Wikipedia celebrates 15th birthday
January 22, 2016 1:09pm CST
In my opinion Wikipedia is one of the best things about the internet. And I'm certainly not alone in that opinion. Since its beginning on January 15, 2001, Wikipedia has become an integral part of most people's online lives. It's usually the first place we go for info on a topic. But I think we also need to take note that Wikipedia is still a teenager. And teenagers often still have some gaps in their knowledge, and believe in some "facts" that just aren't true. That's the case with Wikipedia. I just wrote a HubPages article ("Wikipedia Can Be Unreliable: Known Errors Not Corrected") about a couple Wikipedia articles I ran across that were flat out wrong in the "facts" they presented. In one case, the wrong information has been there as far back as 2004, and has yet to be corrected. Still, independent studies show Wikipedia is about as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica, long considered the gold standard. To my mind, flawed as it sometimes is, Wikipedia may be the best site on the entire web.
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23 Jan 16
I use it often, but I have also noticed several errors. The fact that anybody can modify an article does not help. You do not know who is behind an IP, and if his intentions are innocent. I remember to have corrected what was a bad student joke about a 19th C French writer, and it was there since 2 or 3 years... It is not something rare when it is a writer learned at school, and the pages are often blocked, making a correction impossible if you have not a Wikipedia account. I have also read that it was as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica, and I doubt. In my domain of research, it is rarely state of the art. A friend, who is one of the best researchers in Europe in his domain (and wrote a few articles for the Encyclopedia Britannica), told me that he spent several hours to correct an article full of obsolete references... and found it reversed to the previous version a few days later.