"A False Wikipedia 'Biography'" and "Wikipedia's Woes"

"A False Wikipedia 'Biography'"
"Wikipedia's Woes"

Students who were assigned these two readings should reply to this blog post with at least two substantive paragraphs responding to any or all of these questions:

1. What do these articles make you think about knowledge and credibility?
2. What does the Seigenthaler episode make you think about who gets to determine the truth?
3. How does this incident shape what you think about sources in and out of an academic context?

Anonymous Credibility

When you buy a text book, you are sure that the information in there is true, and that it has gone through quite a few checks and balances before it got to your hands. These assumptions are made because a professor of Purdue, the publishing company, and the author deemed this book fit to use, print, or put his reputation on. While you can still find a mistake in these books, it is guarenteed never to be as outlandish as a certain entry in Wikipedia was. When Wikipedia has an article written there is a certain lag time between when that article was written, and when it is proof read by another "authority". As Wikipedia users we are unable to figure out where we stand in this constant cycle, are we reading un-reviewed information or has this been reviewed by enough people to deem it corroborated.

In the specific case of Seigenthaler, people who determine the truth should have an expertise on the subject. As for his biography I believe that he is an authority on his own life and experiences. Normally in print material there are many names at stake for each paper, journal, article, or book published. These names always have some sort of credentials that people can look at and make their decision on the trust of that information. Not only are these names in there for this reason, but it also provides another purpose. Accountability is the best reason that someone should put their name on their work. If I choose to buy something from ebay I will want to research the person I am buying from. I will not buy something that has a great description if there is no seller information attached. Without that name, or accountability, why should anyone adhear to the truth rather than do what they please to make them profitable or happy?

Wikipedia, credible?

What happened to Seigenthaler makes you question whether you can trust what you find on Wikipedia or even the internet. After reading it, i certainly would have thought twice before using the information i got, after it is in human nature to dislike something just because of a single flaw in it. Flaws have also been found in the print encyclopedias but do you hear anyone telling you to not trust what you read in it? If we were to distrust something just because of one mistake then what exactly in this world is credible?

Isn't it possible that almost every other article found on Wikipedia contain flaws? No, not necessarily, just because one article may have had such a huge mistake in it, it doesn't necessarily have to mean everything else has to be wrong as well. I mean do you seriously think that among the millions of entries on Wikipedia all of them could be wrong? People say that they trust some information depending on the source of the information. If the source is a website with a .org or .edu, they tend to trust the information. But couldn't they be wrong? How could you possibly trust what you don't really know about? All the information in there is also entered in by a human and humans do tend to make mistakes and that too quite a few. So how credible can that information be? Can you honestly say that whatever is in there is true?

Where is the Truth

Knowledge and credibility are two things that I have never really taken into account when it comes to well respected text readings. I have to admit that when I found out Wikipedia was a site that anyone can post material on I instantly became weary about my future uses of it. These articles really force us to take a deeper look into the way that technology is shaping the lives of people. It almost seems as if Wikipedia is the grounds for "creating" history, and when I say creating I mean making up history. Knowing all of this information about Wikipedia has made me think that I need to pay more attention to the sources that I will use in the future.

The Seigenthaler episode was probably not an uncommon incident on Wikipedia. Anyone can post anything on the website which makes me wonder if there really is any truth left. If I were to be on the internet, I would not have thought twice about the man's innocence. I think people just believe what they read. Who is to say that it wasn't true? There is no way of knowing where these articles come from. This means that there is ultimately no way of measuring the truth of what is put on the site. Who determines the truth? Anyone. Our class is about to do this Wikipedia assignment, so that means that we will be the determiners of the "truth" that will be posted on the site. Take a moment to think about that.

expect it (ckstacy)

The Seigenthaler episode comes as no surprise to me. I have always been told not to totally trust research done on the internet as I would research done by conventional books. It is instances like this why the internet should not be totally trusted when doing research. However, this should be expected and should not be a surprise to anyone. It's the internet, pretty much anything goes.
Im sure this episode must have been very tough for Mr. Seigenthaler, but it was only one article. There are hundreds of thousands of more perfectly honest entries on Wikipedia. The ratio of bad to good articles on Wikipedia is not nearly high enough to make me stop using it. It's too much easier to use Wikipedia than to go to a library and find it in an encyclopedia. Also, most of the time, the amount of information in the conventional encyclopediia does not even compare to the amount of information on Wikipedia. It is simply easier to access better information through Wikipedia.

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