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Debate Info

40
12
Yes, it cites sources. No, anyone can edit it.
Debate Score:52
Arguments:17
Total Votes:63
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Argument Ratio

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 Yes, it cites sources. (12)
 
 No, anyone can edit it. (5)

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Is Wikipedia a credible source?

Would you accept it if you were teaching

Yes, it cites sources.

Side Score: 40
VS.

No, anyone can edit it.

Side Score: 12
7 points

A recent study (ironically, I can't find the source to cite it at the moment) found Wikipedia to be more reliable and correct then the Encyclopedia Britanica.

Also, anyone who claims Wikipedia is editable by all has never tried to edit anything. They have moderators who, I can only assume, ARE part machine. They know instantly if changes have been made, and will instantly revert a page if they can find a single error, omision, etc, to be ridiculously pinikity about.

Also, it cites all sources [citation needed].

It's pretty damn credible in my book.

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
4 points

I think the study you're referring to is one done by Nature magazine. The findings were that Wikipedia was actually less reliable than Britannica, but not by much.

http://news.cnet.com/2100-1038_3-5997332.html

From the article: "That averages out to 2.92 mistakes per article for Britannica and 3.86 for Wikipedia. "

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
0 points

Wow, still, a 0.94 difference is good.

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
1 point

Thank you xaeon.

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
1 point

Yes, and Wikipedia is also a good source for big facts. When one gets into the details it may be better to go to a more credible source.

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
6 points

Well... this is difficult.

I think wikipedia is fine if you're not using it for academic or legal purposes, and in that case you should point people in another direction because there is a lot at steak in those situations.

I know that I've been part of the wikipedia editing crew on a number of things, and believe it or not, people are watching your edits... and most of the edits that I've seen made have more credible information behind them than you might expect. People debate on the syntax and semantics of the edit based on a number of credible sources, I mean, that's how deep it can get.

Then again, some go unnoticed and are obviously flawed...

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2133/2041443883_0a646e230f_o.jpg

Also, if you're looking for more credible sources, at the bottom of the page, there are sources. As an example, here are the references for the philosophy wiki,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy#References

and here are the external links...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy#External_links

all found on wikipedia. If you don't want to use anything found on that page, go to a library orschool.

Side: Yes, it cites sources.

People often make the argument that it isn't because "anyone can just go and edit it." I use this as the litmus test for someone who doesn't at all understand wikipedia. It has to provide citation and it has to pass neutrality. Also, vandalism is removed quickly and efficiently. In theory it works, and in practice it has shown consistent reliability.

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
3 points

I would have to agree with Bradford - and also steer clear of anything controversial where some one with an agenda is the driving force behind the entry - for instance if I was looking for a non-biased article about intelligent design, Wikipedia might not be a good choice

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
3 points

I'm currently doing a Masters degree and our tutors have flat out told us that we shouldn't be putting Wikipedia citations in the footnotes. It's not acceptable to the external examiner at the University to have Wikipedia citations.

Having said that, we've been told that it is quite acceptable to use Wikipedia as a good background source on any subject, and to find facts, dates, quotes etc, (so long as they aren't ones that have been flagged as citation needed. In my own research) I will often read the Wikipedia entry on a given topic, alongside other sources. I don't get a sense of Wikiepedia, in general terms, being any less reliable than other books, texts or web sites - although I will always be aware, at the back of my mind, that there is a slight chance that the information might be wrong.

So, a cautious thumbs up for Wikipedia

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
2 points

Wikipedia is a credible source, however, I would not use it for any kind of project where accuracy is an absolute MUST, eg. masters, etc. And if something seems bogus on there, it probably is, unfortunately they still let children on the internet :P.

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
1 point

True that anyone can edit it. But those edits are screened for credibility.

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
5 points

The fact that "anyone" can edit it isn't so much a concern for me. However, Wikipedia doesn't provide sufficiently fleshed out information to be considered a credible source for academicians or students - not to cite at least. Wikipedia is not a primary source. It is at best a very simplified secondary source that might provide insight into certain intellectual topics for laymen. But that is as far as it goes, and I think that that's what it is intended to do: provide information for laymen.

Anyone who would pretend otherwise needs to consider the source material cited by each Wikipedia article and then compare it to the Wikipedia article itself. Most texts are exceedingly dense and Wikipedia often misses that density because of a need for brevity, simplicity and clarity. It does have its uses, though.

Side: No, anyone can edit it.
2 points

I would never give a lecture based on what I read on Wikipedia, because as a PhD this is not really a credible source in academia. So, as the debate is formated, no, I would not use it to teach a class on cancer, for example. However, when I wanted to look up the history of Santa Clause last Christmas, for example, I did find the site interesting for my own personal use.

Side: No, anyone can edit it.
1 point

Dumb debates are dumb.

From wikipedia's own page; "wikipedia is not considered a credible source".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Academic_use

Side: No, anyone can edit it.
0 points

The fact that Wikipedia is user edited discounts the website as a consistently reliable source, even if 90% of the time the information is accurate. That not to say that the idea isn't genius. If you have enough people contributing and editing for accuracy chances are you'll end up with good information.

Unfortunately for Wiki it's contents are too easily altered to be considered a reliable source.

Side: No, anyone can edit it.
jessald(1913) Disputed
1 point

Wikipedia backs up its articles with citations from primary sources. You can easily consult these sources to verify the integrity of the information.

Side: Yes, it cites sources.
1 point

The problem with Wikipedia citations is that those sources may not be credible or created by credible associations or experts in that particular field. They are also hampered by the fact that many important sources of information (non-internet sources or non-free internet sources) are left out almost entirely.

Having a citation does not necessarily make a particular article legitimate. If you look at any recent propaganda books you'll find plenty of citations (even Ann Coulter has them in her frivolous tripe).

There are much better sources of information that Wikipedia, books, real encyclopedias, reputable news agencies, scientific bodies..etc..etc.. Wikipedia is only useful as an introduction, a hint as to what may actually be true. At best it can provide some rather well-rounded introductory material, at worst it is a jumbled piece of clumsy, misleading garbage.

Side: No, anyone can edit it.