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To Use Or Not To Use - Pros And Cons Of Wikipedia

By Rizwan Ahmad - 26 April 2013 No Comments
Wikipedia is an online, user-generated encyclopedia, and it’s simply awesome. Millions of people use Wikipedia for billions of reasons, and it’s certainly one of the greatest developments of modern time and technology. However great Wikipedia is, there are also some downsides to it. Here are the pros and cons of Wikipedia.

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Wikipedia
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Pros
Scope of Information
Perhaps the greatest thing about Wikipedia is the amount of information it contains. Wikipedia is by far the most comprehensive encyclopedia and information database anywhere. It provides general information on so many topics that it’s often the best place to look for obscure knowledge or subjects that have little information on them elsewhere.  The sheer scope if Wikipedia makes it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone and anything.

Timeliness
Standard print encyclopedias are outdated almost as soon as they’re published. If you look inside a print encyclopedia, you may not get the latest information on any topic. Wikipedia is a timely resource. It is constantly updated, which means you can generally find the latest, most relevant information on any topic.

Source Citations
Wikipedia does its best to provide citations for every fact or bit of information that its entries contain. All of the citations lead to links where the information contained within the Wikipedia entry can be found. These citations are very valuable, because they point to additional resources on the topic. They also help you assess the validity of the information you read. When you visit the source, you can verify the info and also judge whether that source itself is reliable or not.

Cons
Possibility of Inaccuracy
The biggest con of Wikipedia is that is has the possibility of inaccuracy with the information it contains. Wikipedia can be updated by anyone, and so some people may put incorrect information on a page, either intentionally or unintentionally. WIkipedia does a great job at fact-checking and catching errors, but it isn’t always immediate, so there is always the possibility that the information you’re reading contains errors that weren’t yet corrected.

Possibility of Bias
Many topics contain information that is biased, because they’ve been updated by an enthusiast of the topic, for example. While the information might be correct, it may not always be the full story. An entry could be biased due to missing information or the lack of presentation of other sides of the story and different opinions.

Unofficial Source
The ever-changing nature of Wikipedia is great because of timeliness, but it can also be a con in and of itself. Because a page is constantly changing, and because it can be updated by anyone, it does not make for a valid, official source. Schools and college professors often do not accept Wikipedia itself a source, meaning you will have to verify your information with another source. Even if you do cite Wikipedia, the information on the page could change by the time someone else, like a professor, sees it.

Charlie Adams is a tech guru who loves to analyze the role of technology and information sites such as Wikipedia on everyday life.

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Rizwan Ahmad
About the Author:
This article is contributed by Charlie Adams and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of cyberockk.com, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,

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