Wikipedia!

    Before completing the assigned readings I used Wikipedia cautiously. I used this website only for non-academic knowledge and information. In my opinion I did not want to use this as a source for a essay or a project because the information regarding such topics could be wrong or over exaggerated. I was very hesitant in how I perceived and used the information learned and gained from Wikipedia.

    The first article relating to Wikipedia that I read was “What’s on Wikipedia, and What’sNot . . . ?” written by Cindy Royal and Deepina Kapil. In which one particular line caught  my attention; “Parnas, and Weinstein (2005) listed several risks inherent in the Wikipedia model: accuracy, motives, uncertain expertise, volatility, coverage, and sources” (Royal and Kapil, 2009). These listed risks of Wikipedia are in fact similar to my personal risks that I expect to see when working with Wikipedia. Accuracy, volatility and sources in fact are changed and/or modified by the user. However, these three aspects must have their information 100% right in order to correctly display the information. The one aspect that I believe is most important is motives. A user can in fact change or add information in a way that they perceive it or how they want others to perceive it due to their motives. These motives can be either good or bad. Good ones could be supporting or advertising a good cause through other Wikipedia’s. Nevertheless, bad motives could be to start conflict between groups of people.
    The second article was regarding the editing of a War o 1812 article on Wikipedia; Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812 written by Richard Jensen. He explains that the ongoing issue in relation with Wikipedia is the constant wrongful editing of articles. ““Anyone can edit is an invitation for troublemakers and vandals who make thousands of foolish changes to articles every hour (Jensen, 2012). These troublemakers make the public that use Wikipedia very hesitant when obtaining and reading information off this website. Jensen (2012) further explains how these wrongful edits are quickly removed. However, there are thousands and thousands of articles that all cannot be constantly monitored for wrongful edits. Thus, I have trouble believing that all of these bad and wrongful edits are found and fixed in a quick manner.

    The third article called Wikinomics and its discontents: a critical analysis of Web 2.0 business manifestos, written by Jose Van Dijck and David Nieborg. One statement really made me think about Wikipedia as a form of public participation and creativeness. “Mass creativity, peer- production and co-creation apparently warrant the erasure of the distinction between collective (non-market, public) and commercial (market, private) modes of production, as well as between producers and consumers; the terms also cleverly combine capital-intensive, profit-oriented industrial production with labour-intensive, non-profit-oriented peer production” (Dijck and Nieborg, 2009). The action to be able to edit articles on Wikipedia actually brings to the public and forces one to participate with each other in order to compete an article. However, this article could have the incorrect information.

    Therefore, After reading these three articles my opinion in relation to Wikipedia has not been changed but only modified. To me Wikipedia is filled with incorrect information that people have added in order to fill their motives or to be a ‘troublemaker’. However, Jose Van Dijck and David Nieborg’s article really opened my eyes up to the bigger picture, public participation. This massive participation between the public is in fact a great aspect of Wikipedia. Thus, modifying my outlook on Wikipedia however, I still will be very careful when reading and obtain information off this website.Image
This picture above describes Wikipedia, in which people participate together to add their knowledge to an article. 

 Krishnan, R. January 30, 2011. Social Network Stock Image. [Image] Received from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Communications_and_N_g263-Social_Network_p25773.html

References:

Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-118

 Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148

Van Dijk, J. & Nieborg, D. (2009). Wikinomics and its discontents: a critical analysis of Web 2.0 business manifestos. New Media & Society. 11, 5. pp 855-874.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Wikipedia!

  1. stephanielavelle

    Before reading the articles, my thoughts and opinions about Wikipedia is that it is an untrustworthy website whose information changes continuously. Throughout high-school and University, my teachers and professors have always advised students to not use Wikipedia as anyone can change information resulting in incorrect information. Because of this, I have never used Wikipedia in any of my assignments because of its lack of credibility.
    After readings the articles, my opinions have mostly stayed the same about Wikipedia being an untrustworthy website. The article that I agreed most with is written by Jensen, where he talks about the biggest disadvantage to Wikipedia its lack of authority. Jensen also talks about Wikipedia’s major problem with editing wars. Because of the high amount of editing wars, this also discourages me from using the website because information is always changing depending on who has written the entry.
    Overall I do believe Wikipedia is a good place to get a broad overview of information or a quick summary about a topic. I would not however rely on Wikipedia for accurate information due to the fact that information is constantly changing.

  2. Before I read the articles this week, I felt Wikipedia was only reliable for general inquiries that were not important to school or academics in general. I did not use Wikipedia for academics for the same reasons you described – “topics could be wrong or over exaggerated.” In my blog, I also mentioned how the articles in Wikipedia cannot always be under constant surveillance and edited, thus resulting in fears of inaccuracy on Wikipedia’s part. I agree that it would be hard to fix all of the inaccuracies quickly. Furthermore, even if they are fixed, they could be changed again and again (I provided an example on my blog post). A positive about Wikipedia is that is does allow people to work collaboratively together to produce information that is readily available to us. However, there is always the added fear that the information is not reliable. Furthermore, Wikipedia does provide a reference list at the end of each article, therefore, we can look at the sources they provide us with and decide if the information is accurate or not. Based on the articles and your post, I feel my opinion did not change by much. I feel that we should give Wikipedia a little more credit then we give them, but we should not use it as an academic source, maybe more for general inquiries. However, we should always be wary of the possible mistakes the articles may contain.

  3. If content accuracy is critical to your search purpose then your cautious approach to Wikipedia information is certainly warranted. Of course careful examination of most of the information we retrieve from the internet is generally a wise decision. Unfortunately, the troublemakers you mention in your post do not contain themselves to Wikipedia. Most of us have learned to delete fraudulent emails, ignore texts from unknown sources and never cite Wikipedia in an academic paper. We have come to identify obvious troublemaker behaviours but how many internet users are suspicious of new product reviews? Do they realize that most of the people posting those reviews have received some form of compensation? We have become dependent on our search engines and retrieve vast quantities of information each day but how many of the sites we find ourselves on do we trust to be accurate? Even when I search for a subject out of general interest I often find myself checking several sites returned by a search engine before I construct my meaning of the subject. Of course, I am also aware of many of the methods used to position search engine results so I’m not even satisfied by reviewing the top 10 returns because I know many of them have paid someone to hold onto those top spots. Your careful consideration of Wikipedia information makes perfect sense to me.

  4. Before reading the articles for Module 3 I definitely agreed that Wikipedia was very unreliable and I would never use it for academic purposes. After reading the articles they changed my opinions about the accuracy of Wikipedia articles for the better. I still do not think that I would use them for academic purposes but I do often l;ook to Wikipedia for information about a variety of topics and the information presented in their articles seem t be pretty accurate. Also, I think that if you had chosen to read a couple of the different articles or look deeper into Jensen’s (2012) article that mentions that there are thousands of people that contribute to and edit Wikipedia articles. These people contribute to these articles for no reward and often remain unnamed. I just don’t think that that many people log online to write false facts and it go unnoticed by the thousands of people on the Wikipedia website. Also I eally enjoyed learning more about the We-think strategy Wikipedia users use. I believe that collaboration of ideas and facts can definitely provide a greater perspective on many topics. Plus, who’s to say that everything we read in a history text book is true either? Overall I still believe thaat using Wikipedia with caution is needed although my perspective on the realiability of Wikipedia has most definitely changed.

  5. Wikipedia: Proceed with Caution!
    I have become somewhat bitter towards Wikipedia. If I am in search of a basic idea or definition of something, I Google it. Often, the first result on Google is Wikipedia, and yes, sometimes I do click on it. More often than not though, I will try to find a website hosted by a university or accredited foundation. Even if I do not require academic information because I’m seeking answers for curiosity’s sake, not academic purposes I would prefer to find documents written by experts.

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