Is Wikipedia an Authentic Source of Information? Twitter Followers Talk

Do you know that Wikipedia can be edited by anyone from anywhere in the world, even without a registered user account? In this context, there has always been disputes as to the authenticity of the content.

Yesterday, Ms Laurel Shah and I (@vjlenin) posted our Twitter followers a query:

Do you believe Wikipedia is an authentic source of information?

The @replies have been quick and enlightening. They are posted here. Make sure you follow interesting Twitter accounts here.



@Ncub8: I believe that as a whole, Wikipedia is fairly accurate by virtue of massive crowdsourcing. It shouldn't be used academically.

@LizS4ra: oh heavens no, it's editable by any loon.

@RawrStar: It's not considered a viable source of information in exams, and it's often inaccurate. I'd say no.

@Adenhepburn: Tough Q, I've changed my answer 5 times in my head already so I'll throw something crazy out there with NO thinking to justify!

@Ulumarketing: It really depends. If it is for work - absolutely not. Curiosity - sure. The depth of attributions at the bottom help me know.

@Maybenextyear: sometimes trust footnoted material.

@Ahdchild: Wikipedia is a great place to get info but you should verify what you learn there. The same is true for most sources of info.

@Usedcargenius: I see Wikis as a great starting place. They're good for letting you know how much you don't know—not for definitive answers.

@Maxi8: No. People can add any data they want to Wikipedia.

@Cindybidar: Wikipedia is a good place to find primary sources, but not generally a primary source itself.

@Shinydesigns: Like any other information source, it should be used with careful consideration. I've found, and independently verified useful facts.

@Bardfilm: "Authentic" isn't "authoritative". Wikipedia can be both—but, for most audiences, other sources are preferable in the extreme.

@Tweetbook1: No, I don't. Many Japanese don't believe all the articles on Wiki, because we knew some political persons wrote negative about Japan.

@Littletechgirl: I'm torn on Wikipedia. Some info is great, but the fact that ANYONE can edit is the downside to me. I have seen pages hacked and false info on there several times. But, if they police it well and make sure that only good relevant info gets posted, then it's great. I even have an app for it on my iPhone. (Three continuous tweets)

@Othella: Wikipedia contains too many subjective contents, some important pieces of information are not included, mostly those related to society.

@Dimitri_from_ro: Yes it is authentic. I did edit Wikipedia myself and I can tell you that the information I wrote was very well documented.

@Cfine: Wikipedia is a credible source of information as it is policed by the public. Fakes and falsities are often caught early.

@TchrEric: Too easily manipulated and "modified"; would not accept it as credible source in research or scholarly work; starting point, maybe.

@Frank_einstien: Wikipedia is a good place to understand a topic and get links to the most relevant resources.



Conclusion

Most of the people who answered this query found that Wikipedia is NOT a trustworthy source for information. Anyone without any authority can edit this resource, though it is clearly well policed and is regarded by most as a trustworthy resource. However, errors encroach every now and then.

Most of the articles in Wikipedia have citations (references) at the bottom. These citation links point to reliable sources (perhaps only reliable ones). Therefore, Wikipedia article is a good source for basic information about any subject, and for detailed authentic information, you can follow the citation links.

Readers, more Twitter questions will be posted in the future. Make sure you follow the Twitter accounts you found above. And answer my follower questions to get featured here.

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

1 Opinions:

  1. The citation links on most wikipedia themselves are not always trustworthy sources. Especially some links refering to History and Humanities. So the sum-up is that Wikipedia is not an all true all the time information. There is lot of half truth ,half lies all over the pages.

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