Saturday, August 6, 2011

Power

The power is going to my head...I changed a Wikipedia entry. Just went right in and changed it, can you believe it? Maybe you do it all the time, who knows. I mean, it is made for the people by the people after all. Everyone is always saying how Wikipedia can't really be trusted because just anyone can go in there and input information whether it's true or not. And now I am also "just anyone."

We had just taken the Blue Bell Creamery tour (which was really neat!) and I wanted to know a little more about Blue Bell. So I typed it into google and one of the first hits was the Wikipedia article. So I went to it and in the first paragraph it claimed that Blue Bell sells ice cream in 19 states. FALSE! I was just on the tour and my tour guide said it sold in 20 states. Oh Wikipedia, it's true...you are full of lies! Suddenly an idea came to me that I, little old me, could change the number of states to 20 and thereby create authenticity and save the day. I had never entered any information in Wikipedia before and felt slightly intimidated. But about 2 seconds into the process I realized how easy it was. I'm betting even a monkey could input information into Wikipedia, and again my views of the overall accuracy of that site have been called into question. After changing a Wikipedia entry, I've started thinking about where exactly all the data there is coming from, what people's motives might be, and how much one reads there can really be trusted. Rest assured, however, should you look up Blue Bell Creamery, the part about them selling to 20 states is 100% true.

4 comments:

Roger Cook said...

I guess you can say my most enduring edit is adding the Dallas version to Dead Man's Curve.

Kaitlin said...

"Hip hip horray, the super reader saved the day. We changed the story, we solved the problem, we worked together so hip hip hooray!"

For some reason...this post made me think of this theme song :) Can you tell I've watched that show a lot lately?

I remember in school Wikipedia was never allowed for a reference :)

Roger Cook said...

Wikipedia's a good "Getting started" place, especially regarding factual things like math and science. However, on political topics, it isn't the best idea to take its word as gospel truth. Of course, with the standard being verifiability rather than truth, YMMV.

Rachel said...

Crazy! I knew people could change/add info but I didn't realize it was that easy. Definitely makes me look at it differently now. I guess I'm old too, because I don't remember even knowing about Wikipedia when I was in school! Although we did use other Internet sources that were always in question by our teachers...there's a general distrust there. And probably for good reason.