…check your facts 

Wikipedia-logo-en-bigWhen it comes to quick, online research, there are few resources that outrank Wikipedia for convenience. Accuracy? Well, that’s another question altogether…

Want to know the complete history of yo-yos? There’s a Wikipedia page for that. The entire Marvel comic book universe? Wikipedia’s got it. Wondering if you have a cold or the flu? You might want to see your doctor about that…seriously.

We all (well, a lot of us) know that Wikipedia has its shortcomings, but we’ve all turned to it in times of need too.

You know, those moments when you think, “That can’t possibly be true.”…but it is. Moments of random historical fact-bombs, are made possible by this collection of random (but quite often useful) knowledge.

[Aside for the sake of the future of humanity: To be clear, finishing up your research paper is not one of these moments. Step away from the Wikipedia, students. Step away.]

Sure, the complete and utter accuracy of some its “facts” may be questionable at times, but gosh darn it, Wikipedia has an answer.

Now, more than ever, Wikipedia is having some serious issues with the fact-ness of its pages, as reliable editors are becoming much harder to come by. For those less familiar with how Wikipedia works, anyone can edit a Wikipedia page, so these editors are volunteers. People who see a missing piece of information or inaccuracy and add/ammend it. The public-ness of this information is, in some ways, a vulnerability, but part of the intrigue of this publicly sourced database. Pages that have less than stellar resources linked to them are labeled as incomplete, so you’re never led to believe that less-factual pages are anything but that.

The problem then is that fewer and fewer people are filling in those blanks, the pages that need a helping hand, and a disgustingly high percentage of those knowledge gaps seem to involve women, but that’s topic for another post…

Nope, today’s crusade is about accuracy. Does it really matter? Well, you’re reading the writing of a former journalism student, so I’ll let you tell me. Of course it does! Without accuracy, there’d be chaos. Imagine a world where shouting whatever we deem to be true at that moment with no regard for its truth and our own dignity let alone those foolhardy enough to follow us was deemed acceptable behavior. Sure, its fascinating to watch grown men vying to be our next president do it on TV, but we can’t live life in a Republican debate…and no one wants to.

It matters people! And if Wikipedia can’t have it, then what will become of the rest of us? I just hope some brave, accurate souls rise to the challenge and keep the glorious hot mess of mostly true-ish knowledge alive and well…I know I don’t have time for it…

TIME: Why Wikipedia Is in Trouble

…bi-daily smile…

2 Comments Add yours

  1. originalomc says:

    so, in other words, there is a limit to Wikipedia’s (and other’s) free talent pool…sometimes people want paid for their efforts??? I guess a journalist would already have kind of guessed that fact…


  2. The chicken has left the coup. says:

    Wikipedia states, regarding itself, Wikipedia, “A peer review of 42 science articles found in both Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia was published in Nature in 2005, and found that Wikipedia’s level of accuracy approached Encyclopedia Britannica ’​s.[14] ”

    Whereas, Encyclopaedia Britannica states regarding Wikipedia, “Although some highly publicized problems have called attention to Wikipedia’s editorial process, they have done little to dampen public use of the resource, which is one of the most-visited sites on the Internet.”

    I wonder why, when addressing the same concern, one publication bothers with footnotes and references, while the other needs only to state a self evident truth, without reference. Some publications, like politicians, do not need to verify or footnote, what they know is the truth.


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