Do you trust Wikipedia?

When I need to check or verify a piece of information, I like most people born after 1970, use the internet.  The first place I go to is Google.  Usually, the 1st listing in the organic search listing of sites is Wikipedia.  You might disagree with me, but I don’t trust Wikipedia.

I don’t know, there is something about getting information from a source that is dependent upon the accuracy of the public to update and maintain the integrity of the information that bothers me.  I have met many people who have found discrepancies on the site.  Since I don’t use the site very often, I don’t know of any discrepancies off the top of my head that I can point out.

So, I am curious if you find Wikipedia to be a trusted source of information.  Would love to hear your feedback.

16 responses to “Do you trust Wikipedia?

  1. I don’t trust Wikipedia either. Well, not completely anyway. When it comes to current pop culture searches, I’ve found that it’s fairly accurate. But, if it’s something important that I’m researching, not at all.

    • Tania – I agree with you, but I don’t trust the pop culture entries either….especially if it is celebrity rumor related…i.e. “so and so cheated on their spouse during the filming of such and such movie, which led to their divorce in 1998” that kind of stuff.

      • Peter – While I certainly agree with you there, I meant more along the lines of birth dates, discographies, movie roles … things that would, in general, be easy information to acquire and thus, difficult to screw up. But if it’s rumor related, I usually ignore it unless it’s “so and so died …” then I just wait for a reputable site to post it, or the news to mention it.

        • Tania – Ahh….yes, I agree with you on that point. I do use it for quick references to determine “who played in such and such movie” or something along those lines. However, I prefer IMDB for movie references….Wikipedia is usually my secondary source. IMDB & Wikipedia are used most commonly in my circles to settle arguments & bets…..I never use them for work related research.

          • Peter – Of course IMDB is always my first resource to when it comes to movies/television shows or anything along those lines. Wiki is a second reference, if used at all, and never for anything work/dissertation related. In fact, most – if not all – professors don’t accept Wiki references anyway.

            • Tania – Yeah, and I don’t allow my son to use it for school related projects either. He doesn’t like that because it is an easy way for him to find information and he doesn’t like to do it the hard way. lol

  2. Before I even concern anything from Wikipedia to be true, I always check if there is some source behind it and then I check the source.

    The bottom line is, in order for people to be able to find information about anything they look for, encyclopedias like Wikipedia have to be open and then it is expected from people that post information to provide the sources of where they found information from.

    The other thing is, if you put something from Wikipedia, you are expected to put the source of where you found it from anyway, so in case if it is not true, you can say ” I found it here, so blame them for posting wrong information ” 🙂

  3. If it’s vital, I will seek several sources that corroborate the information. It is usually a good jump off point for research, especially when the subject matter is not something I’m familiar with.

  4. Academic use of Wikipedia is something Jimmy Wales wants to avoid

    A true academic would not accept a single source and I hope that ” most people born after 1970″ that are using the internet for research are a little more discerning about how they source information. That being said, Wikipedia can be a blast to read and is a great place to start looking for citations.

    • Brian – I enjoy reading Wikipedia for entertainment purposes. Multiple sources is a must for any serious work…..however, I think most people aren’t as discerning as you hope.

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