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Topic: Wikipedia - A Reminder (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Brad Brickley
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Posted: 12 December 2009 at 2:36pm | IP Logged | 1  

I remember watching Book TV a few months back.  A professor or writer  was talking about how Wikipedia can be useful . That one could use the links features at the bottom of the entry pages and that would be a useful feature of  Wikipedia.  I thought that was a good use of Wikipedia.  I've since tried that approach to it and found the links at the bottom of the pages useful to send me various other websites to find information.
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Jeremiah Avery
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Posted: 14 December 2009 at 2:55pm | IP Logged | 2  

The links can be helpful, certainly, as long as the main article itself isn't used as the source.  My younger brother said that a professor of his said that it would be acceptable.  After I told him the professor was an idiot, I told him to do something similar to how you use the site, Brad.  I said to look at the links, if they go to scholarly journals then that's helpful and cite that instead - it'd be a much more credible source.
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Matthew Chartrand
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Posted: 14 December 2009 at 5:43pm | IP Logged | 3  

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/30/microsoft-encarta-d ies-after-long-battle-with-wikipedia/

 Soon wikipedia may be all we have.

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Koroush Ghazi
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Posted: 17 December 2009 at 7:09am | IP Logged | 4  

Just as politicians are not necessarily the best people for the job, merely the most popular, so too, Wikipedia is not the best encyclopedia, it is simply the one with the greatest quantity of information and is used the most often. Unfortunately quality is not a commodity valued by those without the requisite skills to recognize it.
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Jon Stafford
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Posted: 03 January 2011 at 9:18pm | IP Logged | 5  

Wikipedia is a great place to get a general sense of a subject.  And on non-controversial subjects (say, for example, the taxonomic classification of prairie dogs) it's usually fairly accurate.  But it's not a viable reference in an academic sense.  However, most of the "important" articles contain links to their original source material, which may be valid for citation purposes.

The irony is that the vast majority of Wikipedia entries are written by a small handful of people.
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Andrew Hess
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Posted: 31 January 2011 at 5:52pm | IP Logged | 6  

A few days ago there was a minor Jewish holiday called Tu Bishvat (basically, Arbor Day). I went to Wikipedia and found THIS entry, where some twit had stuck "Tim" and things attributed to Tim thruout, such as observances for the holiday include "Saying hi to Tim, eating pickles and peanuts."

This turned out to be a perfect way of showing my son why he should never use Wikipedia to find out facts. Even though *this* instance was clearly a prank, there are many other entries where the wrong information is not so obvious, nor so benign.


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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 31 January 2011 at 7:38pm | IP Logged | 7  

There was an article on the front page of my local newspaper about a tree in the middle of town.  The article used the scientific name of the tree and of course wrote the name incorrectly.  I had just the say before gone over the rules of binomial nomenclature with my students and mentioned how I always see it written incorrectly in the press.  This was perfect!  So I showed the article to my class and then I noticed...in a published article, in a newspaper....and on the front page.....the article sited Wikipedia.  Something like this, "According to Wikipedia these trees..."

I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Any Middle School student knows you can't site Wikipedia.  How could a newspaper publish that?
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 31 January 2011 at 7:41pm | IP Logged | 8  

Here's the article: http://wnewsj.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=187901& ;SectionID=49&SubSectionID=&S=1

Incorrectly written scientific name in paragraph two, Wikipedia citation in paragraph six.
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Joakim Jahlmar
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Posted: 01 February 2011 at 2:57am | IP Logged | 9  

Joe, it is at the very least nice of them to cite that they ARE using Wikipedia. I shudder to think how many do, but don't give the reference.


Andrew, when Doris Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, a Swedish paper (possibly one of the tabloids) reportedly drew upon Wikipedia by copying her bibliography without double-checking it in any way, apparently. Some prankster had thrown in the non-existing title "Poop" in the batch.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 01 February 2011 at 5:00am | IP Logged | 10  

"it is at the very least nice of them to cite that they ARE using Wikipedia. I shudder to think how many do, but don't give the reference."

***********

I don't know.  I think leaving a source out of that paragraph would've given them more credibility.
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Joakim Jahlmar
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Posted: 02 February 2011 at 6:11pm | IP Logged | 11  

More credibility, yes. But under false pretences.

I'd rather know IF they're using it, precisely because it affects the credibility.
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Joakim Jahlmar
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Posted: 02 February 2011 at 6:12pm | IP Logged | 12  

(Needless to say, the best thing altogether would have been for them to use a different source to begin with, obviously.)
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