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Why Wikipedia is Never A Good Source
The internet holds a plethora of information that is accessible to anyone. There are tons of websites that provide information on a wide range of topics, including Wikipedia. When you search for specific information, this site usually ranks on top of the list, but its reliability is questionable. Most professors do not consider the website a credible source of information as it falls short of the standard required for a school paper.
Wikipedia themselves admit that not “everything” on the site is of the highest quality. So here are some reasons why Wikipedia is never a good source.
Wikipedia Is Open For Everyone To Edit
There are tons of authors in Wikipedia; some use their real names and can be validated, while others have a questionable reputation. The fact that anyone can contribute to Wikipedia regardless of their credibility makes it hard to rely on the information written on the site.
It Is Best To Have Multiple Sources For Critical Information
We are not saying that everything on Wikipedia is false. You can see that there are sections that indicate “correction” in most of their articles, in which the authors try to acknowledge their errors. However, authors are humans as well, so they do make mistakes. That is why you should always be wary about the information you get and always confirm it with a second source.
The Information Is in The Hands Of A Few Individual
Wikipedia has its administrators who can either delete or reject any articles if they feel inappropriate. But sometimes, this power gives them the authority to manipulate the articles based on what they believe in.
For example, there was a case back in 2003 wherein an administrator edited more than 5000 Wikipedia articles supporting climate change. But, unfortunately, he also banned thousands of contributors who opposed his viewpoint.
The fact that the individual’s personal agenda can affect the quality of the information on the site makes it hard to rely on them solely.
Various Falsified Entries
As the internet is accessible to almost everyone, some people just want to vandalize and give people false information that, if not scrutinized, can be misleading. In Wikipedia, there are times when malicious entries go uncorrected for an extended period of time. The danger here is that it can be picked up by someone who has the credibility that can pass the information as true. There was an example wherein the media picked up an entry, which was later distributed to the public.
Lack of Diversity In Their Editors
Diversity is good as it allows you to have a fair opinion from different kinds of people. Unfortunately, this is not the case with Wikipedias as, according to a survey, 87% of the editors are male and mostly coming from Europe and North America. Though we do not doubt the intelligence of the editors, it would be better if we could have a more diversified group of editors that can help give a much broader perspective on a topic.
Editing In Wikipedia Has Slowed Down
You’ll see active edits in Wikipedia back in the day, usually around five edits per editor every month. Today, we see fewer edits, making it hard to confirm the information’s reliability thoroughly.
High-Level Editors Control the Page.
The problem with Wikipedia today is that it gets hard for new contributors to add information to the site. This is because there is a group of editors trying to monopolize the site. This makes it challenging to have a larger demographic of editors, and there is a higher risk of getting information based on the belief of a few individuals.
Wikipedia Tells You So
This is one of the most obvious reasons why you should not make Wikipedia your primary source. Wikipedia itself states that “We do not expect you to trust us.” If the site themselves tell you not to make them your primary source, then that is something that you have to consider.
Wikipedia can be a good source if used correctly. All you have to do is validate the accuracy of the information by checking it on other sites and doing your due diligence. Like for everything else, do not be complacent and always look for a second opinion.
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