Wikipedia: Op-Ed

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Wikipedia “allows for collaboration on a mass scale, which is changing the institution of society”(Tapscott and Williams, 2006). Individuals come together to collaborate and share their knowledge, which is then given accessed by millions of users around the world. With easy access to the websites editing system comes a great deal of responsibility as well. In general, I have found the information on Wikipedia not 100% accurate. However when referring to my topic(Scottish Independence) and after reading what Wikipedia had displayed on the topic, I can say that it is very informative and greatly detailed. Even after reading the “talk” page on this topic, I was still convinced that the information given was thorough. However there were three main issues detailed on this page. One issue I took to was how national debt would be affected by Scotland becoming independent. This is a very important issue as it then addresses several other hot topics that the country is currently dealing with. These issues include “Would the Royal Scottish Bank become the controller of currency for Scotland? Were there any details on (presumed) mutual defense agreements, moving military assets from one to the other, would Scotland become a new nuclear power? Would you need a passport to travel to Scotland?” When in Scotland I was able to hear about these issues everyday on commercials, news reports, and other mass media outlets. This experience allowed me to hear this issues first hand from the local residents and how important these issues are to them. Without covering these issues Wikipedia has not accurately portrayed Scottish Independence ad the issues that surround the idea. Again the information given seemed to be accurate and was great at giving this history of the Scotland and the unions the country is currently in.

 

Without the key issues previously discussed, it further relays to the issues addressed in the article “Assessing Completeness of Information”. It gives us detailed discussion about how reliable Wikipedia is. As the authors stated “Wikipedia lets anyone create and edit content, which makes people doubt about the accuracy of the information “(Royal & Kapila, 2009). Little Fish reinforces the issue when stated “based on Wikipedia’s policy of free editing, we may not be able to city it’s source in professional paper directly”. The Encyclopedia Britannica, one of the world’s most authoritative encyclopedia, Jim (2005) found “But it is not the case that errors creep in on an occasional basis or that a couple of articles are poorly written. There are lots of articles in that condition. They need a good editor.”

 

Again Wikipedia plays a very important role in our society as we have seen in this week’s readings. However as already mentioned Wikipedia’s editing process allows users tochange information that has already been posted. Life as a Scanner brings up a great point “you can not truly telling if the information is true unless you go the extra mile and double check what is being posted”.  I believe that our society today has become lazier and wouldn’t necessarily take the time to double check all of the information received from the website.

 

Furthermore, I also agree with Alensaric’s comments on how to start looing for research material. : “My view of Wikipedia is simple: I think that it is an excellent source to gather preliminary knowledge about a topic. After gaining this preliminary knowledge, I would have a better idea of what to search in academic databases. I would also have a better idea of how to structure my own paper. Alensaric blog have very inspirational last words that I wish to use as mine as well.. “As a final word: Do not be afraid to use WIkipedia as a source of information, but be careful with what you accept as fact”.

 

 

References

 

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

 

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.

 

Giles. J. (2005). Special Report: Internet encyclopaedias go head to headNature. 438, pp 900-901.

Photo From: http://zapworld.in/wp-content/uploads/Wikipedia.jpg

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