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Do You Trust Wikis?

Today John McCain announced he has picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. In its morning broadcast, NPR reported that McCain's choice showed up on Wikipedia (and the AP) before it had been officially confirmed as fact.

This isn't exactly an irregular event in wiki world, considering the content is created by millions of users, but it says a great deal about the power of the Internet. In the hours following the official announcement, Wikipedia users frantically updated and edited Palin's entry, adding nasty descriptive words after her name (I took a screenshot of one, but it's honestly so lowbrow I don't want to share it).

I use wikis as one of my first stop spots to learn about people and random topics, but I can't say I take anything I read as verifiable fact. How and when do you trust wikis?

jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
I usually read Wiki with a grain of salt... I don't fully believe everything I read from that site
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 9 years
i use wikis regularly to learn about things. they are a great starting point when you need help getting pointed in the right direction. they provide additional names, dates, locations and references that you can look up for more credible info.
Kelly-O Kelly-O 9 years
It's like any source on the internet - it's important to double-check or cross-check things before accepting them as fact. Yes, it's a good resource, however its still just another resource. Lots of times I find direction - the next train of thought to track - by checking out a wiki.
Just-Oh Just-Oh 9 years
I wish the content were more trustworthy, but wiki can't be beat on convenience and general reliability.
HeidiMD HeidiMD 9 years
I think it's fairly easy to tell what can and cannot be trusted. I would never use Wikipedia as an honest reference for something work-related, but I love browsing in my free time!
kathili kathili 9 years
I mostly trust them for objective, factual information, like the uses of ricotta cheese or the order of elimination on the latest season of "So You Think You Can Dance"
Stickpoet Stickpoet 9 years
You might be interested in the real story behind this. Check out the NPR story on the link below.
itsme3683 itsme3683 9 years
Hahaha, good post! I read on Wikipedia once that "Andrew Carnegie pooped on his balls." It was gone next time I checked, but that's exactly the reason you have to watch out. If only I had screenshot it...
kitkatherine kitkatherine 9 years
i love the last choice. !!!!! a wookiepedia!
devils devils 9 years
To some extent.
soapbox soapbox 9 years
I trust them to a certain extent. I've only read a few wikis that were wrong so far. If I want reliable information, I'd ask a specialist, but then confirm the info on wiki. However, wiki is very amusing when you want to look up movie plots and plays
Zaianne Zaianne 9 years
We studied the wikis and how relevant the information on them are in my internet civilization class when I was pursuing my Masters Degree. And well we found that most of the information on Wikipedia was edited and flagged within minutes if they were found to be wrong. We tested the system out by having a bunch of us in class just editing articles and seeing how fast they would be corrected and we were warned for inputing false information. On average, it usually took 2-5 minutes.
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