Criticism of Wikipedia

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Wikipedia is a large, popular free encyclopedia written by volunteers. There is criticism of Wikipedia.

Main criticisms[change | change source]

  • Anyone can change Wikipedia. Because of this, some articles may not be true or accurate. They may show false information.
  • There is vandalism, where people make bad changes to articles on purpose.
  • Sometimes there are no good sources on articles. Wikipedia needs good sources in order to show the information is right.
  • Sometimes one group of people change Wikipedia more than others. Because of this, that group's interests and view may be covered more on Wikipedia. This is called systematic bias. This is bad because Wikipedia needs to be open for everyone.
  • Wikipedia has images and content that may be gross or hurtful. Some of this is not good for children to see. There are articles about these things because Wikipedia thinks it is important to not censor information.
  • There are many rules on Wikipedia. Some people think these rules are bad or confusing. These rules may stop new people from changing articles.
  • The people who change Wikipedia can argue and bother others.
  • The people who run Wikipedia have a lot of power which is not true.

Critics of Wikipedia[change | change source]

Wikipedia editors know that the site should not be used as a primary source for research. A librarian named Philip Bradley said Wikipedia does not have authority. For a printed encyclopedia, people have to make sure the information is right or they will be fired.[1] Some say calling Wikipedia an "encyclopedia" means that people trust it even when they should not trust it.

Some librarians, academics, and editors of other encyclopedias do not like Wikipedia as a source of information.[2][3] Many universities do not accept Wikipedia as a source, but most universities do not want any encyclopedias used - they want primary sources.[4]

Criticism of the Wikipedia community[change | change source]

Kat Walsh, a person in the Wikimedia Foundation (which runs Wikipedia), said Wikipedia was easier when it was made. Now, there are many rules and it is harder for new people to change articles.[5] Many editors of Wikipedia have stopped editing, and the number of editors has gone down since 2006.[6] In 2006, Jimmy Wales said most of changes on Wikipedia are made by a group of around 500 people who "all know each other". But most of the edits are made by people who sometimes change articles, or who do not have Wikipedia accounts at all.[7]

On controversial articles, many people will argue with each other. Sometimes good arguments are ignored because they are not popular with the editors.[8]

To stop vandalism, some people have administration powers. This means they can delete articles, stop edits on an article, and stop users. There are special rules to stop administrators from taking too much control, but the opinions of administrators can take over regular people in some arguments.[9]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Waldman, Simon (2004-10-26). "Who knows?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2005-12-30.
  2. Lysa Chen (2007-03-28). "Several colleges push to ban Wikipedia as resource". Duke Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
  3. McHenry, Robert (2004-11-15). "The Faith-Based Encyclopedia". Tech Central Station. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
  4. Noam Cohen (2007-02-27). "Wikipedia on an academic hit list". NY Times News Service. Retrieved 2007-04-16. "Middlebury professor Thomas Beyer, of the Russian department, said: 'I guess I am not terribly impressed by anyone citing an encyclopedia as a reference point, but I am not against using it as a starting point.'"
  5. Angwin, Julia; Fowler, Geoffrey (November 27, 2009). "Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  6. Bongwon Suh, Gregorio Convertino, Ed H. Chi, Peter Pirolli (2009), "The Singularity is Not Near: Slowing Growth of Wikipedia". Proc. WikiSym’09.
  7. Who Writes Wikipedia? (Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought)
  8. Arthur, Charles (2005-12-15). "Log on and join in, but beware the web cults". The Guardian (London).,,1667345,00.html. Retrieved 2006-07-14.
  9. Hafner, Kate (June 17, 2006). "Growing Wikipedia Refines Its 'Anyone Can Edit' Policy". New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2010.

More reading[change | change source]

  • Andrew Keen. The Cult of the Amateur. Doubleday/Currency, 2007. ISBN 978-0-385-52080-5 (substantial criticisms of Wikipedia and other web 2.0 projects). Listen to: Does the Internet Undermine Culture?, NPR interview with A. Keen, Weekend Edition Saturday, June 16, 2007.
  • Sheizaf Rafaeli & Yaron Ariel (2008). Online motivational factors: Incentives for participation and contribution in Wikipedia. In A. Barak (Ed.), Psychological aspects of cyberspace: Theory, research, applications (pp. 243–267). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.[1]

Other websites[change | change source]