Is Wikipedia lying to you?

Photo Credit: Shishberg via Compfight cc

With over 3 million English entries, Wikipedia is a popular source for gaining information. Often we are reminded to think about the internets reliability. An example I’ll use is with twerking/fire fail. I had first watched this when it first came out and completely believed it was true without even second guessing. I guess I believed there are always people who want to try the “trend of the week” and not everyone can do it (an obvious example of this, is the cinnamon challenge). However, after I had watched the true version of the video and realized it was a prank and was shocked. The video had gotten 15 million views… This is the perfect example of how, not just in the technology world, but all the time one needs to question the validity of what they’re reading or watching.

After this thought had crossed my mind I had instantly started questioning where I usually get my information from. Although many teachers instruct you not to… I often find myself using Wikipedia because of the simple and easy way they display the information. I had heard both sides about the accuracy of Wikipedia and just decided I’d believe Wikipedia had to be mostly true. However, after this lesson today my curiosity was pushed further. I had googled quite a few articles about Wikipedia and it’s validity. The funny part was, the first website to popup was of course Wikipedia with an article about Reliability of Wikipedia. There was one site that actually talked about a study done specifically on this subject. The study had stated that with a comparison between Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica, both had contained 4 serious errors when 47 articles were reviewed. I thought this was pretty eye opening due to the fact that both have very different understandings of creditability.

After this research, the majority of articles I had read all pointed to a similar approach: always read more than one resource on the subject so you are able to cross-reference and find differences. No matter if you’re even using Encyclopaedia Britannica over Wikipedia it is always suggested you cross-references another source.

My final thought about this subject would be that I do now feel confident using Wikipedia as I usually always have more than one reference anyways. Information is always a good thing to have, but no matter where it comes from, you should always spend time questioning its validity.


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