Wikipedia Wants Your Learned Grey Matter

According to The Guardian, UK, Wikipedia has realized the lack of academic contributions to its massive heap of information and is making an effort to get smartypants specialists to contribute some well-informed knowledgey bits on the site.

Whether it’s a site-able source (it’s absolutely not, according to many professorial types) or not, everyone uses Wikipedia as a quick way to satisfy some burning question (what in the hell does “the whole nine yards” mean, anyway?*) or as a starting point on some quest for reams of information on almost any subject one can think of. It’s like a Twinkie or Oscar Meyer baloney: I don’t trust it, I would never serve it at a dinner party, but I’m still gonna eat it.

Wikipedia’s reputation as a less-than accurate source for information stems from the fact that any chucklehead with access to the Internet can edit and add information to the site. It’s funny that that trips people up, as the entire ethereal mass of binary perfection that is the online universe is all subject to bastards hosing down the suckers with false information. I’m just saying.

*Wikipedia is no help on this one. It gives a laundry list of what the phrase doesn’t refer to. I’d always thought it referred to the length of cloth required for a traditional kilt and the across-the-chest portion of said garment. See Braveheart if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

Posted by Alexa Harrington

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  1. As we all know, a good education is not free. Yet, Wikipedia provides a wealth of information to many who may not have access otherwise. For that alone, I am thankful for the resource. However, as you say, “any chucklehead with access to the Internet can edit and add information to the site.” One of the biggest problems is that you can’t see who contributed to the article in question, so you really don’t know if it was written by a “checklehead” or a true expert in the field. Accuracy is necessary for long term credibility. It seems to me that if Wikipedia survives (and thrives) over the long term, they are going to need to clean up their problems in this area.

  2. i wish they could some how get their act together and actually hire people to write proper entries on Wikipedia. I obviously do not have the answer, but it is just crazy to waste this wonder infrastructure that it already in place on a bunch of information that is may or not be accurate. I get the whole idea of having other people do the writing, it just seems they could put some ads on there, then take that revenue to hire people to do it right or at least proof read it. Probably wishful thinking.

  3. i had heard that wikipedia is as accurate as any other major source (and i think i remember reading that in the new york times, not wikipedia!)

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