The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99952   Message #2000951
Posted By: Scoville
19-Mar-07 - 08:32 AM
Thread Name: BS: Wikipedia Boo-Boo
Subject: RE: BS: Wikipedia Boo-Boo
"the oft-cited uber-authority . . ."

uber-auithority"? Hardly. Wickipedia is a BLOG. A hodge-podge collection of OPINIONS, not fact.

Correction follows: it is an astounding repository of MIS-information "

I won't argue about Wikipedia being a blog, but it is neither an uberauthority nor a "hodge-podge of opinions"/"astounding repository of MIS-information". At least, not universally. There is some crap in there and there are also some very good articles. (And if you find something that is really that off-base, stop bitching and fix it. That's the whole point of Wikipedia.)

Yes, it can be problematic when people treat it as the be-all and end-all, but anyone who would trust a single source--any single source--without cross-referencing it doesn't know anything about doing research. Wikipedia is a good place to start, although I agree that it should not be cited as an academic source. I think it's easily as good a place to start as Britannica, which, as was noted above, usually doesn't give you as much information, doesn't link topics to the extent that Wikipedia can (giving you fewer clues to follow to further your research with more acceptable sources), and may be outdated unless you either splurge on the latest edition for yourself or your library is unusually well-funded. I've also found that, on certain topics, Britannica can be dry and academic almost as far as missing the point; some things are better explained by somebody who has been knee-deep in them and not simply observed them from the ivory tower.