The Knowledge Society

We all do it! We say we don’t, but we do! That is right! Wikipedia! We are all guilty of using it! Whether it is for homework, research, or trying to find a random fact! It is always on the top of the list, and we have all gotten a little bit cocky with that link one time or another. But is Wikipedia a reliable source? Are you confident using and believing the information you find on it?

The article, What’s on Wikipedia and What’s not…?: Assessing Completeness of Information by Royal and Kapila, mainly focuses on Wikipedia itself.  Wikipedia is growing fast, and becoming the source for human knowledge.  It is a quick and easy way to get information on just about anything! Royal and Kapila state that Wikipedia is socially produced.  This means that anyone at any time can put their two cents into any Wikipedia page.  This brings up the question whether or not Wikipedia can be trusted. 

Another article that centers around the Webis Wikinomics and its Discontents: A Critical Analysis of Web 2.0 Business Manifestos by Van Dijk and Nieborg. This reading is on the economic and cultural discourse which is slowly being infected and replaced by mass peer production.  Business models are being replaced by companies and users who recognize that specific field.  Although I frequently use web pages that are produced by the peer, I never actually think about the companies and businesses that are falling through because of it.  Van Dijk and Nieborg analyze the businesses who argue against this and how they go about it.

I started to wonder whether sites, such as Wikipedia, which are peer produced, are such a good idea after all? I mean, yes, it is easy and quick to use, but is it reliable? And is it worth companies and businesses failing due to collaborative culture?  Or maybe in the end, everything will be created by peers and skilled users. 

A short text by Giles called Special Report: Internet encyclopaedias go Head to Head is clearly on the web base competition.  Giles focuses on one specific web page, and of course, it is Wikipedia.   He states that there are approximately four million entries!  That is crazy! Just imagine all of the ridiculous and unjustified facts and information that are written in Wikipedia! 

I understand that Wikipedia is peer produced and edited, but what I do not understand is how so many people rely on it.  I am certain that there are people out there that 100% believe some gnarly information that some teenager thought would be funny to post online. I personally have used Wikipedia, but mainly for celebrity birth dates, to be completely honest! If I am working on something for school, there is no way I am using a stitch of information from Wikipedia, especially after reading about Wikipedia itself.  

So what do you guys think? Are these mass peer produced websites and encyclopedias reliable? How often do you use Wikipedia and what for?

Take care! 

Van Dijk, J. & Nieborg, D. (2009). Wikinomics and its discontents: a critical analysis of Web 2.0 business manifestosNew Media & Society. 11, 5. pp 855-874

Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148

Giles. J. (2005). Special Report: Internet encyclopaedias go head to headNature. 438, pp 900-901  

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4 thoughts on “The Knowledge Society

  1. rw08ty

    I think that not all the information on Wikipedia is not reliable, I personally always examine the source and the citation provided to determine how true information is. If you use Wikipedia to find information about celebrities and their birth dates what guarantees you that it is accurate?
    I think that users posting on Wikipedia and providing us with information will not post false information because the information they post is now available to the public and the last thing they would want to go through is people changing their information or contacting to question them about how accurate and reliable is the information. I believe that we should utilize technology and use Wikipedia as a guide to start our research. It can be a tool used for a starting point that branches into examining a specific area of research.

    Reply
  2. db09rd

    I agree with the fact the Wiki should not be relied on for school work but I do have two ideas about Wikipedia that you may find interesting. I believe that Wikipedia is a great starting point for a topic that you know little about. It is obvious that you cannot use Wikipedia word for word in a school project but to get a basic understanding of a concept Wikipedia is useful. Also, as we move forward with our technological advancements more and more people will be using Wikipedia. The more people that use it, the more reliable it can be because people with different ideas or facts about the subject can edit the post and make it more valid. Good post this week!

    Reply
  3. rp10ap

    I find myself utilizing Wikipedia for topics that I am not aware of. In a sense, it represents an essential starting point in terms of researching but not the end point. After reading the Wikipedia page for a majority topics, I then proceed to complete further research on the aforementioned topic. I am aware that any individual can edit a Wikipedia page for instance, but I believe that Wikipedia moderators do a reputable job in terms of ensuring accuracy. As a free open source information system this is expected but again as a free open source information system, individuals should be appreciative of the fact that information is easily accessible as a result of Wikipedia.

    Reply
  4. tialow

    It was interesting to read your post on Wikipedia because like you, I questioned the reliability on Wikipedia but I started to believe in it’s reliability more after reading the articles. While I completely agree with you that it is not exactly a good source of information to use when writing a paper or something but I do believe that it is becoming more reliable than it used to be. Even professors are starting to allow students to use Wikipedia. While anyone can put information on Wikipedia, there are so many users that someone will find any incorrect information and correct it. The more people start to use Wikipedia, the more it may be reliable because users will catch any misinformation a lot quicker.

    Reply

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