Wikipedia - Good or Bad?

By | December 29, 2017

Last year, and several prior years, I donated to the online, free-for-all, use at your own peril encyclopedia. This year, I'm rethinking continuing to donate them.

Why?

Very simple: Wikipedia is not a valid source of information.

With all the hoopla around "Fake" news, it got me to thinking that we should, as a society, work to end the proliferation of fake news. Wikipedia, although a very interesting source of information, doesn't lend itself easily to information validation.

Each article is crowd-sourced. That is, everyone can make an edit to the article and the articles can, and do, change over time. Sometimes, these changes are dramatic and rapid. These types of changes are done by various people for various reasons. In real life, information seldom changes. However, the interpretation of the information changes rapidly. Sometimes, violently, depending on the perspective of the writer(s).

There are no-doubt many articles that are absolutely true.  However, accuracy and validation are two separate measures.  Accuracy without validation will lead you in the direction of trouble.  You must make the powerful assumption that everything you read on Wikipedia is correct.  How can you tell when an article is incorrect?  Who is the author? How do we validate every fact that is in that article?

In this increasingly divided sociopolitical climate, I can't help but to point the finger at the proliferation of non-validated information freely available on the Internet.  We are led to believe the unthinkable by unknown authors hidden beyond the veil of autonomous anonymity of the Internet.

We must control ourselves and the information that we feed our brains, and validate, validate, validate.

Accuracy and validation are what we need to learn and implement as a society to dig ourselves out of this schism and bridge ourselves to the future.

Thanks for reading,

Jay C. "Jazzy_J" Theriot