I was asked why I almost exclusively use Wikipedia as my go-to source when I link to something.
1 – The information is usually well researched and footnoted and so is a good starting point for any further research.
2 – I don’t want to give the impression that just because I link to an article on a particular site, that I also support that site. (Note to self; I think in the future I might just have to put a disclaimer on my posts – if and when I do use sources that are a bit ‘iffy’ from my personal ethical POV)
3 – It is an open source tool.
Recently a couple of guys on a chat were taking cheap shots at Wikipedia for what they perceived as its gross inaccuracies. Unfortunately the conversation went by so fast that I missed my opportunity to ask them this … “If it bothered you so much why did you not do something about it, like contributing your vast and obviously more accurate information, rather than snortling and guffawing with others who seem to agree with you?” (dontcha hate it when the perfect comeback is about an hour late!)
… Kind of like those folk who grumble about the governance they live under but choose not to vote or do anything constructive to change the system or how they live within it. (This excludes those who would like to vote but are unable to do so, like not being citizens yet, for example) I don’t have a lot of time for that kind of vacuous complaining. (Which is not the same thing as venting)
So using Wikipedia as my first line resource is a way of shifting information out of the hands of the few and into the creativity of the many. It’s not an infallible system, but neither is it a petrified system. In part it represents what is good about the ‘social’ aspect of the internet.
“I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world” – Margaret Mead