wikipedia proves itself

Although I admit to having looked up articles on Wikipedia, I’d not appeal to it as an authority. Yet on Slashdot this morning I read an article which is noteworthy for a number of reasons, including just how insidious appeals to Wikipedia have become.

In summary, someone altered an article in Wikipedia, adding false information. A number of news sites, obviously using Wikipedia as a source, reproduced the error as fact in articles. Meanwhile, the information was questioned on Wikipedia with a request for some citation in its support. It was then possible to point to the information in the external sources which had originally obtained the information from Wikipedia, and this is exactly what happened!

This time it was picked up, but who can tell if there are already other examples of this very issue in Wikipedia, or if similar problems will always be identified in the future?


Update:

Well, it seems to have happened again. Read more details here.

2 thoughts on “wikipedia proves itself

  1. Whenever these things are checked, there appear to be about as many errors in Encyclopedia Britannica as in Wikipedia.

    I think we should be as careful reading the so-called reputable sources as the much-maligned Wikipedia.

    And look at all those daily errors in the SMH!

    And Wikipedia may not be perfect, but it is usually up-to-date, and usually accurate, I think, as far as I am able to determine.

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