FTW Media

Thoughts about New/Social Media

Wikipedia is still very good

with one comment

Tech author Nicholas Carr hates Wikipedia. I think Carr is a brilliant author (I have both his books) and thinker. And I do share some of his views on how user-generated content is vastly over-rated. But I love Wikipedia. I use it all the time to find out more about topics I’m interested in.

For example, after watching Star Trek, I went to Wikipedia to read the back-story of all the major characters. What better, more efficient place to find that then Wikipedia?

Is it 100% accurate? Nope but it’s usually good enough – certainly for general knowledge.

Is it good enough for journalism? No. It’s good for general background info but you must verify facts because writing an article that’s going to be read by the masses is different from reading something up for fun or for curiousity.

Sociology and economics student Shane Fitzgerald recently put a fake quote in Wikipedia’s entry on Maurice Jarre as an experiment. That quote was subsequently picked up by notable news outlets such as the Guardian, the London Independent, on the BBC Music Magazine website.

Fitzgerald was shocked by the result of his experiment:

I didn’t expect it to go that far. I expected it to be in blogs and sites, but on mainstream quality papers?

He subsequently wrote to the newspapers to inform them of the hoax and they published corrections. The lesson here, of course, is that it’s crucially important to verify facts. Don’t just rely on one source, especially Wikipedia (which is still a favorite site of mine).


Written by Oon Yeoh

May 9, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Posted in New Media

One Response

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  1. Never assume..check and double-check! 😉

    edmund n

    May 10, 2009 at 8:34 am

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