3/30 | Understanding Wikipedia

(How) should we use Wikipedia?

Wikipedia. The staple website in high school for anyone who didn’t finish their nightly readings and just didn’t want to search too deeply for information for their homework. It was always seen, at least in  my opinion, as a cop-out website. But in highschool, when the stakes to graduate and finish senior year in one happy piece, it kind of became something that we all used and just pretended like we didn’t. But, once you transition into college your realize that papers filled with other people’s opinions doesn’t really seem credible. Yes, Wikipedia is usually pretty on point with their pages. They’re riddled with facts so the idea of using them doesn’t seem too bad. But, Wikipedia can be edited at any time by any one. They have their own contributors, yes,but it is still open for public use and editing. They stress the importance of providing reliable sources when editing and ‘contributing’ to Wiki pages, but that leaves so much ability for things to be fiddled with and tampered with that could reduce the history of what you’re looking for.

We’ve all seen how quickly the internet can kill off a celebrity just for the fun  of it, and social media doesn’t help with this at all. The worst thing i’ve seen about Wikipedia is when someone is falsely killed off by the Internet, some internet jokesters and trolls will actually change the date of death on celebrity Wiki profiles and it could take days or weeks for someone to notice. Think about how many times this could happen just because someone wanted to be ‘funny’ that day and change the date of death for any historical figure. This could be terrible for someone who uses Wikipedia to write a paper or report. Thats why its best to try all other avenues for credible sources like your campus library or catalog before going to Wikipedia.


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