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Wikipedia...problems?


By American in Japan   Follow   Mon, 31 Jan 2011, 9:09am PST   8,799 views   63 comments
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Has anyone ever found any errors in Wikipedia, small or large? Which articles or facts were they? Were these later corrected?

I have only occasionally found any errors myself and those were in low-rank articles.

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American in Japan   Fri, 25 Feb 2011, 12:04pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 24

>I still want to get my daughter a set of physical Encyclopedias.

I agree.

>I understand Britannica is stopping the print version?

Not sure...could be.

terriDeaner   Fri, 25 Feb 2011, 3:09pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 25

kentm says

Study: Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica

http://news.cnet.com/2100-1038_3-5997332.html
Though you can’t beat Wiki’s convenience if you’re sitting at a computer.
I still want to get my daughter a set of physical Encyclopedias. I recall hours spent leafing through them… I understand Britannica is stopping the print version?

Note that this article references the material from the commissioned Nature article cited above. My point again: read past the headline, and look at the source material.

By the way, I LOVE print encyclopedias.

FortWayne   Fri, 29 Apr 2011, 12:34am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike (1)     Comment 26

Tenouncetrout says

Revised history, at its best.

history is always written by the winners.

American in Japan   Sat, 28 May 2011, 2:00pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 27

At least in the zoology section, some editor will slap tags on the article in a day or two (if not.within hours) if something is not referenced or is even slightly inaccurate…

Any other errors found?

terriDeaner   Sat, 28 May 2011, 2:39pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 28

American in Japan says

Any other errors found?

Last time I looked, the letter 'Q' was replaced with the number 4, but it didn't really affect the readability that much so I don't think anyone has complained yet...

American in Japan   Tue, 28 Jun 2011, 3:05pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 29

In this case be careful of using only Wikipedia:

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2008/11/dont-use-wikipedia-for-drug-information.html

terriDeaner   Tue, 28 Jun 2011, 3:45pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 30

C'mon now AiJ... a little slow on the draw here...

kentm   Tue, 28 Jun 2011, 10:04pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 31

Ironcially, wikipedia is self-aware:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia

there's a section on "Comparative studies" that you'll probably find interesting

American in Japan   Tue, 12 Jul 2011, 5:36pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 32

Thanks for the link!

theoakman   Wed, 13 Jul 2011, 12:18am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 33

Wikipedia is good for anything non-controversial. When you get into something where people strong disagree, the wikipedia admins (usually high school/college kids with too much time on their hands) dominate the articles and systematically control who's edit stays and whos doesn't.

American in Japan   Wed, 13 Jul 2011, 10:41pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 34

The articles I read / edit are dominated by graduate students, but I agree some came push their views a bit (at least for formatting).

American in Japan   Tue, 30 Aug 2011, 10:43am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 35

There are some stubborn Administrators on Wikipedia that make their opinion known.

corntrollio   Tue, 30 Aug 2011, 10:50am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 36

American in Japan says

There are some stubborn Administrators on Wikipedia that make their opinion known.

The whole thing is sold as some egalitarian open process. In reality, Wikipedia has a ridiculous number of rules, is highly highly regulated, and the whole process is political and dictated by a small group of people. Their marketing is awesome!

American in Japan   Sat, 4 Feb 2012, 12:12am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 37

Still there is lots of great information on animals, languages, astronomy, chemistry, math and country infomation. I agree that a small group of people with lots of time on their hands have undue influence. I am cautious when reading the articles on companies.

Did anyone else find any inaccurate articles?

Dan8267   Sat, 4 Feb 2012, 8:13am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 38

Wikipedia whitewashes history. You should never use any Wikipedia article that deals directly or indirectly with people, money, politics, religion, culture, companies, products, or history.

Also, don't quote Wikipedia. It makes you look like an idiot. Only idiots and the intellectually lazy resort to encyclopedias. Remember when you were in elementary school and the teacher told you not to use the encyclopedia and go to the library instead? Only super-idiots trust encyclopedias without peer review. The fact that the dumbest 80% of America uses Wikipedia, doesn't make you look better for quoting it.

Do real research instead. It's not much harder and you get far better results. Check out my previous rants on Wikicrapia for more details.

American in Japan   Sat, 4 Feb 2012, 8:45am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (2)     Comment 39

Dan8267,

Good point. I write and edit articles on Wikipedia, so I am particularly concerned with referencing. I missed the "Wikicrapia" post...I'll try to find it.

TPB   Sun, 5 Feb 2012, 3:24am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 40

FortWayne says

Tenouncetrout says

Revised history, at its best.

history is always written by the winners.

Quality Auto Repair Since 1979

You mean whiners?

marcus   Sun, 5 Feb 2012, 1:07pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike (1)     Comment 41

I like wikipedia, and use it regularly. But not because I think it's better than doing extensive research on my own.

For my usual purposes, it's useful and accurate.

elliemae   Sun, 5 Feb 2012, 9:40pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 42

Wiki works for me. But for school projects, I always direct my children to my 1911 set of Brittanica. If the subject existed then, it's in there and there are obscure little factoids that get the kids an "a."

American in Japan   Tue, 7 Feb 2012, 1:26pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 43

Thanks EllieMae!

New Renter   Tue, 9 Oct 2012, 12:46pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 44

Dan8267 says

Do real research instead. It's not much harder and you get far better results.

That is limited too, unless you have a way to get scholarly research articles without begin forced to pay through the nose or having to visit a university library.

Dan8267   Tue, 9 Oct 2012, 12:54pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 45

New Renter says

That is limited too, unless you have a way to get scholarly research articles without begin forced to pay through the nose or having to visit a university library.

Better to have little or even no information than to get misinformation. I'll take nothing over the deliberate misinformation on Wikipedia any day.

Still, Google is pretty darn good at finding articles from reputable publications that you can read for free.

American in Japan   Tue, 9 Oct 2012, 5:29pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 46

@Dan8267

Which Wikipedia articles specifically have you found to be the worst? Just curious in a "Patrick" sort of way...

thomaswong.1986   Tue, 9 Oct 2012, 5:39pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 47

American in Japan says

"to realize that America's mania for home-buying is out of all proportion to sober reality, one needs to look no further than the current subprime lending mess... As interest rates—and mortgage payments—have started to climb, many of these new owners are having difficulty making ends meet... Those borrowers are much worse off than before they bought."

You should hear what people were saying in 2005.. its just the east side of some city,, wont impact the the ubber rich west side or the Fortress... then the end of 2008 hit and many places also fell like dominoes..

thomaswong.1986   Tue, 9 Oct 2012, 5:41pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 48

Dan8267 says

Still, Google is pretty darn good at finding articles from reputable publications that you can read for free.

not anymore ...

Google Kills Its Own "Timeline" Feature
www.readwriteweb.com/.../google_kills_its_own_tim...Share

Jon Mitchell

by Jon Mitchell - in 13,379 Google+ circles - More by Jon Mitchell
Nov 11, 2011 –

As Google works to emphasize up-to-the-minute search results, it has also quietly killed off a search feature that helped users search for content from the past. As users in the Google search help forum have noticed, the Timeline feature for Web search has disappeared. It helped filter search results for specific timeframes.

American in Japan   Wed, 2 Apr 2014, 2:02pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 49

I wanted to ask this one again...Any problems or biased articles?

HEY YOU   Wed, 2 Apr 2014, 3:09pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 50

I believe everything written on paper or the internet but especially Patnet.

curious2   Wed, 2 Apr 2014, 3:11pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (4)   Dislike     Comment 51

Wikipedia tends to be manipulated by certain industries, in ways that make it similar to commercial news:

Newsweek: "Why Almost Everything You Hear About Medicine Is Wrong"

Vanity Fair: "Deadly Medicine"

Part of that results from the reliance on commercial and industry publications, so the marketing bias of those sources gets carried into Wikipedia articles, and part of it results from outright manipulation by public relations firms. Wikipedia tries to stop public relations firms excessively manipulating articles, on a case by case basis, but there are always more.

Also, regarding American culture and politics, there is a recurring partisan battle between factions approximating the major political parties. In Wikipedia as in life, the Republicans imagine themselves morally superior and crusade to save everyone's souls, while the Democrats imagine themselves intellectually superior and dismiss any disagreement as ignorance. (In fairness to the Democrats, many of the self-styled "conservative" editors are really ignorant, and the same pattern can be observed on PatNet; not all conservatives are stupid, but stupid people are disproportionately likely to call themselves "conservative", and that brings down the average.) The result is articles can get pushed one way or another, some articles become battlegrounds while other related articles get ignored and can be outdated or plain wrong.

I do like Wikipedia for pop culture though, and it's a good place to look for a variety of source links on a topic. Also Wikisource. I would never quote from Wikipedia, because any fool can write anything in there and then quote himself a minute later. Like any online forum, including PatNet, it's more useful if you check what the actual linked sources say.

American in Japan   Fri, 4 Apr 2014, 8:13pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 52

Thanks. Wikipedia has very good articles on chemistry, astronomy and for animals / plants. Also many good articles for university teams in basketball and football.

CaptainShuddup   Sat, 5 Apr 2014, 8:31am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 53

Wiki gets updated way too fast it seems like.
I'll often hear about someone famous dying, and Google them and the Wiki page will already be updated.
Although reports will state that details were not known or released at that time.

FortWayne   Sat, 5 Apr 2014, 9:03am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 54

I've seen biased opinions when it came to politics or national events. But you can never get away from that, whoever writes will always be biased.

American in Japan   Sun, 4 May 2014, 12:37pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 55

@Fortwayne,

You could be right. Could you give me a few specific articles?

curious2   Wed, 21 May 2014, 6:45pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 56

"This kind of feedback loop—wherein an error that appears on Wikipedia then trickles to sources that Wikipedia considers authoritative, which are in turn used as evidence for the original falsehood—is a documented phenomenon. There’s even a Wikipedia article describing it. Some of the most well-known examples involve Wikipedia entries for famous people, such as when users edited the article on the British actor Sacha Baron Cohen to say he had worked at Goldman Sachs. When a Wikipedia editor tried to remove the apocryphal detail, it took some convincing. Because it had since appeared in several articles on Cohen in the British press, the burden was on Wikipedians to disprove the myth.

“As a long-time Wikipedia editor, it frustrates me when journalists don’t fact check Wikipedia and end up reproducing errors, because Wikipedia can only work the way it does if we have reliable sources to cite,” Stuart Geiger, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information wrote in an e-mail."

carrieon   Wed, 21 May 2014, 8:14pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 57

marcus says

I like wikipedia, and use it regularly. But not because I think it's better than doing extensive research on my own.

For my usual purposes, it's useful and accurate.

That is a very accurate statement about wikipedia. For the most part, it's convenient and useful. However, if you quote statements from it, people that do their own research will recognize where you got the information.

epitaph   Thu, 22 May 2014, 2:41am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 58

theoakman says

Wikipedia is good for anything non-controversial.

Fully agree with this statement. There are a ton of editors that are of tremendous value to Wikipedia, but then you have some members that want to spin an agenda m

marcus   Thu, 22 May 2014, 3:24am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 59

FortWayne says

I've seen biased opinions when it came to politics or national events. But you can never get away from that, whoever writes will always be biased.

And lets not forget that in some circles, citing facts is considered bias in the extreme.

curious2   Thu, 22 May 2014, 7:53am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 60

"Today, soft drink makers and other food companies are still hiring so-called scientific experts to back their claims that their products are harmless. On Dr. Robert Lustig's Wikipedia page, most of the studies cited there to repudiate his views were funded by Coca-Cola." (The remainder are probably funded by the corporate beneficiaries of HeritageFoundationCare.)

curious2   Tue, 27 May 2014, 7:29am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 61

"Researchers found errors and inaccurate assertions in 9 out of 10 Wikipedia entries on the costliest medical conditions"

I suspect most of those inaccuracies result from industry-driven PR.

Vicente   Tue, 27 May 2014, 8:02am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike (1)     Comment 62

Corporate influence on science? Say it ain't so!

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/cosmos-neil-tyson-lead-industry-science-denial

HydroCabron   Tue, 27 May 2014, 8:06am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 63

Relax: Corporate-funded science is sound science.

That's why I read only research funded by the tobacco, pharmaceutical, or coal industries.

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