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#1
So In my class at uni, we got told recently that they aren't going to accept Wikipedia as a reference source anymore, based solely (as far as I can tell) on the fact that "anyone can edit it" Which as far as I can tell is a rather ignorant perspective, to assume that because of that Wikipedia must be completely filled with unreliable facts.

I'd say the ability of "anyone" to edit/author articles is one of the great advantages of Wikipedia and the internet in general. At the rate at which information is changing, updating and being discovered, something like Wikipedia seems like a good solution, being able to keep just about all information about anything in one place.

Anyway what do you guys think? Does your school/institution accept Wikipedia?

Wikiedit: vhfpuivhbuiphupqhguipgipnyg8puwygmh; h;nin bkjni [rcj
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#3
Most teachers at my school say that Wikipedia is a good place to start for information, but when citing sources we can't use the wiki page itself but we can use the sources sited on the page.

But I think it's pretty accurate, at least for the more well-established articles.
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#4
i like it, its like the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy -not entirely accurate but cheaper than the alternatives.
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#6
id say that NOW it is, never used to be, but lately it makes you give a credibal source for where you found the info. thus i'd call it credible.
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#8
It just seems silly because, (as far as I'm aware) as soon as anyone edits anything, relevant admins get an email and have to go look at it and the references cited by the edit anyway...

If it's BS or wrong they'll just roll back the edit.
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#9
It's a good source. Don't understand the hate.
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#10
my schools internet always had wikipedia blocked. teachers always claimed it was innacurate and biased. (however 90% of the time i found it to be more accurate and less biased than most other sites available) i think it had more to do with it simplifying the research process too much than anything.

people freak out about it being user edited, but ignore the fact that it has a better moderation system than most other internet sources.
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#11
Quote by metaldud536
You realize pretty much every wikipedia article has some citations on that bottom of each page that you can look into right?


Yeah, but if we're considering wikipedia as an unsuitable source, then whats to say those references are correct also.

I mean it's not like they let just anyone have a website.
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#12
Referencing wikipedia is suicidal

But yeah I remember a friend once telling me that it stands up against an up to date encyclopaedia. Just use the citations if you must.
#13
Quote by JohnnyGenzale
Not for university.

Why not?
Quote by Julz127
Yeah, but if we're considering wikipedia as an unsuitable source, then whats to say those references are correct also.

I mean it's not like they let just anyone have a website.

Click on them (if you can) you silly goose.
Last edited by metaldud536 at Apr 6, 2011,
#14
"Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information."

- Michael Scott.
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#15
Quote by metaldud536
You realize pretty much every wikipedia article has some citations on that bottom of each page that you can look into right?

word.

Quote by Julz127
Yeah, but if we're considering wikipedia as an unsuitable source, then whats to say those references are correct also.

I mean it's not like they let just anyone have a website.

you could say that about anything. what makes any research you do second hand reliable? nothing. because anyone can get a degree, anyone can write a book, anyone can dig up a decrepit corpse under some ruins in southern China. it makes the entire establishment of using references for papers moot.
Last edited by MakinLattes at Apr 6, 2011,
#16
Quote by Julz127
Yeah, but if we're considering wikipedia as an unsuitable source, then whats to say those references are correct also.

I mean it's not like they let just anyone have a website.


But usually wikipedia is perfectly correct and most citations are from proper and reliable sources.
#17
If the article is littered iwth bracketed numbers ([n]) that refers to sources -- I'd say it's safe.
#21
Quote by captaincrunk
One problem is that its always changing. What you looked up a month ago might be different when they go check your sources and you could be in shit.


But that's a good thing isn't it? Information is always changing.
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#22
Quote by Ikey
i like it, its like the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy -not entirely accurate but cheaper than the alternatives.

very well put.
i've never been allowed to use wikipedia as a source for research. not in high school or university.
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#23
For the fact each monkey could upload something on it, it might be not really a reliable source, that's why we aren't allowed to use it for some really big essays and stuff. Though I find by myself that most information on it is written by people who know their stuff, and they also use references, which mostly are pretty correct as well. Some of them actually are based on scientific papers and stuff. If you aren't allowed to use Wiki, just use the pages wiki has used, if you're allowed to use the interwebs. And that's really controversial, as the interwebs are much less reliable than wiki.
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#24
Quote by metaldud536
Why not?



I haven't really questioned it but it's not a valid source at swedish universities.
That said; I've never used it for an essay and I'm not encouraged to either. And I can find a lot better sources then Wikipedia for what I study.
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Last edited by JohnnyGenzale at Apr 6, 2011,
#25
Don't quote Wikipedia, quote the sources below the page. It's like a very good "cheat" too since from just one page you can get a number of citations, which will add to your reference list, which will make your paper appear more awesome.
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#26
At university level, Wikipedia should never be used as a source for a variety of reasons:

1. It's constantly changing its information. There's no guarantee that the part of the article you're referencing will be there a year from when you reference it, and that makes it a very weak source.

2. You're not actually referencing an original article. The idea of referencing is that you give credit to ideas and information where the credit is due. Since Wikipedia is comprised entirely of secondary information (i.e. no original material is submitted for review AT Wikipedia), you're not crediting actual authors of the information.

3. There's no guarantee that the information is true to begin with. Plenty of things slip through, and administrators are only human. Furthermore, administrators are not experts.

4. Even if all of the above was untrue, there is no author to reference since it is a collaborative effort from many, many authors. Crediting the website with the information is incorrect and crediting any individual author is also incorrect. There's no reliable way to even make an in-text Wikipedia reference.

At university level, Wikipedia is a completely unsuitable reference.
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#27
Citing Wikipedia is like watching a Beatles tribute band whilst the actual Beatles are playing in the next room.

Just use the actual references at the bottom.
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#28
Quote by instagata0
At university level, Wikipedia should never be used as a source for a variety of reasons:

1. It's constantly changing its information. There's no guarantee that the part of the article you're referencing will be there a year from when you reference it, and that makes it a very weak source.

2. You're not actually referencing an original article. The idea of referencing is that you give credit to ideas and information where the credit is due. Since Wikipedia is comprised entirely of secondary information (i.e. no original material is submitted for review AT Wikipedia), you're not crediting actual authors of the information.

3. There's no guarantee that the information is true to begin with. Plenty of things slip through, and administrators are only human. Furthermore, administrators are not experts.

4. Even if all of the above was untrue, there is no author to reference since it is a collaborative effort from many, many authors. Crediting the website with the information is incorrect and crediting any individual author is also incorrect. There's no reliable way to even make an in-text Wikipedia reference.

At university level, Wikipedia is a completely unsuitable reference.


5: The text you are reading can be ignoring facts, be subjective and emotionally grounded.
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#29
Use it to begin any research and then branch out to more academic, credible sources later on. Don't quote it, ever.
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#30
It isn't peer reviewed so it isn't valid at the university level
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#31
Quote by instagata0
At university level, Wikipedia should never be used as a source for a variety of reasons:

1. It's constantly changing its information. There's no guarantee that the part of the article you're referencing will be there a year from when you reference it, and that makes it a very weak source.

2. You're not actually referencing an original article. The idea of referencing is that you give credit to ideas and information where the credit is due. Since Wikipedia is comprised entirely of secondary information (i.e. no original material is submitted for review AT Wikipedia), you're not crediting actual authors of the information.

3. There's no guarantee that the information is true to begin with. Plenty of things slip through, and administrators are only human. Furthermore, administrators are not experts.

4. Even if all of the above was untrue, there is no author to reference since it is a collaborative effort from many, many authors. Crediting the website with the information is incorrect and crediting any individual author is also incorrect. There's no reliable way to even make an in-text Wikipedia reference.

At university level, Wikipedia is a completely unsuitable reference.


Well played, I agree with you on all your points, but for the sake of argument...

1. Information is constantly changing, add the date of access in your citation.
Wikipedia keeps a record of changes made.

2. You win.

3. Could say the same for any information, original research... whatever.

Also, can I point out, I didn't make this thread in order to find a solution to not being allowed to use wikipedia... it's for discussion of whether it's a reliable source, (hence the title "Is Wikipedia a reliable source?") I'm well aware that you can follow the citations at the bottom of the page.

Additionally, had my university pointed out the same things that instagata0 said I would have agreed fully with them, it seems odd that they only reason they suggested was simply that "anyone can edit it".
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#32
its fine and accurate 99.9% of the time. Except when teachers from my school decide that they are going to edit the page about an assignment due the next day.
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#34
I like Wikipedia a lot. I don't like all of the judgement on it. Most people don't know much about it past the "anyone can edit it" part. They don't know about the citations, moderation and overall reliability of the site. Hell, once an article gets good enough, it is locked and cannot be edited. It's a good place to learn about anything.

But, I understand why you can't cite it. instagata0 had a good post about it. For university and any other serious research, Wikipedia is a pathetic source to cite. Is it really that hard to go to the citations at the bottom?
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#36
Quote by Julz127


3. Could say the same for any information, original research... whatever.



Which is why academics submit their findings to experts to tear apart and determine the validity before they publish it.
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#37
Alright fair enough, I will not question the authorities anymore.

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#38
So long as you don't blindly use it, and only use citited information, it's as good as any source for info.
#39
If you want to quote wikipedia at uni level you shouldn't be there. Wikipedia is a good starting point to get an overview of the topic before moving onto more reliable sources. The article on wikipedia may be right, but from my experience, the articles on more advanced topics seem to be edited by people who failed in their area and are just trying to convince themselves that they know something by editing Wikipedia.

As an example, last year me and my friends were stuck on a physics problem so we googled and wikipedia came up on top. The article was correct, but at some point there was a differential equation that needed solving. The author claimed you have to use some advanced techniques and didn't bother showing the working out and quoted the result. In reality it could be solved with maths we learnt in high school.

EDIT: I thought I'd also add that if somebody is a specialist in some advanced topic he won't edit wikipedia. He'll write a textbook and/or write scientific papers on it.
Last edited by LizarD0 at Apr 6, 2011,
#40
It's like this. You wouldn't cite a print encyclopedia so don't cite wikipedia. They're both good first sources to start off your research and get a feel for the topic. But you need to go deeper than a wiki page to write a good paper anyways, so you should be having better stuff to cite regardless.
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