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Old 05-10-2009, 02:59 AM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thibaulthalpern View Post
If I wanted to, I could right now go into Wikipedia and make drastic and erroneous changes to any entry I want. And if at that moment someone were looking at that entry they could be citing my erroneous information for their academic paper and they'd be in error.
And a moment later, it would be corrected.

Meanwhile, you could RIGHT NOW go write a printed academic publication and make drastic and erroneous errors and once it's in print that erroneous information could be cited FOREVER for academic papers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thibaulthalpern View Post
I have been to Wikipedia entries where I found the information inaccurate, changed it and then because someone else thought the changes were wrong they changed it back. We did that for a short while and then I just left it alone.
Sounds like you're judging Wikipedia based on a bad personal experience.

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Originally Posted by thibaulthalpern View Post
Again, Wikipedia is good to get some general knowledge but not necessarily scholarly credible pieces of information.
You're dodging the issue again. The question is, is Wikipedia LESS good for getting "scholarly credible pieces of information" than OTHER general encyclopediea? Don't dodge the issue by saying don't use encyclopedias; answer the question. I believe your answer is YES.

Despite the procedure concerns outlined above, Wikipedia is no more or less accurate than other general encyclopedias. So you're objecting to a procedural issue when the RESULT that Wikipedia offers is just as good. And surely it's the result that matters, since the reason you value a given procedure to begin with over another is a belief in its ability to generate good results.

You later talk about using a printed encyclopedia to track down other references, which you can then cite. My proposition is that one can use Wikipedia to do the same, and get just as good results. Would you accept your students doing this?

Last edited by sirbruce; 05-10-2009 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 05-10-2009, 03:04 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Setting aside the random vandalism and strong biases that pop up occasionally, Wikipedia contains inaccuracies and biases that last until someone notices and corrects them.
And printed sources contain inaccuracies and biases that last FOREVER. Oh sure, they may be corrected in other printed sources later, but both the student and the teacher have to know that.
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Old 05-10-2009, 03:06 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by thibaulthalpern View Post
One could go the website of almost any university library and do a search for "wikipedia" or "citation" and most of them, if not all, will say do not use Wikipedia (in its current form) as a cited source for scholarly papers. That is, don't use it as a "works cited" unless, as I mentioned previously, you're using Wikipedia as an example of "x", as opposed to an authoritative source. University Librarians and Reference Librarians think and research seriously about how to guide patrons in using materials.
Argument from Authority.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:24 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirbruce View Post
Despite the procedure concerns outlined above, Wikipedia is no more or less accurate than other general encyclopedias.
Are there any studies that prove your claim?

At least where I studied, Wikipedia was not considered a trustworthy source for academic papers. Our professors made that perfectly clear to us.

Here I give you one example why. You say, as soon as someone wrongfully edits a Wikipedia entry, "a moment later, it would be corrected." That may be true for popular topics and entries. But it is most certainly not true for entries of lesser interest that receiver fewer hits by visitors.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:09 AM   #65
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_accuracy

Of course, that's on Wikipedia, so...
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:28 AM   #66
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More on the accuracy of Wikipedia:
http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2006/11/8296.ars
http://nowherenorth.wordpress.com/20...encyclopedias/

For what it's worth, I tell my students that they are entirely free to consult Wikipedia, Brittanica or any other general encyclopedia that they wish. However, I require references and citations that are as close to the primary source as possible.

The result is that an unreferenced encyclopedia entry is not much use to them. If they find a useful Wikipedia article which has references, then they are expected to go to them and check them out. As far as possible, I would expect them to do the same with general textbooks too.

Many people end up in careers far removed from their degree subjects. (This is especially try of Humanities degrees.) But I would hope that they learn scholarly skills such as the ability to analyse and weigh up sources.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:39 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirbruce View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_accuracy

Of course, that's on Wikipedia, so...
I repeat: Are there any studies that prove your claim?

As a reminder, here is your claim: Despite the procedure concerns outlined above, Wikipedia is no more or less accurate than other general encyclopedias.

Nothing in the Wikipedia article you referred to would validate your claim. What the article merely points out is that there is still plenty of controversy open for discussion.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:49 AM   #68
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For the sake of this discussion, stick to the original topic and don't turn this into a personal nit-picking fight.

sirbruce, there was absolutely no reason to become personal ("that makes you a bad teacher", "weakness in critical thinking", etc.). For the records, thibaulthalpern initially merely said, "I teach at the college level and I tell my students that Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information for citing or quoting. Yes you could rely on it for some general information when you don't need a strong basis for research." It's everyone's right to share this belief and there is still plenty of controversy out there regarding the accuracy of Wikipedia that would warrant such a belief.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:59 AM   #69
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Is there any information about who will be compiling the first editions of the open-source textbooks?
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Old 05-10-2009, 06:36 AM   #70
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wow, this is amazing news. who would have guessed 10yrs ago?
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Old 05-10-2009, 06:55 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TadW View Post
I repeat: Are there any studies that prove your claim?

As a reminder, here is your claim: Despite the procedure concerns outlined above, Wikipedia is no more or less accurate than other general encyclopedias.

Nothing in the Wikipedia article you referred to would validate your claim. What the article merely points out is that there is still plenty of controversy open for discussion.
There are studies cited in the Wikipedia article that validate my claim. The fact that there's still "plenty of controversy" doesn't change this; there's plenty of controversy over many claims that have lots of evidence to support them.
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Old 05-10-2009, 06:59 AM   #72
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It's everyone's right to share this belief and there is still plenty of controversy out there regarding the accuracy of Wikipedia that would warrant such a belief.
I'm not denying his right to believe it; I'm simply suggesting his belief has a poor foundation, one based on a procedural problem with how Wikipedia is compiled rather than on any objective measure of accuracy. It's not even that he believes it; it's the notion that he instills this at best unproven belief into his students as fact.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:04 AM   #73
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It's not even that he believes it; it's the notion that he instills this at best unproven belief into his students as fact.
sirbruce, please let's get back to the original topic.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:28 AM   #74
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sirbruce, please let's get back to the original topic.
Well I support open source textbooks and I think the Wikipedia experience lends credibility to open source textbooks.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:34 AM   #75
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sirbruce, there was absolutely no reason to become personal ("that makes you a bad teacher"
It was unavoidable. If somebody says "I do X" how do you then write "X is bad" without the strong possibility that it is unnecessarily interpreted as personal?

So I think you should tell people to write "a lot of people do X" instead of "I do X" instead.
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