As a young writer in middle school and high school I always geared towards using Wikepedia as a reliable source and useful guide for information. I never thought there was anything wrong with the site as it seemed to be the encyclopedia of the internet. It wasn’t till I entered my freshman year in college that I was specifically told not to use Wikepedia as it was not credible and could not be trusted. Let’s just say curiosity killed the cat and what was the first thing I did? Look to Wikepedia to help me on my paper. Then I began to notice the little inconsistencies of misspelled words and incorrect dates.
In my opinion, Wikipedia is not a credible source. Wikipedia is increasingly used by any and everyone, especially those in the academic community, from students to professors, as an easily accessible source for information about anything and everything. Therefore, I do not cite Wikipedia in any research papers I produce. Considering anyone can edit information at anytime whether because it is a malicious act or they think their knowledge of the subject is better than what is provided on the site, does not particularly sit well with me. Throughout my educational years using this site as a guide to writing my papers, who knows how many countless errors I read through unnoticed.
I personally think Wikipedia is good for providing readers with a general understanding of a subject but to use it specifically for bits and pieces of viable information I wouldn’t do. There are countless books, articles and appropriate sources that can be used to undergo research, Wikipedia is definitely not essential to research whatsoever.
Wikipedia seems like it’s been around for ever but in fact, it has only been around since 2001. As an example of collaboration, Wikipedia is perfect. It functions as an encyclopaedia with content provided and is edited by countless people. You can basically find any topic and it supersedes any classical book we have today. The concept of Wikipedia is that if the information is wrong, then someone will correct it and eventually it will reach a level of accuracy. Even though there is oversight and governing rules, you can literally post without looking at them. And why is this a problem? It’s a problem because people or organizations with personal agendas, not committed to the truth, can easily corrupt and influence others who are naive to the facts. To be fair, companies and other organizations also use Wikipedia to update content in a number of technical and scientific fields and their knowledge is unquestionable, but its weaknesses is that anyone can add or edit the content of a listing and that allows for errors.
However, if I am to evaluate Wikipedia, I would say it needs to be critically viewed and used. Although I have never posted on Wikipedia, I use it continuously as an overview to all my papers. Yet, I would never use it as a single source. In fact, I like many others, was told not to use it as a works cited source in my projects. But now days, it is common practice to do so. I agree with James P. Purdy, Writing Spaces, that Wikipedia is perfectly fine to use as a gateway to other sources. Yet Wikipedia represents our society where there is a one-to-many relationship. There is no longer one author but many authors and many entries. Therefore, a single posting can become a collaborative content.
While collaboration may appear to be a good thing, the context isn’t alway true. Maybe that means that the larger it gets, it loses it’s integrity. Yet our ability to think logically and reason is crucial in this world of participatory culture that fosters creativity and innovation. Wikipedia is a platform that brings contents and creating context together and given the abundance of information, there is no wonder that we cannot do without it. There are those who say Wikipedia is dying, but even with its inconsistant quality of information, it is still the best encyclopedia we have ever had.
When I started college in 2010, the first thing I was told by Professors from my English classes was never to use Wikipedia. The stigma that surrounds Wikipedia is one we are all too familiar with. Before I even began reading the article, my bias about the site was already in full affect. Wikipedia is know as a website that is unreliable, misleading, not credible due to constant changeability of information. I’ve never used Wikipedia as a source for reliable information, I usually used it as a way to find out information on celebrities. After reading this article I was quite surprised by the candor of the author, Purdy. Most articles tend to name all the affordances of the information however Purdy acknowledges how Wikipedia can be used as a source and as a process guide.
In the age of technology, online digital houses are the “Gods” of information. The way individuals access information has dramatically changed due to the new types of technologies. For many people, Wikipedia is the “source” of all their information. Purdy argues that Wikipedia helps to illustrate “recursive revision based on idea development, textual production based on participation in a conversation rather than isolated thinking and research based on production rather than only critique.” With this Purdy gives a nod to Wikipedia as a way for readers to engage with more innovative thinking rather than solely critiquing. I believe this may be the age of reviewing, conversing, revising and sharing information whether it is through online websites or through word of mouth. Even during this moment, in some way I am regurgitating the information I read from the article, analyzing it with my predisposed beliefs, and conversing through this blog and essentially sharing my ideas through this mediated medium which I am completely conscious of doing.
Through doing this I am thinking about the changeability of information through all the websites we are constantly accessing. In someway the information you learn is hard to focus on because it changes and while reading through the articles there are hyperlinks which sends you to another site. I think through this article it has given me a new perspective on Wikipedia as a template of how to write and how to not write– it is almost twisted. I do believe there are certain key takeaways such as conversing, revising, and sharing information which I touched upon earlier that those may be the key to writing.
Wikipedia to me is an online forum that writers and readers can write, defend, and change information like never before. I think Wikipedia may have been one of the first sites to create a such a sophisticated website in which users can search for information and chime in when they have suggestions. In this sense the site does top reading a book, with a book you read and try to create a niche to share your thoughts and hopes the author discovers your group and chime in. With Wikipedia you have writers who are constantly collaborating to create a “meaningful” article. On the other hand, unlike Wikipedia, The New York Times occasionally makes updates to its articles dependent on whether or not the information has changed. But Wikipedia allows an affordance of curating articles with readability like never before.
In essence, the article touched on another important idea that writers “need to share their writing to be successful.” I think for anyone who wants a taste of success or even just want to be apart of a niche should share their talents to learn from individuals within their fields. Writers especially can learn from other writers whether its how they edit or their styles of writing. Through sharing your work you can realize your strengths as well as weakness in your craft and work to perfect it. I think that is what we are doing with our blog posts. Another major takeaway from this article is not to be discouraged about researching information in Wikipedia but to use it as a reference of how to add substance to your research based-writing. I think also within Academia it is crucial to get your articles published to continue the conversation of your particular field.
As we embark further into the era of digital medias the way we understand, interpret, represent, and produce literary works are also changing. Writing is no longer only controlled by said writer. Due to web 2.0 readers are now able to do something other than think to themselves; they are able to participate. In peer collaborative communities such as Wikipedia teams of people from around the world come together to produce a web based encyclopedia of knowledge that are as diverse as the people creating it.
Wikipedia and other wiki site are epitomes of the new ways we produce information I believe. In such a time where we want all of our information faster than fast and up to date we must be aware of the fact that most times the production of this information is being produced by people around us. This differs from the past production of documents which was done by scholars, professors, and critics. Although, many of those people still create content on the web on websites such as Wikipedia peers that are skilled in certain areas are devoting their time to edit and adapt information to its ever changing characteristic. I believe that the who, what, when, where and why also known as the basic foundation of most knowledge has already been recorded. After reading all the information presented on Wikipedia was I able to come to the conclusion that sites such as that enables us to create more content based on the input placed by readers. Comments, hyperlinks, and hashtags allow us to create more opinion which can lead to the creation of more ideas. Readers are now given the ability to conceptualize more ideas based on others ideas, interpret, reinvent, and possibly see something that they could not come up with on their own.
Our new willingness to produce openly in environments that have a fair give and take process based on certain guidelines only exemplify the fact we are moving forward. We are allowing criticism and participation in our writing. We are also willing to see that our words are not just our words. On page 45 of Rodhney H.Jones and Chtistopher A. Hanfer’s, Understanding Digital Literacies A Practical Introduction was I able to find the best example of this. It read, “The famous Russian Literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin(1989:89) said that texts are ‘filled with others’ words, varying degrees of otherness or varying degrees of our-own-ness;…”. Due to communities such as Wikipedia are we able to see that our words have been said and reinvented time and time again. Like our brain, the web has enabled us to share our inner most thoughts, our ideas, our inventions however unlike our brain the web allows contribution to the process. Although, many scholars and professors argue against sites such as Wikipedia and its credibility as a scholarly source, I must say that that it offers an interesting way of deepening our own ideas by way of providing insights not from scholars but peers. The language is simpler and the hierarchy of ideas makes it easier for students to follow and create sequential thoughts themselves. Wikipedia allows us to not only to involve collaboration from our peers but also allows us to rethink opinions offered on topics that we might not always be able to come up with on our own.