Why Wikipedia sucks. Big time.

by Volker Weber

Horst Prillinger:

Wikipedia generates noise, not knowledge. Previous encyclopedias were well-researched and contained precise information that could be trusted to be correct. Wikipedia, on the other hand, contains a large amount of errors, omissions and superfluous trivia.

Basically, what is happening here is the building of a parallel World Wide Web inside the wikipedia.org domain and calling it an "encyclopedia", which is a total perversity. Just making it searchable and giving it an encyclopedia-like structure doesn't make its content any less fluffy, error-ridden and amateurish than any other website.

Comments

Wikipedia is an important experiment in diverse collaboration, and represents really interesting thought in that space. I don't think its potential for use is being touched yet.

On the other hand, as an authoritative public source of validated information, it is as you describe.

Andrew Pollack, 2004-06-02 17:22

I see your point. Right at the moment most articles in Wikipedia are not authoritative information.

But Wikipedia is a selflearning, selfregulating system. Thus it gets better day by day. Good authors will respect more authoritative knowledge, while rubbish will be deleted if every author maintains his articles.

in the following you will see the setup of diverse "epistemic communities" caring for the validity of information! So in my eyes wikipedia is becoming the vastest authoritative encyclopedia ever.

Jochen Gottwald, 2004-06-02 23:04

Isn't that a bit of a flamer, an unfair generalisation?
Yes, Wikipedia is not perfect, it works on a "selfcorrective" principle of a large group. (You could probably do some nice swarm analysis on Wikipedia contributions and contributors.) So by definition the content is not casted in stone and may be incorrect. So what, overall the quality of wikipedia is more than ok.
What do you know of the traditional publishers of such encyclopedias, how they work, who writes what and especially who decides what information will NOT be included? One simply assumes that as institutions they are trustworthy. Humans err and so do institutions.

Moritz Schroeder, 2004-06-02 23:11

With this reasoning one could also rant against the web itself with it's billions of web sites. Many sites contain some kind of knowledge, but also "a large amount of errors, omissions and superfluous trivia." And via google and other search engines they are also used as an encyclopedia. Content only has to be a little bit consistent and believable to be considered as fact.

In contrast to this wikipedia has some kind of self control, errors (should) get corrected. On web sites authored by only one person this generally/often doesn't happen at all.

Oliver Regelmann, 2004-06-03 00:48

"Previous encyclopedias were well-researched and contained precise information that could be trusted to be correct" = sure, the sun circles around the earth, yes yes :-))

Robert Basic, 2004-06-03 13:25

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