My parents bought a set of World Book encyclopedias when I was a child. Today’s kids have Wikipedia. What’s wrong with that?
Wikipedia is an internet encyclopedia in which anyone, almost everyone, can edit the content. That being the case, Wikipedia ends up with thousands and thousands of editors. Not bad for a product that is free.
So, what’s wrong with Wikipedia?
It’s those thousands and thousands of editors. Anyone is allowed to register and edit content, so most material tends to be self correcting, as anonymous editors log in to Wikipedia and adjust or update the content.
Wikipedia assumes that most people who register, anonymously in many cases, are mostly honest and objective and factual. Oh, but that were it true. Humans are a little of everything, including evil.
That’s what John Seigenthaler found out after reading a Wikipedia biography about himself. Some anonymous Wikipedia editor decided to link John to the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy. Maybe he was involved and maybe not, but it points out the major issue with Wikipedia.
If anyone can edit anything then how much of what makes up Wikipedia is accurate?
One could easily ask the last half of that question and apply it to World Book Encyclopedia, or Encyclopedia Britannica or encyclo whatever. After all, published ‘facts‘ that are blatantly wrong are eventually brought to the attention of the publishers, and they’re expected to correct the facts, right the wrongs by writing it right.
So it is with Wikipedia. If Wikipedia receives enough public noise about an entry, they close off editing until the facts can be straightened out. That’s not a bad policy, but what about the facts in the meantime?
After all, wrong is wrong, right?