Wiki-Wiki What?

Tuesday marked the second time in the last year I’ve attended a conference and heard a presenter say something to the effect of “Research has shown that Wikipedia is more accurate than traditional encyclopedias.”

At the risk of sounding like I’m writing this before heading off in my Edsel (shout out to the other Ted Fox) to cash my Social Security check, you people and your Internet are joshing me, right?

What was the source for this research? Wikipedia? And in what kind of bizarro universe does the “Anyone can contribute, so you know you’re getting the best information available” argument hold true? That’s like saying the little signs on hand dryers are more helpful because anyone can come along and scratch off the last two letters of “button” and turn it into “butt.”
More hilarious, maybe. But not more helpful.
I’m not saying Wikipedia isn’t valuable. Fact-checking a book where you quote Saved by the Bell theme song lyrics would be damn near impossible without it. And writing said book in the first place suggests you really embrace things that don’t serve a scholarly purpose. I just get a little nervous when they’re our preferred source for information on things that don’t involve Mark-Paul Gosselaar.
Speaking of, where would you place him compared to his fellow cast members on the spectrum of post-Saved by the Bell acting success?
Now there’s a subject fit for Wikipedia.

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2 comments

  1. RRager

    I believe in Wikipedia. It's current and updated contantly.Anyone have an encyclopedia laying around?Chech out a map of Africa.

  2. Ted Fox

    I'll concede it has print beat in terms of timeliness, but I'll take the online Britannica any day of the week. When I need info about the Toto song rather than the continent, though, Wikipedia is tops on my list.

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