Recently, I’ve been reading many articles stating that Wikipedia is a “dubious source” when researching. The problem is that anyone can add to it and articles can be checked and edited by others with the same academic interest. This means anyone in the world can check articles for accuracy and to me, this is the best form of review. Granted, some people my intentionally add false information, but with peer review I believe it would be corrected eventually.
With a worldwide peer review, I believe this will enhance the accurracy of Wikipedia and will be a more complete encyclopedia than any ever written in the history of the world. Until now, we in the West had to rely on textbooks written from the Westerners point of view. Also, the cliché is that “History books are written by the victors.”
In America we learn how great “Manifest Destiny” was and until recently never even mentioned the mass slaughter and rape of the Native Americans. In Mexico, the Spaniards refer to the natives there as “savages.” If you read history books written by both Europeans and those from Muslim countries, they both are slanted towards their point of view and to paint themselves in a favorable light.
Further, I wonder what those who call Wikipedia a “dubious source,” believe is a credible source? American media for Gods sakes???? (or media from any country for that matter.)
Every country, area, provence inherently has a bias in their articles simply based on the fact that they do not understand or cannot comprehend a completely different way of thinking. Sure they provide two different points of view but it’s always American points of view.
Take the war on “terror” for example. Why is there never a rebuttal from a pro-“freedom fighter” point of view. (aka terrorist in the USA.) The reason is it would really shake people up and get them thinking. But unfortunately, most populations are unable to understand all the complexities involved, and hardly anyone understands the mentality of other cultures. If they did start thinking, then perhaps we couldn’t get anything done since the debate would drag on forever. Here, it’s just much quicker and easy to paint issues in black and white and to go attack somewhere. So what they get instead, is an analysis but some expert Johnnie Arab-American who tries to explain their way of thinking but we never get to hear the “real” other side.
America has never seen real grief and suffering caused by invasion. Pearl Harbor and 9-11 were not felt by most of the population and most did not go to Vietnam. War is the most horrifying, awful experience someone can ever have but it just never seems to stop.
But then again, every country has invaded others, slaughtered and for much more inane reasons than America ever has. Why break the trend now? Somebody somewhere must need some freedom.
Wikipedia at least has the capability to be corrected by users from all over the world, so as long as we’re going to continue killing each other perhaps we will be able to get a better view exactly why we are going over into their country to kill their citizens? From my old textbooks, it was because they were godless, inhuman, savage terrorist baby-killers.
Or perhaps they disparage it because Wikipedia is free for all and they cannot package it, put it in department stores with displays of young people dancing around it while selling it for ONLY $59.99.
Dubious they say. Every daily newscast regarding the most important issues in the world are friggin dubious…everywhere.
Mateo – you missed the point. They’re talking about a dubious source when researching. Research, but it’s very nature, relies on source data – the closer to the source, the more accurate. Given that, the media isn’t a good comparison at all – even if you’re doing a research paper on politics. The best you do with a newspaper quote is to show what they actually said – history books are much more likely to be accurate. Where this started from, IIRC, is from HS and College students using Wiki as a source for their research. This gives rise to the following problems
**If anyone can modify the data, it can be posted incorrectly, leading to incorrect conclusions.
**The popular view doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the correct view: peer-reviewed by the whole world, while good in it’s own way, doesn’t always make it correct. There’ve been many times where the whole world would’ve thought something was correct,but it was later proven incorrect. Your Manifest Destiny would be a great example. Every single peer group in the world at that time, except the Native Americans, would’ve seen this as nothing more than civilizing the natives, reclaiming the land for Christianity, etc.
**True research is always best done by getting to source data. This doesn’t mean that source data is always correct, but everything else is just an interpretation of that. The encyclopedias that you reference aren’t considered good for an actual research paper either – you may be able to quote one of them in your paper, but your entire paper can’t be based on that. They’re typically too far out of date to be useful for anything other than a junior high paper.
None of this is to say that Wiki isn’t a good source of knowledge, or that it’s wildly inaccurate. It’s a decent starting point that will point you in the correct direction and likely, for the good articles, quotes better source data. So, you get an idea/general direction from the posting, chase down the source data, read and use that – not Wiki.
As for the “pro-freedom fighter” view, it’s out there. Whenever OBL releases information, it’s published. Whenever any terrorist group (and yes, they’re terrorists, not freedom fighters. Freedom fighters don’t target women and children. Freedom fighters don’t blow up cars and the like for no other reason than to drive public will against some cause.) publishes a statement, we actually publish it for review. We may heartily disagree with it, but it does get published – and the op ed pages do publish comments supporting the terrorists.
I have to agree with mister Ron above.
Just because many people agree on something doesn’t mean they’re correct.
Mob rule is a bad idea both on the streets and in science.
59% of Turkish and 56% percent of British Muslims don’t believe 9/11 was carried out by Arabs.
Where is the credibility of WikiPedia if they all went in and edited the Encyclopedia as they liked.
Truth is not a question of consensus.
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