Wikipedia at 10

Lance Ulanof writes this about Wikipedia:

“Six years ago, I pondered whether Wikipedia was in fact dangerous. So much information, so many people using it as a source, and so much potential for misuse. When I wrote the story, the site was being roiled by a fresh controversy. One man had, as a joke, written a fake biography of journalist John Seigenthaler. The entry included nonsense about him and the John F Kennedy assassination. The post author lost his job and Wikipedia ended up with a black eye. Up until then, it seems as if no one realized how easy it was for anyone to enter virtually anything in the information Wiki.

“Since then, I’ve continued to use Wikipedia for research, but always with some skepticism. I trust virtually nothing unless I can find a second, verifying source. Wikipedia has also improved since then, tightening its content posting guidelines and noting at the top of posts when information within needs verification or citations. Look today at the Seigenthaler Wikipedia entry and you’ll find 27 references, three publication annotations and five links. Even so, the post says it needs more in-line citations for verification.”

Later on in his article, he says:

“My gut says this is a bad thing. Wikipedia at 10 is really no more trustworthy than it was at two, five, or eight years old. However, the reality is that this is how the world prefers its information now: interpreted through the prism of belief and self interest. We get our news from web sites, blogs and television networks that, whether stated or not, have a point of view. It’s not “The Truth.” It’s “His Truth. Her Truth. Your Truth.” Why should we expect our new primary source to be any different?”

You can read the article in full here.


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