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Pros & Cons of Wikipedia

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Against Wikipedia

Wikipedia is not a good source because their information may not be up to date. Wikipedia may not be a very reliable source, because people can essentially put whatever they want on there, and they might not know enough about the topic when they do it. People can edit Wikipedia articles and basically write whatever they want. A lot of the articles don't list source of information, so there is no way to check its accuracy. Whoever posted the article or edited it might not have had their facts straight, different information can be submitted and entered by just about anyone without the proof or verification that this information is actually true. This leads to different points of views and it is very subjective in my opinion.

Wikipedia is open for changing. This means that any random hobo with a computer can change stuff from Wikipedia. Wikipedia has moderators, but all they do is make sure the person doesn't type joke material on wiki. Though Wikipedia is considered the best to search for articles of every kind, the authenticity of the subject is not 100% correct, because the view of different authors are different in some way or other. The findings of their survey regarding many subjects may be different unless it is scientifically proven.

When the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, was asked if Wikipedia should be used as a reference his reply was, "No, I don't think people should cite it, and I don't think people should cite Britannica, either... People shouldn't be citing encyclopedias in the first place. Wikipedia and other encyclopedias should...give good, solid background information to inform your studies for a deeper level" (Ghajar, 2010, para. 2). If the founder himself agrees that this online encyclopedia should not be used as a cited source than why would anyone else.

Wikipedia starts as a foundation for a writer to do more research and find the credibility within the cited sources, not use Wikipedia itself as a valid source.


Ghajar, L. A. (2010). teachinghistory.org National History Education Clearinghouse. Retrieved from http://teachinghistory.org/digital-classroom/ask-a-digital-historian/23863

For Wikipedia

The United States use of Wikipedia in the federal court system makes Wikipedia a viable source for all collegiate students to use their universities. Since the court case Bourgeois v. Peters, courts have used Wikipedia for a variety on inquires such as geographic location, the definition of "business days", the explanation of common phrases, defining technical terms, and the interpretation of slang. To add to its validity, Google searches often place Wikipedia information at the top of its results search (Miller, 2010).

One reason a court is able to use Wikipedia as a source is because there are able to draw upon a consensus answer rather than the scholar bias of any particular subject. Wiktionary is the online dictionary equivalent of Wikipedia where users can submit their agreement or disagreement on words and phrases such as "sugar free", "jacked", and "shoulder tap" (Miller, 2010). Using an encyclopedia in this case would not benefit the user because these words and phrases listed are not considered proper English.

Wikipedia articles are not the result of random collaboration. Wikipedia functions on grants, donations, and volunteers which replace traditional encyclopedia editors with thousands of online editors. When a Wikipedia editor makes a change to an article their IP address and summary of the change is listed



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