Monday, April 23, 2012

Wikipedia Woes

When I was growing up, there was always one thing that my teachers kept telling their students, “Don’t use Wikipedia as a source for your paper!” Considering the fact that I had no idea what Wikipedia was and did not understand why my teachers were so adamant about not allowing us to use it, I was very confused. Later, I discovered, that most, if not all, people know now, Wikipedia can be edited by individuals who have no authority in the subject matter or any professional background of posting information on the website. I understand now why my teachers were so concerned. The fact remains that you cannot believe everything that you see and read on the Internet. Not all information is true, especially on Wikipedia. When searching for specific subjects, I have come across multiple Wikipedia entries for the same search, one with tons of information and the other with just the basic introduction. And not all the facts that were stated were accurate. It is interesting to see the restrictions that Wikipedia has put on certain entries so they do not become vandalized. The fact that vandalism has taken the next step into cyber-space is somewhat terrifying. Once it’s on the Internet, sure it can be monitored and corrected, but it will never truly go away. With Wikipedia, we are giving citizens too much power; the power of knowledge, truth, lies, and deceit. Wikipedia is a dangerous tool that people can take advantage of and manipulate under their own will. Yes, there are people monitoring the pages but they cannot take care of all the factual discrepancies that exist throughout the entire Wikipedia realm of information. I think that Wikipedia should be left to the professionals and not the citizens. Only then will it be perceived as an appropriate source of information rather than one to be avoided. 

1 comment:

  1. Although personal experiences and individual viewpoints of a writer may be more important in blogging than other journalistic genres, it is important to 1) foreground information, 2) consider the timeliness of a specific story, and 3) make strong connections to our digital journalism class. For example, what can you say about the Wikitorials experiment at the LA Times based on your own access to specific sources that may also illustrate how vandalism creates problems.