Wikipedia was everyone’s first choice of source when looking to find the answer to his or her questions. It may be considered to some as the “Holy Grail” of the World Wide Web. Due to its ease and search engine optimization @bigtuna09 stated within his blog post, “To me Wikipedia is such a great resource it can be considered Godly.” Whether it is a topic of debate between friends, looking up definitions, or getting some supporting information on papers and assignments, everyone admits to being a frequent user to Wikipedia and their vast variety of articles.
But why does everyone resort back to Wikipedia so often? My group members and I believed that it was the ease of Wikipedia that brought such great appeal to its users. Wikipedia is extremely user friendly and the articles are simple, relevant and informative. As students we are accustomed to finding articles and having to PAIN STAKINGLY read through the entire article to find the relevant points and incorporate them into our papers. Most of the time these published articles are laced with various arguments and facts that are not useful to me or my essay. Wikipedia is different. Its articles are completely direct to the topic that you are looking for, and often give background information and or various definitions to help comprehend the articles purpose. Some may think that’s lazy but when you are writing a 3000+ word paper, and assigned to blend in 20 or so sources its nice to have something as basic as Wikipedia to #helpasistaout! I think that @melaniemunroe’s comment depicted our love for Wikipedia well by saying that “The accessibility of Wikipedia makes it so much easier and efficient to find information and now that we know it is almost as credible as other encyclopedias, sometimes I wonder why bother?”
Now turning to the subject of credibility, most of my group members were in agreement that they would classify Wikipedia as being a legitimate resource of information, especially after reading the Giles (2005) article which made some comparison to Britannica articles. Even though all of our professors are against using Wikipedia as a proper citation we believed that as time goes on and as the way we receive information transforms, Wikipedia might be considered reliable among Universities and Colleges. @colecrerar90 summed up his feelings nicely about the change of information technology and our use of Wikipedia by commenting that, “I feel this just shows that Wikipedia is continuing to grow as a reliable source to get information and will only improve in the future.”
I lastly wanted to touch upon the forums that I had mentioned in my post. Everyone had similar experiences with forums and admitted to using them before purchasing certain products. A couple of group members commented on the fact that forums are useful because they are, for the most part, unbiased, showing both positive and negative qualities of the product at hand. @nzaduban brought up an interesting point talking about how she feels that “many companies and services might have someone make multiple fake accounts and act as a random customer who loves the product, you know? It kind of comes into the idea of not trusting everyone online, because I feel like many companies may do that with their product and service so that the comments are overall positive to promote.” I personally never have that cross my mind whilst I’m a reading forum, mostly because there are such mixes of feelings towards the product. Although having taken tons of PR classes and understanding the marketing and publicity side of businesses I should never assume companies wouldn’t go that far to shed positive light on their product.
In conclusion my view of Wikipedia has gotten even more positive. I will never refrain from using Wikipedia for my everyday inquires, and I maybe will be more comfortable for using it for more academic purposes now. Although until professors come around to the advantages and reliability of the site and its articles I may have to keep that to myself. 😉