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Wikipedia...is it reliable?

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Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby datdo » Fri 11.03.2006 10:48 pm

I've been wondering...now that wikipedia is all famous and whatnot is it reliable? The teachers in my school hate it some even say they'll fail you if you site it as a source. My current history teacher actually modifies entries entries to incorporate false information all the time. I think hes part of the reason why people can't edit wikipedia under the school's ip address...Well anyway what are your thoughts on Wikipedia?
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Kagemaru » Fri 11.03.2006 11:20 pm

I find from time to time irrelevant, inaccurate, misleading and even completely wrong information, although I believe if used as a data base it is very handy. I would not count on it as a single source, but that goes for anything; not specifically Wikipedia.

datdo wrote:
My current history teacher actually modifies entries entries to incorporate false information all the time.


Interesting....

At the time I was in high school (just as the internet had been realeased), teachers often would ban quoting from specific books and encyclopaedias. I think this would be similar to your case, as teachers were (and still are, by the looks of it) trying to stamp out lazy researching/studying. In that I mean finding the quickest and closest resource, citing it, using it as a lone source and putting very little effort into any further research. Later in university, I was grateful as I learnt how to study rather than what to study.

The ease of use of Wikipedia, would most probably be a thorn in the side of an educator...
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Belie » Sat 11.04.2006 12:26 am

Heh, our school IP is blocked too!

Personally, I agree with not using Wikipedia as a source because most of the people are hardly credible experts. Usually it's just some guys that know a few things or two and you yourself can just step in and write what you want your paper to say ;). I just use it to find articles or websites that can help me, because often what they include can be helpful (or at least lead to helpful things).
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Infidel » Sat 11.04.2006 2:01 am

Wikipedia is great for quickly referencing stuff you already know. It can also be useful as a springboard to finding good info on other sites due to the links at the bottom of most pages. But it is not an authorative source unless it is maintained and moderated.

Private wikis maintained by reputable interested organizations are a different story.
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Txkun » Sat 11.04.2006 3:28 am

I think Wikipedia ti's a good reference and I want to hope that people is constantly striving to make it a repository of knowledge.

My current history teacher actually modifies entries entries to incorporate false information all the time

...
World is rotting due to people like this one... and he's a "teacher". Very nice moral teaching here.
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 11.04.2006 6:26 am

datdo wrote:
I've been wondering...now that wikipedia is all famous and whatnot is it reliable? The teachers in my school hate it some even say they'll fail you if you site it as a source. My current history teacher actually modifies entries entries to incorporate false information all the time. I think hes part of the reason why people can't edit wikipedia under the school's ip address...Well anyway what are your thoughts on Wikipedia?


I think you ought to report your history teacher to your local school board and newspaper. What he is doing is malicious and unethical.
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby paul_b » Sat 11.04.2006 6:49 am

Mike Cash wrote:
I think you ought to report your history teacher to your local school board and newspaper. What he is doing is malicious and unethical.

Not to mention nut-job.

datdo wrote:
Well anyway what are your thoughts on Wikipedia?


As a general rule of thumb articles that are useful and boring will probably be accurate while articles that are interesting and controversial may well be full of crap.
Last edited by paul_b on Sat 11.04.2006 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Infidel » Sat 11.04.2006 7:53 am

As a general rule of thumb articles that are useful and boring will probably be accurate while articles that are interesting and controversial may well be full of crap.


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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby datdo » Sat 11.04.2006 10:09 am

aw I like my history teacher. Hes probably the best in the school and most students would agree with that. If I submitted it to the paper it'd probably be put under the humor section with a title like "****'s War on Wikipedia"

His teaching style allows students to learn what is traditionally taught in history use it to prove that governments plan cities so they can kill citizens easily and that mathematetians<sp> are wasting their time because math isn't real. He also teaches using random web pages he finds on the internet too...like the brick testament
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby BigKahuna13 » Sat 11.04.2006 10:37 am

The science journal Nature compared Wikipedia's accuracy to the Encyclopedia Britannica last year. They essentially picked 50 science topics, got copies the relevant entries from Wikipedia and Britannica and sent them to subject matter experts (i.e. astrophyics articles were sent to an astrophysicist) to review.
The reviewers didn't know where the articles came from.

Turns out that Wikipedia and Britannica had an equal number of serious flaws, 4 each, while Wikipedia had 160 odd factual errors to Britannica's 120. (A factual error is getting something relatively minor - like a birthdate - wrong).

Wikipedia entries are typically significantly longer so that sort of balances out the factual error rate but they also tended to be more confusing, less well structured and generally less well written - which makes some sense since Britannica employs professional editors.

So.....the two a roughly comparable, at least as far as science is concered, which means depending on your point of view that Wikipedia is pretty good or Britannica is pretty bad. Personally I was shocked that Britannica had so many errors.

To the original poster - your teacher sounds like an idiot. He should dock you for using Wikipedia - or anything else - as a single source. But as one of many sources Wikipedia is fine.
Last edited by BigKahuna13 on Sat 11.04.2006 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Kagemaru » Sat 11.04.2006 11:59 am

datdo wrote:
He also teaches using random web pages he finds on the internet too...like the brick testament


Although I enjoyed that link visually, this is coming from the teacher who is pushing the "reliable/accurate source" stick?

:o
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Dehitay » Sat 11.04.2006 12:42 pm

datdo wrote:
His teaching style allows students to learn what is traditionally taught in history use it to prove that governments plan cities so they can kill citizens easily and that mathematetians<sp> are wasting their time because math isn't real. He also teaches using random web pages he finds on the internet too...like the brick testament


......even if you like him, if that's the stuff he's teaching, he might not be the best person to learn from. But then again, I've been known to say history itself is useless as long as you know the lessons learned from it. So maybe he's out for vengeance against me >=D. The mathematicians will win in the end! The tactics of Napolean pale in comparison to the power of our fusion bombs. Mwahahahahaha
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Nibble » Sat 11.04.2006 2:38 pm

You're not supposed to use an encyclopedia as a source in a serious essay anyway, whether it's Wikipedia or Britannica.
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Infidel » Sat 11.04.2006 8:18 pm

That must be the reason we are taught how to properly cite encyclopedia sources: because we're not supposed to use them.
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RE: Wikipedia...is it reliable?

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 11.04.2006 8:23 pm

datdo wrote:
aw I like my history teacher. Hes probably the best in the school and most students would agree with that. If I submitted it to the paper it'd probably be put under the humor section with a title like "****'s War on Wikipedia"

His teaching style allows students to learn what is traditionally taught in history use it to prove that governments plan cities so they can kill citizens easily and that mathematetians<sp> are wasting their time because math isn't real. He also teaches using random web pages he finds on the internet too...like the brick testament


Who the hell is your teacher? Art Bell?
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