I like Wikipedia. I really do.
There is something kind of neat about an encyclopedia that the “People” have some control over and can edit. You might call it a “Leuteenzyklopädie” of sorts, if you will.
This is a tool in which people from all over the world can create, edit or dispute articles and use the provided information in the same way that you would any other encyclopedia. There is a caveat, however, and that is what I have decided to write this piece about.
The problem lies in the fact that it IS a “open source” encyclopedia. As such, you should use the information that you get from Wikipedia with the understanding that you should accept it as information that you would want to double-check or verify before accepting it as the gospel truth.
Now… I say that with no malice towards those that run or administer Wiki or Wiki itself. I say that with the understanding that because of the nature of the system, it is possible for people to get in there and add information that is not quite correct or a flat out lie and this information being distributed before anyone has had the chance to edit, correct or delete it.
I will not go through and list all the examples that I found links to for the various errors that were posted to Wiki over the years. Most of them Wiki was already made aware of and have corrected. I will, however, direct you to the official Wikipedia links for how they approach that which I am discussing here. I will list them at the end of this article.
The main point here is that the old standard applies the same now as it always has. Verify your sources… do not just rely on one source, such as Wikipedia.
Use it, but do so with the understanding that people just like you and me have the access to go in and add and edit information on that service. People that may or may not know enough to intelligently write about the topic in question.
Just remember… “Caveat Lector”