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How Important Is Wikipedia In The Grand Scheme Of Things?

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    A Free-Reprint Article Written by: Bill Platt Article Title: How Important Is Wikipedia In The Grand Scheme Of Things? See TERMS OF REPRINT to the end of the
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      A Free-Reprint Article Written by: Bill Platt

      Article Title:
      How Important Is Wikipedia In The Grand Scheme Of Things?

      See TERMS OF REPRINT to the end of the article.

      Article Description:
      Wikipedia is the center of the online encyclopedia universe.
      Millions of entries on every conceivable topic makes this website
      an authority source that many young students and adults turn to
      from all corners of the globe.

      Additional Article Information:

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      Distribution Date and Time: 2013-07-09 11:00:00

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      How Important Is Wikipedia In The Grand Scheme Of Things?
      Copyright (c) 2007-2013 Bill Platt
      Writing Puzzle

      Wikipedia is the center of the online encyclopedia universe.
      Millions of entries on every conceivable topic makes this website
      an authority source that many young students and adults turn to
      from all corners of the globe.

      The widespread popularity of Wikipedia has made it an easy target
      for quite a bit of controversy and critique. Many academic
      institutions disapprove of any use of unverified Internet
      sources, including Wikipedia articles. Ironically, Wikipedia
      prides itself on the idea that its information is verifiable.
      Read more about Wikipedia's Verifiability policy here:

      Wikipedia Basics

      Founded in 2001, Wikipedia is a free content resource that anyone
      can submit information to according to certain submission rules.
      Articles are written and submitted by anyone interested in the
      topic being discussed.

      Authenticity is supposedly ensured by the ability of others to
      edit previously submitted information and correct any errors.
      Grossly inappropriate or incorrect articles can be nominated for
      deletion. Wikipedia users are given a week to vote on the
      appropriate response to a deletion nomination.

      These safeguards have been built into Wikipedia's design as a way
      of preserving both its credibility and authenticity. While
      Wikipedia's systems of checks and balances are not failsafe, they
      do eliminate quite a few of the errors that would otherwise

      The fact that the website's content is made up exclusively by
      donated content and that it has over 2 million topic articles is
      a testament to the popularity of this style. While there are no
      basic rules for submitting articles, there are basic guidelines
      that Wikipedia asks submitting authors to follow.

      Maintaining a neutral tone and presenting the information in a
      fair unbiased way are the perfect tones that dictate encyclopedia
      articles. Authors and editors are expected to be respectful of
      the work of others and not to modify anything without a good
      reason or verifiable references.


      Academic institutions and authority reference sources such as
      encyclopedia companies have been less impressed with Wikipedia
      than the general public. There are many reasons for the less than
      enthusiastic response from institutions of higher learning and
      professional reference companies.

      The publishers of Encyclopedia Britannica became enraged when a
      study claimed that the accuracy of Wikipedia was comparable to
      the accuracy of Britannica's long-standing published
      encyclopedia. They widely disputed the results, insisting that
      their publication is by far the more superior publication.

      Public opinion sides with Britannica. The majority of most
      people, when polled, have great faith in the reputation of
      Britannica and hold it in much higher regard than its online

      The convenience of the Internet encyclopedia version is where a
      lot of its competition with Britannica arises. Being able to
      access any information with the click of a mouse brings research
      to a whole new level.

      Wikipedia and Academics

      Studies are regularly inconsistent on the accuracy of Wikipedia.
      There is a wide range in the quality and accuracy of the Wiki
      articles online.

      Articles are constantly being modified and improved upon. When
      doing research, it is very important to double-check all
      information. Wikipedia is a great resource, but it should never
      be trusted as the final word on any topic.

      Members of academia are prone to carry negative feelings towards
      to the use of Wikipedia. Most become agitated when their students
      source Wikipedia, because they feel their students are not able
      to tell the difference between a good resource and a bad one � a
      truthful fact or an erroneous statement.

      A commonly held belief is that a student lacks the common sense
      or ability to differentiate between a good article and a biased,
      inadequate presentation of a story as fact. Academia also points
      to the general lack of solid research supporting most Wikipedia

      Lazy Research

      There is no excuse for laziness, but the blame for it is often
      placed on the presence of technology instead of where it actually
      belongs � on the people who rely on technology to provide them
      the shortcuts they take.

      The modern age is one of advanced technology and many students
      are more than willing to take advantage of the ease of relying on
      computers and minimal online research.

      The primary function of schools is to teach children. Not only
      are they responsible for teaching them facts, but also for
      teaching them how to think and solve problems for themselves.
      When students are no longer able, or willing, to logically decide
      something, academics are quick to blame the ease of access to
      technological advances, separating themselves from the blame.

      Unfortunately, schools hold as much blame as the technology they
      bash, for the falling ability of students to produce results on
      their own. When I was in high school during the early 1980's,
      calculators were prohibited in all classes except for the
      advanced mathematics classes that required the use of scientific
      calculators. By the mid-1990's, the children of friends were
      telling me that they were required to bring a simple calculator
      to the classroom to assist them in their basic math calculations.

      Academia is generally as responsible for the falling academic
      performance of students as website sources such as Wikipedia.
      Although academia shares in the blame for falling academic
      performance with poor resources like Wikipedia, this shared blame
      should not excuse Wikipedia's less than ideal service record.

      One Thousand Monkeys Typing The Next Great Novel

      Wikipedia and all of its sister projects are not perfect. They
      are websites dedicated to providing knowledge to everyone. Those
      willing to share what they have learned donate to this knowledge
      base in hopes of helping others. At least, that is what they do
      in theory.

      The Wikipedia frontier has real possibility for the future, but
      behind the scenes, it is rife with "monkeys learning to type the
      next great novel," as sourced in the Infinite Monkey Theorem at
      (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem). There are
      some areas of the Wikipedia that are definitely lacking in
      information and credibility, and yet when someone makes a gesture
      to add to the Wiki knowledge base, some editors frame these new
      contributions as unsupportable and unacceptable additions to the
      Wikipedia world.

      The Wikipedia world relies upon its published Code Of Conduct to
      drive the decisions of its editors. Examples of the Wikipedia
      Code Of Conduct include:

      The Wikipedia Monkey Brigade

      One extreme example of the "Wikipedia Monkey Brigade" is the
      story of how Danny Sullivan noticed the attempt by some editor to
      delete the Matt Cutts chapter in the encyclopedia.

      For those involved in the study of search engines, Danny Sullivan
      is one of the most recognized experts in the field of search
      engines, and has been since 1997. As the founder of Search Engine
      Watch, and now the editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, Danny
      even has his own page in the Wikipedia world:

      It seems some Wikipedia editor decided that Matt Cutts was not
      notable enough for his own chapter in the Wikipedia. For those of
      us who work in the search engine optimization community, such a
      suggestion is absolutely obscene. As a quality control engineer
      for Google and the voice of Google's spam detection department,
      people in the search industry pay close attention to what Cutts
      says about the future of search placement within Google.

      Sullivan suggested that the attempt to delete the Matt Cutts page
      was at the very least an example of how "inept" the Wikipedia
      editors have shown themselves to be. You can read Sullivan's
      heartfelt argument here: http://searchengineland.com/070108-170335.php

      Almost as interesting as Sullivan's blog post about the
      suggestion to delete the Matt Cutts page from the Wikipedia, was
      the page where people argued the decision about whether the page
      was worthy of deletion. You can read that interchange here:

      Those supporting the deletion of the page were quick to point out
      the Wikipedia guidelines on Notability at:
      (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:BIO) Strangely, I had read the
      guidelines myself and I felt that Matt Cutts was a slam-dunk for

      The Good Faith Argument

      Much to my own surprise, the fellow who originally suggested that
      the Matt Cutts page should have been deleted got into the fray
      that resulted from his action. He even made reference to having
      read Sullivan's comments and chose to use them as a springboard
      to belittle Sullivan:

      "The sources provided by Sullivan in his blog are interesting and
      some would even make great additions to a number of AfD-submitted
      articles to help fulfill notability (it's a shame he spent the
      time to make personal commentary about me on his blog than to
      improve these poorly drafted articles, but to each his own)."

      For a guy who quotes the Wikipedia guidelines about "assuming
      good faith" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:AGF) as frequently
      as he does, I think his own comments about Sullivan betray his
      double standards about "good faith".

      It is true that one would not expect anyone who studied
      Bioinformatics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioinformatics) in
      college to understand who the players are in the search industry,
      but then one would also not expect a person who knew nothing
      about an industry to judge who is notable in that industry
      either. It would be like me assuming to be able to identify
      notable people in the bioinformatics field... Yep, that would be
      dishonest and silly.

      Final Thoughts

      The one thing that makes the world of Wikipedia both great and
      terrible is the same; it is the ability of people to make
      corrections to the Wikipedia encyclopedia when they see the need
      to do so. But, the truth is that any monkey with a keyboard and
      an Internet connection can create and edit documents in the
      Wikipedia community.

      Even I am a Wikipedia editor... I may even be a monkey editor,
      but at the end of the day, I don't monkey around editing
      information about which I am clueless.

      UPDATE: I WAS a Wikipedia editor, until I published this
      criticism of it on the Internet... LOL

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