Can Wiki be trusted? Seems not.

MA-Caver

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Irish student hoaxes world's media with florid but phony quote from dead French composer
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Irish-student-hoaxes-worlds-apf-15201451.html?.v=1

DUBLIN (AP) -- When Dublin university student Shane Fitzgerald posted a poetic but phony quote on Wikipedia, he was testing how our globalized, increasingly Internet-dependent media was upholding accuracy and accountability in an age of instant news.

His report card: Wikipedia passed. Journalism flunked.
The sociology major's obituary-friendly quote -- which he added to the Wikipedia page of Maurice Jarre hours after the French composer's death March 28 -- flew straight on to dozens of U.S. blogs and newspaper Web sites in Britain, Australia and India. They used the fabricated material, Fitzgerald said, even though administrators at the free online encyclopedia twice caught the quote's lack of attribution and removed it.
A full month went by and nobody noticed the editorial fraud. So Fitzgerald told several media outlets they'd swallowed his baloney whole.
"I was really shocked at the results from the experiment," Fitzgerald, 22, said Monday in an interview a week after one newspaper at fault, The Guardian of Britain, became the first to admit its obituarist lifted material straight from Wikipedia.
"I am 100 percent convinced that if I hadn't come forward, that quote would have gone down in history as something Maurice Jarre said, instead of something I made up," he said. "It would have become another example where, once anything is printed enough times in the media without challenge, it becomes fact."
Granted he should've come forward a wee bit earlier but he made a great point about how mis-information can be quickly distributed and taken for facts.
Showing that news media will under the crunch of deadlines will just take anything and publish it.
Also showing how easy it is to manipulate the people with something and get what you want from it, i.e. Gulf of Tonkin incident http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2261.
Yet again did even THIS event actually happen?

I do rely upon wiki to find more information but I do not 100% trust it without at least spending a few minutes looking at other sources that either corroborate or substantiate the article in Wiki. Still I do know the adage of "don't believe everything you hear and only half of what you read" needs to be applied to the net as well as everything else.

Discuss?
 

elder999

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I do rely upon wiki to find more information but I do not 100% trust it without at least spending a few minutes looking at other sources that either corroborate or substantiate the article in Wiki. Still I do know the adage of "don't believe everything you hear and only half of what you read" needs to be applied to the net as well as everything else.

Discuss?


"Trust-but verify."-Ronald Reagan
 

Bill Mattocks

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The problem is that people misunderstand what a wiki is for. Collective wisdom is self-correcting, the theory goes - over time. Anyone can create short-term chaos. This makes Wikipedia and others tools like it a repository of sources, not a source.

People treat it like an authoritative encyclopedia, but it wasn't really designed to serve that purpose.

I'm glad to see that you don't just automatically blame Wikipedia. I've run into a few people who seem determined to demonize the tool because it isn't the tool they thought it was.
 

Omar B

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I can't stand Wiki. Any person can think himself an expert and write on a topic, sad part is it's usually not the experts on said topics doing the writing.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I can't stand Wiki. Any person can think himself an expert and write on a topic, sad part is it's usually not the experts on said topics doing the writing.

That's the whole point of them. The idea is that over time, it is self-correcting. I'm not sure why that point seems to be lost on people.
 

CoryKS

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It's not just a problem with Wiki. There are so many quotes floating around that have been falsely attributed to either Ben Franklin or Winston Churchill, it's a wonder that these gentleman had time for anything other than coming up with witty remarks.
 

elder999

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It's not just a problem with Wiki. There are so many quotes floating around that have been falsely attributed to either Ben Franklin or Winston Churchill, it's a wonder that these gentleman had time for anything other than coming up with witty remarks.

Well, yeah. :lol:

"Trust but verify" is actually something Reagan said a lot, but he took it from the Russians. Felix Dzerhinsky, founder of the Soviet Secret Police, used it as a motto, and it's an old Russian proverb: Доверяй, но проверяй....

...at least, that's what wikipedia says...:lfao:
 

CoryKS

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Well, yeah. :lol:

"Trust but verify" is actually something Reagan said a lot, but he took it from the Russians. Felix Dzerhinsky, founder of the Soviet Secret Police, used it as a motto, and it's an old Russian proverb: Доверяй, но проверяй....

...at least, that's what wikipedia says...:lfao:

I like that statement, but it probably sounded better in the original Russian since it looks like it rhymes.
 

clfsean

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Eh it can be trusted but not as canon.

Use it & verify if in question or unsure if it seems accurate. But it is a pretty good one stop shopping center for info.
 

crushing

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At the same rate, who's to say someone couldn't sneak a falsehood in to a real source like the Encyclopaedia Britannica? Is it just a more limited community of fact checkers with what I assume would be a much more rigid review process? Foolproof though?
 

Andrew Green

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Wikipedia self-corrected, as it claims it will.

"They used the fabricated material, Fitzgerald said, even though administrators at the free online encyclopedia twice caught the quote's lack of attribution and removed it."

As anyone can edit it, it is only as accurate as its last revision. The idea is that "good" edits stick, while bad edits get rewritten or reverted. A really simple thing like checking the revision history would have sparred these "journalists" some embarrassment.

But using Wikipedia as your final source on anything is a bad idea, especially a piece that doesn't have a citation.
 

crushing

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CoryKS

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chrispillertkd

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I have little respect for Wiki because I have seen the "editors" change things in my area of expertise which resulted in errors of fact. That being said, in this instance Wiki comes out looking better than a lot of the media!

From the article:
If anything, Fitzgerald said, he expected newspapers to avoid his quote because it had no link to a source -- and even might trigger alarms as "too good to be true." But many blogs and several newspapers used the quotes at the start or finish of their obituaries.

Of course, the media doesn't even understand what a bunch of fools they are. Learn a lesson? Why do that?

"The moral of this story is not that journalists should avoid Wikipedia, but that they shouldn't use information they find there if it can't be traced back to a reliable primary source," said the readers' editor at the Guardian, Siobhain Butterworth, in the May 4 column that revealed Fitzgerald as the quote author.

Fabricating a source to put in Wiki's footnotes is simply the next step. And it's simply ridiculous to think that people are going to run down every quote or reference that is "supplied" by a poster. But why worry about that?

Pax,

Chris
 

Bill Mattocks

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Again, complaining that a hammer makes a poor screwdriver doesn't make much sense. Wikipedia is not what many of you seem to think it is - and you complain that it does a poor job being what it isn't.

I don't turn on my hot water tap and complain that the ice cubes it makes are not solid.
 

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