TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Wikipedia - Do you use it??
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Wikipedia - Do you use it??

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
How often do you use Wikipedia?

Do you use it as a sole base for your reports during college or post grad?

Microsoft in hot water of Wikipedia edits

The teachers at the university that I attend basically either does not allow Wikipedia as a reference or requires that minimum # of references still have to be met before using Wikipedia as a reference.

One guy in a class I had last semester failed his class project because his only source of references were Wikipedia.

I really never encourage Wikipedia as I have heard too many articles (even prior to college) how Wikipedia is a bad source to use because the entries are entered by people like you and I, not necessarily experts in the field. My only argument to those are: How different is it from those that right a magazine article? Their point of view may be politically biased as well?

For example if I were writing a paper about global warming, and not allowed to use Wikipedia, but I was allowed to use a magazine article. What if I chose a magazine article that was politically biased, saying that the U.S. government is responsible for creating programs to clean up the air and that we are the only reason that the earth is experiencing a global warming?

So you? What do you think??
post #2 of 28
Our professors don't allow us to use Wikipedia as a source for research projects because it is an open content site.
I do use it quite a bit though. It is an excellent source to use for clarification on homework, lectures, etc.
As far as relating it to magazine articles in regard to bias, it would be about he same. If your professor doesn't allow you to use Wikipedia though, then you better not When choosing sources, we are always specifically told to choose carefully and use ones that are as unbiased as we can. But I think it really depends on the assignment. If it is an informative assignment then you want to find unbiased information, but if you are taking a stand in the assignment then more biased sources might be acceptable.
post #3 of 28
I use Wikipedia all the time. Nut I don't think it is a good source for school work.
post #4 of 28
I use it, but if I was writing an undergrad or postgrad paper I wouldn't use it as a reference.

Honestly, with all the editing that goes on in it I simply use it as a small reference point. If I really want to know about something I'll use other sources of information.
post #5 of 28
I use Wikipedia. It's convenient. However I certainly wouldn't quote it as fact anywhere. It the same with anything, especially online - you've got to consider the source of the information.
post #6 of 28
I always tell my students that Wikipedia is a great starting point. But I never allow it as a reference or main source for two reasons:

a) It is edited and added to by anyone and cannot always guarantee accuracy or even authority (that is the difference between it and a magazine article - you can quote an author who is respected in their field)

b) You cannot reference from it accurately as much of it is lifted from other sites without reference to the original authors, and this is not acceptable for copyright reasons. Any paper that is written quoting or even using Wikipedia as a source of anything other than the most general information is guilty of plagiarism.

So yes, use it for background and to find out where to go for the best and original sources. But NEVER cite from it. I disqualified all papers that used WP as a quoted source. It may be OK at high school level, though even then I think students should learn to respect intellectual property, but at undergrad and especially postgrad level it represents shoddy and lazy research.
post #7 of 28
I've never used it before.
post #8 of 28
I use it for casual research, and it's great for giving an overview and helping you find the real stuff, the authoritative stuff. If I were doing formal research, writing a paper, etc, I would never use it as a source itself, only as a help to get to the appropriate sources, and perhaps as a stimulus for the creative juices. The fact that it can't be quoted as a source does not mean it can't get you thinking in directions you hadn't anticipated.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyranson View Post
b) You cannot reference from it accurately as much of it is lifted from other sites without reference to the original authors, and this is not acceptable for copyright reasons. Any paper that is written quoting or even using Wikipedia as a source of anything other than the most general information is guilty of plagiarism.
That's a good point. I never thought about that.

The only time I really use Wikipedia is I really do not understand something. Being in computers sometimes all this logical thinking gets a little too confusing, so if I don't fully understand something, I'll take a look at Wikipedia to make some sense, but only as a last resort. If it doesn't sound the same, I'll discount it and look elsewhere.
post #10 of 28
I use it all the time to look up things I'm curious about, but not when preparing lessons. I also don't accept it as a reference for school work, for the same reasons Jenny stated.
post #11 of 28
I don't do college work but even if I did I wouldn't use Wikipedia...
However I do use it often to check up on my favourite bands and what they are up to

Am I the only one disgusted at the way Microsoft will do anything to cover up the fact that it is trying to stop open-source software (especially through its new Vista OS) and Linux in general
post #12 of 28
For research papers - never! But for general interest, like if I'm curious about a person, place, band, event, etc, it's the first website I'll go to. It's good for a quick review of something.
post #13 of 28
For passing curiosity sure, but not if I am looking for accurate info.
Anybody can submit basically whatever they want to the wiki database, whether based in fact or not.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMyBabies View Post
For research papers - never! But for general interest, like if I'm curious about a person, place, band, event, etc, it's the first website I'll go to. It's good for a quick review of something.
When I was in college eons ago, personal computers hadn't been invented yet! But like you, I use Wikipedia for general information about someone or something I am curious about, but I would never use it as a reference.

My hubby is a college instructor, so I'll have to tell him that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source for his class assignments.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny82 View Post
I've never used it before.

Don't feel bad, I've never used it either.
In fact I'd never heard of it until about a month ago when my oldest Son said something about it.
post #16 of 28
Given the controvery of its sourcing, I only use it as an overview or general information. I don't know how universities, etc are using the internet as a source but I tend to find it dodgy given the transient nature of the sites. It could so easily change between today and tomorrow and no one would know the difference.
post #17 of 28
I use wikipedia all the time, but for personal use. I would never use it to write a paper or do serious research. I love it though. I realize you can't always trust it- which is why I don't use it for projects, but it's darned handy. My use of Wikipedia is only second to imdb.com- the internet movie database. I'm not exactly sure how I existed prior to stumbling across these websites. They are great! DH feels the same way about this website that tells you how stuff is made and how it works. I cant remember the address.
post #18 of 28
I use wikipedia all the time, but also agree it is not good to reference. On that note, I would be in trouble anytime I referenced anything as basic as an encyclopedia for my graduate papers/presentations, so this doesnt specifically refer to wikipedia. It would be COMPLETELY unacceptable if I ever used a single source for ALL my information, and in GENERAL web-based references are frowned upon, for all the same reasons as many of you have criticized Wikipedia: you cant prove authority of the information.
Now on Wikipedia, there certainly is the ability for people to post incorrect information, but I have NEVER come across something incorrect or unappropriate (Ie an article on Satan under "Bible") on Wikipedia (and usually when I start looking up something and begin there, I end up verifying their information in my subsequent steps) Im pretty sure I could make a very strong argument how the collaborative nature of Wikipedia often makes it a *better* source than almost any other website/online encyclopedia, because inaccurate information is constantly reviewed/changed/updated....
I love how easy it is to search Wikipedia...in google if you type
"Wikipedia: xxx" where xx is what you are looking for, it sends you RIGHT to that article, cant get any easier than that for an excellent starting point.
post #19 of 28
i love wiki but i would never use it as a sole source. i use it for basic info and i go from there.
post #20 of 28
Wikipedia is really handy and I use it a lot. If I must be 100% sure of something, I check the wiki info somewhere else, since it's not a perfectly reliable source. As someone said, it's a good starting point. I'd never accept wiki info as the sole source in anything serious.

Someone compared wiki info with magazine articles. IMO, that's quite right. Journalists aren't experts in every field and we usually work under a thight deadline. Mistakes occur very often. Also, a good journalist should try to be as objective as possible, but we are all people and can't turn our personalities off.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryn View Post
Wikipedia is really handy and I use it a lot. If I must be 100% sure of something, I check the wiki info somewhere else, since it's not a perfectly reliable source. As someone said, it's a good starting point. I'd never accept wiki info as the sole source in anything serious.

Someone compared wiki info with magazine articles. IMO, that's quite right. Journalists aren't experts in every field and we usually work under a thight deadline. Mistakes occur very often. Also, a good journalist should try to be as objective as possible, but we are all people and can't turn our personalities off.
I think the biggest issue with Wiki is that it has anonymous donors which means you can't check their credentials or understand their bias whereas you can with magazine/newspaper journalists.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by katachtig View Post
I think the biggest issue with Wiki is that it has anonymous donors which means you can't check their credentials or understand their bias whereas you can with magazine/newspaper journalists.
You're quite right. On the other hand wiki articles have multiple writers who can correct each other's mistakes or bias, so the system hopefully controls itself to some degree. Also, in practice most people don't check the credentials of journalists whose articles they've read. Unless the writer is a famous media personality, very few people will know what they're all about. And even if you do check their credentials, there is still room for honest mistakes made in hurry.

I agree an article with the writer's name on it is in theory a lot more transparent than anonymous wiki info.
post #23 of 28
I do sometimes. I used it as a reference once (prof never said anything about it). It was a paper for drama and it was one of about 12 sources and it essentially summed up what all the other sources said. I guess there is a lot of confussion surrounding Mr. Robin Williams biography anyways and there is no Offical Robin Williams site with a biography, so I think my prof took that into consideration.
post #24 of 28
In my field, you can use Wikipedia in numerous capacities. Language is a common-use sort of thing, with no authorities mandating the rules, and so Wikipedia is pretty well-suited for modern language sorts of things (usages and such). Then again, you can use quotes from guests of Jerry Springer as data too. Now, if I were writing a paper on something more formal, less modern, or a principle, then no, the info on Wikipedia is totally not reliable because the majority of people disagree with some pretty basic linguistic principles and so pages get changed or flagged when any linguist would have agreed with the original. For instance, if you put "Ebonics is just as systematic and regular as Standard English" it would get changed in a heartbeat, but the vast vast majority of linguists would agree with that statement, and those that don't would probably make minor clarifications and not just flat-out disagree... whereas the vast vast majority of non-linguists would totally disagree with that statement (a fact which is in itself very interesting and relevant to sociolinguists).

Anyway, Wikipedia has its uses. But anyone who only has one source (whatever it is) for a research project ought to fail, regardless of whether it is Wikipedia or not.

There are studies somewhere of Wikipedia's accuracy of more common topics, and they are just as accurate as most encyclopedias. People just ought not abuse it. You wouldn't want a major source of a paper to be Encyclopedia Brittanica either, past the third grade, so why use Wikipedia as one?
post #25 of 28
I like reading various things on Wikipedia but, like many other information sources on the internet, you have to sort the good info from the bad. Like many others have already said I wouldn't use it for any serious research.
post #26 of 28
I have only ever used (and have been allowed to use) peer reviewed articles from scholarly journals for research papers/projects. I’ve never had a professor tell me that I could use magazine articles as support for a project. For me, the line between Wikipedia entries and peer reviewed articles from scholarly journals (the only articles I’ve ever used) is really cut and dry.
post #27 of 28
Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report asked his viewers to change Wikipedia entries. For instance, someone recently changed the entry on elephants to note that due to Colbert's tireless work, the elephant population has tripled in the last ten years.
The site has the entry locked now to protect against vandalism.

I like reading movie summaries on wiki. For instance, I would never watch the Saw movies since I'm such a wimp, but I read all the synopses.
post #28 of 28
I use Wikipedia for personal use to find out stuff. I would NEVER use it for an academic paper. I can't imagine anyone using a source that any Joe Smoe can write, edit, etc. I don't understand the big hype about Wikipedia.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: IMO: In My Opinion
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Wikipedia - Do you use it??