re: Using Wikipedia as an "authoritative" source

Subject: re: Using Wikipedia as an "authoritative" source
From: "Lou Quillio" <public -at- quillio -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2005 10:17:58 -0400 (EDT)

On Thu, October 20, 2005 9:58 am, Sean Hower said:

> Maybe I'm wrong on this, but has anyone actually said that Wikipedia was
> an authoritative source on any topic? Sure, people have said that they use
> it, but has anyone said that Wikipedia is their ONLY source of information
> and that they trust it 100%?
> If not, why all the arguements about Wikipedia not being authoritative?
> Isn't that a straw man? Unless, of course, the assertion is that all
> information sources must be authoritative, which is great if authoritative
> meant that the information is 100% accurate and unbiased. If that is the
> criteria, I've never seen an authoritative source. I've only seen ones
> that had the money, influence, weapons, or reputation to fake it. ;-)

Precisely right. Wikipedia is what it is. Use it or don't.

If I examine a Wikipedia entry and decide to make a link to it, say to
provide background on an uncommon term, I *know* that folks following the
link won't see exactly the same page I did. In fact they may click
through in the few moments after some joker has defaced the page and
before it's been repaired. That's how it is.

On the other hand, the entry I've linked to may concern an evolving topic.
The odds are strong that, all things equal, there'll be something germane
and up-to-date at that Wikipedia page five years from now -- so the link
stays fresh and relevant, which benefits my content.

There will also be outbound links from the Wikipedia entry, to get folks
started. And of course there's Google; there's always Google.

Now, there _are_ questions about how to make Wikipedia the best Wikipedia
it can be, but they're parochial. It doesn't aspire to authority, so
nobody should be surprised if Wikipedia isn't "authoritative" in the ways
they mistakenly supposed it to be.



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re: Using Wikipedia as an "authoritative" source: From: Sean Hower

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