Controversy among Wikipedia has always been an issue for most scholars. The use of Wikipedia has been prohibited by academic standards. This is due to Wikipedia allowing anyone to edit their articles. As Giles mentions, “critics have raised concerns about the site’s increasing influence, questioning whether multiple, unpaid editors can match paid professionals for accuracy” (900). I believe that they can and will since it’s one of the top 40 most visited sites of the world (Jensen, 2012) with over thousands of articles on a variety of information available for anyone and everyone to see for free.
The lack of professional writers doesn’t mean Wikipedia isn’t credible. Royal and Kapila mention that a bias is created when some entries that are typically interests that youth follow have more information regarding them the other articles per say (2005). It can be considered biased however, those articles preferred more by youth would be more credible meaning many users will perfect and edit the articles to capture the most accurate, objective information available.
A point by Royal and Kapila mentioned that the “assumption that more writers and editors are better than fewer and that the community will develop and monitor content in a manner that is improved over that of traditional information publishing” (139, 2005). I agree with this, and this manner is an improved way of informing the public in a variety of topics available. This usually may not be the best because of increasing vandalism by anonymous users. In some cases, some articles on Wikipedia are semi-protected. The article I looked at on bullying was semi-protected because it’s probably seen a vast amount of vandalism making the articles foundation unchangeable without a user ID to Wikipedia. This just ensures that any content entered through Wikipedia is now monitored making it more credible and free of vandalism.
The formation of the article begins with a whole community of users “talking” about the article in order to improve its foundation. One section that caught my eye while reading about bullying was a section on “characteristics of targets” and eventually moving into characteristics of bullies, bystanders etc. Numerous contributions to the conversation are input through re-defining bullying. Some suggestions included that bullying is closely related to narcissistic behaviour and many others believe that it is a social construct of society. The users sorted out the different views coming up with the correct point in which I also believe that it was a social construct of society. The way the users
The users talk about the topic of characteristics in a democratic way. Every user behaves in an equal manner meaning they don’t assert their academic standing to each other while in the forums. Every point made is discussed in a reasonable manner with the intent to make the information a better resource for everyone to use. When others agree with one users point, it is asked that references are provided in order to verify the point.
The information users were stating was relatively objective as Jenson mentions that editors “pride themselves in adhering to Wikipedia’s NPOV rule” (1169). In which I found they did enforce that rule even though one user stated a personal opinion however he acknowledged that personal opinion was not allowed therefore keeping Wikipedia’s NPOV rule.
When following to see whether the information was sourced appropriately, I found that some had links going directly to the site or cited appropriately. There were however other sites that were questionable as to whether the information was there because links were broken. This questions the credibility of the information provided on the article. I believe that these sites may have re-arranged information because looking at the dates that some articles have been written are over 2 years old and websites can go through maintenances changing information. I recommend that editors need to just go through articles to update sources that are broken to ensure credibility of the article.
Providing a fast source of information for a robust variety of topics, Wikipedia tries to reference, validate and certify credibility in the information written on. A collaborated, unified community is created and gathers to ensure unbiased information, thanks to Wikipedia’s NPOV rule, provides credibility and valid information for everyone to use. I believe that the article I chose on bullying has an interest through the many users that edit it, making it more credible as opposed to other articles. I feel that one should still be wary when using Wikipedia. It is an excellent source for valid information however mistakes will be made and that one should still verify with the links that are provided to any statement made on Wikipedia.
Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182
Giles. J. (2005). Special Report: Internet encyclopaedias go head to head. Nature. 438, pp 900-901.
Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 1
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