Wikipedia: legitimate source

By Joe DeMarzio
October 1, 2009

Wikipedia is a perfectly legitimate reference for information. Many professors are against it because of how easy you can re-write information.

However, what the professors fail to research is the fact that when you add something to Wikipedia, you have to have five sources to back up your information or else it will be deleted by their auto-delete feature.

I definitely use Wikipedia when I am researching something. I feel it is a good starting point for researching a given subject. I do not solely rely on it to do papers or research, but it’s good to have a background on what you are looking for.

Whether it is on a paper or just basic knowledge that I am ignorant to, I always rely on it for things like that. It is perfect for looking up quick information if you’re on the go, and is definitely the most convenient Internet encyclopedia that there is.

For any homework where I don’t have a lot background information on the topic, it can be a tedious process trying to search through an entire library just to find one or two chapters of a single book. With Wikipedia you can find what you are looking for right away and it gives enough information to make it easier to find topics due to the text at the bottom of the page.

I think that the teachers who discourage using Wikipedia are ignorant to its special verification features. It uses a unique modifying process where any registered Wikipedia user can edit the information, which seems to make people skeptical, however; what most people do not know is that the wiki bots check accuracy when users update and would not allow mistakes to slide by, and if there are, they are deleted within seconds.

Most people would be nervous if the topic is one that can be easily swayed by opinion rather than fact, but it still does not matter because of its “speedy deletion” feature. The wiki engineers are hired specifically to verify information, so I really do not understand what the big deal is.

Wikipedia is very straight forward and from factual record and the links are gathered on any one subject. At the bottom of the screen, you can see where all the information on that page is referenced from, and then you can go to those Web-sites and look at the originals. Therefore, even if you do not like using Wikipedia based on your opinions supporting the information, then you could at least use to start off your search.

I am aware that there are a lot of people out there that think there is a serious problem with Wikipedia, but I think the problem they have with it are the misconceptions of Wikipedia and what they hear from others, rather than researching about it firsthand. Majority of the professors who discourage Wikipedia are the ones who know nothing about it.

Professors just want the students to invest more time researching, when really they can access information with the click of a button.

The best part of Wikipedia is that you save a ton of your time, and you spend no money. It is the best internet information engine of our time. It is an online tool that is just as good as any book or Web site, so don’t knock it until try it.

Joe DeMarzio

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