Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Why I hate Wikipedia...

These are the reasons that I hate Wikipedia:

Ø Grammatical errors
Ø Explanations that lack thoroughness and simply do not make sense
Ø The false sense that there is some authority behind these explanations
Ø Lack of adequate references
Ø Inaccurate information (coupled with the false sense of authority)
Ø The fact that it is often the first search result to appear
Ø The fact that it claims to be an encyclopedia

I can even back up my hatred with an example: “All current methods involve heating a working fluid such as water, which is then converted into mechanical work for the purpose of generating electricity or propulsion.” So, according to this entry in Wiki, water is converted into mechanical work for generating electricity. I have several problems with this explanation. The first is that I’m not sure what the author means by “water … is then converted into mechanical work.” This does not make sense. Secondly, I believe the use of water to generate electricity is deemed hydroelectric power, and certainly does not produce radioactive side effects. (Now water is used in nuclear power plants, but certainly not in the way that the Wiki article implies. There is a much more thorough explanation here, and there is also a specific author attached to this article.)

Who can write for Wikipedia? According to Wiki itself, “Visitors do not need specialized qualifications to contribute, since their primary role is to write articles that cover existing knowledge.” What is existing knowledge? Do they mean common knowledge? If so, why would anyone need to look up something if it is common knowledge? And I daresay, that there are many topics which are covered on Wikipedia which are not common knowledge and are in fact specialized. In addition, “Most of the articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet, simply by clicking the edit this page link.” So even if there is accurate information displayed on a given topic, someone else can come along and change it to make it inaccurate. Brilliant!

Why do you hate Wikipedia? (If you like Wikipedia, why???!!!)

1 comment:


If I were writing a research paper, I certainly wouldn't trust Wikipedia for "hard" information and facts. Never. But if I'm looking for entertainment-related material--some rock band's discography, for example--Wiki's usually a reasonable place to start. Not to finish, but to start.