Why is Wikipedia not a Quality Source Essay Example

  • Category: Education, Learning,
  • Words: 761 Pages: 3
  • Published: 25 June 2021
  • Copied: 109

If you have ever been on the internet, chances are you’ve heard of Wikipedia, the eighth most popular website on the internet. Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia containing thousands of articles on thousands of different subjects. There is a major downfall to Wikipedia, it is a collaborative knowledge site, in which anyone can edit it at any time; meaning a professor who has studied the subject for 20 years who is considered to be an expert or a ten-year-old child roaming the internet, they can edit and write whatever their opinion may be. How is someone supposed to know if what they are reading is fact or opinion? The answer is they can’t. Wikipedia is an unreliable source for factual information because the information it contains is unreliable opinions and unsubstantiated facts. 

As the development of Wikipedia continues to grow, it could, unfortunately, mean the end for traditional institutions of knowledge such as Britannica. Which is known widely for being a reliable source of information. The fast-paced growth of Wikipedia is making a decline in reliable information reaching its users, a loss which we should mourn due to the fact they could be basing their opinions off something false, and in turn, they could then pass on the false information they read to someone else, and so on. As a result of false information getting passed around as the “truth”, it becomes unfortunate for people who have spent years studying a specific topic and has verifiable knowledge, for the information they state to be disregarded or replaced by something false. Due to this certain people do have the right to be “gatekeepers” or truth holders of knowledge. Especially when certain individuals have forth the effort to find information that is trustworthy, supported by research and can be verified by multiple other sources. On Wikipedia, the expert's voice can be replaced by someone stating their personal opinion, even if their opinion isn’t accurate.

Similarly, Andrew Keen (an entrepreneur and author) states in the documentary The Truth According to Wikipedia directed by IJsbrand van Veelen that on Wikipedia “The truth gets personalized.” Meaning that statistics, facts, details, and data all found on Wikipedia may not be what they seem and would be considered “false information.” Within the same documentary, Bob McHenry (an editor, encyclopedist, philanthropist, and writer) was interviewed in the same documentary about his opinion on Wikipedia. He described it as a “game” and states, “They publish rough drafts.” In summary of his interview, he says that there is no way to tell what information on Wikipedia is credible versus what isn’t, showing once again why Wikipedia is an unreliable source. Also, thousands of edits are made per minute on Wikipedia, these edits are made by individuals with or without the credentials to do so, there is no one reviewing their edits for accuracy, this is another reason why Wikipedia is an unreliable source. For instance, you could read an article, collect information, then go back five minutes later to it stating something different from what you read in the first place, how will you know what statement, if any, are accurate? Wikipedia has no credibility, and should not be used when looking for dependable information. 

Comparatively, information should not be free for all. Out of respect for the people who have studied and worked for many years to come up with knowledge to share with us, these people are proficient in their understandings and the knowledge they share is based on reputable research. If knowledge was free for all, there would be no credibility to anything that we would read, even if there was it would be almost impossible to tell apart from unverified information. “You do not learn from self-expression” Andrew Keen stated. Keen uses ethical appeal to help persuade his audience to refrain from using Wikipedia’s unreliable information. Keen wants people to understand that individuals seeking information should always look for articles that are trustworthy and can be verified by multiple other sources. For this reason, I will not use Wikipedia when looking for information regarding research since the information may not be valid. When writing a paper I want my information to be correct and credible, I would much rather put in the time and effort to find reliable information for an essay or research paper versus having false information. 

All points considered, Wikipedia should not be used when looking for a quality source of information for any form of learning criteria. It is a loss to society when information that people have free access to can be changed by anyone without the qualifications or knowledge to do so. The information provided on Wikipedia can be personalized based on someone's opinion whether it is true or not, which then misinforms its audience. When there is no way to tell what information is supported by facts and what information is based on opinions, the website should not be used in place of a source with verified information.



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