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?
Van Dijk, J. & Nieborg, D. (2009). Wikinomics and its discontents: a critical analysis of Web 2.0 business manifestos. New 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 head. Nature. 438, pp 900-901