Student hoaxes world's media on Wikipedia

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by UncannyGarlic, May 13, 2009.

  1. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Elsevier is better known for its crappy magazines here in Holland, but yes, it's a big publisher. That's just it, though, recognisable or not, they're publishers. Not universities, not faculty unions, not a board of review, just a publisher, and relying on the publisher's name for quality of the product seems a bit counter-intuitive.

    Though this case certainly was pretty f'd up.

    And it came up in the topic because Roflcore brought it in when I tagged Wikipedia unfit for usage for academic and journalistic purposes.
  2. UncannyGarlic

    UncannyGarlic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 6, 2008
    The thing is that the web has done more gradual evolution (like computers) rather than making jumps (like cell phones adding text messaging, cameras, and internet). It's a(n ill defined) buzzword which suggests that concepts and features around interactivity on the web is some new thing, when in fact it can be traced way back to the roots of the web. My problem isn't what is encompassed by the term, but the suggestion that it's some new, revolutionary thing for the internet. Immersion is a good word to compare it to, it exists and it's always existed, it's just that companies have labeled it and used it (both incorrectly and without understanding of it) for marketing purposes.

    What they publish are primary sources, or used like them, like wikipedia was being used. I agree though, it's veering off in a pretty foggy direction.
  3. Dead Guy

    Dead Guy Senate Board Director oTO Moderator Orderite

    Nov 9, 2008
    Ah, I was unaware that they published outside of academia. Maybe I should come out of my bubble a little more :p or go to holland.
  4. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    There was a funny Swedish newsbit just a few days ago. A big meat producer decided to start selling select pieces of ham under the name of fillet. After criticism from among others their own trade association that "fillet" is a well-defined term that doesn't include any part of the ham, the company responded that the Swedish Wikipedia entry on "fillet" was vaguely written and thus open to reinterpretation. Needless to say, there was a flurry of edits on the page in question; remains to be seen whether the meat producer will go "OMG our genius argument DESTROYED" or just carry on regardless.
  5. Hamenaglar

    Hamenaglar It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 2, 2009
    I'm not quite sure what do you mean by academic purposes, however as a computer science student I often used wikipedia for information, research etc. I never burned my fingers while doing so, even if I do one day, the benefits I gained in speed and accesability will still outweigh the potential bad incident.

    In my college/school/faculty wikipedia is often given as a source of information. True, it's not the most reliable source but it is excellent as a start of collecting information.

    On other hand if by academic, you were more referring to the research and science areas (instead of teaching) on academic institutions, then I doubt wikipedia would be a viable source of information. For instance I can't imagine my mentor reading wikipedia while working on something, but that's simply because the wikipedia isn't specialistic enough to offer him any information he already doesn't have.

    edit: Oh, flock, I got immersed into reading this thread too much, that I forgot it's a month old.

  6. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    Which is exactly BN's point. Wikipedia is basically a collection of links. It's going to more accurate in some places than others, but it is no good as a primary source, nor was it ever intended to be.

    Also, your faculty is bloody lazy if they allow the use of wikipedia as a primary source. Especially considering the excellent availability of computer science articles online.
    They can hardly stop people from looking things up on wikipedia if that's what you mean, though.

    That said, the quality of wikipedia's articles on computer science is relatively high, which is to be expected given the domains of both. But that's just a case of trust: you can somewhat trust that wikipedia is relatively accurate when it comes to computer science, but that doesn't make it a solid primary source for any other use. And you'd still do best to cite the actual primary sources when you use information from wikipedia in a paper.
  7. Hamenaglar

    Hamenaglar It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 2, 2009
    I'm from Croatia, ofcourse we are lazy, it's ridiculous that a on some courses even materials used by lecturers were on english and basically copy-pasted from other faculties. Unbeliavably though my faculty is one of the best in the country.

    I was gutted that I had to learn use-case and class diagrams from wikipedia.
  8. roggles

    roggles First time out of the vault

    Nov 12, 2008
    A lot of printed news are simply relayed from news agencies anyway. News agencies also seem to be treated as being infallible, but it's not hard to find examples where they are misusing/misinterpreting statistics.

    @Per: Ooh, I was wondering why every newspaper was suddenly concerned with how to determine whether a piece of meat was fillet or not.
  9. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    What Wikipedia is extremly good for is "basic knoweldge". To get in touch with informations and a general understanding of a specific topic. You want to know in a few words what Flip Flops are? Interested in the person of Marie Curie ? Niels Bohr? Enriko Fermi? Wikipedia is your first source for "basic" informations.

    The thing is just anything that is going further than Wikipedia is not the best or most usefull place. You can read about quantum physics or nuclear energy in Wiki but you will definetly not get any valuable knowledge out of it. But what it offers is the links to sources, books for example or other interesting places. Particularly many times user which worked out the article have written inside from where they have the informations (most of the time at least) and to check those books on Amazon for example is always worth and see how the reviews are Wikipedia will never replace a well researched biography. Particularly during my schooling when it was about electrotechnology and computer science I found many very good and interesting literature about it and the most important part about it was it impressed my teachers, why? Cause 99% of the other studends in my class almost only used Wikipedia or the informations they got from the school when ever we got the task to search for informations on our own for a project or anything else no one cared to search for "books" or ever even attempting to go for the library (omg reading something that is NOT! on the screen !) that have some value like the fibula for electroniks.
    The nice thing about Wikipedia is that its changing over time which is its bigest benefit. In the past many articles regarding history have been at best, interesting and absolutely inacurate at worst. Particularly regarding the second world war. Now today one can get about "some" topics pretty good and accurate informations as those people that like to show always either the axis or allies equipment and actions always in the best light disapeared over the time. It doesnt mean its now the most accurate source. But it became definetly better over time. The informations one can get about some battles for example are now even worth to be read (as long you dont want to go TO much in to details).
  10. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    I dunno, I think these two have become a common opinion in the academic world, and I wonder why journalism doesn't work that way. I wonder how anyone, ever, was stupid enough to see Wiki as a primary source at all.

    And, actually, I'm more amazed at the journos who blamed the guy and not their own stupidity. Well, I'm glad I don't read American news.
  11. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Formerly known as Ratty Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    Are you at FER? As far as I know, citing Wikipedia articles in student papers is against policy here. Can you perhaps give me the names of faculty members who sanction it?
  12. The Dopamine Cleric

    The Dopamine Cleric Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    Nov 3, 2007
    Someone is going to get ratted out.

  13. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    for a generalist looking for specialist information wiki can be very useful.

    say you are a 10 year old in school writing a paper on how computers work.

    so you go to wikipedia and look up CPU.

    then you see in the article they list intel and amd as primary manufacturers for it. interesting.

    then you see they are made up of silicon wafers. you look that up and see a silicon wafer is a bunch of transistors. so you look that up and learn how transistor works.

    then you see a collection of transistors is a logic gate. you look that up and learn what it is.

    then you see a bunch of logic gates is what makes up a CPU core, so you look that up and learn about multi-core CPUs.

    then you see CPU cores have whats called L1/L2 and even now L3 cache. so you look that up and learn that those are the "onboard" ram for each core/CPU to prepare data for proccessing in the transistors/logic gates or exporting to RAM.

    thats how wikipedia should be used.

    to get knowladge of what to look for to get detailed knowladge of a subject. if you dont know the terms logic gate, transistor, silicon wafer, Lx Cache... you dont know what to even look up to get more information really.
  14. Hamenaglar

    Hamenaglar It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 2, 2009
    Yes, I am at FER, seen a number of student papers/seminars that had wikipedia as a literature source. I can tell you that both mentors I had so far (one at seminar and another at project and final work/paper) never said anything against wikipedia. However, I will ask around and get more information from my mentor.

    edit: Actually a mate of mine has been told: "Consider wikipedia as your guide".
  15. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Formerly known as Ratty Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    Not at all, I'm just curious is all. Though when I personally see students citing Wikipedia articles in their paper, I always advise them to use primary sources instead.
  16. Hamenaglar

    Hamenaglar It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 2, 2009
    May I be unpolite and curious and ask where do you work?
  17. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Formerly known as Ratty Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    Sure, I'm at Department of Telecommunications, virtual characters lab, under supervision of prof. Pandzic. What about you?
  18. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    Haha you don't fool me prof. Pandzic is not real
  19. Hamenaglar

    Hamenaglar It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 2, 2009
    Module computer science, working my final paper at department of electronics, microelectronics, computer and intelligent systems (ZEMRIS), under mentor S. Segvic.

    never really expected I'd meet someone from FER, here at NMA (let alone a moderator), a pleasant surprise. :)

    why do you say that? I'm sure it's some joke I don't understand.
  20. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Formerly known as Ratty Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    Cool, I majored in CS. How are things at ol' ZEMRIS? What are Cupic and Gros up to these days?

    I believe a couple of FER students are registered at NMA, but to the best of my knowledge you and I are the only active posters.


    o rly? Then how do you explain this: