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Wikipedia, accurate enough for me.

So I'm listening to Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty on Sports Radio 810's Border Patrol this morning (Jake and Aaron were there too and even though I think they make up half of the show's value, for some reason they're not allowed props in sounders, so I'm not giving them props either). It's part of my regular routine as I drive back from the gym and get dressed for the day. Sports is my favorite detachment from work, but  as it seems to be happening more and more frequently, social media is taking over the world. And today, it happened again as Steven called out Wikipedia as innaccurate.

A brief overview: Wikipedia is one of the monsters of the Internet. It's currently the 7th most popular website in existence, behind notables like Google and Yahoo. The term "Wiki" is the Hawaiian term for "fast", but has now been formed as a backronym for "What I Know Is". A wiki is defined here, but in lay terms, a wiki is a website that allows users to add and update content on the site using their own web browser.

Everyone in Kansas City has at some time debated the accuracy of Wikipedia. You have people like St. John that deny its authority, and then you have people like myself who trust it like a 5-year-old trusts its father. I just innocently believe that Wikipedia knows best. Here's a superior source weighing in on the debate.

Whatever you're feelings on the authority of Wikipedia, I'd like to highlight a few points that are often overlooked by naysayers.

1. The Wisdom of Crowds is the term often referred to when it comes to the reliability of social media. It takes the issue of authority into a definition microcosm. What makes a person an authority used to be broken down by subject. Now you can be an authority broken down by facts. If you know that beyond the shadow of a doubt that George Brett batted .390 in 1980, then you are an authority on that statistic. Wikipedia acts as a filter where hundreds of people can contribute on the pieces they know absolutely, and then an editor checks it and approves. Here's the main thought: If you need to know something, are you more likely to hear the right answer if you only ask one person or if you ask 100 people?

2. Wikis constantly improve despite the knock that "anyone can write anything". Rogue entries are quickly dealt with, and citation and reference is constantly being added. If a printed Encyclopedia from years past had an error, it just sat there being wrong for an entire year. Most knowledge isn't breaking news, so once Wikipedia gets it right, there's not much else to be done to the knowledge. No new evidence is going to break about George Brett's batting average.

3. Most information on WIkipedia is written by an authority. People hate this argument, but it's true for a couple of reasons beyond the "fact contribution" noted above. Besides overarching events like Michael Jackson's death (which undoubtedly recieved expert attention despite the rogue editors), topics are only addressed by experts. Most people don't care about botany or Medieval jousting enough to write about it unless they're an authority on the topic. The best thing about Wikipedia is that it doesn't require you to have a PhD or to be a published author. You just have to know. If you don't, your info won't last long.

For More Info: visit Wikipedia.org, from where I found all the information in this article.

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Comments

  • Gregory Kohs 5 years ago

    Your post is littered with inaccuracies and self-serving myths about Wikipedia. I would elaborate on these for you, but you don't even seem to recognize the proper difference between the words "its" and "it's", as well as "your" and "you're". So, my careful rebuttal might not even reach you, Dustin. Let me know if you want it explained for you. In the meantime, you may wish the read up on the truth, over at the Wikipedia Review blog (you can Google it).

  • Gregory Kohs 5 years ago

    Ironic, that I would issue a typo on my own comment. Of course, I meant "you may wish to read up on".

  • Godfrey 5 years ago

    Sorry but this article is nonsense.

    "3. Most information on WIkipedia is written by an authority. Most people hate this argument."

    I'm not surprised most people hate that argument. Because that argument is garbage. Most information on Wikipedia is written by anonymous amateurs who show no signs of authority on the topic whatsoever. Sometimes, information on the site can be helpful, but much of the time articles are littered with damaging inaccuracies.

  • Dustin Riedesel 5 years ago

    Readers,

    I appreciate the feedback. I apologize for my first-grade writing errors. As you know, typos happen, and I'm guilty of not proof-reading.

    Anyway, I don't claim to be a Wikipedia guru, and I apologize to anyone I've offended or misled. The only point I was really trying to make is (example) that I don't have to have PhD in botany to share something I know about it. And don't you think if I did have a PhD in botany, I've probably read the Wikipedia page and corrected inaccuracies (it is the second return in a Google search behind botany.com)?

    I don't know how writing this was self-serving for me, but I do know that Mr. Kohs was once blocked from Wikipedia for his pay-to-post business (after researching, I think wrongfully blocked) and started something of a niche rival in MyWikiBiz.com.

    I'm sure that Mr. Kohs knows more about Wikipedia than I do, and I would advise all to take his advice and read up on it if you're interested.

    Thank you. And I hope you keep read

  • Dustin Riedesel 5 years ago

    Readers, I appreciate the feedback. First, I apologize for the typos. I've corrected them.

    Second, I don't claim to be a Wikipedia guru, and I apologize to anyone I've offended or misled. The only point I was really trying to make is (example) that I don't have to have PhD in botany to share something I know about it. And don't you think if I did have a PhD in botany, I've probably read the Wikipedia page and corrected inaccuracies (it is the second return in a Google search behind botany.com)?

    I don't know how writing this was self-serving for me, but I do know that Mr. Kohs was once blocked from Wikipedia for his pay-to-post business (after researching, I think wrongfully blocked) and started something of a niche rival in MyWikiBiz.com.

    I'm sure that Mr. Kohs knows more about Wikipedia than I do, and I would advise all to take his advice and read up on it if you're interested.

    Thank you. And I hope you keep reading.

  • Andrew 5 years ago

    Gregory
    I don't see the need to belittle Dustin. Typos happen and it does not really take away from your credibility. As you showed in your post. I also ask, what makes you an expert? It appears that you may have a god complex with your opinions. Last I checked people weren't perfect and make mistakes which I am sure you have made many. Maybe I am wrong...maybe you are the first perfect human and for that I applaud you. If only we could all be so lucky to be as perfect as you to never make typos. I hope this message was typo free. If it's not then disregard because according to Mr. Kohs it's not credible.

  • Gregory Kohs 5 years ago

    I meant that the myths about Wikipedia serve itself (an accurate encyclopedia, crafted with love, in a hey-everyone-join-in-it's-fun environment). These myths help keep the tax-deductible donations coming in (to the tune of about $6.2 million) to support a website that only costs about $1.2 million to actually run. The rest is going to a little staff empire that Sue Gardner has assembled around herself, all so that Jimbo can keep jetting around the world, delivering keynotes at $75,000 a pop -- none of which he donates back to the project. What does that tell you?

    That's what I meant about "self-serving myths" -- didn't mean at all to direct it at you, Dustin.

    I'm trying to kiss and make up over on Facebook, you'll notice.

    I am a porcupine -- you nailed that bit. Your fantastical descriptions of Wikipedia -- not so much.

  • Big Dee 5 years ago

    Whenever anyone cites Wikipedia as their primary reference source---I am outta there and click on something else. Enough said?