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5 July, 2009

Truth? Whole truth? Are you sure?

I'm just about prepared to accept that Wikipedia is a fair starting point for casual research: a means of identifying potential keywords and topics which one could then investigate via more credible sources of validated information.

It's not itself a remotely reliable source of information. Some 'facts' at Wikipedia may be accurate, but others definitely aren't (maliciously or otherwise – honest best-guesses aren't good enough); until one can discriminate between them with 100% confidence, it's all unusable.

Hence, it's alarming to discover that the Crown Prosecution Service is instructing police officers to use Wikipedia when preparing for court cases. I wonder whether that'll be disclosed to juries, or whether information will simply be submitted as 'police evidence', a status jurors might reasonably expect to be based on forensics or other hard data.

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