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Wikipedia, good or bad? Answered

Wikipedia, a endless source of information, but how accurate is this information? i have noticed that in my school we are not allowed to use Wikipedia as a source for information now. it has to do with the fact that anyone can edit Wikipedia with wrong information. but i have noticed that they need citation and if they don't it gets marked with a (citation needed) thing right by it. so what do you think, should it be allowed to be used for school projects and what not, or baned from that?

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NachoMahma (author)2008-04-17

1) You can get bad info anywhere. All human endeavors are prone to error. I'd be willing to bet there are numerous errors in The Encyclopedia Britannica, NY Times, &c.
2) Any researcher that doesn't double-check their facts and/or uses only one source is a fool.
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. An outright ban on using Wikipedia shows a definite lack of insight. Using Wikipedia as one's only source should be prohibited - just like with any other source.

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dsman195276 (author)NachoMahma2008-04-18

yea, but Wikipedia is editable by everyone. so if some one wanted to put something that was not true in there they could. other websites can only be edited by a small amount of people. thus decreasing the risk. also the few people that can edit it would have made the site so they would be more willing to check the information.

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NachoMahma (author)dsman1952762008-04-18

> Wikipedia is editable by everyone
. To dismiss Wikipedia because it might have bad data just doesn't make sense to me. Part of being a good researcher is determining who/what is a good source and who/what isn't.
. All the pages I've seen that do not have outside citations are plainly marked as such. When citations are given, they are usually linked to the source so you can examine it with a click.
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> can only be edited by a small amount of people. thus decreasing the risk
. And that smaller group is likely to have less review and and fewer resources for double-checking.
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> also the few people that can edit it would have made the site so they would be more willing to check the information
. I reject that outright.
.
. Yes, Wikipedia does contain errors. So does just about every other reference manual, text book, encyclopedia, web site, &c. Should any source that is found to have an error be banned?

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LinuxH4x0r (author)NachoMahma2008-04-18

they have a team of people looking over it and making sure what you submit isn't bogus. My friend tried to do one on himself and it got rejected

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I dunno about "team of people" but bogus info is definitely dealt with swiftly -- one time I found some, went to edit it out, and was confused when I couldn't find it; someone else had already removed it.

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The BBC did a study on the accuracy of Wikipedia v Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia came out slightly better. (second article here for Britannica's response)

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jtobako (author)jtobako2008-04-23

Sorry, the article was on the BBC, the research was by Nature (the journal).

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Funny story related to that article... Our school library has anti-Wikipedia propaganda on just about every surface, which bothers my friends and I. To rectify this situation, we shelled out the 20 cents, printed that article off, removed an ant-Wikipedia poster and tacked it up in it's place. They still haven't noticed (it's been months).

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Nice! Stupid school librarians (they tend to be the ones that failed everywhere else) Most non-school librarians are incredibly smart

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jtobako (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-04-27

I've found school librarians to be very helpful but with a very sensitive BS detector-maybe that's your problem? Considering the extra layers of school bureaucracy that they have to deal with, it's not surprising...

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LinuxH4x0r (author)jtobako2008-04-27

Its just that at the middle and high school level most kids are a55h0l35

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Kiteman (author)2008-04-18

Wikipedia as a reference = good.

Wikipedia as your only reference = bad.



The fact that "anybody can edit it", coupled with the huge numbers of people using the site, means that any errors in important information (the sort of stuff you're likely to need for a school project) will be correct. Somebody, somewhere, will be reviewing the data and checking its veracity.

To be reliable, a proper wiki needs a large user-base. Dorkbot London's website is a proper wiki, but has very few users. Last time I looked, the whole site was riddled with porn, spam, false links to porn, and the site gave my firewall the screaming heebies. I won't go back to the site because I don't trust it.

If a wiki had a large user-base, but relatively few people could edit it, or if editors were heavily restricted on what they could post, then it would be bad - it would be a biased, inaccurate waste of bandwidth. Take as a prime example, Conservapedia. That website contains deliberate falsehoods and lies, but they cannot be removed because people who post contrary to the site's strong Fundamental-Christian ethos get rapidly banned from posting on the site, and their work gets removed, as does the record of the work ever existing - the site's admins deliberately falsify the records of past edits.

(This is not hear-say, it has happened to me. I wrote a sound piece clearly explaining where creationist errors regarding transitionals come from, and it was utterly expunged within hours. Since correcting a couple of minor points on the Evolution pages, every IP address I use has been banned from editing the site.)

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PKM (author)Kiteman2008-04-21

And in other news, the chocolate ration has been increased to 65 grams per week. The fact that that site is used as an educational resource gives me the screaming heebies.

In response to OP, I see WP as a friend who is quite knowledgable in a lot of subjects and can summarise them for me, and give links to source material worthy of being included in an essay. I wouldn't quote my friend Dave in school work, no matter how much he knows about the Industrial Revolution, but rather use his broad knowledge to get a feel for the subject and follow up links for quotable concrete information.

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NachoMahma (author)PKM2008-04-23

> I see WP as a friend who is quite knowledgable ... . I like that.

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Weissensteinburg (author)Kiteman2008-04-20

Users are restricted to what they can edit: You have to be a member for a certain length of time before you can edit certain articles. And for even longer times to edit even more important ones. It's a good method that stops people from discovering wiki and deciding to join and change it to say that Elvis is alive.

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Sypran (author)2008-04-23

i have heard from Attack of the show, that about 87% of wiki is corect, the other 13% is eather opinions, people trying to AIM on school computers, incomplete or plain old someone who does not know anything (or thinks it is funny) is typeing garbage (2+2=7 hahaha),so i usaly the nice person i am delete the talking to each other even if they are in the middle of the conversation (haw haw haw!!!!)

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Goodhart (author)2008-04-18

in answer to your (inset) question on the pic: i.e. "What does this mean anyway" there are at least two symbols incorporated here: #1: the sphere ie the world, with letters of different languages printed on it, so that is making it worldwide and universal and #2: the JigSaw construct with pieces missing show it is incomplete and can be made more complete (by the world, presumably).

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-18

Something about that seems odd, the world is putting itself together from one's perspective but on the other side it's taking itself apart... Damn doomsday devices... Remind me to make a doom ray...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-18

then I shall have to make an UN-doom ray, otherwise known as (you knew this was coming I am sure) A ray of hope LOL

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-19

Hehe In that case my doom ray will be powered by hope, that way you can only make me more powerful...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-19

No, I know Hope, and she would NEVER change sides LOL ;-)

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-19

Emm something I should tell you about hope and I, I'm sorry i left this so long I should have told you at the start...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-19

Well, I know, after July 20th or something like that, the HOtel PEnnsyvania will be no longer.

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-19

i think that was one of your most obsucre word associations ever...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-19

HOPE stands for two things when linked to NYC: HOtel PEnnsylvania, which will be torn down soon, sometime after the next, that is, the last HOPE convention (Hackers of Planet Earth).

Take note of this HOPE link and the dates of it's occurrence.

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-20

Goodhart calm, it'll be ok I have my joke ad you have yours... I wish hotel pennsylvania was still open, just so I could say to someone, 'hey I was in hope this weekend'

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-20

Well it will not be closed until after the dates listed. I am really antsy to go for this last convention.....I even asked at their forum site for ideas on how to convince my wife to come or let me go. *sigh*

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-20

Bring her? Umm explain to her it means alot to you in a very emotional way, appealing to the feminine pcyche...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-21

None of that has worked so far. Mostly she does not #1 want to be alone at home for 3 days and #2 fears going with me to the big bad city of NY. She "has me coming and going" (and she is saying she doesn't mind me being away ONE day) on the one day and that is it. *sigh*

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-21

Drug her... Umm hire a bodyguard or get a friend to keep her company... Umm sneak out after leaving a three day tape that sounds as if she keeps missing you by a few seconds...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-21

LOL Someone at the HOPE forum (a female I think), told me after I said she'd let me go by train for ONE day.........."well, trains bread down you know....." LOL

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-21

That's not a bad excuse, or maybe ask if you could leave in the afternoon and come back as early as you can i the day so you can spend another night with hope...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-21

That would get costly pretty fast, in more ways then one. And if I made the "excuse" given me, she would definitely check up on me to make sure it was real.

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-21

Hmm a computer trick or two could be done, other wise asking about coming back early may be a good shot, her worries could be quelled by meeting a friend there...

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I like poppyseed muffins the most!

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Or kaiser rolls, they're tasty rolls covered in poppy seeds...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-22

Hmm, I don't support the Kaiser ;-) Sorry, "trains BREAK down..." bread is not optional, one must carry "bread" (slang from MY generation :-)

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-22

hehe, I know enough OLD people to understand... Kaiser rolls apparently aren't even german...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-22

Eh, puns don't care if they make sense or not LOL

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-22

What didn't make sense? The old one was just me calling you old... in a joking manner and the kaiser thing is about kaisers, Ie german king-like people... think wilhelm...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-22

I just meant that puns don't care :-) In fact, most puns are so far removed from their "brothers" as to have almost no association whatsoever unless one is invented (which is where the pun comes in :-)

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-22

Oh right... True some of them make great sense and become very funny though... the ones that make the least and the most sense are funnier than the grey ones, kinda like people... ;-) I'll give up with the old jokes...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-22

this ole grey one can still be funny at times though
LOL

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-04-22

At times... Any luck with your wife by the way? or is she taking a hard line on hope...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-04-22

If I bring it up too often, she claims I am nagging, if not enough, I might be able to get away with her lack of memory and claim she gave me her blessing to go (probably won't work though).

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what about brown sugar, caramel cream cinnamon muffins? i like those too :)

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Oh yeah the ones with little chunks of caramel inside them.

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Weissensteinburg (author)2008-04-20

It's neither good nor bad. It's Grrreat!

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Labot2001 (author)2008-04-19

Roughly 90% of Wikipedia's information is accurate, and it's probably the largest source of free knowledge in the world. Not a bad trade-off in my opinion.

So your school doesn't like Wikipedia? Neither does mine. Here's what I do: start with WP, and go from there, but don't quote it in research papers.

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dsman195276 (author)Labot20012008-04-19

yea, thats what i do, some times when i don't need citation i use it. i just make sure that i can find were the information came from on WP.

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