Wikipedia ‘enables anyone, anywhere to collaborate, share, post, and edit knowledge content’ (Eijkman, 2010, p. 175.). This source of information resembles an online encyclopaedia that is nevertheless engaging. However, academics state that there are numerous drawbacks which categorise Wiki as not credible and trustworthy. For example, before submitting an assignment, I am always advised by my tutors and lecturers not to use Wikipedia as a reference. The disadvantages of Wikipedia include the following:
- We are never sure if the information is true or false because of the ‘open’ process of adding and updating information;
- The validity and expertise of its contributors is not known or acknowledged;
- Coverage of historical events are inadequately represented while current news is given more attention;
- Many articles do not include any independent sources which makes it difficult to check the credibility of its outside references (Denning, Horning, Parnas & Weinstein, 2005, p. 152).
The unregulated procedure of adding content without expert scrutiny and peer reviews deems Wikipedia ineligible for educational purposes, especially at university level. In addition, the growing ratification of universal collaboration of Wikipedia coincides with the mindset of Web 2.0 (Eijkman, 2010). It encourages participation and is dependent of its users. On the contrary, prior to the Web 2.0 sensation, scholars and experts were the representatives of trustworthy sources of information. No matter how convincing and enthralling Wikipedia might seem, educators will always advise us to use academic and peer-reviewed sources which guarantees us reliable, relevant and dependable information.
Denning, P., Horning, J., Parnas, D., & Weinstein, L. (2005). Wikipedia risks. Communications of the ACM, 48(12), p. 152.
Eijkman, H. (2010). Academics and Wikipedia: Reframing Web 2.0 as a disruptor of traditional academic power-knowledge arrangements. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 27(3), 173-185.