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theadmiral

Wikipedia: Useful or tool of the fake internet intellectual?

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theadmiral

I'm very interested to know how you all feel (especially older forum members) about the rise of Wikipedia and the subsequent impact on discussions (particularly online, on forums) that it has had.

 

Did you enjoy discussions prior to this being around more than you do now? Do you think that Wikipedia is a great tool or a cheap shortcut that creates arrogant internet experts?

 

Would you rather get your information from Wikipedia or by doing broad, proper research from other reputable sources online and subsequently forming that information into your own thoughts/posts?

 

How does it make you feel when you are trying to have a discussion and someone with no knowledge of a topic quotes Wikipedia at you and then defends that point to the death?

 

Please feel free to post in this thread regarding anything Wikipedia related, or your responses to any of the questions contained within this post.

 

 

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Mr. House

Like everything else in the world, it has it's positive and negative qualities. I think it's perfectly fine to get a general idea about whatever the topic is that you're finding out about, but I wouldn't write a thesis based around it.

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K^2

If you know something about subject, you'll spot someone who's just reading Wiki in a heartbeat. So it's not a problem. On the other hand, if you need to pick up some details and figures for an argument, it's a great tool. So it's definitely good all around.

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Th3MaN1

Just like Nale Dixon said, it has it's uses. Also, I can spend time reading the wiki about different things, and even if there's a chance that all of it is a lie, as long as it's an entertaining read, I'm fine with it. And most important: I used Wiki A LOT for school work, so it's a useful tool for me.

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Hodgey.

I like to use it as its quick to find out little bits of information on different subjects, but like others have said I wouldn't learn all you needed to know about a subject from Wikipedia article.

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Raavi

Using it as a quick aid in a debate is one thing, but simply copy and pasting without bothering to edit the urls or anything out tends to get on my nerves. If you want to rehash what you read on Wikipedia, fine but at least put some effort in and paraphrase.

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theadmiral

What is the reasoning behind someone with no knowledge or interest in a subject viewing a discussion, quickly reading a Wikipedia article about that topic, then wading into the discussion like an expert and defending these points as if they are a lifelong scholar on the issue?

 

Is it a need to feel intelligent? Love of arguments? Inferiority complex?

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Vercetti42

Wikipedia is a great tool. It does help me a lot in school work and in-general basically. It's also quite reliable. But I don't always use Wikipedia. I use other sites like Yahoo Answers.

 

What is the reasoning behind someone with no knowledge or interest in a subject viewing a discussion, quickly reading a Wikipedia article about that topic, then wading into the discussion like an expert and defending these points as if they are a lifelong scholar on the issue?

 

Is it a need to feel intelligent? Love of arguments? Inferiority complex?

 

Probably a need to feel intelligent in my opinion.

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RoadRunner71

You can't imagine the times Wikipedia has saved my lazy ass from doing school works.

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Captain Arthur

Yeah, it's great but,

 

266e3c7bcccd633b7ccc4e564331f5d4.png

 

:blink: What the hell? Sometimes I think people who are high edited the pages.

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Gray Wolf

Yeah, it's great but,

 

266e3c7bcccd633b7ccc4e564331f5d4.png

 

:blink: What the hell? Sometimes I think people who are high edited the pages.

I wonder how many members/guests go to Google and type that in after seeing this.

 

 

Inspect Element?

 

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Captain Arthur

I wonder how many members/guests go to Google and type that in after seeing this.

 

Inspect Element?

 

 

Btw it isn't there anymore. That image was from 2012. I think they edited it now and got back to their senses but I'm not sure.

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Andreaz1

Yeah, it's great but,

 

http://gyazo.com/266e3c7bcccd633b7ccc4e564331f5d4.png

 

:blink: What the hell? Sometimes I think people who are high edited the pages.

I love Wikipedia and use it all the time when I'm at home. I have never come across something I immediately spotted as fake, which many seem to think is the case with 100% of the whole website, and that really annoys me. Sure stuff like the above can happen but it usually doesn't last any more than a few minutes before someone more serious comes along to revert it and the bots/scripts they have in place seem good at picking it up as well.

 

School projects are a completely different manner. Teachers in schools will usually frown upon someone citing Wikipedia and in universities and such I think it is completely forbidden. Wikipedia itself usually cites their own sources that you can go to as well though.

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Kazandra

You could say the same thing about your local library, or any place or online site that is supposed to contain facts. I believe people have to study multiple points of view or material about a certain subject from multiple sources. Too many "facts" today are either too far based in opinion, or complete fabrications.

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CatDog96

I use wikipedia to find lists of movies that actors have been in and to find albums to download, I have also used it to learn about big cats (eg.Lions, Panthers, leopards ect.)

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theadmiral

Is there not something to be said for making a point that when the information was more difficult to come by (IE, prior to Wikipedia) students were exposed to a valuable skill (proper research) and that the same skill is lacking in many people of the Wikipedia generation?

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Kazandra

Is there not something to be said for making a point that when the information was more difficult to come by (IE, prior to Wikipedia) students were exposed to a valuable skill (proper research) and that the same skill is lacking in many people of the Wikipedia generation?

 

There is also the opposite end of that token. Now, it could be said that we have even more access to skilled research because of the internet. All I'm saying is that you can't just get all your information from one source and think that you are an expert on any given subject.

 

Wikipedia, on it's own, is not sufficient enough to cite as "fact". It's the same thing for people who get all their information from Fox News or Conservapedia. Wikipedia might not be as biased, but it is open to editing by the entire public, and as we all know, sometimes the public can be pretty daft, or just make things up because of spite.

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Andreaz1

Is there not something to be said for making a point that when the information was more difficult to come by (IE, prior to Wikipedia) students were exposed to a valuable skill (proper research) and that the same skill is lacking in many people of the Wikipedia generation?

Sure they had to put more effort into their research, I know I've never had to go to a library to do any research. More time consuming sure, but if effort = skills I'm not sure. If we exclude Wikipedia, finding sources online can also take work. For one school project I had to find info about the conflict between Chechnya and Russia and it isn't necessarily just about typing "chechnya russia" into Google and there you go. It's very important that you compare all the sites you do find, and also do more of a "background check" of it. Who wrote it, where is he from, what education/experience does he have in the field and so forth. More so I believe than when you use books from the library.

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GTA_stu

Is there not something to be said for making a point that when the information was more difficult to come by (IE, prior to Wikipedia) students were exposed to a valuable skill (proper research) and that the same skill is lacking in many people of the Wikipedia generation?

 

The only research I did at school was, well, I didn't f*cking do any research. I pretty much just used text books and what I learned in a lesson. It was very rare for me to use the internet for homework, mostly because I had a piece of sh*t computer and we didn't switch to broadband until my last year at school.

 

But at university you'll quickly learn that you can't just use wikipedia for your research. Most of my research is from books that I borrow from the library or online journals etc. It's the same for other people on my course and the same for my friends too. I still use wikipedia quite a lot, just because it's very useful for quickly checking stuff and getting a general idea. If you want to get a good grade you have to use the proper sources and still do actual research as well. But I've still used wikipedia for virtually every paper that I've had to write.

 

I'd say wikipedia helps people do "proper" research, rather than hinders them.

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Tyler

Information is fragmented and obfuscated. Things like Wikipedia attempt to centralize information into a hub for quick reference as well as giving the resources for more in-depth study. Skimming across the articles will give someone a general sense of things but as K^2 pointed out it's easy to see when someone does this just before posting their response in an argument. I think the emphasis should be on the person, not the tool. Wikipedia is ultimately much more useful and beneficial than it is a tool of arrogance. The site is community edited and as such you have to be observant of the information you're picking up and actively think about how and if it connects correctly, as well as read more from secondary sources. As a result I think it's viable to use Wikipedia as a quick reference guide and an introduction for deeper understanding. It's ease of access and fluid nature makes it easier to concentrate on topics you're interested in rather than attaining a "skill" of going to the library and searching the index for your subject. It's the same with most of the Internet in general: it centralizes a smorgasbord of freely-available information and thereby saves time and effort searching so that you're allowed to appropriate more effort into the topic you're interested in.

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Frank Brown

Honestly, I don't see a problem with using Wikipedia in order to help you further your knowledge or form an opinion. Many of the articles have citations, it's up to the reader to check those citations carefully before making a claim. It's a great tool against ignorance if used properly, and many of the important pages are safe-guarded against vandalism and whatnot. The small town in the middle of nowhere might not have a protected page, though, so if you're researching something like that, you'll want to be extra careful.

 

Having access to a wide array of information like that and choosing to ignore it in order to present your own 'knowledge' is idiotic. If I'm making a case for or against something, generally I'll check online in order to make sure what I'm saying isn't bullsh*t or off by a bit or to pull up percentages, and many times Wikipedia is the tool that I use.

 

If someone uses Wikipedia in order to form an opinion or make a point, I have no problem as long as the point they're making is true and not being pulled from thin air. "Proper research" can sometimes be avoided unless you're writing a research paper or writing part of an academic journal since Wikipedia contains much of the research in a centralized area, with citations, like I said before.

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Adler

Hang on, lemme pull up Wikipedia so I know how to reply to this topic.

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Black & White

Wikipedia is useful. People cannot simply post anything as moderators are always looking out. Reliable sources also need to be mentioned in order for the comments to stay on their website..

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albanyave

Wikipedia is a good quick reference tool. There are a lot of articles that wouldn't be found in your more traditional reference materials. Good starting point but always follow up with more authoritative sources.

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sivispacem

Wikipedia is as good or as poor as the works it references. It's nothing more than a handy repository of information really. Anything you pull from it still needs to be properly fact-checked if you want to use it in a discussion without people laughing in your face.

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El Dildo

this question is extremely loaded...

 

Wikipedia is a useful tool if you use it in conjunction with prior understanding and comprehension of the subject in question.

if you already don't know what you're talking about, quoting Wikipedia isn't going to improve your situation. in fact, it will only make your ignorance more obvious to those who are already informed on the subject.

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epoxi
ceiling-jimmy-wikipedia-watching-donate-

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DeafMetal

Both. There's some really good information on it, but unfortunately, a lot of it is also administered by people with a huge bias. Head over to the Talk pages and look at the sources: you'll notice that for some of them, the sources have dead links, are blogs, biased sources, etc. I remember suggesting an edit a year or two again to... I don't remember what page lol I pointed out that the "Reception" section had a bias, since everything was positive. I found a few articles from blogs of professionals since they were using sources from blogs, but the admins resisted and just kept giving me excuses.

 

There's also the fact that Wikipedia has a whitelist of "trusted" references, which is mostly made up of mainstream media outlets. Unfortunately, a f*ckLOAD of our media has a bias/agenda, and that will reflect on Wikipedia. That's not really so much their fault as it is the media's, though.

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Fireman

Wikipedia (11px-Speakerlink-new.svg.pngi/ˌwɪkɨˈpiːdiə/ or 11px-Speakerlink-new.svg.pngi/ˌwɪkiˈpiːdiə/ wik-i-pee-dee-ə) is a collaboratively edited, multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia that is supported by the non-profitWikimedia Foundation. Volunteers worldwide collaboratively write Wikipedia's 30 million articles in 287 languages, including over 4.4 million in the English Wikipedia. Anyone who can access the site can edit almost any of its articles, which on the Internet comprise[4] the largest and most popular general reference work,[5][6][7][8][9] ranking sixth globally among all websites on Alexa with an estimated 365 million readers.

 

 

 

Accuracy of content

Main article: Reliability of Wikipedia

Articles for traditional encyclopedias such as Encyclopædia Britannica are carefully and deliberately written by experts, lending such encyclopedias a reputation for accuracy. Conversely, Wikipedia is often cited for factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations. As Reagle has reported, "On December 14, 2005, the prestigious science journal Nature reported the findings of a commissioned study in which subject experts reviewed forty-two articles in Wikipedia and Britannica; it concluded 'the average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three.'[23] Of course, this catered to the interests of Nature readers and a topical strength of Wikipedia contributors. Wikipedia may not have fared so well using a random sampling of articles or on humanities subjects."[166] These claims were disputed by Encyclopædia Britannica.[167][168] Nature gave a point-by-point rebuttal of Britannica's argument,[169] but did agree that the structure of Wikipedia's articles was often poor.

As a consequence of the open structure, Wikipedia "makes no guarantee of validity" of its content, since no one is ultimately responsible for any claims appearing in it.[170] Concerns have been raised by PC World in 2009 regarding the lack of accountability that results from users' anonymity,[171] the insertion of false information,[172] vandalism, and similar problems.

Economist Tyler Cowen wrote: "If I had to guess whether Wikipedia or the median refereed journal article on economics was more likely to be true, after a not so long think I would opt for Wikipedia." He comments that some traditional sources of non-fiction suffer from systemic biases and novel results, in his opinion, are over-reported in journal articles and relevant information is omitted from news reports. However, he also cautions that errors are frequently found on Internet sites, and that academics and experts must be vigilant in correcting them.[173]

Critics argue that Wikipedia's open nature and a lack of proper sources for most of the information makes it unreliable.[174] Some commentators suggest that Wikipedia may be reliable, but that the reliability of any given article is not clear.[175] Editors of traditional reference works such as the Encyclopædia Britannica have questioned the project's utility and status as an encyclopedia.[176]

Wikipedia's open structure inherently makes it an easy target for Internet trolls, spammers, and those with an agenda to push.[30][177] The addition of political spin to articles by organizations including members of the US House of Representatives and special interest groups[22] has been noted,[178] and organizations such as Microsoft have offered financial incentives to work on certain articles.[179] For example, in August 2007, the website WikiScanner began to trace the sources of changes made to Wikipedia by anonymous editors without Wikipedia accounts. The program revealed that many such edits were made by corporations or government agencies changing the content of articles related to them, their personnel or their work.[180] These issues have been parodied, notably by Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.[181]

Quality of writing

Because contributors usually rewrite small portions of an entry rather than making full-length revisions, high- and low-quality content may be intermingled within an entry. Roy Rosenzweig, a history professor, stated that American National Biography Online outperformed Wikipedia in terms of its "clear and engaging prose", which, he said, was an important aspect of good historical writing.[182] Contrasting Wikipedia's treatment of Abraham Lincoln to that of Civil War historian James McPherson in American National Biography Online, he said that both were essentially accurate and covered the major episodes in Lincoln's life, but praised "McPherson's richer contextualization [...] his artful use of quotations to capture Lincoln's voice [...] and [...] his ability to convey a profound message in a handful of words." By contrast, he gives an example of Wikipedia's prose that he finds "both verbose and dull". Rosenzweig also criticized the "waffling—encouraged by the npov policy—[which] means that it is hard to discern any overall interpretive stance in Wikipedia history". By example, he quoted the conclusion of Wikipedia's article on William Clarke Quantrill. While generally praising the article, he pointed out its "waffling" conclusion: "Some historians [...] remember him as an opportunistic, bloodthirsty outlaw, while others continue to view him as a daring soldier and local folk hero."[182]

Other critics have made similar charges that, even if Wikipedia articles are factually accurate, they are often written in a poor, almost unreadable style. Frequent Wikipedia critic Andrew Orlowski commented: "Even when a Wikipedia entry is 100 per cent factually correct, and those facts have been carefully chosen, it all too often reads as if it has been translated from one language to another then into to a third, passing an illiterate translator at each stage."[183] A study of cancer articles by Yaacov Lawrence of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University found that the entries were mostly accurate, but they were written at college reading level, as distinct from the ninth-grade level seen in the Physician Data Query.[clarification needed] This Lawrence study of oncology articles was limited to those Wikipedia articles which could be found in the Physician Data Query and did not evaluate Wikipedia articles written at the "start" class or the "stub" class level, which are generally not classified or graded by either college standards or Wikipedia gradations of quality. Of the oncology articles reviewed by him, Lawrence said that "Wikipedia's lack of readability (to non-college readers) may reflect its varied origins and haphazard editing".[184] The Economist argued that better-written articles tend to be more reliable: "inelegant or ranting prose usually reflects muddled thoughts and incomplete information".[185]

 

Edited by Fireman

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Finn 7 five 11

Wikipedia is a great tool. It does help me a lot in school work and in-general basically. It's also quite reliable. But I don't always use Wikipedia. I use other sites like Yahoo Answers.

 

 

What is the reasoning behind someone with no knowledge or interest in a subject viewing a discussion, quickly reading a Wikipedia article about that topic, then wading into the discussion like an expert and defending these points as if they are a lifelong scholar on the issue?

 

Is it a need to feel intelligent? Love of arguments? Inferiority complex?

Probably a need to feel intelligent in my opinion.

Perhaps that's part of it, but the other part is when you see someone saying something that doesn't sound right, you can quickly wiki it and check and provide a counter, if you are wrong, the other person will prove it and you will be more knowledgeable for it. I don't do this, generally I skip Wikipedia because it often has too much irrelevant bs intermingled in what I want to know.

 

As for research skills, yeah, because it takes a genius to have enough common sense figure out where you can get research info...

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