Why Wikipedia Is Not A Source Of Scholalry Research

1445 words - 6 pages

Wikipedia is the largest and most heavily used online encyclopedia in the 21st century. In this essay I will discuss the impact of Wikipedia as a primary source of information, and the effects this has on a fragmented audience. When used as a research tool, user generated content within Wikipedia can have a negative impact on the academic community. The nature of Wikipedia represents a fundamental shift in the relationship between the reader and the publisher. Through illustrating the ease to which Wikipedia offers this information transfer and how this constantly changing state impacts on culture and creative identity and place, I will expose the fraudulent nature of this over exhausted ...view middle of the document...

Lanier (2006) believes that the problem is not with the unfolding experiment of Wikipedia itself, but with "the way that Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly”. The impact of this widespread distribution throughout many varied and diverse cultures has not yet been revealed. In acknowledging that Wikipedia is merely the content provider’s representation of fact, this could cause a rapid decline in verifiable knowledge throughout the world. Bruns notes that “it is important in this context to keep in mind the fact that Wikipedia departs from traditional encyclopedias by not presenting knowledge as such, but the divergent representations of knowledge currently in wider circulation” (Bruns 2008). As more developing countries get connected to the Internet, it will be important to measure the effects this singular source of information will have on reinforcing culture and history. With 260 different language translations of Wikipedia currently available (Smith), integrity and moral issues can become prevalent when there is no reliable filter for this information before it has a profound influence on international education and the opinions of culture. Education is designed to support the idea that evidence and the historical teachings of individual scholars matter, not just the collective process. Such chaos can be avoided when credibility is granted by the established way, through peer reviewed literature and an education system based on verified sources. This type of academic knowledge can then be regarded as reliable. Finding true meaning in a virtual world that is constantly changing is vulnerable when judgement is left in the hands of anonymous identities, whose personal point of view could bias their interpretation.
Digital Convergence has created a world where individuals can create their own online identity, either realistic or fabricated. Wikipedia presents an ideal isolated space for people to recreate their own abstract representation of fact, without any tangible context or authorship. Digital representation provides an opportunity for individuals to reveal only a part of themself, or fabricate the whole of themselves. These online identities can quite often be attracted by the allure of anonymous collectivism online. However what this evades is the creative individual and the value that is inherent with connecting with real human identities in real places. Florida explores the idea that “creativity comes from individuals working in small groups. These communities emphasize exploration and discovery. Each develops distinctive habits, customs, priorities and insights that are the secrets of its creativity and inventiveness” (Florida 2002). This type of interaction breeds a social environment that encourages intellectual ideas and creative progress. Using technology to modify or manipulate your human identity is counter productive to creativity. Instead of working together to...

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