6 thoughts on “A turnaround: how I came to rethink my view on Wikipedia

  1. Thank you for sharing.

    I recently signed up to Wikipedia also. I did so first because I found a page that had a few glaring spelling mistakes, but since then I’ve made a couple of other minor alterations/additions.

    The concern is that, while it’s easy for anyone to make small contributions like this, there are many pages which really do need some expertise to ensure what is available to all is accurate. The fun thing sees to be, if there are certain topics you are passionate about then behind the scenes on the Talk pages you can work with other like-minded people to improve a page.

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    1. Thanks for your comments! I totally agree that it could be/is a mammoth task to ensure accuracy on every entry, but if everyone who felt motivated (and able) to just took on those areas, even just the the odd page, that they could then it could make a huge difference. Again, though, I wouldn’t want to imply that there should be somekind of ‘professional’ takeover. Working together with others is the way forward, so am delighted to hear about the ‘Talk pages’! I know nothing about this (my sign up was literally type my details in, get the confirmation then make the one alteration) but when I get chance to poke around more then I’ll look into it. Thanks again!

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  2. This is absolutely true! I’ve also noticed that my 13 year old son – like the rest of us – starts with Wikipedia to do research. We agree that this is okay, but then he should try and find other sites as well. In the end, that seems fair enough!

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    1. I think your phrase ‘other sites as well’ is key – unfortunately I’ve tended to find that oftentimes the students who cite Wikipedia haven’t used many other resources either, relying too heavily on what it says and not looking more widely, whereas using a Wikipedia page(s) amongst a raft of other work probably wouldn’t be so much of an issue. I also think that we need to catch up with educating our students (and children!) about using online resources in the same way that we try to do with ‘traditional’ things like books and articles. We know how to discern reliability etc so perhaps we should be more explicit with sharing with them what questions they need to be asking of what they’re looking at.

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      1. I think that students and children are pretty discerning – and as you say simply need the potential problems explained. The next thing is to get them reading text books before they get to uni! Schools have really moved away from books to online research models.

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