Monday, February 23, 2009

Criticism of Wikipedia

The major points of criticism of Wikipedia are the claims that the principle of being open for editing by everyone makes Wikipedia unauthoritative and unreliable (see Reliability of Wikipedia), that it exhibits systemic bias, and that its group dynamics hinder its goals. Specific criticisms include:

  • exposure to obvious or subtle vandalism of its content
  • attempts by strongly opinionated editors to dominate articles
  • inaccurate or sometimes non-existent sourcing for controversial assertions in articles
  • edit wars and other types of nonconstructive conflict among editors
  • criticism of Wikipedia taken as personal attacks upon it

"Wikipedia has also been the subject of parody and other humorous criticism."

"Several educational institutions have banned the use of Wikipedia as a primary source in the past while others have limited its use to only a pointer to external sources."

"Wikipedia acknowledges that it should not be used as a primary source for serious research."

"The main problem is the lack of authority. With printed publications, the publishers have to ensure that their data is reliable, as their livelihood depends on it. But with something like this, all that goes out the window."

"Due to lack of intrinsic authority, Wikipedia has been also criticized for relying too much on citing sources, particularly in disputed articles, instead of relying on expert authority for the credibility of its contents."

"Wikipedia considers Vandalism the insertion of false and misleading information in bad faith"

"While Wikipedia policy requires articles to have a neutral point of view, it is not immune from attempts by outsiders (or insiders) with an agenda to place a spin on articles"

How then can Wikipedia be trusted? It cannot be!

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