Sunday, January 15, 2017

Is #Wikipedia the new #Britannica?

At the time the Britannica was best of breed. It was the encyclopaedia to turn to. Then Wikipedia happened and obviously it was not good enough, people were not convinced. When you read the discussions why Wikipedia was not good enough, there was however no actual discussion. The points of view were clear, they had consequences and it was only when research was done that Wikipedia became respectable. Its quality was equally good and it was more informative and included more subjects. The arguments did not go away the point of view became irrelevant. People and particularly students use Wikipedia.

Today Wikipedia is said to be best of breed. It is where you find encyclopaedic information and as Google rates Wikipedia content highly it is seen and used a lot by many people.

The need for information is changing. We have recently experienced a lot of misinformation and the need to know what is factually correct has never been more important. What has become clear is that arguments and information alone is not what sways people. So the question is where does that leave Wikipedia?

The question we have to ask is, what does it take to convince people, to be open minded. What to do when people expect a neutral point of view but the facts are unambiguous in one direction? What if the language used is not understood? What are the issues of Wikipedia, what are its weaknesses and what are its strength?

So far quality is considered to be found in sources, in the reputation of its writers. When this is not what convinces, how do we show our quality or better, how do we get people to reconsider and see the other point of view?

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