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7 December, 2007


Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, apparently believes that the online encyclopedia is now reliable enough to be accepted as an academic resource citable by formal (student) projects.
Well, he would, wouldn't he?

His assessment is as valid as mine (which is that he's entirely incorrect), of course, but that's the point: a fully credible information resource can't operate on amateurs' interpretations and data selection. The 'wisdom of crowds' is simply inadequate, even when that nominal counterbalancing of opinions isn't skewed by a vociferous minority.

Don't misunderstand; I have been known to use Wikipedia myself, but only as a starting point or shortcut in cases that don't really matter. There is a lot of valuable information, but also a lot of half-truth & downright rubbish, and a reader has no way of knowing which he/she is reading at a given moment.

And hence, however well-intentioned, it's no academic authority.

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