Reflecting on Wikipedia: Summative Module 3

As many of us do, we use Wikipedia for its quick reference on information we know not of. We have been told through the education system not to rely on Wikipedia for anything academic related. As I have found out through my previous post “To Wiki or to not Wiki” that many users are the same in which the beginning stages of finding information for research assignments usually, begin with searching on Wikipedia.  This has been reinforced throughout school however; it seems to be changing as I have had one professor state to the class that Wikipedia was an acceptable site for sources to an assignment.

                 In comparison, Britannica may be used more widely than Wikipedia because it employs writers to create there entries. I received a comment in which Britannica is much more academically relevant however, statistics in Giles paper talk for themselves in which the results prove that the two encyclopedias are similar in mistakes regardless of the writer’s education level.  There’s so much discussion and editing that happens that mistakes will eventually be fixed. The one thing that I would like to see fixed is adding more references on Wikipedia I have seen pages where references are missing and Wikipedia lets it be known to users.  One commentator said the Wikipedia team should closely monitor information being posted, I think if they were to do that Wikipedia wouldn’t be free or it would be filled with advertisements everywhere. I think that if there were mistakes other users would be able to identify them and make the necessary changes in order to make it use able again.

                 Wikipedia does well for being a user created encyclopedia. It is a free source of information that people post information about topics they feel passionate about and users work well to collaborate and create something that everyone can access. Being able to create, post, edit and discuss articles on Wikipedia make it a community effort in order to perfect entries on topics users are knowledgeable on. This however can create bias on topics that are covered thoroughly compared to others that are not. This goes back to Dijk and Nieborg’s statistic of only 13% of internet users contribute to creating anything including videos, entries etc. This calls for participation among users to help establish Wikipedia and disable the bias that is there.  Users that have higher education and entries missing on Wikipedia correlate to information that is not on there. There was a statistic that Jensen found 27% of editors were under the age of 21 and 13% were still in high school (2012).

                 When I generally use Wikipedia, I as well begin with it when starting a research assignment. I have found that I can trust most of what I see on Wikipedia but like to make sure with other sources to ensure that the correct information is what I am reading. I feel anyone using any source besides Wikipedia should do this because it makes your research more credible regardless. Over all I am an advocate for Wikipedia and believe it is something that is a good source for information.

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