Well what I am saying is that most blogs, etc. are clear to the reader that it is opinion. Wikipedia calls themselves the "free encyclopedia", which implies it is full of fact, when the reality of it is that is nothing more than opinion, contributed by any idiot, in fact the same idiots that consider paris hilton going to jail "news". That's why I don't like wikipedia - because, if they are going to put themselves out there as an encyclopedia, there should be some oversight (aside from the existing oversight which is nothing more than mob rule) via an editorial board or the like. Some sort of accountability. Otherwise, wikipedia should be honest about what they are, which is a collection of opinions of various segments of society that is not necessarily based in fact.
Projectphp - wikipedia advertises itself as an encyclopedia, which means that it is researched, verified fact which is suitable for citation at the university level. Of course they don't offer degrees and you have missed the point entirely. Encyclopedia Brittanica does not offer degrees, in fact I know of no encyclopedia which offers degrees, however Brittanica et. al are considered authoritative references which may be cited in academic writings. The fact that reputable colleges and universities do not allow citation to wikipedia as fact is demonstrative of the fact that the educated class understands that wikipedia is not a reliable source for fact despite its assertions to the contrary.
The point is that those that aren't "in the know", those who truly believe that paris hilton or britney spear's latest trials, trysts, and tribulations are news, are the very people that are most in need of editorial "protection" if you will, as those are the most easily swayed by opinion disguised as fact. Yes, reader beware, and it is the reader's responsibilty to ensure that a given source is credible. However, when a source such as wikipedia is not credible, and knows it, yet advertises themselves as credible "the free encyclopedia", the average consumer of information is not able to protect themselves.
As an example I was recently doing research on the silurian natural gas field in the indiana basin. There was no reference to this field, or in fact any silurian natural gas field, in wikipedia at all. A silurian natural gas field is a type of natural gas reservoir located in silurian strata formed between 400 and 440 million years ago, with specific characteristics unique to it. I created a wiki entry for "silurian natural gas field" which was summarily deleted, without discussion, talk, or so much as a message to me, by some idiot on wikipedia. It was not self promotion, contained zero external links, and contained an educational graphic which i had obtained permission to use from the owner. There is no way this could be interpreted as anything but a purely academic entry. Somebody, somewhere, did not like it for some reason, marked it for hasty deletion, and the page was gone. Now I spent time researching this, finding the graphic, and writing the text, thinking it would be a useful contribution. All it took was one idiot to delete the page summarily and all my efforts were wasted. This person was able to do so anonymously, without notifying me personally (all i got was a bot message), with absolutely zero accountability or review of the decision. This is the type of thing I am talking about.
If only everyone on wikipedia were like jehochman and others, who I believe contribute with a sense of responsibility and duty, then it would be fine. There is no screening process, however, anyone can contribute, and I suspect it was some environmentalist who did not want the content to appear who deleted the entry. This is why I am not inclined to participate in or contribute to the wiki project, and a loud-mouthed detractor of it, for which I bear no regrets.
Edited by qwerty, 22 July 2007 - 03:04 PM.