Wikipedia’s new guidelines for its encyclopediaesque entries are a wikiwikiwin as far as I’m concerned.
Certainly, there are the balkers, the naysayers, the scoffers of wikipedia as a source of reference … but, the site is a DAMN good start as a research tool.
While quoting wikipedia – loosely or verbatim – in an article, essay, research paper, or argument may be quite foolish, it certainly can be way easier than googling – even using the news tab! Google is great, but while it’s categorized by news, video, blog, book, etc., it is not categorized by subject – wikipedia is.
So, I was delighted…even gleeful when I read that entries and changes now would be monitored more closely. Most of us are smart enough to realize when we’re being hoodwikied, but some may not be. It wasn’t that long ago when well-known tweeps didn’t have verified accounts…it was hit or miss – usually miss – in the authenticity department. Most of the time, wikipedia maintains a pretty honest reputation. But, there are scallywags:
Vandalism is the reason behind the change. All too often Wikipedia pages are marred by opposing political views, immature writers, and false information. A recent example was the falsely reported death of Senator Edward Kennedy in January; a sad proclamation that is now, unfortunately, all too true.
Some mischief-makers actually are harmless and rather funny. Remember when somebody changed the former president’s name from “George Walker Bush” to “George Wanker Bush?” I would categorize that as pretty innocuous – certainly not “propaganda.” However, deliberately editing facts to defame someone is cause for alarm … and quick editing. Good thing they’re working on it, because it seems to be going into effect rather quickly – despite a few hiccups.
For example, when doing a search for John Holder, one of the Obama Administration’s tree huggers, I noticed this. It reads: “John P. Holdren is a Eugenicist that is trying to take away the rights of all Americans and is an adviser to President Obama for Science and … ” You get the point – and it is right up there with a website called “zombietime,” so…
Long story short…wikipedia isn’t perfect…but it’s working on it. And that’s a wikiwikiwin!
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