A rant about the Accuracy of Wikipedia

Wikipedia’s accuracy has been tested and debated over the years. And honestly, I’m tired of people claiming it’s inaccurate.

Here are some facts:

Numerous studies have been conducted to assess Wikipedia’s accuracy. A 2005 study published in the journal Nature found that Wikipedia’s scientific articles were comparable in quality to those in Encyclopedia Britannica. A 2012 study commissioned by the Wikimedia Foundation found that Wikipedia’s articles were comparable in quality to those in other online encyclopedias.

In June 2006, Roy Rosenzweig, a professor specializing in American history, published a comparison of the Wikipedia biographies of 25 Americans to the corresponding biographies found on Encarta and American National Biography Online. He wrote that Wikipedia is “surprisingly accurate in reporting names, dates, and events in U.S. history”

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that Wikipedia’s articles on cancer were comparable in quality to those in the Physician Data Query, a professionally edited database maintained by the National Cancer Institute.

The German computing magazine c’t performed a comparison of Brockhaus Multimedial, Microsoft Encarta, February 2007 used 150 search terms, of which 56 were closely evaluated, to compare four digital encyclopedias: Bertelsmann Enzyklopädie 2007, Brockhaus Multimedial premium 2007, Encarta 2007 Enzyklopädie and Wikipedia. It concluded: “We did not find more errors in the texts of the free encyclopedia than in those of its commercial competitors.”

A 2009 survey asked US toxicologists how accurately they rated the portrayal of health risks of chemicals in different media sources. It was based on the answers of 937 members of the Society of Toxicology and found that these experts regarded Wikipedia’s reliability in this area as far higher than that of all traditional news media

Life’s Little Mysteries asked Adam Riess, professor of astronomy and physics at Johns Hopkins University and one of the scientists credited with proposing the existence of dark energy , to rate Wikipedia’s “dark energy” entry. “It’s remarkably accurate,” Riess said. “Certainly better than 95 percent correct.”

Reavley et al. (2012) compared the quality of articles on select mental health topics on Wikipedia with corresponding articles in Encyclopædia Britannica and a psychiatry textbook. They asked experts to rate article content with regard to accuracy, up-to-dateness, breadth of coverage, referencing and readability. Wikipedia scored the highest on all criteria except readability, and the authors concluded that Wikipedia is as good as or better than Britannica and a standard textbook

Another study published in 2014 in PLOS ONE found that Wikipedia’s information about pharmacology was 99.7% accurate when compared to a pharmacology textbook

Now the Elephant in the room, for science, math, history, culture, the types of things you would study in a school even at the college level, Wikipedia is great, it has been proven, time & again to be accurate in these areas. MANY times it has been shown to be as accurate if not more accurate than its contemporary counterparts.

Searching for info on pop culture, celebrities, Politicians. These are areas where the articles are likely to contain opinions, instead of facts, and opinions, are just that. When you read about how some band trashed a motel, take it with a grain of salt.

As with all things, use some common sense, Wiki articles often cite their sources, they do this for a reason, click through, look at the source. Was the source a reputable newspaper? A podcast? A tabloid rag? Source matters, and Wikipedia gives you the tools needed to verify those sources, but YOU have to use them!

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