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Wikipedia

In: English and Literature

Submitted By cece1984
Words 833
Pages 4
Cecilia Washington
Professor Dr. Dennis Lawrence
ENGL 102
November 2, 2015
Yay or Nay The mission of Wikipedia was to design it to be used as a free encyclopedia and research tool in which readers could obtain verifiable information. Wikipedia has been questioned by many individuals concerning its creditability. It is open to a large contributor base allowing anyone to edit and write anything. Many use information from Wikipedia to do research without second guessing or even thinking that the information being obtained may actually be false. “Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start; they may contain false or debatable information” (Wikipedia: Using Wikipedia as a research tool). Determining whether Wikipedia is good or bad as far as being able to be used as a source of credit worthy information is kind of hard to figure out. Believing that the pros of Wikipedia outweighs the cons, it is still hard to find a balance.
When you search for something on the internet, the first link to direct your search is a link involving Wikipedia which some would consider a good sign. Wikipedia is a good source to read when you absolutely have no knowledge about what you are researching. Since entries can be made by anyone, the diversity of different subjects could be beneficial. You could learn how one subject could become many due to the differences in cultural and personal opinions. “Wikipedia takes information from other reliable websites and puts it onto one portal. Each piece of information added to a page can be individually cited so readers can find the source and get more information” (Wikipedia: Why Wikipedia is so great). If you don’t completely trust what you are reading, there will always be links to other articles so that you can compare and piece together the truth. For example when someone researching World War 1, knowing nothing about it, Wikipedia would be considered a great source. One way you would know if the content is of a good source would be if there was no edit link. With no edit link, no one could alter the content or make it possible to put false content in. Reading under the section of War Crimes, there’s a section talking about chemical weapons in warfare. Clicking on the main article entitled, “Chemical Weapons in World War 1,” takes you to another Wikipedia ad talking about that subject.
Since Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, you automatically associate it with information being accurate as it would be in a book written encyclopedia. When someone writes and constructs the content of a chemistry book that you use for class, it is most likely proofread to ensure its content is true and accurate by experts that studied and have profound expertise in the said subject. When it comes to Wikipedia, there are a combination of those that are experts and those that are amateurs. It’s hard to figure out which is which because you are trusting them to be proficient and expertized in what you are researching, especially because you have no knowledge about what you are trying to learn. As stated previously, the Wikipedia article on “Chemical Weapons in World War 1,” there is an edit link with each topic being discussed meaning anyone can write, edit, and update information as long as they acquire a login. There was an example concerning John Seigenthaler, a former assistant to Robert Kennedy who was falsely implicated in the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers. You have no real way of knowing who is actually writing the published information or if it is actually true or not, making Wikipedia a non-credible source. It is also troublesome knowing that someone could easily click the edit link and add on whatever they want to say.
When trying to determine the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, one must consider a lot of things. Wikipedia is to be used only as a something like a study guide. “Sometimes vandals create malicious entries that go uncorrected for months” (Mark E. Moran). Not knowing whether the information posted is true and accurate, the links provided at the end of the readings may better help in determining the truth. When doing research, Wikipedia should not be held to the standard of a noted verification. “Any user can change any entry in Wikipedia, and if enough other users agree with them, it becomes true. All we need to do is convince a majority of people that some factoid is true” (Stephen Colbert).

Works Cited
Colbert, Stephen. The Colbert Report. Is Wikipedia a Reliable Resource? August 1, 2006 Mark E. Moran. The Top 10 Reasons Students Cannot Cite or Rely On Wikipedia. www.findingdulcinea.com October 2, 2011
Why Wikipedia is so great https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Why_Wikipedia_is_so_great Why Wikipedia is not so great http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Why_Wikipedia_is_not_so_great Using Wikipedia as a research tool https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About

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