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Posted: 4/21/2007 9:32:14 PM EDT
It could have been something great. It could have been an online knowledge base that cross referrences itself and fulfilled HG Wells imagined "electronic library."

But given the fact that pages are little more than opinion that can be editted by ANYONE it is of no more value as a source than some of the topics here.

And if you include "controversial" facts they generally don't seem to last.

Articles are subject to public opinion more than verified sources and attacks from detractors are common. We all remember when there used to be a ar15.com page until it was attacked by lefties.

The only thing it is useful for is a starting point for information that then needs to be verified by a reliable source and basically any search engine can do that.
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:34:19 PM EDT
[#1]
i've learned a ton about WW2 history from wikipedia, as well as astrophysics.

It is a great source for obscure topics, especially internet culture-related topics, information on which you won't find ANYWHERE else.

You sacrifice 2% of accuracy in exchange for 100,000 time more breadth than any other encyclopedia.

political articles will always be suspect because of their controversial issues, but there was a study done recently that found that accuracy in science-related articles was on par with Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:34:55 PM EDT
[#2]
hmm, Guess I shouldn't of cited an article from there for that final paper yesterday.  DOH!  
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:36:07 PM EDT
[#3]
It's so the founders can get rich.  Don't you wish you'd have thought of it?  
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:36:47 PM EDT
[#4]
After seeing the mccarthy thread it really makes you wonder how other people have had their hand in the history on that site.

I'll always check references and study a little more when i find something on wiki.
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:39:00 PM EDT
[#5]
There are at least two successors planned, both of which would require submissions to undergo peer review and include the authors credentials.
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:40:23 PM EDT
[#6]
Quick, summarized, cliff notes style info. Not the best source for some things but a good source for quick information. Wouldn't list it as a source, but can be quite handy at times.
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:43:45 PM EDT
[#7]
Oh noes, it's not teh perfekt!

But it's pretty damn good.  I find having it to be more worthwhile than not.  Sure, it could be better in some areas but hell, what couldn't?
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:44:19 PM EDT
[#8]
I love it personaly...I often spend my lunch break browsing it. But, it is not the end-all of information.  As has been said for an overvue of a scientific or historical topic it is great, but I wouldn't use it as a reference for a paper OR for anything I was making a decision on.
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:45:22 PM EDT
[#9]
... Do not use Wikipedia in collegiate citations
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:45:31 PM EDT
[#10]
Decent source for general, non-controversial info.

Fun to waste time on finding how random things are related - think "six degrees of separation", but starting with some random article and just seeing where it takes you.
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:48:27 PM EDT
[#11]
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:49:50 PM EDT
[#12]

Quoted:

Quoted:
It's so the founders can get rich.  Don't you wish you'd have thought of it?  


Actually in this case it is not.

www.gulfnews.com/business/Technology/10119925.html


Oh, somebody (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft) will buy them.  They are way too popular to not be an acquisition target.
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 9:55:44 PM EDT
[#13]
I do a lot of research for certain topics.  I use Wiki as a quick reference for personal use, but it's simply no good for reliable info -- it's great for early data for further fact checking.  And, if you don't like it, you can always change it, which I don't.  IMO, most entries are by undergrads that wrote a term paper.  The Punk Rock section's pretty good, though.  
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 10:00:43 PM EDT
[#14]

Quoted:
Decent source for general, non-controversial info.

Fun to waste time on finding how random things are related - think "six degrees of separation", but starting with some random article and just seeing where it takes you.


AR-15 > Hunting > Recreation > Sex



PROOF! GUNS AND SEX ARE RELATED!!!!
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 10:00:54 PM EDT
[#15]

Quoted:
It could have been something great. It could have been an online knowledge base that cross referrences itself and fulfilled HG Wells imagined "electronic library."

But given the fact that pages are little more than opinion that can be editted by ANYONE it is of no more value as a source than some of the topics here.

And if you include "controversial" facts they generally don't seem to last.

Articles are subject to public opinion more than verified sources and attacks from detractors are common. We all remember when there used to be a ar15.com page until it was attacked by lefties.

The only thing it is useful for is a starting point for information that then needs to be verified by a reliable source and basically any search engine can do that.


Some subjects have factual information, others opinion.  Having a knowledge of the subject you are studying helps you distinguish between useful information and BS.
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 10:28:13 PM EDT
[#16]
The alternative is paying people to fact-check everything, which is what real encyclopedias that you buy in the store do.

As it is, Wikipedia is free to use...and free to ignore.
Link Posted: 4/21/2007 10:31:00 PM EDT
[#17]

Quoted:
The alternative is paying people to fact-check everything, which is what real encyclopedias that you buy in the store do.

As it is, Wikipedia is free to use...and free to ignore.


Well said.  I'll use that for future use in my own work.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:05:26 AM EDT
[#18]

Quoted:
i've learned a ton about WW2 history from wikipedia, as well as astrophysics.

It is a great source for obscure topics, especially internet culture-related topics, information on which you won't find ANYWHERE else.

You sacrifice 2% of accuracy in exchange for 100,000 time more breadth than any other encyclopedia.

political articles will always be suspect because of their controversial issues, but there was a study done recently that found that accuracy in science-related articles was on par with Encyclopedia Brittanica.


I seriously doubt there error rate is only 2%.

I'd look it up on Wiki but for all I know 5 minutes before I got there a 12 year old kid with Downs Syndrome editted the page.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:07:57 AM EDT
[#19]

Quoted:


Some subjects have factual information, others opinion.  Having a knowledge of the subject you are studying helps you distinguish between useful information and BS.


What if you are looking up something you have little knowledge of? Which is usually the reason you look something up.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:12:53 AM EDT
[#20]
It's just a starting point, to get some ideas down, so to speak. but I would not cite it as a source. I've seen Professors laugh when students cite Wiki as a source.

But in time it can be a great thing, someday just not today.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:13:29 AM EDT
[#21]
I use it to find obscure events and theories, and go search them else where. Sort of a place to go for inspiration for something to learn or work with.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:17:00 AM EDT
[#22]

Quoted:

Quoted:
i've learned a ton about WW2 history from wikipedia, as well as astrophysics.

It is a great source for obscure topics, especially internet culture-related topics, information on which you won't find ANYWHERE else.

You sacrifice 2% of accuracy in exchange for 100,000 time more breadth than any other encyclopedia.

political articles will always be suspect because of their controversial issues, but there was a study done recently that found that accuracy in science-related articles was on par with Encyclopedia Brittanica.


I seriously doubt there error rate is only 2%.

I'd look it up on Wiki but for all I know 5 minutes before I got there a 12 year old kid with Downs Syndrome editted the page.


i'm not sure what sort of articles you were looking at specifically, but i have found very few obvious errors in the history and science articles i've read.

I suspect that pop culture topics or topics dealing with political issues or figures would be different though.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:21:18 AM EDT
[#23]
Wikipedia is entertainment value only.

Look up the entry on Encyclopedia Dramatica on Wikipedia.  Encyclopedia Dramatica is a perfect example of what the Wiki system is good at - really funny stupid bullshit.

I won't link to it because there might be some objectionable content.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:27:50 AM EDT
[#24]

Quoted:

Well said.  I'll use that for future use in my own work.




Personally, I'll go to Wikipedia for general information, and then turn to Google for specific information and as a fact-checking measure.

Something else that helps is to check the discussion bits for each Wikipedia article - it gives you some insight into the kind of fact-checking that goes on for that particular page, and by extension, how reliable the page is in general.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:37:05 AM EDT
[#25]
wiki has tons of good info. I can play on there for hours at a time
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:53:05 AM EDT
[#26]

Quoted:
... Do not use Wikipedia in collegiate citations


Smart students read the Wiki page and cite the sources that Wikipedia cited....

If you create a system that students can understand, you create one that they can beat!
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 1:04:57 AM EDT
[#27]

Quoted:
I seriously doubt there error rate is only 2%.

I'd look it up on Wiki but for all I know 5 minutes before I got there a 12 year old kid with Downs Syndrome editted the page.


I don't, especially with pages with citations. The next time you look at a wiki page, look at the citations and source links... They are actually pretty spot on most of the time.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 1:24:44 AM EDT
[#28]
It is the online equivalent of asking your buddy the opinion on XYZ. Sometimes the info is right, sometimes not. Also as some have mentioned its good for those obscure online/technology related subjects that only a geek would know.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 1:28:20 AM EDT
[#29]
I refuse to visit the site. Along with a list of other host names, it points to 127.0.0.1
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 1:28:54 AM EDT
[#30]
Hey Hey

I resent that whole title of geek, rather be a geek than a hood. Besides we make the world a better place. (sometimes)
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 7:36:56 AM EDT
[#31]

Quoted:
I refuse to visit the site. Along with a list of other host names, it points to 127.0.0.1


I have no idea what that meens and now sundenly I don't want to WIKI it....explanation?
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 7:40:29 AM EDT
[#32]

Quoted:
It could have been something great. It could have been an online knowledge base that cross referrences itself and fulfilled HG Wells imagined "electronic library."

But given the fact that pages are little more than opinion that can be editted by ANYONE it is of no more value as a source than some of the topics here.

And if you include "controversial" facts they generally don't seem to last.

Articles are subject to public opinion more than verified sources and attacks from detractors are common. We all remember when there used to be a ar15.com page until it was attacked by lefties.

The only thing it is useful for is a starting point for information that then needs to be verified by a reliable source and basically any search engine can do that.



+1

The omissions and inaccuracies make it fairly useless.

ETA - unless your goal is to find popular opinion on something.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 8:00:15 AM EDT
[#33]
wikipedia has it's positive and negative qualities. I'm an engineering student and it's damn near invaluable in a scientific context. Most of the articles are cited like any other reference, and those that are not should always be taken with a skeptical grain of salt.

If you're looking for political insight on wikipedia, good luck. Try searching for CCW, for example. the author wrote about all the positives about how it decreases crime rates, but hippies have reported it at biased and "does not have all the facts"

CDH
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 8:03:37 AM EDT
[#34]
Havent used much but its free and semi-useful
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 8:08:15 AM EDT
[#35]
it's the ultimate hive mind.

can someone, on their own without googling,  provide a link for something that is demonstrably wrong?
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 8:10:38 AM EDT
[#36]
In many respects it's as good as a WorldBook or Britannica, in some respects it's better.

Like any encyclopedia the text will reflect the author's bias, be extremely general, and may contain a viewpoint which doesn't agree with everyone.

No self respecting college student would use any general use encyclopedia as a cited reference in a paper.  From what I've seen they quit that in High School.  When you really haven't a clue about the topic though, encyclopedias can give you a quick overview to start with.  More info than a dictionary, less info than a real source.  They serve a purpose.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 8:10:48 AM EDT
[#37]

Quoted:
hmm, Guess I shouldn't of cited an article from there for that final paper yesterday.  DOH!  


Its not considered a legitimate source at the University here.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 8:26:47 AM EDT
[#38]
So what if it can be edited by anyone? On the net, anyone can publish whatever they want. If you want specially certified gatekeepers, look to print. "Controversial" facts might last longer there, but they're much less likely to be published at all.
The OP's post can substitute the internet for Wikipedia, and come to the same conclusion.
Make sure it's right yourself instead of bowing before the gods of paper.

"For an educated man should be able to form a fair off-hand judgment as to the goodness or badness of the method used by a professor in his exposition. To be educated is in fact to be able to do this;  and even the man of universal education we deem to be such in virtue of his having this ability." - Aristotle (from On the Parts of Animals, IIRC)

If you can't search something when it looks off, then I think you fully deserve what you get.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 8:44:24 AM EDT
[#39]
Not perfect is gross understatement, in fact it is pretty bad.

Good for the trivial, scientific content, and surface knowledge but little depth, not reliable with lots of incorrect information and tons of opinion as fact. Worthless for history, politics, or anything the least bit controversial.

If you ALREDY know a subject you can cut through the BS but then that makes it kinda useless as a reference source.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 11:44:23 AM EDT
[#40]

Quoted:
there was a study done recently that found that accuracy in science-related articles was on par BETTER THAN Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 11:55:01 AM EDT
[#41]

Quoted:

Quoted:
... Do not use Wikipedia in collegiate citations


Smart students read the Wiki page and cite the sources that Wikipedia cited....

If you create a system that students can understand, you create one that they can beat!


The citations are the most valuable part, IMO.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 11:57:31 AM EDT
[#42]
<------- Banned by Wikipaedia!
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 11:59:54 AM EDT
[#43]

Quoted:
Havent used much but its free and semi-useful


I use it quite a bit, but your right its free and a quick reference source. Semi-useful is the best way to describe it.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:05:45 PM EDT
[#44]
It's cool for looking up obscure science fiction stuff. Their Doctor Who entry is pretty impressive, as is the one for Warhammer 40K. But I wouldn't trust it an inch for information about anything even remotely controversial.
Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:07:26 PM EDT
[#45]

Quoted:
I refuse to visit the site. Along with a list of other host names, it points to 127.0.0.1

Uh, why bother black-holing Wikipedia.

It's not like it is an adware site.



Link Posted: 4/22/2007 12:08:46 PM EDT
[#46]
One nice thing about Wikipedia is that views that fall outside the mainstream can be included. In mainstream sources of information (especially ones that rely on ad dollars) these views tend to be excluded because they're unpopular or politically incorrect, even if the those views are the truth.
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