Why Wikipedia remains a reliable source for your research

In an article published last November, Le Monde comes back to a terrible mistake made on Wikipedia. Nathaniel White, a man with the same surname as a New Yorker serial killer for years 20, saw his photo mistakenly used for nearly two years on the online encyclopedia.

In fact, many anecdotes show more or less damaging blunders. Very popular, the platform is also under attack from individuals or organizations wishing to influence opinion by writing false information. These cases can tarnish Wikipedia’s image somewhat, so much so that some teachers recommend that their students not use it for their research.

Reliability comparable to scientific articles?

This is a real mistake according to Canberra University researchers Rachel Cunneen and Mathieu O’Neil, who defend their point of view in an article by The Conversation . According to them, Wikipedia remains on the contrary a serious tool for checking or finding information, and undoubtedly the most reliable of all.

The professors thus explain that “ While anyone can edit a Wikipedia page, and not just subject matter experts, that does not make the Wikipedia information unreliable. It is practically impossible, for example, that conspiracies remain published on the encyclopedia. ”

They add about the more popular articles:

Wikipedia’s online community of volunteers, administrators, and bots ensures that edits are based on reliable quotes. Popular articles are reviewed thousands of times.

This careful process would make the platform particularly relevant, for example if it was compares “to scientific articles that are only reviewed by three people and are never edited. ”

the less edited and consulted articles, on the other hand, it is necessary to exercise a little more caution. Students, and Internet users in general, should therefore be taught to check the changes made and the discussions between editors on the subject.

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