On Wikipedia's Misinformation, 2005

By Xah Lee. Date:

There is a common conception and worry, especially among academicians, that Wikipedia is filled with misinformation. That, we will often see among online forums, that these people outright disclaim the reliability of wikipedia, in fact will disparage it out of proportions especially when some error got broadcasted in the news media.

So here is the question: Can a person read Wikipedia without putting all his brain cells on high alert?

If you were to sit thru highschools at this moment, of the thousand, hundreds of thousands, of highschools around the world. It is not a question — assuming you are knowledgeable of certain subjects — that you'll find lots of mistake taught to our young. And, thinking about it, these mistakes are rather unavoidable — you cannot expect all highschool teachers being professors and unerring. Nevertheless, these millions of teachings went on, and on the whole, it benefit the whole world with extreme impact.

The gist of this insight, is that information must not solely be judged on correctness, but also availability, in the context of human animals benefaction. Therefore wikipedia, even scholarly speaking are filled with errors, some egregious (because the faaking wikipedian morons with their faaking NPOV and Open Source faaking fanaticism et al), but nevertheless on the whole, it is extremely useful and practically speaking 99% reliable.

On Wikipedia at xahlee.info