WK 5. “Internet Encyclopedias go Head to Head”: Different Kinds of Scholarship:

Posted: October 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

The article was published in 2005 and a lot of the information and statistics it provides has drastically changed since then. Specially Wikipedia has become more and more popular over the last 10 year and have jumped from the 37th mostly used websites in 2005, as mentioned in the article, to the 7th in 2015 (based on the statistics on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_popular_websites and http://www.alexa.com/topsites). I was wondering all along how would the results be different, if the comparison is being done again in 2015 between Wikipedia and Britannica. How has the ten years of generation and editing of contents by millions of users changed the average quality of the articles?

The article is also biased towards natural sciences over other types of scholarship. The main question is if the writing of articles by experts (as in Britannica) will make it more scientifically valuable and accurate than those written and edited by non-experts. Even though the core question brought up in the article is valid, the overall study seems to be only concerned about the accuracy of scientific articles and completely ignores other types of scholarships. For instance, it looks like the study has paid no attention to the historical accuracy of articles and or to the validity of any articles in the arts, engineering’s, and social, political and human sciences. Since research methodologies and evaluation techniques in each of the field is extensively different and the pace of the change of the information varies significantly based on the discipline, there needs to be much boarder research using different approaches for different fields, in order to properly evaluate the accuracy of Wikipedia articles in each of these fields.

Homogenous and smoothed out voice:

I have been also wondering about the political bias in writing about controversial issues or people. It seems like in many cases, editing these types of article will have less probability of being written and edited by neutral writers, but instead being modified by a few completely opposing radical perspectives, similar to the comment sections of many blogs and websites, when it comes to controversial issues. However, looking at many Wikipedia articles, it looks like the articles of this kind have been also neutralized to a great extent. I think the collaborative content creation by extensive number of editors can result in overall neutralization of the results and in most cases getting rid of extreme perspective towards controversial political issues. Therefore, even though the articles are written and edited by many different users all over the world, the voice in many articles sounds very homogenous and even to some extent belonging to the same source. What do you guys think? Do you also feel like many of the articles are written by one person? How about the articles in other encyclopedias?


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