By Andreas Kolbe
A factoid regularly cited in the press to this day is that a 2005 study by Nature found Wikipedia to be almost as reliable as Britannica. While the study’s (if that is the right word – it wasn’t a peer-reviewed study, but a news story) methodology and conclusions were disputed by Britannica, the result of the Nature comparison has become part of received knowledge for much of the media. As the saying goes, a lie told often enough becomes the truth.
A meme is born
The problems really began as soon as the Nature piece was published. Many news outlets failed to mention that in its survey, Nature looked at hard science topics only – subjects like physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and paleontology – despite the fact that Nature clearly said
…continue reading Wikipedia: as accurate as Britannica?
By Andreas Kolbe and Tippi Hadron
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On New Year’s Day, The Daily Dot reported that a “massive Wikipedia hoax” had finally been exposed, after more than five years. Wikipedia’s article on the “Bicholim Conflict”, listed as a “Good Article” for the past half-decade, had turned out to be a complete invention, the key sources cited in it non-existent.
As The Daily Dot put it:
Up until a week ago, here is something you could have learned from Wikipedia:
From 1640 to 1641 the might of colonial Portugal clashed with India’s massive Maratha Empire in an undeclared war that would later be known as the Bicholim Conflict. Named after the northern Indian region where most of the fighting took place, the conflict ended with a peace treaty that would later help cement Goa as an independent Indian state.
Except none of this
…continue reading Wikipedia’s New Year begins with a hoax