Free Essay

Wikipedia Case Study

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By Dubbyloves619
Words 900
Pages 4
1. Who is the founder of Wikipedia? When was it found? Where is the company located? How many servers store the information? Who owns Wikipedia? Define Wikipedia.

The founder of Wikipedia are two internet entrepreneurs named Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Wikipedia was launched on January 15th, 2001. The Wikipedia company headquarters is located in San Francisco, California. As of 2012, Wikipedia has 339 servers. There is no one person that owns Wikipedia. It is a crowd sourced encyclopedia with over 75,000 active registered editors from around the world, plus an uncountable number of unregistered editors who are all working together to try to make sure the information on Wikipedia is truthful and accurate. Wikipedia is a free, open content online encyclopedia created through the collaborative effort of a community of users known as “Wikipedians.” Anyone registered on the site can create an article for publication; registration is not required to edit articles.

2. Describe the criticisms regarding Wikipedia. Why does the site generate controversy?

The most prominent criticism of Wikipedia is that it is not a primary source. For that reason, much of the information that is provided on the site often cannot be trusted. Because the website is an open content encyclopedia, any person in the world can log in to the site and edit any topic within the encyclopedia. This can, and often does, lead to incorrect postings containing faulty information. For instance, some of the articles with the most consistently incorrect information are many controversial topics such as; religion, politics, sex, gender, and race. Because topics such as these tend to be opinions rather than fact, there is constant re-editing of articles to change what its contents are, according to the editors’ beliefs.

3. How reliable is the information on Wikipedia? What did Steve Colbert do? How does Wikipedia protect its information?

Wikipedia states in its own disclaimer that information on Wikipedia is contributed by anyone who wants to post material, and the expertise of the posters is not taken into consideration. Users may be reading information that is outdated or that has been posted by someone who is not an expert in the field or by someone who wishes to provide misinformation. Some information on Wikipedia may well be accurate, but because experts do not review the site's entries, there is a considerable risk in relying on Wikipedia as a source of information. Stephen Colbert addressed Wikipedia as the encyclopedia that anyone can read or edit on one of his episodes. Colbert praised Wikipedia for "wikiality," the reality that exists if you make something up and enough people agree with you - it becomes reality. Colbert's subsequent examples to prove "wikiality" would cause chaos on the site, and lead an administrator to subsequently block his account.

4. Why is Wikipedia successful? Describe "wiki etiquette." Describe Linus's Law.

Wikipedia has become successful for a multitude of reasons. Its Main success is its user, the Wikipedians. In theory each and every person can be a Wikipedian as they are able to read the content of all the articles in Wikipedia at free of cost and if they feel the information provided is not correct or some more information has to be added, then they could even change or alter the content of the articles present in Wikipedia. The factors that played a vital role in making Wikipedia so successful are that it’s easy to use, its fast changing rate, and its infinite reach. Wiki etiquette is a manner in which a person should conduct themselves when using Wikipedia either as a visitor or editor to the site. Some examples are; Be truthful, Ask for an artists’ permission before posting their pictures or pieces of writing, never post personal information, etc. In a nutshell, Linus’s law states that with enough eyes (reviewers/editors) any gap, hole, or incorrect information will become apparent rather quickly. When it comes Wikipedia and its 17 million users constantly reviewing the website a flaw will be snuffed out very quickly.

5. What are Wikipedia's strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths Weaknesses
1. Wikipedia is completely free, providing access to information on millions of topics to anyone with Internet capabilities. 1. Anyone can create, edit, or delete Wikipedia articles.

2. Wikipedia is constantly updated by the hour. In comparison, print encyclopedias are usually updated annually. 2. Wikipedia articles cannot be considered scholarly, because we know nothing about the contributors.

3. Wikipedia is a great place to start your research, giving you background information on your topic and possible keywords to help you conduct more in-depth research elsewhere. 3. Articles are works-in-progress, meaning changes are constantly occurring to the information. When an article is first published, the information might waver back and forth between viewpoints before achieving a neutral tone. Viewing the behind-the-scenes discussion can be a valuable way of learning about those varying perspectives.
4. Sources used in the articles are cited, allowing further investigation into any topic. 4. Sometimes articles are vandalized, whether for fun, as a hoax, or because the subject is controversial.

5. The intended audience can vary-- some articles are written from an insider's view, with highly technical language, while some are written for a more general audience. This can be both frustrating and valuable depending on what one is looking for, and either way is a warning sign that the information can be inconsistent.

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