We’ve all been at that place where our presentations, assignments, and essays have been a direct reflection of the Wikipedia page on that topic.

Give or take a little extrapolation and font formatting.

‘Citing more than writing’ is something that has been around ever since Wikipedia came into being. The vast resource that this online encyclopedia is, a lot of us owe our grades and graduation to the voluntary editors and managers! This age-old tradition of copy-pasting stuff right off Wikipedia is one that is still religiously followed by students worldwide.

However, is Wikipedia really all that reliable?

The loyal fan club that thrives on Wiki would vehemently protest and deny these allegations, but there are enough and more factors on the basis of which one can question the credibility of this website and all the ‘knowledge’ it provides.

  • It’s a little silly to rely on just one source of information anyway. Everyone makes mistakes, and you’ll find edits, updates and corrections on even the most scholarly articles. Therefore, your final writing should always include a critical examination based on information curated from various sources.

 

  • Wikipedia itself doesn’t expect you to trust it. The website always prominently states,  “We do not expect you to trust us.” It adds that it is “not a primary source” and that “because some articles may contain errors,” you should “not use Wikipedia to make critical decisions”. We believe you, Wikipedia.

 

  • You don’t even know who has written or edited any of it! Fake news is always around, and sources can and often are cited incorrectly. When information is anonymous, it’s also dodgy.

 

  • People can often join as contributors, but misuse their power to rewrite multiple articles in favour of their agenda. There are plenty of examples of people manipulating information on thousands of articles to support their motives, and these entries often go unnoticed and unedited for several months, leading people to accept it in the course of their research.

 

  • Grammar. While lifting things off Wikipedia, students tend to simply scan the information for relevance, and only format for font and removal of hyperlinks. If the article in question includes any typos or errors, they often go unnoticed and forgotten till it creates a bad impression on the reader and gives away your plagiarism.

 

This is barely the tip of the iceberg, but it’s safe to say that Wikipedia isn’t the safest or most trustworthy point of information. However, this doesn’t by any means aim to completely discredit Wikipedia, since some articles are truly of high quality. What we are attempting to do here, is simply warn you to be skeptical, and always verify your data against 2 or more credible sources.

 

Still not convinced that Wikipedia isn’t The Holy Grail of all knowledge and wisdom? Take a look at some of these examples that show just how internet vandals get away with anonymously editing and spreading false information.

Warning: These images have been included as found on the Internet and can be fake – much like all of Wikipedia.

 

1) I’m almost fully sure this isn’t entirely true though!

Source: Why are you looking at sources this is all Wiki.

 

2) You could be whatever you wanted to be, courtesy Wiki!

Source: Still Wiki.

 

3) Please.

Source: Damn this watermark boredpanda.com!

 

4) I might have taken Science and topped it too!

Source: Wiki’s back, back again.

 

5) Taking the ‘Mixed’ in Martial Arts to another dimension.

Source: You guessed it.

 

Well, you get the gist of it. So the next time you read anything on Wikipedia, take it with more than just a pinch of salt.