The dependence on wikipedia

Jun 2017
432
maine
Three sources, even if they are biased?
A minimum of three independent sources. We also have to watch out for circular sources--that is, if I say something and you repeat it and someone else repeats it from you, the result is a circular source: at heart, there is only one source: me.

Who is to say which sources are biased? That is why you look for independence. If all your sources are from known whackos, obviously there is a jaundiced eye applied. Having a minum three sources varies field to field. Three is the traditional minimum in my field. But having that minimum doesn't assure that your work is correct--only that you have met a base criteria.
 
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Zip

Jan 2018
478
Comancheria
I often find wikipedia entertaining. And since I read for entertainment, including the reading of history, I'm OK with that.

Of course I keep in mind that it's wikipedia. Being very interested in the War of the Rebellion (American Civil War) one of my pet peeves in when people anachronistically refer to Federal army corps with Roman numerals, IV Corps for instance, as though we we talking about WW II. Actually during the war they were called (and written) "the Fourteenth Corps" or "the 14th Corps". Hell, using Roman numerals isn't even a different way of saying the same thing, it's a different thing--"14" instead of "the 14th". Or "One" instead of "the First".

Anyway wikipedia is rife with articles using the Roman numerals. So I went into wikipedia and changed the corps designations in a couple of articles to the correct usage. And they were soon changed back wrong. So I said to Hell with it.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,749
Australia
Wikipedia is a good intro to the subject. It seems to hold itself to a higher standard than many journal publishers these days. With a lot of commercial journal publishers, they will accept any rubbish if you are willing to pay their fees. There aren't many that still have a proper peer-review process.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,014
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Generally Wiki can be a good introduction, a starting point. Then it should be better to find the time to read the sources. If not too recent it's possible that they are available online [free] in digital libraries like archive.org [I use to read books there]. An other option is to go to sites like the already mentioned academia.edu. It's true that the papers are not peer reviewed, but in case of known academics the content is of good level [you know ... reputation ...].
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,740
Everyone uses wikipedia. However, if a student uses it as a source for a paper, that's a fail. If the students culls the wikipedia page for sources listed on it, and moves on to looking at those, it's fine.

Wikipedia isn't uniform either. I use the German wikipedia a lot for finding basic biographic info on semi-obscure German 19th. scientists and academics. Often it's the only thing on the www with the info. And German wikipedia has long been more and better edited than fx the English one.
 
Aug 2019
218
North
Generally Wiki can be a good introduction, a starting point. Then it should be better to find the time to read the sources. If not too recent it's possible that they are available online [free] in digital libraries like archive.org [I use to read books there]. An other option is to go to sites like the already mentioned academia.edu. It's true that the papers are not peer reviewed, but in case of known academics the content is of good level [you know ... reputation ...].
There's no excuse for wikipedia's substantial change of a topic content as far as history is connected.
 
Oct 2018
1,507
Sydney
Generally Wiki can be a good introduction, a starting point. Then it should be better to find the time to read the sources. If not too recent it's possible that they are available online [free] in digital libraries like archive.org [I use to read books there]. An other option is to go to sites like the already mentioned academia.edu. It's true that the papers are not peer reviewed, but in case of known academics the content is of good level [you know ... reputation ...].
Indeed, the papers that known academics put up on academia.edu are usually peer-reviewed articles from journals, unless they are works-in-progress.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,014
Italy, Lago Maggiore
There's no excuse for wikipedia's substantial change of a topic content as far as history is connected.
It's the limit of Wiki ... the moderating team intervenes regarding evident cases, but the mass of information stored there is so enormous that the team should be 50 times greater to have the knowledge to correct contents checking the sources [contents without sources are usually rejected or put in evidence with the note that sources are necessary].
 
Aug 2019
218
North
It's the limit of Wiki ... the moderating team intervenes regarding evident cases, but the mass of information stored there is so enormous that the team should be 50 times greater to have the knowledge to correct contents checking the sources [contents without sources are usually rejected or put in evidence with the note that sources are necessary].
Let me ask you one thing: why did gotse delchev in wikipedia suddenly, overnight become a bulgarian instead of macedonian historical figure?