I LOOOOVE Wikipedia!

I think the open source approach enables Wikipedia to gather valuable facts that might otherwise have remained locked/lost in braincells around the world. Per a quote on Wikimedia (Wikipedia’s parent organization):

“Imagine a world in which every person has free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.”

Do I think all the content on Wikipedia is 100% complete and accurate? Nope and I can’t image that it ever will be. Do I think any written set of non-fiction information is 100% complete and accurate? Nope. Do I believe that there are information authors out there that publish inaccurate facts with good intentions or to meet the needs of an underlying agenda? Absolutely, but as with most encyclopaedias, Wikipedia’s percentage of accurate content FAR outweighs the inaccurate content.

This recent Nature.com study shows that Wikipedia has an accuracy rating similar to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Check out the peer review results summary.

Wikipedia doesn’t rely on advertising for it’s source of funding and it still provides the us with it’s service for f-r-e-e. Instead, as a non profit organization, they rely on public donations. A well-spent donation, I’d say.

That said, I would have never thought that I’d feel so passionate about an encyclopaedia…must be age setting in.

  1. #1 by Anonymoose on December 18, 2005 - 11:43 am

    I love wikipedia, even when it’s wrong.
    Check out this joint wikipedia/google search thingy
    I made for a home page.

  2. #2 by The Mason on December 20, 2005 - 9:39 am

    Except that the Nature article doesn’t really show that WP is as good as EB at all. It is highly selective in the choice of articles, focussing on those that the WP authors are most likely to get right – science and technology. When you compare “softer” areas such as life sciences, the comparison really starts to fall apart. I applaud the original ideals of WP but I think alot of that has been lost in a mire of petty squabling and ego. When you consider the WP doesn’t even have (and has refused to employ) any peer-review system, I don’t see how it can be seen to have great value. There have been several cases where subject-matter experts have offered their services only to be refused. I believe that might be changing though – I hope so.

  3. #3 by Allen on December 20, 2005 - 4:47 pm

    indeed you are correct. wikipedia rules!

  4. #4 by oz on December 21, 2005 - 11:27 pm

    i also support WP strongly. yes, it has its problems, but blown out of proportion to a surprising degree. [as lem put it: <em>in evolution, a negative gradient operates in the perfecting of structural solutions.</em>] WB vs EB study is actually quite noteworthy, even if [as the mason notes] there is content weakness around the softer edges: <em>EB has been at this since 18th century.</em> the indication is that wikipedia may cover that distance in a decade. i can hardly wait.

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