Monday, October 22, 2007

Wikipedia (PG langauge)

Is Wikipedia true?


Mr. Pseudonym said...

Source: Zach of /Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal/. This is from his blog entitled "Hoom"

Dani said...

I think that because a lot of people are allowed to edit it, its actually more accurate. I have no idea if this is true, or remember where i got it but somewhere i thought i heard that wikipedia is like 1% less accurate than encyclopedia brittanica. However, with that many people reading what others have written, and being able to correct it, the knowledge is corrected and expanded through the compilation of others knowledge.
Actually, I find it similar to this blog since we are called on each to point out inaccuracies and fallacies (of course, wikipedia isnt required to justify the beliefs)

Rick_Andrews_Director said...

I agree with Dani somewhat. I feel that because Wikipedia is open to anyone, the articles get a general consensus from the public on a certain topic. In that respect, it is possible that it is not inaccurate.However, I said it is POSSIBLE that an article on Wikipedia is accurate, but why could it possibly be inaccurate?

Just because something has a general consensus does not always mean the consensus is correct. Societies themselves have their bias and beliefs. With Wikipedia, the general masses are saying this is how the event occurred. But that doesn't always mean they are right. Consensus does not always mean truth, and that is one of the major issues that arises when you bring up the accuracy of Wikipedia.

Pumanupes said...

Here's my deal with wikipedia:
I think it's a great source for pragmatic knowledge. I would argue that when it comes to knowledge that could not be considered 'common', wikipedia gets a little sketch. For example, I wouldn't trust it to explain to me how to do my biology homework, but I'd trust it's entries on ... horoscopes, for example, just because that information is so easily cross-referenced.

Whether or not that's because I personally give my biology homework more importance than horoscopes, and therefore require that the information is actually correct, I am not sure.

We can see clear knowledge issues in the form of bias in wikipedia, however. Before wikipedia blocked any PHS computer from editing information, I distinctly remember there being a 'war', so to speak, going on. How many people could get on and change the article on PHS to suit their own view of Poudre? One day it was entirely about IB, the next about band, I distinctly remember someone removing any mentioning of sports and subbing information for whatever their favorite aspect of school was.

It's when you consider things like this that it's easier to see why so many teachers oppose the almighty Wiki.

All the same, keeping these things in mind, I still feel that we can trust wikipedia for common knowledge information.

Dani said...

I agree with Anupuma in that its a good source for common knowledge. The more obscure stuff....well I dont know. I guess that generally the people who would write about the more unknown would be interesting in it and therefore have some knowledge but maybe some kid just wants to be "published" in a way.
However, last year a teacher mightily recommended wiki as a good source. So if an authority says its a good, acceptable source does that means its okay for use?

katrina337 said...

I've used wiki on my biology homework.

I trust it until I say that the information it's giving me doesn't make sense. It's rarely ever the only source I use, but I don't really discredit it.

I actually wouldn't believe it in horrorscopes, because they're highly subjective and personalized, so generalizations don't actually provide actual results.

But really, I don't think it's a bad source.

Mr. Pseudonym said...

I like all your efforts. However, you seem to be avoiding my question.
I am not asking how accurate the information is. I am asking whether or not Wikipedia is true.

katrina337 said...

Um...which part?

As a whole? Sure, I mean, it's highly convenient so it passes that one truth test that I can't remember the name of right now. really depends on what part of it...because I'm sure some parts of it are complete crap, while others are truth.

Mr. Pseudonym said...

And I am sorry that my original post did not include that as the question.
It should now be amended proper.

Pumanupes said...

I still think that your question could do with some clarification. In order for something to be true, doesn't it need to be accurate?

Are you asking us to evaluate the 'truth' value of wikipedia against the truth tests we've learned?

I guess I'm still confused with how/what you're asking us to talk about.

SamE said...

Here's my thought process:

Truth -> truth tests -> Pragmatic works of course, if you have internet and it isn't too slow. Coherence, yeah, it would have to make sense with what you already know. Correspondence, they often have pictures and that helps, but other websites sometimes have more and straight-text Wikipedia is hard to read. So yeah, it can pass all three truth tests, but doesn't always pass any of them.

Wait a minute. Is Wikipedia true? What kind of a question is that? Here's how I refute it: "true" is a quality given to logical claims and/or statements. "Wikipedia" is not such a statement. Therefore, "Wikipedia" cannot be "true" any more than a "dog" can be "especially". You're comparing different grammatical structures.

ethan_is_ninja said...

The above link is to an online BBC report that says that Wikipedia is about as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica. Since the general consensus believes that Briannica is more reliable and "true" than Wikipedia, we can safely say that Wikipedia is as "true" as Britannica.

Sierra Tamkun said...

I have a real problem with this question for the same reasons that Sam addresses. Wikipedia is HUGE. We cannot say it is true, just as we cannot say that hisotry is true. It is simply too large of a topic. Pragmatically, it works. Logically, with the coherence theory, it works. It is useful to have such a large database, and it is logical that if anyone could edit it, then the amount of information that oculd be collected would be very extensive. However, I think that the coherence theory also helps to prove that it is true that wikipedia is not correct. Logically, if anyone could write something, than anything could be written, making room for logical falicy. I think it is really interesting that the coherence theory and be used in the claim and counter claim for the question.

tsizzinc said...

how can you ask this? what do you mean by true???

heres my take on wiki and your cartoon. Given that the info on wiki is so easy to change, is the info in the real world just as easy to change? the degree of stench in the room is easy to change, but do you remember the whole wiki/ chicken issue? haha that was funny... if you dont remember or was aware cause you have a life outside of internet, shame on you. The wiki/ Chicken issue was that people were fed up with false information, so on some forum in a URL unknown to mankind, the origin of the solution appeared. people decided since everyone knows what a chicken is, everyone agreed to post funny and false information about chickens. i.e. Chickens originated in Russia in 1789. The inventor of such a machine was none other than George Washington. (some stuff i made up)

Now can you honestly say that the truth about chickens is what i've just described?

Now this can be argued as a language issue, if you change the label of every word. Surely something was invented in russia in 1789, and this guy can be called Washington in modern times by a group of people. Now a chicken is that object... now is that true? yes!

Sierra Tamkun said...

What? TC that doesn't make alot of sense, I think you're stretching the truth here. The language has been changed, teh objects have not, but due to the influence that language has in society (der) and the fact that the english language has been in existence for centuries, and that the symbols C-H-I-C-K-E-N have meant a bird that can't fly well and is eaten by people for that time, it can be concluded that simply calling something a "chicken" does not mean that it makes it true, even if you aresimply renaming something. The name already belongs to a different object, and people will still view it that way. So what was written on wikipedia still is not true, still a falsehood.

tsizzinc said...

it was the answer that most fit the given prompt. not saying u should agree, but, im just answering the question. if you just look at the complete irrelevence that has been posted by others, well, judging by others, you dont... no need to assume that i believe that a chicken is some weird thing, but no doubt you werent aware of this whole wiki chicken debate... im not explaining it, go look it up.

katrina337 said...

That's why you use caution when using it. Do you believe everything that is held as a truth? It is held as a societal truth that the sun comes up every morning and goes down in the evening (ignoring the rotation bit). But if someone views this up-side down (yay for articles! Except, not entirely, but it is interesting), then the sun goes down every morning and rises every evening. And that is a sense-perception based truth (...correspondence theory, yes?), and it's true for one person but not for the majority of the society.

Going back to the point, even if everything written on wiki isn't true to the general public, does it mean it isn't true to someone. If you convinced yourself that chickens were invented in Russia in 1789 by a man named Washington, and you thoroughly believed it and had a truth test to confirm it, couldn't it still be true?
Random example: I can convince myself that Britney Spears is the devil. Maybe whenever I see a picture of her, I see her with the stereotypical devil pitchfork and red horns and spiky tail. Maybe I hear her words as the words of the devil, and feel her as if she were made of ash. Through sense perception and the correspondence theory, I can say that she is truthfully the devil.
To other people (like my oldest brother's wife), she may be a hero, they may worship her as if she were more to the likes of god. And they can justify that the same way I justify my view.
If I posted that on wikipedia, what would be the truth? It's the truth for me, just not for you, so putting it on wiki would not make it true or un-true.
That was long, but yeah. That's my take on it.