Re: Using Wikipedia as an "authoritative" source...

Subject: Re: Using Wikipedia as an "authoritative" source...
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 13:54:30 -0400

Mitchell Maltenfort wrote:

Authoritative, no, but at this stage in my life I consider few
references authoritative.

If I have to look something up, I check three reliable sources.

But I find that Wikipedia is very nice for two things:

* public-domain graphics.

* an estimate of the "consenus" opinion on a topic.


Unfortunately, the consensus is not always the view represented in Wikipedia. The problem is fundamental to the model. Anyone with an interest in a topic can write it. And, with many topics, the person most interested is the person with an axe to grind. That isn't always apparent, though, if you are looking something up that you don't already know a bit about.

In many fields (scientific, medical, technical, economic, political, historical, and cultural fields, just to pick a few obvious categories), there are numerous internal debates going on all the time. If someone with an agenda with respect to those debates writes the article, chances are you are going to come away with a one-sided view of current thinking.

Wikipedia is _a_ source, but it's not authoritative by any stretch of the imagination. If you need to understand something accurately (even if superficially), don't rely on it too much.


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Using Wikipedia as an "authoritative" source...: From: Art Campbell
Re: Using Wikipedia as an "authoritative" source...: From: Mitchell Maltenfort

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