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Wikipedia and interests

January 2, 2015

A lot of people are fond of Wikipedia and how easy it is to look up information with this website, but how reliable is it? Not reliable at all, we already knew that, but one of the biggest fallacies of the website is the fact that there isn’t any objective system which can be used to judge added information. In fact, because everyone can edit Wikipedia, the chance of nonsense gets bigger and because the guardians of articles don’t have objective values to use when judging if a change needs to be reverted, the reliability doesn’t get any improvement at all.

So, how could we change this?

How to make it comprehensible

First of all, Wikipedia is not a very friendly website for new users, so one improvement might be, instead of a lot of different pages for information on how to use the website properly, just a few pages. If we take the pages concerned with citing sources, for example, we can see that there are quite a few pages for it, while just one page would be enough for it, don’t you agree?

How to judge information correctly

What viewpoints are acceptable? Should you accept totally unscientific and unaccepted viewpoints in an article about a subject? If you want to inform people, it might actually be helpful to include a viewpoint which is opposite to the general viewpoint, people will be smart enough to understand that it’s bullocks, but these might be some ideas when doing this:

– Refer to the group which adheres a certain view, for example:  The following ideas/concepts originate from …… :

The problem however is that the order in which groups are written down, might be unfair to other groups. This is one of the problems, although this problem in general occurs in articles too.

– Make a limitation for edits. Maybe it might seem democratic to make it possible for everyone to edit posts, but it’s quite the opposite. The possibility for everyone to edit posts, makes it possible to add propaganda, to add false information which doesn’t get reverted due to inactivity of people which have knowledge about the subject and to certain interests to prevail in articles, instead of neutral viewpoints.

How to make limitations? You could add the possibility of a test which tests the abilities in a certain subject for users. It is possible to edit articles in a certain category if they can succeed in answering some questions about a certain subject which are, for someone with enough knowledge about it, not hard to answer. Of course you still have the risk of people with controversial thoughts to edit the article in a certain way, but people which want to spread creationism won’t so easily be able to edit articles related to evolution anymore.

Use your brains

Most important is to use your brains. If anyone wants to make you believe certain things, listen to the Buddha and know that you shouldn’t believe anything before you have seen it. If religious fanatics, extreme-left or extreme-right ideologists want to make you believe a certain idea, try to judge the subject and think about these 3 things:

– Is it reasonable/possible what this person says?

– How does, what this person say, affect other groups, is it negative about other people like muslims, democrats, jews or christians?

– What do other sources say about this?

I hope that I gave you some ideas! 😉

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