More Welcome Ridicule for Wikipedia

Wikipedia is generally fun, sometimes useful, often entertaining. What it isn’t is very dependable, for the very reason that makes it fun: it is an encyclopedia whose content is generated by random contributors. We’ve touched on this subject a few times on this blog, here and here and here. But Stephen Colbert has done a better job of ridiculing Wikipedia than we could ever dream.

TAGS:

Leave A Comment

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

 

COMMENTS: 64

View All Comments »
  1. TheQuitter says:

    I went back and read the other three entries you posted about wikipedia. It would seem the name was obviously a combination of ‘wiki’ and ‘encyclopedia’. One is a technology, the other is a social acceptance as a large set of books (that is always correct).

    Here you see the problem. While it’s very easy to create a small subset of the world in text, and call it ‘always correct,’ you conversely miss out on the rest of the information in this world. Surely, there must be people out there who know more than those who write full-time for wikipedia, and they seem to realize this as they allow people to edit the entries.

    The power of information is that when fostered by a global community, knowledge is endless. The downfall is that pranksters have a say in all of this. We have seen though, wikipedia takes measures against abuse. In the end, I think we all know to take what we read online with a grain of salt.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  2. TheQuitter says:

    I went back and read the other three entries you posted about wikipedia. It would seem the name was obviously a combination of ‘wiki’ and ‘encyclopedia’. One is a technology, the other is a social acceptance as a large set of books (that is always correct).

    Here you see the problem. While it’s very easy to create a small subset of the world in text, and call it ‘always correct,’ you conversely miss out on the rest of the information in this world. Surely, there must be people out there who know more than those who write full-time for wikipedia, and they seem to realize this as they allow people to edit the entries.

    The power of information is that when fostered by a global community, knowledge is endless. The downfall is that pranksters have a say in all of this. We have seen though, wikipedia takes measures against abuse. In the end, I think we all know to take what we read online with a grain of salt.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  3. freethinker says:

    Wikipedia is certainly wrong on many issues, but on some serious academic-type subjects, it seems to be fairly accurate. Check out this post from the Scientific American blog (see link below); it details a study that randomly chose 50 science related topics, and compared Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Britannica on the chosen subjects. Then they had experts review the entries for errors, and they found that Encyclopedia Britannica was no better than Wikipedia.

    http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=wiki_this&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  4. freethinker says:

    Wikipedia is certainly wrong on many issues, but on some serious academic-type subjects, it seems to be fairly accurate. Check out this post from the Scientific American blog (see link below); it details a study that randomly chose 50 science related topics, and compared Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Britannica on the chosen subjects. Then they had experts review the entries for errors, and they found that Encyclopedia Britannica was no better than Wikipedia.

    http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=wiki_this&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  5. hombrelobo says:

    Actually, what Colbert did was idiotic, and has backfired: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/02/1747238

    It is as if I go to a park a pee all over the grass and then I claim that public parks are useless and shouldn’t be allowed because they can so easily be vandalised. What wikipedia is doing is something never seen before, and you can constantly find better information than in many other similar sources of information, with one important difference: it is FREE.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  6. hombrelobo says:

    Actually, what Colbert did was idiotic, and has backfired: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/02/1747238

    It is as if I go to a park a pee all over the grass and then I claim that public parks are useless and shouldn’t be allowed because they can so easily be vandalised. What wikipedia is doing is something never seen before, and you can constantly find better information than in many other similar sources of information, with one important difference: it is FREE.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  7. prosa says:

    Wikipedia may not be reliable for serious reasearch but it is useful for getting a quick and usually readable overview of an unfamiliar topic. That’s the sort of thing which can be surprisingly difficult to find online.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  8. prosa says:

    Wikipedia may not be reliable for serious reasearch but it is useful for getting a quick and usually readable overview of an unfamiliar topic. That’s the sort of thing which can be surprisingly difficult to find online.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0