Saturday, August 12, 2006

People are sheep

Wikipedia stuff has been coming at me from all angles, lately. The latest is an item from TechDirt, which references an Aug. 11 article at

A student who used Wiki to research a term paper says most students don't realize it's unreliable. emphasis mine:

    Wikipedia recently made headlines when it banned Stephen Colbert from editing or adding articles on its pages after the comedian made humorous, false additions to the site and encouraged fans to do the same.

    But Colbert's antics may have done the world--and by the world, I mostly mean me and my peers--a favor. Until recently, many kids in my high school, myself included, used Wikipedia without questioning the integrity of its content. Before Colbert highlighted the unreliability of the site's information, I doubt many people even realized it isn't an authoritative, credible source.

    Yes, teachers and parents constantly remind students to think twice before relying on certain online sources, but it's easy for a student in a rush to forget that Wikipedia belongs in the category of unverified information rather than credible information--especially because its format is one of a traditional encyclopedia.

I've used Wiki, and I've also made fraudulent edits to see if it really can be done. Everything I've found on Wiki has been accurate, to my knowledge, but I was allowed to make the fraudulent edit. Here's my December 2005 rant slamming Wikipedia.

How can students not know Wiki is not a credible source of information? Here's the first thing one sees at

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I deeply, deeply regret that I need to be the one to clear this up: "Anyone" has the same intelligence as a piece of driftwood. "Anyone" has neither scruples nor accreditation.

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