Module 3: Wikipedia

 

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Wikipedia: Logo

 

Question:

How much confidence did you have in the Wikipedia as a source of reliable information before reading the articles for this module? Did you change/modify that opinion or not?

I have always been told that Wikipedia is not a creditable website for the uses of reliable information. I have never been able to used Wikipedia as a source for any assignments in my university career. My professors would discredit my work if I were to use Wikipedia as a course of information. After reading the articles, my opinion has not changed. However there was several things I was not aware about. Firstly, I learned that Wikipedia “has become the worlds dominant educational resource, with over 4 million articles in English” (Jensen R, 2012, p. 1165).  The site is ranks in the top ten internet sites in the world just below Facebook and search engine sites like Google” (Jensen R, 2012, p. 1165).  The article further explains that the authors tend to “ignore historiography and scholarly monographs articles” (Jensen R, 2012, p. 1165).  I now further understand why my professors would not allow me to use this website for research. The article Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812, further changed my opinion on Wikipedia as it further explained who and how the articles are written. It also explains the “rules of the game that have spontaneously evolve on the electronic frontier” (Jensen R, 2012, p. 1166).

Nevertheless it is very evident while reading through these articles that Wikipedia “is fast becoming an important resource for news and for information” (Royal, C., and Kapila, D., 2009, 138). It is also evident while researching for information, as Wikipedia is generally the first major link on a search engine. My opinion was then backed up when reading the article, “What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not? Assessing Completeness of Information”. This when authors Cindy royal, and Deepina Kapila state “ Although improved search engines such as Google facilitate access of knowledge across the Web, users then others. Wikipedia is one such site.” (Royal, C., and Kapila, D., 2009, 138). The article further states that “the Wikipedia is often criticized for the creditability of its user- generated posts, but completeness of information on the site has not previously been assessed.  Although accuracy of information is important, that is not what this project is measuring” (Royal, C., and Kapila, D., 2009, 138). I am curious why the accuracy of information is not what the article is focusing.

My personal feeling aside, Wikipedia “allows for a collaboration on a mass scale, which is changing the institution of society” Tapscott and Williams, 2006: 10). The article, Wikinomics and its Discontents: a Critical Analysis of the Web 2.0 Business Manifestos, “promotes the combined cultural and economic significance of business models, both in terms of their rhetorical information as well as in terms of their impact on social and cultural theory”. Overall the website, has an overwhelming affect on today’s society and culture.

Bibliography

Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182

Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148.

Brown, J. S. & P. Duguid. (1996). The Social Life of Documents. First Monday. 1, 1.

Tapscott, D. and A.D. Williams (2006). Wikinomics. How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. New York: Penguin.

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3 thoughts on “Module 3: Wikipedia

  1. I agree with what you stated in this post. I don’t think Wikipedia is 100% reliable, but it is free and useful. So sometimes I still visit it for some small pieces of information. We can’t depend on it for some huge academic researches, since the website is not focusing on accuracy. As a university student I totally understand why our profs not allow us to use Wikipedia for our assignments. I used to have strong confidence with Britannica, but those articles changed my mind. I am not trust Britannica as I used to, even I barely use it in my daily life. (Thanks you, Internet!) Now, I am not 100% trust both of them, but Wikipedia should improve itself by pay more attention on its articles’ accuracy and Britannica should refund the money to its customers.

  2. What is interesting is that I am starting to see is a common theme of how we students personally use Wikipedia for and that is for general curiosity purposes only!
    Yes, there are established and proven methodologies to research, document and defend thesis statements. When spending resources (time and money) to learn a subject in-depth Wikipedia does not fall within the realm of credible research material. It can provide generalities and then it is not always accurate.
    Wikipedia has instituted a ‘loosely’ structured set of rules for entering data. There is a fine line between controlling, which would mean accepting the controllers’ bias, and communal expression of information. Albeit not perfect, Wikipedia is well on its way to being successful at establishing a wide network of shared information.
    In our house, Wikipedia is used to gather general information often pertaining to current news headliners. In 1996 ‘The Social Life of Documents’ by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid, was forward thinking. In 2013, Wikipedia is the forward document thinker laying the tracks for future community information networks.

  3. I agree that Wikipedia has a huge effect on society and culture. If you were to ask twenty year olds today whether they would ever buy a print version or even electronic version of an encyclopedia, many would most likely say no. There is simply no need to purchase things like that now. Wikipedia has allowed us to have free access to organized information that we would be able to find in those paid encyclopedias. We do need to develop some tools that can improve the overall experience of Wikipedia and I think with time Wikipedia will develop those tools and will become better.

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