Bringing All Things Down to Wikipedia's Level

wikipedia You’ve probably heard of several stories of people posting false information on Wikipedia.  It seems to be the number one type of story I hear about Wikipedia.  And these stories are used to explain why we shouldn’t be allowed to site Wikipedia or pay much attention to it as our primary source of knowledge.

The trouble with this thinking is that most people seem to pay less attention to the stories of poor academic writing, or news articles, or just about every other thing written in any language ever.

Wikipedia acknowledges that it has problems with accuracy.  Most other groups have similar problems, but many won’t say so, for obvious reasons.

My main fear is that universities and organizations ban Wikipedia references as a way to feign truth where little exists.  The stark reality, from my perspective, is that the vast majority of information all of us see is misrepresented, incomplete, false, and irrelevant.  People, journalists, scientists, often tell stories instead of facts, and even the facts are carefully chosen (though not always intentionally).  Bias is absolutely everywhere and so far Wikipedia seems to be the best item, to my knowledge, to try to counter it.  It’s a tiny attempt in comparison to the size of the problem, but it seems unfortunate to pin it as the enemy.

I think that people like to use Wikipedia as a scapegoat and shove it under a bus.  But the problem isn’t Wikipedia, the problem is the inherently biased nature of humanity and lack of care or infrastructure to address this.

So I agree that Wikipedia is uncertain.  But it’s probably much better than what’s in my head currently about almost everything ever.  I think we need to just admit that most of what we know is very flawed and accept that all communicated and known information is imperfect, because it is.  Incredibly so.

Comments