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Wikipedia 101: Check your sources

by Owyn / February 28, 2007 10:10 PM PST

"A few months back, The New Yorker published a long piece about online encyclopedia Wikipedia. This week, the magazine ran an editors' note detailing a problem with one of the sources in the article."

Part of the reason why Wiki links are not accepted as authoritative academic citations. However, it is still a good way to start research on a topic. And, if you use Wikiseek you will only see info from the Wiki and included links.

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I'm a substitute teacher, usually in the
by drpruner / March 1, 2007 5:59 AM PST

local high school. Recently a teacher left an assignment for his kids to get online info about a topic. Every one went to Wikipedia first.
I had no written instructions ruling out Wiki, so I let it go. BUT I told them that many people above the HS level (College profs, employers) won't allow Wiki because of the well-discussed problems. Also, the mainstream sources (Britannica, World Book e.g.) are to be preferred IMO because
(a) they are mainstream; learn those first, and
(b) their contributors and credentials are front and center.

I feel one can use Wiki to "start research on a topic", but not as strongly as you do. If the Wiki article is biased, wrong, or fraudulent the reader may be prejudiced before going to another source.

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My university lecturer says the same thing
by PinoyGuy_88 / March 1, 2007 9:41 AM PST

For one of my classes of my Education course, she says that Wikipedia is preferred as a "starting point" to research, much like Google. But as a credible academic source, highly frowned upon.

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I use Wikipedia
by SilasC / March 1, 2007 9:46 AM PST

However most of the time I just look for basic information. If I need to use it for a project, I use it to get the general idea. If I want more meat, I go to one of the cited links or one of the external links. The more, the better. Usually ones with a lot of pertinent links can be trusted. That means that someone takes their time to establish a good article.

Vandalism isn't a problem usually. Most of it is so bad you can ignore it. I just ran into an article today that said "WiKiPEIA sucks!!!!!!!" Very easy to ignore and then delete (I'm a good Wikizen after all).

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