Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Part II - Fastwrite Response

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that is edited by people around the world. It can be edited by anyone. This means that it is possible to have invalid information. However, it is also possible to have more current information than what might be found in an actual, hard copy encyclopedia. It is "one of the largest reference Web sites." So, it must be considered fairly reliable to have become reputable.

I have used Wikipedia to find articles that supported my points, but I never knew that it was possible to edit them. This causes me to rethink my decision. Somehow, I did not know that it was a collaborative source and not just an online encyclopedia. I have mixed feelings. I want to say it is unreliable because anyone can edit it, yet that can make it more reliable because it is updated by knowledgeable people. The organization says that it can be updated on current events within hours as apposed to years for hard copy encyclopedias. Also, anyone can look and see the page history to find out when, who and how it was last changed or updated. This information should make it more reputable, however I still am unsure how I feel about the fact that anyone has the ability to edit the articles contained in this database.

Because numerous people visit the site to edit, share or create knowledge, the odds are quite high that most edits are legitimate and correct. This seems good. Yet, I still do not know how I feel about using Wikipedia articles in my research. The information is overwhelmingly in favor of using it, but the fact that anyone can edit it might outweigh all of their precautions. From now on, if I use Wikipedia (about which I am still unsure), I will thoroughly review the page history to decide whether I think the information given is logical and accurate. I think it will all depend on the subject that I am researching.

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