Danielle's Blog Spot

Posts Tagged ‘wikipedia

Before college, I had never heard of a wiki page.  In my first semester communications class, my professor expressed his extreme hatred for students turning in research papers with wiki sites such as Wikipedia as a reference.  What in the world was Wikipedia?  What was a wiki page? Most importantly… why were these sites so horrible to him?

Before any of that can be explained, what is a wiki? Wikis or a wiki site allow for asynchronous communication and group collaboration across the Internet. They are the ultimate user-generated content sharing service.  What they are then adds into where my beloved communications professor had a problem with them.  Since they are user-generated sites, they are not secure sites.  Users can post pretty much anything they believe to be true on these wiki sites which leads to wrong information, misinformation, hacked enteries, and even marketing on a wiki can all be seen as a downfall.

Wrong information can occur when someone who is not such an expert writes about something they believe to be an expert about. While a wiki is a great source for some quick information for entertainment purposes, relying on a wiki site to see what kind of medications make a deadly combination or how to spot signs of pregnancy may need further research to verify the quality of the information found on the wiki site.

Misinformation is not wrong information, it’s worse.  It’s when a user goes onto a wiki site a purposely posts false information.  What’s the reasoning behind posting false information? No one can tell for sure, but employee espionage has been listed as a reason.  Other reasons include rival companies being accused of changing information on one another’s websites to famous people being targeted as a practical joke.

Hacked entries is the more obvious form of misinformation. It’s like online vandalism.

Marketing enteries are considered a downside to wikis. While it may come off as a great idea for a company to have their own wiki site, a customer would take them less seriously because it’s going to be a biased cut up site.  A perfect example I found on marketing downsides was a celebrity.  A not so famous celebrity was wanting to hire someone to create a Wikipedia article about them.  Users would get a very accurate list of movies the celebrity was in, but it’s doubtful that they’d be reading how no directed wanted to work with them due to their alcohol problem.

Information from this blog and more information about wikis can be found at http://webtrends.about.com/od/wiki/a/wiki_downside.htm

Advertisements