based on "public opinion". However, something can be done to improve this situation, especially because Wikipedia is a good source for finding other secondary sources. And as a historian, I think I've learned from this website on general history much more than any other individual source.

    However, based on the fact that it IS a non-profit organisation (and its value in its public service is, I believe, highly commendable in informing the public over various topics) shouldn't the academic community, if they see flaws in wikipedia articles, work on the website to improve them based on their expertise on their subjects? If I go to articles that concern topics that I have written papers on, I can easily spot inaccuracies or just a general lack of articulation, and there are almost always hundreds of ways of improving upon them. Because this is a centralised database, I don't see why no one has come up with this.

    Originally Posted by Noam Chomsky


    Whenever you hear anything said very confidently, the first thing that should come to mind is, wait a minute is that true?

  • #2

    Wikipedia is maintained by amateurs. Published knowledge is often false.

    In my profession Wikipedia is misinform and  false knowledge.

    Comment


    • RogueGnome
      RogueGnome commented
      Editing a comment

      Rudolf von Hagenwil wrote:

      Wikipedia is maintained by amateurs. Published knowledge is often false.

      In my profession Wikipedia is misinform and  false knowledge.


      what profession is that?


  • #3

    What makes you think this already doesn't happen?

    The amount of people who make sure Wikipedia has correct information outweighs the people who wish to post erroneous information, and contentious articles are locked from editing.

    http://www.last.fm/user/pinkfreudHC

    Comment


    • #4

      radomu wrote:

      I believe that in any descent university, citations to Wikipedia is often considered to be a sort of an offense.

      any encyclopedia really.

      . Because this is a centralised database, I don't see why no one has come up with this.

       

      well, they have been putting in measures over the years (like the locks that got mentioned, and "no reference" tags and stuff like that), but it IS a wiki and the design theory is the open collective model. As you move more toward expert review and stuff like that you just wind up moving more toward the traditional model and then you've got more just "pedia" without so much "wiki". Not saying it's a good thing or a bad thing...but it's not some revolutionary leap to go "hey, let's get experts to deal with this" , it's a backing off the more novel idea. So I don't think it's that nobody has "come up with" that policy, because the idea was to see what you got when you move away from that.

      Comment


      • radomu
        radomu commented
        Editing a comment

        willy-b wrote:

        radomu wrote:

        I believe that in any descent university, citations to Wikipedia is often considered to be a sort of an offense.

        any encyclopedia really.

        . Because this is a centralised database, I don't see why no one has come up with this.

         

        well, they have been putting in measures over the years (like the locks that got mentioned, and "no reference" tags and stuff like that), but it IS a wiki and the design theory is the open collective model. As you move more toward expert review and stuff like that you just wind up moving more toward the traditional model and then you've got more just "pedia" without so much "wiki". Not saying it's a good thing or a bad thing...but it's not some revolutionary leap to go "hey, let's get experts to deal with this" , it's a backing off the more novel idea. So I don't think it's that nobody has "come up with" that policy, because the idea was to see what you got when you move away from that.


        Not true at all, published encyclopedias are often authored by academics of the expertise. You are allowed to cite encyclopedias, especially when they are written for an academic audience.

        Of course they're not perfect. I have one Oxford encyclopedia of American history where under "industrialisation" the author for that particular words claims that the United States pursued protectionism, but under "Thomas Jefferson" a differen author claims that it was under Jeffersonian free trade principles that the US became rich. This is in the same book.


    • #5

      Wikipedia is inherently untrustworthy. Trust this instead:

       

      http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page

      ______________________________________________

      "Your own limitations render you incapable of realizing that not everyone is as limited as yourself."

      Comment


      • radomu
        radomu commented
        Editing a comment

        coyote-1 wrote:

        Wikipedia is inherently untrustworthy. Trust this instead:

         

        http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page


        Over the years, that website is getting somewhat better. Though comparatively, it still sucks as an objective source of any kind.


    • #6

      radomu wrote:

      I believe that in any descent university, citations to Wikipedia is often considered to be a sort of an offense. And I understand why because the content is often flawed and based on "public opinion". However, something can be done to improve this situation, especially because Wikipedia is a good source for finding other secondary sources. And as a historian, I think I've learned from this website on general history much more than any other individual source.

      However, based on the fact that it IS a non-profit organisation (and its value in its public service is, I believe, highly commendable in informing the public over various topics) shouldn't the academic community, if they see flaws in wikipedia articles, work on the website to improve them based on their expertise on their subjects? If I go to articles that concern topics that I have written papers on, I can easily spot inaccuracies or just a general lack of articulation, and there are almost always hundreds of ways of improving upon them. Because this is a centralised database, I don't see why no one has come up with this.


      It's true that university professors don't accept Wikipedia articles as sources in and of themselves. That is because some of the articles are written by people who are voicing opinions without citing their sources, assuming they have any. 

      The second problem is that Wiki articles are open to "alteration" by "other experts" who think they've spotted an "error." I almost re-wrote Formula One history that way, once, when I forgot that in 1971, Jackie Stewart got the most driver's championship points for an individual driver, but Emerson Fittipaldi and Ronnie Peterson, between them, scored more constructors' championship points to win Lotus that year's constructor's trophy. Fortunately, I remembered Formula One history and did not post the "correction." 

      The third problem with Wiki articles is that, again because they are open to anyone to alter, some malicious folks purposely screw up the articles, add insults, profanities, etc. This usually happens to politicians they don't like.

      If you want to know if a Wiki entry is "scholarly," look at the bottom of the page. Legitimate scholars and researchers put lists of their sources -- with hyperlinks -- there. My college profs said those sources were okay to use and cite in a paper, even though the original Wiki stuff is not. 

      I agree that it would be nice if Wikipedia could subject everything on their cite to peer-review level scholarly scrutiny, but there is so much stuff on that site, covering so many topics that it would be next to impossible to keep up with it all and vet the "corrections." 

      __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______________
      How Come Other People Can Get Away With Jokes Like That?

      Face it Tea Bagging Neo-Cons...if Reagan ran today, you'd be calling him a RINO socialist! -- scott666

      Barack Obama must be kenyan - everytime he speaks they trot a translator out the next day to explain what he said.-- ToBeAnnounced

      And even then some people still don't understand.-- RogueGnome

      Comment


      • yumpy
        yumpy commented
        Editing a comment

        as a basic starting point, it's not bad.

         













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