Monday, March 28, 2011

The Wonderful World of Wikipedia

I'm gonna be honest...when I sat in front of my computer and started to think about this blog post, the first place I turned to was Wikipedia itself. Yes, I looked up Wikipedia on Wikipedia. This just goes to show the immense reliance I have formed for the free web-based encyclopedia. While I am aware that anyone with internet access can edit the information on Wikipedia, I have confidence in the vigilant editors that the information is accurate. Furthermore, Wikipedia provides all of it's resources with End Notes, which are also useful when conducting research of my own. It is very convenient too that Wikipedia links various words in its articles that lead you to what else but another Wikipedia page on that topic! I could literally spend hours perusing the pages of Wikipedia. Any time I am curious about a person, an event, a thing, and idea, or a subject, I find Wikipedia even more useful then Google. I know it will provide an array of organized information with legitimate works cited.
Of course their have been controversies in which people have abused the system of information posting on Wikipedia. An American student invented a so
ftware scanner that reveals who edits all Wikipedia entries.

-Apple edited Microsoft's page to portray a more negative image. Bill Gates then edited Apple entries to make that company appear more negative.
-ChevronTexaco attempted to remove information about biodiesels and fines against the company.
-Dog breeding association removes informa
tion about fatal dog attacks on humans.
-MSN Search added in a line about being a "major competitor to Google"
-BBC changes Tony Blair's favorite drink from coffee to vodka, and his workout regimen from the gym to the bedroom. Another person from BBC changes George Walker Bush to George Wanker Bush on his page.
-Coca Cola, Nestle, Scientology, Exxon Mobil, De
ll, Fox News, and many more delete whole paragraphs of information that portray them in a negative image

These are just a few examples of faulty, biase
d editing that may occur do to Wikipedia's format. However, with this scanning technology, and a group of speedy and persistent editors, I find Wikipedia to be very reliable. Of course for a paper I will never quote or complete depend on Wikipedia. Instead, I found it a useful source to educate myself on the background of a topic before divulging in the details.


  1. I did the same thing when I wanted to start my post- I typed "History of Wikipedia" on Wikipedia and checked out that entry. I find that whenever I want to find out about something, such as a company, a TV show, or a person, I reference the Wikipedia page as opposed to the official website. Its easy since the Wikipedia page always comes up so close to the top on Google searches.

    In one of my classes we had to research information about different countries. We were encouraged to use Wikipedia because the information on each country is closely monitored and contains many details. We were also warned to read it while looking out for the bias written favoring each country's individual entries. Our professor explained that different countries want to present themselves well, and knowing that many people reference Wikipedia to research a country as a vacation spot or for other reasons, they make sure the Wikipedia puts them in a good light.

  2. Excellent point that businesses have waged PR campaigns on wikipedia, in try to improve their own image, but also in denigrating that of their competitors.