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Appropriate for What

In: Business and Management

Submitted By gabrielcosta
Words 744
Pages 3
Wikipedia: Appropriate For What The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has grown impressively since its creation eight years ago. Its 8.2 million entries in 253 languages have been written entirely by web volunteers. That sounds like an impressive story of success, if it was not the polemic behind it. Whereas many defend the free source of information others ban the website because the writers are anonymous volunteers and the revision process questionable.
If the source people are using for writing an essay is not reliable so they are not. That is a very simple sentence that demonstrates how dangerous it can be avoiding to evaluate well the sources of information used as a baseline for our creation. A good source of information needs to be impartial, showing different points of view about the subject, has to have the right style and tone, depending on our audience and purpose of writing, needs to be updated, and the author to have the ideal credentials to write about the topic with property.
Most of the critic against Wikipedia resides in the argument that nobody can trust a source that everyone can edit, and it does make sense, but radicalism is not needed. The historian Waters (2007) have said that the absence of accountability of the website is reason to ban students from using Wikipedia in research where they are responsible for informational accuracy. That is truly an argument that needs to be considered when discussing if the source is valid for formal researches, but why the media is consistently trying to destroy the image of the online encyclopedia so hard? If that is so bad why it has become so popular?
Sometimes the discussion around it do not take in consideration why people are really using the source for nowadays, and that explains it success in addition to fact that it is free. The point does not reside on if Wikipedia is a valid source of information but on what the research is about and with what purpose.
New things, such as Facebook and Twiter for instance, are sometimes created with a specific purpose that changes as people start using it, and so Wikipedia. Confusion and misuse are normal in the beginning of the process. Even though Wikipedia have been created to be a formal encyclopedia, it has become a different type of tool. Schools should teach their students not to cite the website in their work and also tell them that it can be a valid source of information for general knowledge, simple researches, or even the start a serious one, but always with proper careful and just while ideas are in the process of formulation. If we need to know what is the name of the capital of Egypt, how many planets we have in our galaxy or what is the complete discography of a favorite band, Wikipedia can be used with no major concerns. If we are doing an academic research where there is the need of formulating strong arguments it would not be the appropriate source.
The academe like to “crucify” the website instead of simply teaching students what that source can be used for and why they are not supposed to use for their formal assays, especially in projects that knowing the credentials of the writer of the source is fundamental. Read (2006) have stated that perhaps because of the site's refusal to give professors or other experts priority, and because of an editing process that can resemble a free-for-all, a clear preponderance of Wikipedia's contents has been written by people outside academe. Some members of the intellectual society can be either concern about the utilization of the information or simply “jealous” and feeling appreciated.
The journal Nature published a comparison between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica in 2005, and the free encyclopedia came out with only a few errors of content. The result was a surprise to all the critics of Wikipedia.

Conclusion Wikipedia provides a great platform for discussing ideas and for collaborative creation, which is great for developing critical thinking. It is a free source of information available to everybody in the world, in multiple languages. However, users need to be careful and take advantage of it for the right purposes.

References
Read, B. (2006). Can WIKIPEDIA Ever Make the Grade?. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 53(10), A31.
Waters, N. L. (2007). Why You Can't Cite Wikipedia in My Class. Communications Of The ACM, 50(9), 15-17.

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