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New Yorker on Wikipedia, "devoted ... to a higher good,"

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This week's New Yorker has a short article on Wikipedia, by Stacy Schiff. Last March, Wikipedia reached its million-article mark, and it continues to grow.

The following comment made me think of Ballet Talk:

Wikipedia is an online community devoted not to last night's party or to next season's iPod but to a higher good.

Here's the LINK:

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060731fa_fact

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LOL, but we teachers ban kids from wikipedia because of all its inaccuracies. Not the place for legitimate research.

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LOL, but we teachers ban kids from wikipedia because of all its inaccuracies. Not the place for legitimate research.

I get your point exactly. I could go there and spin out yards of "stuff" on a topic I know nothing about.

Don't get me wrong, it's an intriguing idea and there is some interesting information there but you can't make assumptions on the accuracy of what you read.

Richard

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I don't think of Wikipedia as a definitive source for factual information, but it's certainly a window onto people's interests and opinions, especially in controversial areas. It fascinates the anthropologist in me.

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It fascinates the anthropologist in me.
Me, too. Also, as someone who earned money in school as a "fact checker" and rewriter for a scholarly encyclopedia project, I approach this new kind of "editing" with great skepticism.

I do find Wikipedia useful mainly as a quick reminder of things I already know but am having trouble accessing in my active memory.

On the whole, I don't use it for information that is unfamiliar to me.

On the other hand, I've rarely found important errors in things I know about. They do claim to have a lower error rate than Britannica. I helps to have reliable printed material around the house to check.

I avoid Wikipedia completely when the topic is controversial. I would never dream, for instance, of looking up anything to do with the Middle East. And, there are also those odd public relations releases that attempt to pass as scholarly biographies of the writer's pop star clients. :)

I can see, from a teacher's point of view, why one would try to keep Wikipedia out of the hands of young and naive students. But how do you monitor the ban?

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One of the great advantages of Wikipedia is the list of sources for each article.

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