Chapter 2 Blog —- Wikipedia

The quantity of information and speed that you can get it online is remarkable.  Thousands of websites about topics are archived in search engines, ready to deliver links and webpages of information to seeking web-surfers.  The demand to get what you want to know the fastest way possible increased ten-fold each day.  However, the credibility and value of each piece of information is attributed to the credentials and validity of the author.  How, then, can it be possible to assign credibility to an anonymous source?

This issue arises with on-line wikis such as Wikipedia where anyone online can add or edit content on websites.  While some Wikipedia pages/articles have citations and links to other websites that the author sourced, the unlimited amount of others that could contribute to a pages information makes a  Wikipedia page’s accuracy and validity questionable to many.  Pavlik’s Converging Media surmises that “the trouble with Wikipedia is also its strength—the fact that anyone can contribute…without knowing where a specific piece of information came from, it is impossible to verify its accuracy”.

Pavlik’s comments about Wikipedia seem to be widely supported by members of media ethics groups.  As discussed in an article by the New York Times Wikipedia to Limit Changes to Articles on People, Wikipedia instituted new polices that require approval of the edits and content that anonymous authors make to pages.  While this new procedure is aimed to fix common accidental and deliberate errors made by anyomous authors on the wiki page, it also, according to Joseph Reagle in the article, gives Wikipedia “the ability to alter the world that it attempts to document” questioning the nature and openness of the wiki.  If the purpose of the wiki is be open for all to edit, then subjecting its revisions/additions to content may create a media environment that is censored, limited, and biased.

Wikipedia, actively edited by almost half a million users according to the article “Wikipedia approaches its limits”, seems to be changing its identity from complete wiki to address editorial legitimacy and content correctness.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/12/wikipedia-deletionist-inclusionist

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/technology/internet/25wikipedia.html?_r=1

6 Keys

Product: Wikipedia, on-line encyclopedia wiki

Technology: Computers, Internet

Industry: Web-site wiki

Money: As a non-profit, how do financial contributions contribute to Wikipedias content?

Law/Government: Limiting media content interfering with laws?

Audience: Who gets to contribute based on what standards?

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4 Responses to Chapter 2 Blog —- Wikipedia

  1. mgb07577 says:

    So, these policies were instigated to protect the credibility of the search engine? What about other sites, have they established similar regulations to protect the information being viewed by internet users?

    • Wikipedia is a search engine where information can be changed. Will the information ever be all true with no errors present? Also, will it ever be excepted as a source by professors?

  2. wrightwing13 says:

    I agree wikipedia has developed itself into a harbor for information, but also agree with the statement of fact that the credibility of the anonymous “information donors” is very questionable. I support any effort to regulate the anonymous information donated to the site wikipedia that would somehow help find information that users can’t trust and filter it out of the website so that the information would be guaranteed credible. Lastly, will it be possible if this regulatory system was established, to use wikipedia as a valid source while writing perhaps a college research paper?

    August Wright

  3. Jeremy Sarachan says:

    I think there’s an interesting and almost unintuitive (but correct) point August has made. It’s the very openness of Wikipedia that makes it so powerful and “fair.” Excuses to limit accessibility of too much of the site (not counting the reasonable limits placed on a few pages open to misuse, like George W. Bush’s page) could mean the demise of Wikipedia as a trusted source of information (which it currently should be considered, although many people (and professors) do not.)
    The write-up is good, but treat the six keys analysis as a route to a conclusion, rather than something just tacked on to the end.

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