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  1. #11
    Twin Towers Twin Towers is offline
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    http://wikiscanner.virgil.gr/ might trace questionable edits 4U.
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  2. #12
    Kf Kf is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by gaelach
    Richard Dawkins reckons we should fear it...he may be right...
    What did he say Gaelach
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  3. #13
    bennypeavoy bennypeavoy is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pericles
    It depends on what you want Wikipedia to do. If you look at it as an academic source, you deserve whatever false information you obtain from it. If you look at it as a starting-point, or a primer on a topic about which you know little, it can be hugely informative.

    The same applies to any encyclopedia -- you'd be very foolish to rely on the Encyclopaedia Brittanica as an academic source, but (as with Wikipedia) that's not its job.
    its often referenced here.....
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  4. #14
    Insider2007 Insider2007 is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pericles
    It depends on what you want Wikipedia to do. If you look at it as an academic source, you deserve whatever false information you obtain from it. If you look at it as a starting-point, or a primer on a topic about which you know little, it can be hugely informative.

    The same applies to any encyclopedia -- you'd be very foolish to rely on the Encyclopaedia Brittanica as an academic source, but (as with Wikipedia) that's not its job.
    Interestingly a study in the prestiguous publication Nature found that Wikipedia and Brittanica were effectively on a par in terms of accuracy, given that the latter was produced by academics and researchers and the former was written by everyone (including academics and the general public). Both had minor errors but on scientific topics both were very credible and reliable. Brittanica went apesh1t at the results accusing Nature of being wrong and demanding that it withdraw the study. It refused, and other subsequent studies showed similar results.

    No-one should presume that everything in wikipedia is correct. But the claim that it is utterly unreliable is bumkum. Top academics worldwide are contributors. An article on nuclear weapon agreements like SALT II and START turned out some time ago to have been contributed to a United Nations expert. For a newspaper article some years ago I deliberately added in some false claims into articles and timed them to see how long they took to be fixed. Three of them were fixed within 5 minutes. I know Irish academics who are friends of mine who were highly dubious about wikipedia contents and did trawls of articles on their areas of expertise were genuinely surprised at how good the articles on those topics were. (One was flabbergasted at the quality of an article on a particular mediaeval weapon. He researched the topic himself and found that the article was 100% correct. The article had largely been written by one person. He contacted him out of interest to ask where he got the facts. It turned out the guy who wrote it is a car mechanic who left school after his o-levels, but had a lifelong interest in history and had over the years read everything he could get his hands on about the topic of weaponry in the 17th and 18th centuries, and then decided to add in some articles on individual weapons. He article was so good the academic came away astonished at how much he learned from it.

    So anyone who gives wikipedia a blanket rubbishing is bullsh1itting. You should never treat its contents as 100% reliable. But when you check most of what it says it stands up to scrutiny. What is amazing is in fact how good it is. I would have expected it to be garbage. In my own area of expertise, I have frequently been pleasantly surprised at just how good it is. In some areas it is better than any other mainstream encyclopaedia I have found, particularly in obscure topics where a contributor happens to have an expertise in an area that most people do not have.
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  5. #15
    Ciarán Mac Mathghamhna Ciarán Mac Mathghamhna is offline
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    To be fair, I think it has improved greatly over the last few months. I recently heard of a chap who, being sceptical of its editorial policy, placed a false biographical detail on the page of an obscure classical composer. He checked back in two hours - it was gone.

    I'd love to try this myself, but can't because our network is blocked. I suggest some of you try this stunt and see for yourself how long inaccuracies remain. Of course I am not advocating wanton vandalism (perish the thought!) but if you really think that Wikipedia is that bad, test it.

    I use it quite a lot in my research, and I do think that it is improving at a rapid pace. It is, however, subtly yet fundamentally biassed to a Western perspective but I suppose that's inevitable in anglophone-web2.0-land. I am of course referring to the magnitude of significance given to World of Warcraft on its pages.

    If you are talking about literary standards I honestly believe that, as a free and non-profit venture Wikipedia is not to be feared - it's only as good as its users. What I am worried about is the declining critical skills in corporate media - hacks who don't track back.
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  6. #16
    gaelach gaelach is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kf
    Quote Originally Posted by gaelach
    Richard Dawkins reckons we should fear it...he may be right...
    What did he say Gaelach
    It's on Google video, I got the link from Pidge, it's called "enemies of Reason", discusses the dangers of pseudo Science and how reason and science are under attack from superstition and faith and the dangers this causes.



    someone fix this!
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  7. #17
    lostexpectation lostexpectation is offline

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    I'll say it again and again, people keep forgetting what an encyclopedia is, its the bare minimum of info an overview, and wikipedia is highly sourced, when some posts a link to wikipedia, they don't intend for you to see wikipedia as the source but the list of sources of the overview at the bottom of the page, and again wikipedia's base is a public domain version of the encyclopedia brittanica.
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  8. #18
    michael1965 michael1965 is offline

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    It's very much a curate's egg. It's interesting to click the "Random article" link on the main page. It returns an article completely at random (obviously). What's interesting is that the vast majority of articles you'll get are inconsequential rubbish, typically only a couple of paragraphs in length.

    Having said that, articles and subjects which people do care about are much more likely to be somewhat authoritative and well-written. I personally have learnt a huge amount from it.

    For controversial subjects, the discussion pages are often the most interesting part. I can imagine that people are wary about its biographical articles though.
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  9. #19
    32 32 is offline

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    No academic worth his salt takes the nonsense spouted in 'Wikipedia' seriously.
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  10. #20
    Simon.D Simon.D is offline

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    Mainly use it myself as an Intro/Reminder of many obscure scientific/mathematical principles my research directs me too..
    It offers a very quick (sometimes quite in depth) taster from which you can decide whether or not to do some more formal reading on a subject..

    I like the way it has an answer for almost any query, providing very constructive feedback most of the time.. Once you accept the limitations of the service I think its quite invaluable.
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