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For those that like to quote Wikipedia
Old 06-22-2008, 06:08 AM   #1
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For those that like to quote Wikipedia

Falling exam passes blamed on Wikipedia 'littered with inaccuracies' - Scotsman.com News

Several further education institutions have already banned students from using the interactive encyclopaedia. At one college in Vermont in the US, a history professor found several students repeated the same error in exam papers. On discovering the information came from Wikipedia, the college outlawed its future use.

Anyway, I'm off to create my own Wiki page describing my life as a cosmonaut, climate change expert and billionaire porn magnate so people can quote me on their school research papers and internet forum arguments.
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Old 06-22-2008, 06:57 AM   #2
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It is worth noting that AFAIK the ONLY peer reviewed moderately comprehensive study of Wikipedia was done by Nature magazine back in 2005. Nature's conclusion was that Wikipedia was not significantly less accurate than Encyclopedia Brittanica. A fact that Scotman's article managed to leave out because it didn't fit well with the point of view of the Scotish parents and teachers council.

Frankly I'd be happy to bet that the accuracy of a random sample of Wikipedia entries is more accurate vs random sample of articles in the NY Times, CNN, Fox, or the Scotsman. I'd compare Wikipedia favorably to K-12 textbooks, and lay big money that Wikipedia is far more accurate than the errors made by the average K-12 teacher (and quite few professors)
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:49 AM   #3
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More on that Nature study.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Wikipedia study 'fatally flawed'
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:04 AM   #4
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So if the encyclopedia britannica and wikipedia have areas where 'experts' can quibble about the details, who or where exactly do we get the real 'quality' information from? I seem to recall several situations where school textbooks that have been in use for decades were found to contain errors.

Everything has warts. I sort of like the idea of a collaborative description of facts and opinions thats been winnowed to the point of collective agreement.

The major problem I have with wikipedia stems from where there is only one or two contributors or someone who seeks to control a topic.

Plus its often hard to determine the difference between someones facts and opinions. I've read accounts of the same historic event from 3-4 different social or cultural perspectives and on the face of it they seemed to be talking about 4 completely different events.

So maybe instead of indicting the sources of information, educators should use this as a prime opportunity to teach children how to vet their sources and learn to separate facts from opinions and identify a core bias in a source.
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:06 AM   #5
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So if the encyclopedia britannica and wikipedia have areas where 'experts' can quibble about the details, who or where exactly do we get the real 'quality' information from?
You mean other than from you?

/shields up/
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:08 AM   #6
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Hey, someone has to be the source of all knowledge... :
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Old 06-22-2008, 11:58 AM   #7
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Hey, someone has to be the source of all knowledge... :
Hi... dad?
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:25 PM   #8
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what is this fresh heresy?
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Old 06-22-2008, 01:02 PM   #9
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I've read accounts of the same historic event from 3-4 different social or cultural perspectives and on the face of it they seemed to be talking about 4 completely different events.
Welcome to post-modernism!!
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Old 06-22-2008, 01:05 PM   #10
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It never fails to amaze me that people quote Wikipedia in academic works. I mean, if I were an educator I'd probably let a 6th grader get away with it, but not in high school, let alone college.

One thing Wikipedia IS good for is looking at the *sources* they use, and then going and confirming the sources. But you would be quoting and footnoting with the actual reliable source, not Wikipedia itself. Many Wiki articles are solid, and (more importantly from the standpoint of writing research papers) they are often footnoted with legitimate, accepted sources that would be suitable for using as references.
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Old 06-22-2008, 01:46 PM   #11
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The last line of the linked BBC article says it all about wikipedia:
Quote:
Wikipedia responded to the criticisms by tightening up procedures.
It's like anything that you read on the Internet. May be accurate; may not be. As long as anyone online can add/alter input it is "buyer beware."
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Old 06-22-2008, 02:28 PM   #12
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The last line of the linked BBC article says it all about wikipedia:


It's like anything that you read on the Internet. May be accurate; may not be. As long as anyone online can add/alter input it is "buyer beware."
I am generally impressed by the work people put into it and its accuracy. Source are supposed to be cited. I work on two wikipedia entries and and the drafting process has been careful and accurate, though tedious. Read the discussion pages sometimes!

But it shouldn't be cited as a source any more than any encyclopedia should be cited.
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Old 06-22-2008, 05:16 PM   #13
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Hi... dad?
[darth vader]Marquette (breathe, breathe)...I am your father! (breathe breathe)[/darth vader]
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:10 PM   #14
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i agree with cfb that it tends to have a nice synopsis/overview of a topic, has different points of view in one place and is why i refer to it, particularly for discussions here - but would not do so for a research paper for school!
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:47 PM   #15
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I am generally impressed by the work people put into it and its accuracy. Source are supposed to be cited. I work on two wikipedia entries and and the drafting process has been careful and accurate, though tedious. Read the discussion pages sometimes!

But it shouldn't be cited as a source any more than any encyclopedia should be cited.
I've contributed to one Wiki article and carefully reviewed a couple of others where had pretty extensive knowledge, in general I've been very impressed with the accuracy. In one case I was sure Wiki was wrong and I was right only to discover after a couple of hours of googling and researching that opps. "what I knew for sure wasn't so". I do check the discussion pages on Wiki for controversial issues. In fact that is one of the beauties of Wiki is you can see both sides of argument by clicking on a single tab.

Certainly for college level research Wiki or any encyclopedia isn't sufficient depth. But the Scottsman and Scottish Parent Teacher Council was blaming Wiki for the decline of test score for K-12 students. Using Wiki for Jr High or even high school seems fine to me. I certainly would rather have kids use Wikipedia for fact gathering than virtually any other source, certainly more than newspaper, most books and many teachers. As a volunteer at museum I have listened to Jr High and High School teachers say statements about WWII which rival John Belushi "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor", and this was after the class was suppose to be studying the subject.

Getting back to the news article from the OP. Doesn't anybody else see the irony of fact less unsubstantiated newspaper article complaining about the lack of research skills of kids?
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:55 PM   #16
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Hey, someone has to be the source of all knowledge... :
A veritable suppository respository of wisdom...
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:04 PM   #17
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Everyone can use a nice suppository...
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:05 PM   #18
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Hey, someone has to be the source of all knowledge... :
The World's Foremost Authority?
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:06 PM   #19
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Everyone can use a nice suppository...
Do I detect an innuendo?
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:13 PM   #20
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Always...
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