I doubt if many people take wikipedia seriously and as the main source of their info, can't trust much of the content there.
Does anybody else feel that way?
That's awesome, I've never even though of using Wikipedia as a news source. I love the way the site interlinks every word that needs defining, it's an amazing resource when researching subjects you know very little about. As long as they don't start filling the site full of advertising like about.com then I imagine they'll continue to see healthy growth. I have to admit I only really started using Wikipedia within the last 3 months so I helped contribute to those increased stats :)
Well, to be fair ... Certain types of articles are actually quite high quality. It is just a matter of knowing when you can and when you can't trust what you need.
It is certainly not a replacement for "official" sources.
Allow a little rewriting of the news squib, in order that it reflect reality just a wee bit more accurately:
|Google's bias in favor of online encyclopaedia Wikipedia has Google adding about 20 million unique monthly visitors in the past year, making Google the top promoter of Wikipeida as a source of online news and information destination, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. |
In May, Google drove approximately 46.8 million unique visitors to Wikipeida, up 72 percent from June 2006, as a result of Google assigning top search result rankings to Wikipedia NetRatings said. Wikipedia also has finished on top of the Google SERPs for all manner of news and information category every month this year -- ranking in the SERPs ahead of Landmark Communications' Weather Channel site by an increasing margin -- topping out across the SERPs with a Google driven search results disparity of about 10 million visitors in May.
News out of context?
I'd like to know how many of those visits were driven by a) bookmarks; b) links; and, c) direct navigation.
Anyone care to guess the actual breakdown?
[edited by: Webwork at 12:20 pm (utc) on July 9, 2007]
|he revealed that he posted the information after "reading rumours and speculation about this matter online |
This is akin to putting "MAN RAPES ..." on the front page of a paper in 72pt type with "according to sources" following it only to place a recant/correction on the coupons page where no one sees it. The accuraacy of "news" on Wikipedia is suspect at best, questionable at worst, and subjective no matter how you look at it. How many people have been wronged/hurt by erroneous or even slanderous reporting on their site (not that "real" news agencies are necessarily better). I wonder.
We're a world that LOVES gossip!
[edited by: Marshall at 12:27 pm (utc) on July 9, 2007]
|I doubt if many people take wikipedia seriously and as the main source of their info, can't trust much of the content there. |
Unfortunately, there are a number of people who take it very seriously - especially when Wikipedia confirms what they want to believe. You'll find these people in message board discussions of Wikipedia writing something like, "What's wrong with Wikipedia, I like it and I feel like it's correct."
A high school teacher once told me of their principal finding Wikipedia for the first time and sending out a memo suggesting teachers direct students there for research projects.
People who find Wikipedia and like it generally don't like being told it's not very reliable.
On the other hand, I have a niece in high school and she said they aren't allowed to use Wikipedia as a source. There was a newspaper article a few weeks ago of a college banning its use as a primary source for students.
Wikipedia's biggest problem is not sloppy fact-checking (although that's a problem), article stubs (also a problem), plagiarism (problem), self-promotion (problem), philosophical and political slant of its user culture (problem), or even the disastrous mish-mash that results from the tug-of war over contentious articles (major league problem), or the use of wikipedia to character assassinate critics of wikipedia (enormous problem that undermines core credibility).
It's the bone-headed "equal-time" philosophy that allows quacks and pseudo-scientists to get time on one of the biggest stages in the world today. Wikipedia could be improved overnight by deleting any article that has the word "controversy" in its title.
|In May, Google drove approximately 46.8 million unique visitors to Wikipeida, up 72 percent from June 2006, as a result of Google assigning top search result rankings to Wikipedia NetRatings said. |
Pretty much true.
[edited by: Habtom at 1:14 pm (utc) on July 9, 2007]
I'm neutral on Wikipedia. I understand its problems and appreciate the value it brings. I use it, but carefully.
What I find much more interesting is the rabid anti-Wikipedia sentiment so often expressed here at WebmasterWorld. I have an easier time judging the worth of a Wikipedia article than I do the sincerity of these anti-Wikipedia remarks.
Perhaps each poster who denigrates Wikipedia should be required to indicate the degree to which they compete for clicks with it?
What concerns me is the momentum driven -> circularly reinforced - nature of Wikipedia's "authority" as a news source.
An algo (reportedly) "says" that Wikipedia is an authority. BUT is that definition - that "default to" - definition of Wikipeida as authoratative the same as Wikipedia in fact being the authoritative statement on the subject?
Did 100 or 1000 university professors vote for the topical authority? Did 100 think tanks endorse the topical statement?
We've moved from the oracle of information - Google - to the monolith of authoratative news and information - Wikipedia.
It's all so very self-referential. Google "says" it's an authority so it becomes the authority. Should I thank Google for appointing or annointing Wikipedia?
If Google is going to get into the business of annointing authority then should it, concurrently - in order to manifest circumspection, caution and completeness - get into the business of immediately thereafter in the SERPs placing links to opposing points of view, dissenting views, etc?
Better yet, instead of annointing Wiki as the authority why doesn't Google simply lift the links that Wiki annoints as authoratative for the content it publishes? I mean, if Wiki itself isn't the authority but merely a summarizer of authority - and since that interpretation of the materials may either be incomplete or biased - why not use only the links out as references as the authoratative source material? But . . . then again . . it may be that the links out are incomplete or partial or represent a biased selection of authoratative material.
There's really too much to cover when it comes to the basic issues. What really concerns me is that we how have a feedback look, a sort of self-reaffirming authority of Wiki. Authority that isn't necessarily granted by global editorial input and consensus. Instead we have Google saying it's an authority so it now is an authority. This has been happening for quite some time, as Google has always been in the business of ranking websites, but in this case it is ranking one website - Wikipedia - as sort of the next oracle of reliable news and information and the best (first ranking) that there is.
Circular authority. Circular reinforcement of authority.
I'm not sure that's how authority worked heretofore. Heretofore I thought authority was earned by a lifetime of labor, demonstrated skill, intelligence, insight, expertise, honesty, integrity. It was earned by many other authorities pointing to one - typically a person or an information source - and saying, typically with some qualification, that "X is helpful, useful, etc."
Are all the university departments now pointing to Wiki as the authority on the topics their department labors to mine, explain and divine? If not then why does Wiki outrank them?
Why doesn't Google simply offer another version of "encyclopedic search", wherein it could pump and tout Wikipedia all it wants - alongside the great variety of real authorities that exist in the world?
[edited by: Webwork at 1:14 pm (utc) on July 9, 2007]
I doubt anyone thinks that wise and educated use of Wikipedia by those of us who know how to evaluate the individual trustworthiness of each article is the real problem here ... but instead the masses who blindly trust Wikipedia as a fact source, rather than an information source. And let's not forget all the stubs on obscure topics which can be considered early drafts at best.
The collective worth of all Wikipedia articles is in my mind greater than the same collective unworth. But that also assumes an ability to distinguish between the two whenever necessary.
I completely understand those who detest Wikipedia ... as they do so for valid reasons. But I also completely understand those who willingly and frequently turn to the same for information ... as they too can be said to do so for valid reasons.
|the masses who blindly trust |
Therein lies the rub.
Up next: Rupert Murdoch bids for ownership or control of Wikipedia.
At least that would give him some degree of editorial control since, once again, the #1 authority on the subject of Rupert Murdoch is . . . drum roll please . . .
As if I have to tell you. ;-P
[edited by: Webwork at 2:50 pm (utc) on July 9, 2007]
Wikipedia is the ideal web site, what I imagined the web to be 10 years ago. Tons of good, well organized content, no ads, no spam, no affiliation pushing, great links resources. I don't know why people are so rabidly against it in here, but I assume they are competing with it in the SERPS and are losing, so I interpret their posts as whining.
Now, I agree the content is not fool proof, but it's usually one of the best starting point to do some research on a topic and it still beats 90% of other web sites out there in terms of content reliability and user experience. What's not to like.
If you don't, how about just not use it instead of complaining in webmasters' forums. Although those who had their content copied, I can see their legitimate beef.
|Why doesn't Google simply offer another version of "encyclopedic search" |
I have been wishing for this for at least a year. But it is problematic for Google.
To me, Wikipedia has always been a fundamentally flawed concept, but this wouldn't matter if it wasn't on the way to being the top result for every search ever made (with ExactSameAnswers.com in second place). It has become a monster that is out of control and is burying real expertise and authority.
But what would happen if Wikipedia was somehow removed - assuming it is legally possible - from the main search results? Would every site that used the same techniques to become popular also be banned? Personally I wouldn't mind, but it does raise ethical questions.
In the end, you can't blame Wikipedia. It is a problem (one of many) for Google, whose faith in non-human evaluation of content looks more absurd with every day that passes.
This post about Wikipedia is a stub...
This is kind of a personal gripe of mine with Wikipedia...
I have a site on one topic, which has pages and pages of information, definitions, examples, etc. on the subject. I also have a rather strong link-base, but for my main keyword I am still behind Wikipedia which only has two pages on the subject.
I am sure I am not the only one who is frustrated by this. Wikipedia is just getting way too much credit, and is only doing it by links (I am guilty of linking to Wikipedia as well), not necessarily great content.
|Wikipedia is the ideal web site, what I imagined the web to be 10 years ago. |
I agree, it's one of things I was hoping the Internet would produce.
IF Wiki's authority is based upon the authority of the material that it cites - to support or "prove" the value and validity of its content - then wouldn't it necessarily follow that in response to any given query that leads Google to list Wiki being the #1 resource, that Wiki's reference materials should appear as the #2-10 listings in Googles response to the query that listed Wikipedia as #1?
Isn't Wiki's subject matter authority actually imbedded authority?
If the Wiki embedded reference materials aren't authoritative then should the Wiki listing itself be deemed authoritative?
IF the embedded reference material is deemed authoritative to the subject of the query then shouldn't that reference material fall into line right behing the Wiki listings?
If not then don't we have a bit of a paradox?
Can anyone verify that such is the case? That the embedded reference materials, cited to substantiate the authority of any Wiki subject matter content file/page, follows the Wiki listing in the SERPs?
Does Google's ranking algo bother the evaluate the authority of the cited reference materials before assigning greater authority to the Wiki summaries of that material?
I guess Google could rationalize not adding/ranking the embedded material in the SERPs based upon the argument/notion that by linking to Wiki Google has already presented a convenient access point to the authoritative material . . . So why bother adding it or allow it - the reference material cited as authority in Wiki - to appear in the SERPs.
Do I think that is actually what is happening, that there is a conscience algorithmic choice to exclude the Wiki cited reference material from appearing in the follow on listings in the SERPs? I don't think so but I haven't analyzed the SERPs.
It might prove interesting for anyone whose web presence has been vaporized by Wiki to explore whether the embedded authority also ranks. If you're not already doing that research I suspect you are being outdone by your competitors who are forever mining the SERPs for ways to move up in the ranks.
Hint: Get links from the Wiki embedded "authority reference material website/webpage" - that page/website that also ranks behind the Wiki #1 ranking page. Ordinarily I wouldn't advocate any method for "playing with Google" but it strikes me that the Wiki-as-#1-authority situation is geting out of hand and poses certain risks to the information consuming public.
[edited by: Webwork at 3:59 pm (utc) on July 9, 2007]
Well letís see: Iíve been running a business reference website for nearly 10 years. The site is frequently updated and, in my view, contains very good material. The site is well linked including hundreds of university libraries. For many years my site was well ranked for most major keywords in the field. I hold a Ph.D. in the field and Iím a professor at the university level.
But even with all this somehow Wikipedia has now taken over the top position for nearly all major keywords. I know Wikipedia is not the expert of EVERYTHING. I think I have more expertise than most who collaborate there. But clearly search engines that continue to place Wikipedia at the top of the rankings are helping to condition people to believe Wikipedia is the most important authoritative site on the Internet. Not a good trend in my view.
|Wikipedia is the ideal web site, what I imagined the web to be 10 years ago. Tons of good, well organized content, no ads, no spam, no affiliation pushing,... |
If given the choice between affilaition pushing and wondering whether the content I'm reading has been intentionally changed by someone with political motivations, a business with business motivations, etc., (both have happened) I'll choose the affiliation pushing.
Loved the reworded google news release.
Don't forget that SEOs are adding links to Wikipedia en masse in their content since it is authoritative and google seems to like when you link to authoritative sites. So it's a double boost.
I've seen tons of spam on Wikipedia. And the "news" site is horrible. Even more spam there than regular wikipedia. Since they are overwhelmed with spam on regular articles that are "scrutinized", they have no prayer to monitor news articles that are useful for a day or a week.
I'm with the folks who can't wait for google to find a search engine algorithm rather than giving their SERPs to wikipedia.
<quote> I doubt if many people take wikipedia seriously and as the main source of their info, can't trust much of the content there.
Does anybody else feel that way?
I found that many topics are very slanted towards european and australian. At least in my field... so I dont take much stock in it. Even when i tried to add information to an article that I knew alot about it was quickly removed/reverted. (not spam .. no link what-so-ever) gone.
|I doubt anyone thinks that wise and educated use of Wikipedia by those of us who know how to evaluate the individual trustworthiness of each article is the real problem here ... but instead the masses who blindly trust Wikipedia as a fact source, rather than an information source. |
In all honesty the entire Internet is written by people like you and I who are mostly seething with opinions and biases that may or may not have anything to do with reality. Layman Internet users have started to treat Wikipedia like the Encyclopedia Britannica which is just not a fair comparison. Even the name Wikipedia sounds like it's trying to be Encyclopedia even though to us geeks it's easy to see with the word wiki in front and know that it's edited by the average Joe. Real encyclopedias aren't free of biases or misconceptions either, but they are arguably more accurate since the articles are written by known experts. What would be awesome to see is a bar raising within Wikipedia in terms of validating credentials of of self alleged experts.
One really good thing I've noticed on Wikipedia is these big blue boxes at the top of articles reminiscent of a 728x90 banner that say things like "this article does not cite sources" or "this article may need cleaning up" I really like that, it alerts Layman and experts alike.
Maybe a way to get heard (get your submitted information to stay on Wikipedia instead of being quickly deleted) on a subject where your view is opposes the view of article, or disputes major underpinning facts of the article would be to submit a new article as an alternative view instead of trying to manipulate the view of the original author. I have seen a decent amount this where Wikipedia will present 2 different flavors of the same historic event or controversial issue. In my mind that adds legitimacy because anything that's not actually provable by repeatable scientific experiments is open for debate.
I'm in the camp of don't take Wikipedia as fact without verifying yourself. Take the time to read the cited sources of the articles you are reading, and articles without sources mentally lump into the category of needs more research.
Their biggest achilles heel and catch-22 is that they want to fight spam on the one hand but to be authoritative they need citations.
Want to spam wikipedia? Read your target article. Figure out the assertions that aren't backed up. Write an article that can become a source for the assertion. Then using your sock puppet claim "citation needed". And later as another puppet you come in and provide the solution.
That's why I'm not a big fan of WP, but there are (a few) instances where it is useful.
Asked rhetorically, without a question mark. Funny! See the problems I listed earlier.
The wikipedia fan club tends to get upset or suspicious from these threads, but it's not a 'bash wikipedia' session. It's a discussion of how a site with many well-known problems has over time become the ultimate authority on virtually every subject, even though, for almost any given subject, it isn't the ultimate authority.
The reason why it's at the top of the SERPS is no mystery, and has been mentioned before on threads about Wikipedia. It's quite simply a close match to Google's search algorithm: massive numbers of incoming links, massive number of pages with lots of internal links, lots of content, lots of updates of content, organic growth of site over time.
"Quality" has nothing to do with it. Spiders don't see quality. They see mathematical patterns, and mathematically, wikipedia is the magic number.
--Well, to be fair ... Certain types of articles are actually quite high quality. It is just a matter of knowing when you can and when you can't trust what you need.--
The articles that are uncontroversial can be excellent, for example many of the more neutral technical or scientific articles are very useful and well written.
Most of the problems start as soon as there's a political or aesthetic element, people are so divided on these issues that they have wars over what the page should say. What's more, the people most capable of waging these wars tend to be people with good computer skills. Anyone who doesn't have a computer or is unable to decipher the rather cryptic code used on Wikipedia is excluded from contributing.
Wikipedia really really needs a health warning at the top of every page, like cigarette packets have. It should say something like "This page is written by unpaid unvetted amateurs, please do not treat this as a primary source of knowledge."
What scares me is there's a whole generation of children out there who think Wikipedia is the truth, which means anyone who wants to manipulate the truth will find it easier than ever.
|to be fair ... Certain types of articles are actually quite high quality |
I agree, in fact some Wikipedia articles are outstanding.
|Wikipedia really really needs a health warning at the top of every page, like cigarette packets have. It should say something like "This page is written by unpaid unvetted amateurs, please do not treat this as a primary source of knowledge." |
An excellent idea! :-)
Just move any junk articles on Wikipedia into a "Foo" subcategory.
Problem solved :)
This is the same discussion we have four years ago regarding DMOZ/Google Directory.
im glad to see that wikipedia is now on my firefox tabs! makes it the more easier :)