Monday, July 28, 2008

The "Ultimate" Resource: Wikipedia

Learning From Wikipedia
Thanks to for the inspiration in today's post.

Perhaps everyone who had used the net at least once had seen or heard (if not used) Wikipedia. Wikipedia, as defined in their own site, is a "free, multilingual, open content encyclopedia project operated by the United States-based non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its name is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites) and encyclopedia. Launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, it attempts to collect and summarize all human knowledge in every major language." (Source: where else?) Currently translated into 253 languages, Wikipedia can definitely boast as the "most popular general reference resource in the Internet". It is the first thing I consult for all those define-this-and-that homeworks our teachers and professors love. Admit it. If you've been using Wikipedia long enough, you definitely had at least once copy-pasted something from it. Whether it's a picture, a paragraph or even the whole article, we are all guilty of using something from the Wikipedia.

But that aside, Wikipedia may be the coolest thing out there, but like all things, it has its downsides. Being an open source, Wikipedia allows any Internet user to edit any article with out having to log in to the site. How many of you had experienced reading and sometimes linking to an article when all of the sudden after a day or two that same article has been changed? Take for example the article of Ino Yamanaka from the anime series, Naruto. (Please excuse the following Narutardness). There used to be a full page article about Ino Yamanaka, complete with some of the significant appearances she made during the whole first season and some spoilers from the Shippuden Arc of the manga. A week or so before the Shippuden arc was released, the said article disappeared. (I was following it because I wanted to cosplay as the 2 1/2 years later Ino and the original article had the picture.) Ino Yamanaka was then edited into a chunky small paragraph in the wiki's List of Naruto Characters. Perhaps the admins themselves edited it, or somebody else did. I will never know. But anyway, that's just a sample of what can and is happening in Wikipedia. (I'm talking about the main Wikipedia article. Not those in the other wikipages like this.) Some were even worse, giving biased opinions on some topics and others giving wrong information period.

Still, Wikipedia had taken steps to avoid these mishaps by controlling the number of articles that can be edited by the masses and the people who can actually do the editing. This mere effort proves that Wiki does care of what goes out of their site and want to make it as credible as it possibly can. Seriously, Wiki is still the number one resource for me, and still begin my definition searches from them. But if you are ever caught in doubt, you can always consult other websites or other people. You don't really have to rely on Wiki for everything.

**P.S. This is not a remark against Wikipedia, but a shout out to the people who turn this wonderful site into a gossip bin. Stop ruining Wiki. Go to your blog or forums and rant there instead. A lot of people are relying on the information on Wiki, so please don't clutter it with trash.

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