Wikpedia is accurate

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Claudius, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Claudius

    Claudius Professional

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    Wikipedia is accurate

    If you don't agree, I challenge you to find a factual error.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
    #1
  2. samster

    samster Legend

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    Wikpedia...is that a new website?
     
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  3. samprasvsfederer123

    samprasvsfederer123 Banned

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    hm well it has its ups and downs,, theres one page that says michael jackson has sold like 900 million albums, another 750, another 500, they should be more organized with their info.
     
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  4. ramseszerg

    ramseszerg Professional

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    #4
  5. Claudius

    Claudius Professional

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    #5
  6. ramseszerg

    ramseszerg Professional

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    I messed up the entry, it got corrected within a minute.
     
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  7. OroDeSantoro

    OroDeSantoro Rookie

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    Wikpedia?
    Anyway, wikipedia once told me that Ray J directed the movie Obsessed
     
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  8. jazzyfunkybluesy

    jazzyfunkybluesy Banned

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    It is not 100 % accurate but continues to be updated every day. I wouldn't cite the source as fact.
     
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  9. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    This does indeed demonstrate a point.

    Wikipedia is I think pretty reliable when it comes to supporting one's point with "basic" information. One does not assume that the facts contained are any more likely to be wrong than in a journalistic article. I would say wikipedia is much more trustworthy, better cited than any media article and the fact that it is constantly open to revision is a good thing.

    Wikipedia has a bad rep in schools, but in my opinion it is such a great tool for education that it makes teachers' jobs that much more challenging. Now they have to convey to students something more than what they can already discover on their own. Besides one can now easily call a teacher on his/her bullshit in a matter of minutes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2009
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  10. diggler

    diggler Professional

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    Why would it make teaching harder? It is an additional resource for the teacher or student to use, not in competition with it.

    The internet makes teaching so much easier. Instead of cutting out relevant newspaper articles and keeing them in a scrapbook, you can just google for up to date articles at any time.
     
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  11. SuperFly

    SuperFly Semi-Pro

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    Abotu a year ago, wikipedia said the first team to ever win the Super Bowl and I quote, the "detriot tigers". :) I fixed it though.
     
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  12. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

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    For any papers in any class we arent allowed to use(if we have to cite the source) WIKI. WIKI kick teachers butt
     
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  13. diggler

    diggler Professional

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    You can use other websites but not Wikipedia?
     
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  14. heycal

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    What are you smoking there, Cyborg? News stories in traditional media are written by professional journalists with an incentive to get the facts right or risk losing their jobs. Wikipedia entries are authored by people with no such incentives or obligations.

    Plus, more obscure subjects are particularly suspect since there is often no one to come along and correct things. I myself purposely inserted a supposed "fact" into an entry mostly as a joke almost a year ago, and its still there today.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2009
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  15. mucat

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    Wiki is a good starting point for looking for information and that's about it. The thing is, in Wiki, information is not written by specialist on the subject, it could be anyone.
     
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  16. Anaconda

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    You can find errors in a lot of places in Wiki, they also leave key bits of information out. It's a good starting point but there are better sources for information.

    webopedia is good. Wikipedia is ok for some things.
     
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  17. SuperFly

    SuperFly Semi-Pro

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    Here's a tip: read the wiki article about your subject then click on the citation number after the sentence. It'll bring you to the site where they found the info. :)
     
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  18. ttbrowne

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    Last year at Wrestlemania, we (the radio media) were invited to Houston for 4 days of fun and interviews. We had a good sized room for 7 morning shows from different markets to interview the wrestling stars. I keep up with quite a bit of wrestling but these interviews can run 15 minutes. I, along with some other morning shows, relied occasionally on Wikipedia for info. It was embarrassing when a couple of times the stars didn't know what we were talking about because of info obtained from Wikipedia.
    That's when I learned not to take everything as the gospel on Wiki.
     
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  19. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    given its format wiki is pretty darn useful
     
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  20. tudwell

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    The best part of wikipedia is all the sources it links you to at the bottom of the page.
     
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  21. meowmix

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    One of my friends decided to change a couple pages with random facts. The changes went unnoticed for a few weeks. For example, on the page about the Netherlands, he changed the main newspaper to "The Rock Way Journal", the newspaper in our high school.

    Just putting that out there.
     
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  22. beedlejuice22

    beedlejuice22 Semi-Pro

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    I hate it when teachers say you can't use Wikipedia as a source. I have never found an article with bad information or trolling. It's one of the best sites out there.
     
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  23. NonP

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    One thing to keep in mind is that how these changes are dealt with depends on the size of the article and the level of interest in the subject. Your example is a case in point. The Netherlands article is large and divided and subdivided into sections as comprehensive and complex as its national history, economy, culture and other subjects of varying public interest. No doubt there are more than just one or two "full-time" editors assigned to these sections. It's just not feasible to expect them to catch every single factual error that creeps in once in a while.

    But it's different when the article happens to be relatively short and about a popular public figure, and I can confirm this firsthand. About a year or two ago I added to the Borg article the part about his exceptionally low resting heart rate being a myth, which is still there. Sure, it's been shuffled around since, but I'll bet that the tidbit would've been promptly removed had I not provided a proper reference. Why am I so sure? Because when I tried to modify another celeb's page with her correct weight my entry was removed almost immediately. I just failed to cite a reliable source this time. And note that both of these cases involved two beloved celebs of whom there are enough groupies willing to check their heroes' Wiki pages every nanosecond.
     
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  24. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Oh, you couldn't be any more wrong. This is coming from a guy who worked as a journalism for several years. Journalists are not necessarily committed to the truth, few are. The fact that wikipedia is written by people with "no incentives" is what makes it good for me. Incentives means agendas.

    Journalism is, by and large, split up into 1) PR, 2) punditry. The journalistic style of writing is typically watered down and aimed at delivering superficial information to the layman. The lack of references is the main reason why I dislike journalism.

    On wikipedia I can usually tell if the info is accurate or not. Even if what is posted is a bit nonsense (let's say something done as a joke, as some have mentioned here) it will be apparent that the info is not cited and often pointed out to be questionable. The lack of source is immediately evident.

    That being said, I do not believe that wikipedia should be cited in papers, even high school ones. Just used for personal interest.

    P.S. I should mention that I love blogs. Or at least the idea of blogging. It's good stuff, but it serves a different purpose than wikipedia. Wikipedia provides us with a quick recap of important things we should know. Blogs thrive due to the immediacy, quickness and crispness of delivery. I like both.
     
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  25. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    It makes teaching harder for bad teachers, is what I mean. I've had my share of awful ones.

    Teachers can no longer get away with conveying a basic history of ideas. Because it is all already out there. Teaching now has to have more a) practical and b) abstract value.
     
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  26. diggler

    diggler Professional

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    As a teacher, it is not your job to know everything. The kids learn more by finding out themselves.
     
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  27. ramseszerg

    ramseszerg Professional

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    Yup. The students can learn valuable research skills. Science especially is about not knowing things and asking questions than it is about knowing things anyway.
     
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  28. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    .............................
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
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  29. ramseszerg

    ramseszerg Professional

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    Real classy "aphex".
     
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  30. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    well i didn't do it...but you're right, i'll delete it.
     
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  31. heycal

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    I have a background in journalism as well and that's an absurd statement. I don't think I've ever met one person who didn't want to get the facts correct. Some might be better at it or care more than others, and I'm often shocked at the level of sloppiness I see, but that goal is shared by all.

    Don't puts quotes around my words to imply I said something I did not. I was talking about an incentive to get things right or risk losing a job. Accuracy is not an "agenda".

    Another absurd statement. 98 percent of journalism is news gathering and reporting. That's mostly why people read and watch the news. There's not a lot of PR or punditry involved in reporting on an attempted terrorist attack on a a plane or that robbery at your local 7/11.


    So if you with your fancy journalism background think you can detect bogus material, the average high school kid who uses wikipedia should be able to as well?

    Wikipedia, by and large, is written by unsupervised people with an intense interest in the subject, which generally means they have some sort of agenda. Most journalism is written by vetted professionals whose chief interest is not in any one topic, but in furthering their own career, and part of the way they do that is by writing good and accurate stories.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
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  32. CyBorg

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    This is not a coherent thought.
     
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  33. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    The difference is that a) journalists have incentives to be accurate because they get paid and b) they are held to a higher standard and are also held accountable if they make an error.

    The problem with modern journalism isn't its inaccuracies as much as its selective omission of the 'complete' story and or alternate versions of those stories. Wikipedia, thankfully, seems to address every version of the events/topics it covers. Corporate journalists are basically just mouthpieces for government these days.
     
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  34. CyBorg

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    I'm not saying that journalists intentionally get facts wrong. Nor did I even claim that they gets facts wrong - rather the problem is the ways in which they spin 'facts'. The journalistic 'craft' is not grounded in methodology nor are journalists required to cite their sources. Journalism routinely mixes reportage and punditry for many reasons, the biggest of which is that they serve a serve a body that looks, first and foremost, to make money. Facts are always secondary.

    "Get things right" doesn't mean anything. What TMZ aims to get right is not what is right by the standards of another. Every newspaper or news agency has their own idea as to what is right for them.

    People watch the news to get interesting stories. Journalists work to concoct interesting stories out of real life. They constantly invent.

    Never, ever has journalism been about "gathering and reporting". Journalism is creative writing, based on some semblance of reality.

    As for PR - this is the reality of our time. Most big-name news agencies serve big business interests.

    Wikipedia is not perfect. What I am saying is that I like it more because of its framework (not to mention that the purpose of wikipedia is completely different than that of journalism - a better argument would be between yesteryear reportage and blogging) . Wikipedia is not set up to practice punditry - rather it is a concise and abstract encyclopedia. The fact that it is written by people makes it a democratic resource, with all the good and bad things that come with it.

    The kind of thinking you practice whereby you rate the opinion of those people who are supposed "professionals" is extremely out of fashion and naive. Journalists are not authorities on any particular "truth" about our world, but simply footsoldiers for a particular corporate point of view.

    If you ever work for a big name newspaper you will understand this. If one wishes to speak about an underground newspaper or a student newspaper then one is free to disagree, but those serve an agenda, such as a political one, as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
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  35. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    "Facts", truths-untruths are not the issue. "Spin" is the issue.

    Spin, skillful spin, is never untrue. It is stated as true without necessarily being outright wrong.

    Opinion journalism is also not untrue. It is often based on truths or facts, but ultimately constructs narratives to suit particular points of view. Usually corporate.
     
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  36. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

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    On the issue of great forehands, Wikipedia mentioned Jankovic among others. I immediately corrected that one.
     
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  37. heycal

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    Sorry, but your going to have to come up with some examples to support your paranoid view of the world, where stories are slanted to suit some "agenda" of the "corpoaration" -- as if the New York Times or CNN gives a damn about what the actual news is 99 percent of the time or has an incentive to slant it in a particular direction. As mentioned, their main incentive is to stay in business, not pursue some vague politcal agenda.

    Do you really have a background in journalism? Because you speak as if you are stuck on a college campus with a radical professor reading only the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal or something and fantasizing about how the great unwashed are leading us to journalistic integrity by controlling the means of news production through the noble Wikipedia.

    Let's say you are presented with two versions of, say, the history of the Rolling Stones. (I choose them simply because I happend to have read about them recently.) One story is published in the New York Times. One is 'published' on Wikipedia.

    Which of the two would you trust to be the more accurate, comprehensive, and well-researched and reported?

    I personally feel confident that the Times will do a much better job in all respects, and I would feel safe in passing on information about the Stones to a friend that I had learned about in the Times. But if I read it on Wikipedia? Forget about it. I woudn't repeat a damn thing I read about the Stones on wikipedia without checking another source first.

    Even StormHolloway will admit that professional journalists have an incentive to get the facts right and are held to a higher standard and are accountable for their errors. But a wikipedia author's sole incentive may be to make sure the great Brian Jones gets plenty of credit for the Stone's success, or whatever.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
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  38. CyBorg

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    You're making it sound like I am some kind of conspiracy theorist. "Staying in business" means exactly it says - being a businessman. That means giving the people what they want and likewise the ones who have and give the money. When one is a journalist, eventually a day comes when a really big story comes along and you've got a big honcho to interview. More often than not, if you wish to keep your job you will ask the kinds of questions that he will want you to ask. It's just the way things work.

    And the public... they also expect certain things from their journalism and the journalists, let's just say, are not in the business of convincing them otherwise. Turn on the 11 o'clock news and you will see two basic kinds of stories: a) the kinds of stir up our emotions (terrorize us), and b) the kinds of comfort us. It seldom shifts from this. Journalists know what the public wants. It's not the hypedermic needle - it's mutual consent.

    I don't see wikipedia as noble. I see it as something full of flaws. But those flaws are more apparent, because of the format. Journalism is just skilfull bullshit - more creative and more dangerous. More deceitful, because it is full of salesmen.

    Wikipedia is not like this because a) businessmen are more interested in the present and future, while Wikipedia covers mostly the past; b) Wikipedia's content is constantly altered and subject to scrutiny.

    I personally like this and believe that it makes for reasonably reliable product. It's not scholarship, far from it. I think you're purposefully misrepresenting what I am trying to say. Wikipedia is neither great writing nor great recordkeeping - it's just more modest and more bullshit-free than journalism.

    I will turn to the Times for a well-written story any day of the week. If you think you will get the truth from there you are being very, very silly.

    I should clarify to you that I am not disparaging the ability and power of a journalist to draw me into an interesting world. A good journalist will do that - he will write something that can overwhelm me. There are few really good ones, but the ones who are can weave a great narrative.

    Ideally, I would just get a book. But there are few good books on rock bands. Most of the stuff you will find is pure journo crap - the kind where they ask questions that don't offend. Because they'll want more stories later.

    Facts isn't really the matter, nor matter how much you pretend it to be. One can be very selective with facts.

    I'll put it this way to you - I like my fiction. And I like it well written. Some prefer to call their fiction journalism. This is when I usually know that they're are full of something foul. Most of the time.

    I don't fault them for having good intentions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
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  39. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    i once saw the entry on Roger Federer saying his gear was a Yonex RQiS 002... :)
     
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  40. heycal

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    This is complete fantasy. You are sounding more and more like a conspiracy theorist with each post.

    You are also confusing entertainment/soft journalism with real journalism, which is the only place some of the things you allege are true. I'm going to call up my friend who has written hard-hitting exposes on various subjects for national publications with huge corporate parents and tell him he's actually been writting puff pieces all these years and only asking the questions his subjects want him to ask. He can then share this news with our big time editor friend at the New York Times, a man who has more integrity in his little finger than either of us could hope to have in a lifetime. Turns out they are really just glorified PR hacks who might as well quit those jobs and go work for US Weekly writing stories about Tom Cruise or something, according to your naive and paranoid world view.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
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  41. heycal

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    Not surprising. Wikipedia entries like this are written by fanboys who have neither the education or background of real journalists, who know how to evaluate sources of information. Some kid could pick up something like that on Talk Tennis and throw it on to Wikipedia without a second's thought. But a journalist for the Washington Post would be a lot more careful about who he trusted for his information.
     
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  42. Rippy

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    I've always found Wikipedia to be pretty decent. I've seen people write fake facts, but they usually get changed within a minute, even on some obscure page that surely wouldn't be popular.
     
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  43. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    might be so, but it sounds much more like a wikiprank... they are always around!
     
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  44. CyBorg

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    You are taking this way too personally.

    I do not doubt that there do exist journalists who abide by a grounded methodology. But they are exceptions.
     
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  45. heycal

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    I don't suffer fools gladly. When people who don't know what the hell they are talking about portray entire professions in a false and negative light, and possibly influence others reading this to rely on Wikipedia for better information than professional journalists, I do take it personally. I'm thinking my pulitizer prize winning brother-in-law who teaches a journalism class and gives an automatic "F" to any student whose paper contains even a single factual error would take it personally too...
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
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  46. heycal

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    Don't know anything about that, but believe it. Not so many
    "Cnn-i-pranks" though...
     
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  47. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I'm glad for you, but if you read what I actually wrote carefully rather than letting your emotions get in the way you would see that your Pulitzer prize-winning brother-in-law has nothing to do with this. I never claimed that there do not exist journalists who write thorough, grounded works.

    Rather I made a very modest and simple point that one is not any more likely to encounter incorrect information on wikipedia than in journalism. You took this as an affront on all journalists. If your relative is an exceptional writer, investigator or researcher then he should be proud to be ahead of the pack. Not insulted.

    But you do whatever you like.

    P.S. Roger Ebert has a Pulitzer Prize and David Bordwell does not. I believe that this says a lot.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
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  48. heycal

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    Yes, because it's an idiotic statement. Hence, the affrontary.

    Once again, Wikipedia is authored mostly by amateurs who know little or nothing about good reporting and with no incentive to get the facts right. Journalists are experienced professionals with a strong incentive to get the facts right. If you think that doesn't matter or effect the level of accuracy, you are more naive than I thought.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
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  49. heycal

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    Never heard of the guy. In any event, are you trying to impugn the credentials of those who have won Pulitizer prizes by citing this tidbit?
     
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  50. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    There is really nothing wrong with being an amateur and being a "professional" does not mean that one is committed to the truth. One could be a professional and work for Fox News.

    I've already explained my point of view on this and in a much more nuanced way than you pretend. You can make this personal and call me an idiot if that makes you feel better.
     
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