Criticism of Wikipedia

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

Main criticisms[change | change source]

  • Anyone can change Wikipedia. Because of this, some articles may not be entirely correct or accurate. They may show false information.
  • There is vandalism, where people make bad changes to articles on purpose, or with bad intents.
  • Some articles do not have good sources. Wikipedia needs good sources in order to show the information is correct.
  • Sometimes one group of people change Wikipedia more than others. Because of this, that group's interests and views may be covered more on Wikipedia. This is called systematic bias. This is bad because Wikipedia needs to be open for everyone to read and change.
  • 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 correct.

Critics of Wikipedia[change | change source]

Wikipedia editors know that the site should not be used as a primary source for research. A librarian, whose name is Philip Bradley, said Wikipedia does not have authority. For a printed encyclopedia, the people writing it have to make sure the information is correct, or they could lose their job.[1] Some people say calling Wikipedia an "encyclopedia" means that people trust it even when they should not trust it. Some librarians, academics, and writers of other encyclopedias do not like Wikipedia as a source of information.[2][3] Many schools and universities do not accept Wikipedia as a source, except most of them do not want any encyclopedias used - they want primary sources instead.[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. Today, there are many rules and it is more difficult for new people to change articles.[5] Many people who change Wikipedia have stopped, and the number of article changers have gone down since 2006.[6] In 2006, Jimmy Wales said most of changes on Wikipedia are made by about 500 people who "all know each other". But most of the changes are made by people who sometimes change articles, or who do not have Wikipedia accounts at all.[7]

On some articles, many people bother each other. Sometimes good arguments are ignored because they are not popular with the article changers.[8]

To stop vandalism, some people have administration powers. People with administration powers can delete articles, stop a change on an article, and stop users. There are special rules to stop people with administrative powers from taking too much control, but the ideas of people with administration powers can be over the ideas of other people.[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]