The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #87860 Message #1644204
Posted By: Don Firth
08-Jan-06 - 01:06 PM
Thread Name: BS: Wikipediaists?
Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
Science magazine Nature recently did a study comparing the accuracy of Wikipedia with the Encyclopedia Britannica. They found that in articles having to do with factual matter, Wikipedia averaged around four errors per article, whereas Britannica averaged about three. But they also pointed out that the Wikipedia articles tended to be somewhat longer, increasing the opportunity for error, so they declared it pretty much a wash.
The advantage that Wikipedia has over Britannica is that if an error is spotted in Wikipedia, it can be corrected immediately, whereas with a hard-copy encyclopedia, you have to wait for annual supplements or the next edition, which can be a bit pricey.
Also, I've noted that on controversial stuff or matters of opinion, Wikipedia flags these articles with a warning and a disclaimer.
No matter what sources you use, you should cross-check—and use your head.
(Of course, there's the old warning that the man with one watch always knows what time it is. The man with two watches is never quite sure.)