Japera’s World

RESPONSE- The Worth of the Wiki: my opinion essay of sorts

Posted on: March 17, 2009

Since the forming of wikis, the age old debate has been, “should we trust them or ‘expert’ sources more?”

In truth both wikis and the older trusted sources are both needed in our web 2.0 society and provide, in my opinion, two distinctly different information services. Wikis are used to gather a lot of preliminary research about a plethora of of diverse topics. It is easily accessible and organizes the information in an easy to understand format and simple writing style. Studies have even show that most of the content in wikis are just as accurate as more credible mediums.

“Expert” sources are important when the topic requires further research and even at that point, one “expert” source is not sufficient. Rather, in order to accumulate the most accurate and representative girth of information, multiple expert sources are required. The “down side” of these reference mediums are that they are not readily available and accessible to everyone. Plenty of these resources even require payment to access, in affect limiting knowledge to only those who can afford it. These sources are also written in scholarly language making it more difficult for the common man or even children to understand.

The wiki system already have in place to verify accuracy of content is commendable. As discussed in my social media class, most errors on Wikipedia are fixed expediently because, in essence, everyone is an author and everyone is an editor. Therefore, my theory on the question “how can wikis be better set up to maintain accuracy” is… why fix what’s not broken?

“Should it be open to everyone or just verified experts?”
Allowing only verified experts to produce content defeats the purpose of what a wiki is. Further, experts currently have mediums to showcase and share their research. These mediums include, scholarly journals, encyclopedias, and trade publications  name a few. My opinion on this matter is “leave wikis well enough alone. They aren’t stepping on any toes because even with the advent of wiki technology “Expert” reference sources will always have a place in the academic and social world.


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