Why is wikipedia considered a bad place to get information?

Personally speaking I like the site! - wikipedia free encyclopedia
United States
October 30, 2007 10:38am CST
I don't understand this. Doing searches for school kids on cha cha they have actually told me that their teachers advised them not to use wikipedia. The few times I've read anything on it the information was good. My thought is if it is about History or a major event it can't be changed and if it is we usually can figure out that what has been changed isn't the truth right? I also wonder why since it's supposed to be a free encyclopedia why the people who put it together would make it so anyone can add to it! Anyone who knows their reputation is not going to use it so what is the good of having it there?Do you ever use wikipedia? Have you heard that it's not exactly accurate? Can you figure out why such a site would exist if it's true?
3 people like this
20 responses
@raychill (6530)
• United States
30 Oct 07
Wikipedia is a user submitted place. Meaning that anyone can insert information into the wikipedia. So you could say that the war of 1892 was fought in 1439. You could say that germany was a continent. You could say that elephants were mythical creatures. I disagree though that it's a bad source of information. I create text for an electronic sign promoting the library on a weekly basis. One of the things I do is a weekly trivia question. I almost always get my information from the wikipedia. But I ALWAYS double check, which is what you should do for anything and everything. double-check your sources. so as long as you double-check on the info you get from the wiki, you're good. just don't trust it straight up.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Oct 07
My point is why do they have it so people can change the information? I don't know of any encyclopedia anywhere where that is possible. You would think they want it to have accurate information.
@raychill (6530)
• United States
30 Oct 07
What encyclopedia is free? It's the free encyclopedia! and the point of it is to be user submitted. SO I don't know.. that's just how it is. It's like why is ice cold? because it is. why is the sky blue. because it reflects the ocean. why is the ocean blue. because it reflects the sky. why is the wikipedia user submitted? because it is.
1 person likes this
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
31 Oct 07
Wiki does have better standards though like citations for example. Many times the citation leads to online documents, pdfs, news stories, professional examples. As long as you doublecheck that and the citation, you should be good. Wiki has moderators and knowledgeable users that can either report, change or delete incorrect material. I do agree that the user submission format leads to some problems. You should have seen the entries on countries especially the US, Chad, Iran, Iraq before the security protocols. Even then, some people have ways around it and still try to vandalize the entries.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
31 Oct 07
I never heard of that, that wikipedia is a bad source...I use it all the time and have found the information on it great for just about any subject...Lots of times though, if I'm doing research for one of my articles, I'll not only rely on it, bit look up other sources as well. so this is real news to me that it's considered a bad place for info...Still will use it.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Oct 07
I think it's ok to use if you also do your research in other places.
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
31 Oct 07
And I think its okay to be careful when using other sources. As I've said there are some inaccuracies in other forms of research media. There is also bias in some of them as well, a few are very blatant displays of bias with creative use of statistics, name recognition or titles.
1 person likes this
@srik45 (176)
• India
31 Oct 07
Cut the crap guys, Wikipedia is the best source of information one can find on the internet... There is nothin more far better than that so far.. Wikipedia though is a User Edited Community Portal , It is highly trusted
1 person likes this
@bonbon664 (3470)
• Canada
31 Oct 07
I have to disagree with you there. I don't think it's the best source. It should be one of several sources if you want the facts.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Oct 07
Highly trusted? How can you say that when teachers are telling their students not to use it?
• United States
30 Oct 07
My friend and I were discussing the accuracy of wikipedia the other day. She said that if any of the students in one of her classes were caught getting information from that site that they will automatically receive a failing grade for that assignment. I have heard that wikipedia is not as accurate of an online resource compared to other sites. I guess the reason is because everyday normal people can just edit/add content found on the site. This to me seems to discredit the site because people can be biased about particular topics. However, I still go to the site just to see what it says about a particular topic I am searching. Not everything on wikipedia is incorrect but I wouldn't use it as my sole resource for information.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Oct 07
I think it's funny that teachers tell their students not to use the site. I'm sure the owners of the site are aware of this so you would think they would change it.
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
31 Oct 07
Tell her, some of the entries have valid citation and many free users are working on the real citation and validity of the entries. Not only that, I'd ask what does constitute for valid sources since I've seen so much agenda on not just wikipedia but MANY other sources on net, TV and print. If I was teaching I too would review all sorts of references, but if something is blatantly wrong I'd give a failing grade too (be it from wiki, forums, biased news outlets, biased organizations, etc). Also, editing the pages is hard depending on the subject. Some entries are semi-protected and can't be edited by new people only established members. Other entries are completely protected only edited by mods and admins as I recall. Plus the standards are getting better on wiki with citations, footnotes, links and calls for real citation for independent or original looking claims. I do agree one should use other sources for information, but be careful. Misinformation doesn't just lie on wiki. Plenty of places use it and its in plenty of informational media.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Oct 07
From what I've heard it is done by average people. There is no one that regulates it and no one to check what people submit there. It might eb a good place to get a good idea or suggestions but I'm not sure how accurate it really is.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Oct 07
since it's supposed to be an encyclopedia how can the owners not have someone check it at least on a daily basis for accuracy?
@vicki2876 (5640)
• Canada
31 Oct 07
I have noticed that some of the information on it didn't seem right to me which made me look more into it. Because it is users putting the info on there some people could make some errors. However I know that the teachers here don't really like the internet for research at all and would rather the children go to a library. I still use it for class projects anyways considering the library is a 25 minute drive from the house and many mini projects are due next day.
1 person likes this
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
31 Oct 07
There is also biased entry in several of the sites. Just be careful Vicki. A few times available print info is outdated and other present examples have some of the same bias. I've seen it myself and wasn't too pleased. I do like the support of the library though and there are sources worth utilizing.
1 person likes this
• Romania
30 Oct 07
Well that is strange i thought that wikipedia is a good source of information.But maybe their teachers told them that because they wanted the children to look in other places for information not just one.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Oct 07
If you read some of the responses here you will see that anyone can add information to the site whether it's correct or not. It doesn't make any sense to me.
@poohgal (6848)
• Singapore
30 Oct 07
Hello there. With the widespread of internet, it's becoming very easy for us to find information on the internet. However, at the same time, it's also getting increasingly hard to discern whether the information is correct or not. Whether is it Wikipedia or some other website, it's important for us to realize that not all information is 100% correct. We must do our due diligence to check and also discern the authenticity of the information.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Oct 07
I think most adults can figure out what is right or wrong especially when it comes to a subject like History or an important event. Why would anyone change that?
@milott (2648)
• India
30 Oct 07
It could be true, because wikipedia is nothing but created by any user who has an account in wikipedia and it could be wrong on all accounts as it was created by individual who, we don't know anything about, except some knowledge about the so-called information and hence could be wrong. There were several such instances i have experienced and also heard about wikipedia where the informatin given were entirely wrong or absurd.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Oct 07
I have yet to find any wrong information on wiki. I think I'm just lucky as far as that's concerned.
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
30 Oct 07
I have a Wikipedia account, ctry, and I use it often. The negative reports about the site are due to the ability of people who can put erroneous information on there, but I look at it this way, if the subject is something I am interested in, I always go to more than one source. If the information is the same on more than one site, it's pretty much a done deal.
• United States
30 Oct 07
I'm willing to bet it's the kids who do put most of the wrong information in. Why would an adult do something like that?
@raijin (10373)
• Philippines
30 Oct 07
I sometimes use wikipedia, but I also look for other sources on the net to check it's reliability. Some are true though, and some are not. I guess it is unsafe since people can easily tamper the informations provided there. If I was to search for a particualr subject, I might as well check their own site too and compare the informations written on wikipedia.
• United States
30 Oct 07
I've often compared the information too and so far haven't found any discrepancies. I guess I've just been lucky.
@xhaxpero (39)
• Romania
7 Nov 07
I really don't understand this....their teachers advised them not to use wikipedia because any one can edit the content...but that's not a motive...because wikipedia content is always checked by members. I almost all times i use wikipedia
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16235)
• United States
31 Oct 07
That's strange, I use wikipaedia for all sorts of things and have found it very useful. I'm surprised why they would say that its not good!
1 person likes this
@shadowing (309)
• Malaysia
31 Oct 07
Hi ctrymusiklvr. Wikipedia, well I admit it's a useful website. Haha, since it able to get me a lot of information which I intend to know and even figure out my house direction for my friend using the map function in wikipedia. However, yes, some lecturers do not accept information which get from Wikipedia. Since everyone can edit the content, they just skeptical about the accuracy. Anyway, it's a great website for me to search for general knowledge.
1 person likes this
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
31 Oct 07
i have heard that wiki is written by many individuals so the information is left up to imnterpretation. That is why that i have heard that wiki is not a good source of information.
1 person likes this
• Kazakhstan
31 Oct 07
I don't think that Wikipedia is a bad place to get any kind of information that you need, because in my opinion it is very accurate and most of all it is always up to date. It is the best source on the internet for many issues and I must tell you that I really love it!!!
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
31 Oct 07
Its because people can edit it. Of course plenty of entries have citation now so one can double check and use those instead of just the wikipedia page. A few times I added to it and other wiki projects. Its good to have it open source since a lot of knowledgeable people can come together and contribute to the place. Much like this one place I know...its called...mylot. And just like it, wiki is also vulnerable due to the same reasons, anyone can edit and put misinformation or vandalizing garbage on the entries, same as posting. Of course at least wikipedia has banning, ignoring, semi-protection and locked editing(full protection). Too bad mylot only has one of those and not the rest. I use wikipedia for reviews or if I just want to look at stuff. I do double check though and its real easy to do thanks to resources, search engines, etc. As a rule of thumb I doublecheck, but usually the good entries have citation leading to other websites, pdfs, videos, online documents, books, magazines, etc. So that gives you something else to check. I will say I've seen some errors in the past when dealing with wikipedia. One really had to check up and be careful. Things are better now, but still not perfect.
1 person likes this
• Canada
30 Oct 07
It is really because anyone can input source in Wikipedia and there really is no proof that the source or information is actually accurate. I do admit there were times when I did research projects and found errors in Wikipedia's articles but for the most part it is relatively correct. Now a days my teachers usually do not accept internet resources (because of plagiarizing etc.) and so I only use Wikipedia if I need to know random information (about a singer, or where a country is etc.).
@Debs_place (10525)
• United States
30 Oct 07
The problem is that wikipedia can be edited by anyone, though history or scientific facts can't be changed, wikipedia can be. I have never found anything major wrong, but if I remember correctly there was a major inaccuracy typed in deliberately a year or 2 ago. I believe it was about a political figure. The reason that it exists is the 99.9% of it is accurate, and there is more information there then you will find almost anywhere - for example where else could you look up 'chicken wings' and find out they originiated at the ANchor Bar in Buffalo NY. I would think that wiki is a good starting point for research but not the know all - end all that people feel it is. I think if a student starts there and uses the links provided then you would be able to verify your data.
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
8 Nov 07
ctrymuziklvr - I totally agree with you! I didn't know Wiki was changable like that! Like you said "WHY!" Why have something like that that is for a good purpose be so questionble? But like someone else said "because it is!" . My wonder is how would teachers know that the info in a report is false if it is not something they know alot about? I mean, yeah, history dates and things like that , but if hte report is on book binding and the teacher doesn't know anything about it and the student got all their info from WIki - how would the teacher know it was true or not? And how is the student to know what on Wiki is true that they can use and what is not true so they don't use it? And just cause it is from Wiki - does that make it quesionable? Maybe I should Wiki "wikipedia" and see what it says!