Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wikipedia is wrong in 9 out of 10 articles in regard to health information

I've always been skeptical about Wikipedia. (If you are skeptical of something, you don't believe in it fully or at all.)  I have read reports that some people are paid to edit and 'guard' Wikipedia pages and that there is a core of about 1,500 anonymous (nobody knows who they are) 'editors' who dominate (control) the site. 

Let's say, for instance, that you make an edit in an article that one of these experienced volunteer editors doesn't like. Your edit will be removed and if you persist in defending your edit, other members of this 'core' come along and file complaints against you so that you will be banned from editing Wikipedia in the future. When votes are taken, the core rules, and you get pushed out. So Wikipedia is not even a site where 'anybody' can edit. 

The writing quality is also really poor and in regard to less well-known topics, there is often insufficient information or inaccurate information.  Basically, normal, educated people don't edit Wikipedia - nobody is really sure who these people who dominate Wikipedia are.  But normal people (stupidly) use Wikipedia and trust it. In fact, the article says that even doctors are so lazy that they just look on Wikipedia for their information.

Well, a scientific association has just pointed out that if you go to Wikipedia for health information, a lot of the information will be inaccurate.  Medical doctors do not waste their time editing Wikipedia. Unemployed guys who live in their mothers' basements spend time 'editing' Wikipedia, and they are providing your doctors with their medical knowledge! 

An article about how terrible Wikipedia is:

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27586356

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

peer-reviewed - before a scientific paper is published, it is read by the 'peers' of the scientist or scientists who wrote the paper.  Your peers are people who surround you or who are like you.  By having peers read the paper before it is published, they can help fix mistakes in the paper and even make recommendations to make the paper better.

a GP - General Practitioner (basically a normal doctor)

crucial - extremely important, critical

charity - Wikipedia claims to be not-for-profit, but it raises zillions of dollars every year.  Into whose pocket does this money go if the site is supposed to be run, primarily, by volunteers?

reliability - the level to which you can trust it

convenient - easy to use: so this is the problem, the internet has made everyone lazy. People just grab whatever garbage information is offered to them instead of being critical thinkers.  Even doctors are grabbing the garbage information from Wikipedia, and the articles are probably being written by unemployed high-school graduates.

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