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What You May Not Know About Wikipedia

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Wikipedia has its strengths. The user-built encyclopedia hosts articles on an astounding array of topics, and volunteer contributors – you, perhaps – keep much of that information up to date. Moreover, Wikipedia has evolved over time to improve the process by which entries are approved and edited, so that it now asserts a measure of quality control over its content.

What you may not know:

Wikipedia’s checks and balances can come between you and the best information available, and may even demonstrate bias against providing a comprehensive overview of a topic.

1) Wikipedia does not host original research. Disappointingly, it may not even be a place for contesting entrenched ideas through a survey of the research already available. The experience of Professor Timothy Messer-Kruse is here instructive.

2) Wikipedia is justly suspicious of self promotion, and reluctant to approve information coming from the persons and organisations featured in an article. But sometimes you just have to ask: Who would know better?

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