While reading the latest ReadWriteWeb article “Google News May Add Wikipedia as a Source”, the question of news integrity crossed my mind. After conducting some research, I came up with the following rationalizations:
- The “too many eyes” theory: When a service is constantly being monitored by many concerned parties, excellence in performance is a must! The more the number of eyes watching, the better the content; this applies to Wikipedia.Try visiting Wikipedia, choosing any topic and editing its content to something useless like “bla, bla, bla!”, wait for a few minutes and then recheck. You will find that the useless content has been removed and replaced with the original content by one of the readers. This is a great example of data integrity on Wikipedia.
- The “reliable news sources” assumption: Why do we always assume that NYT is more reliable that Techcruch, for example? Is it the reputation of credibility that NYT has built throughout the years? And if so, is that enough to believe everything the NYT publishes or broadcasts? I think not. On the same grounds, why trust NYT more than Wikipedia as a news source, and so on?
- The “big whales make mistakes too” reality: Yes it’s a fact – very important news sources such as Britannica also have a certain percentage of errors in the content they offer and the studies they release to the public and since “no one is perfect”, Wikipedia included, that is absolutely natural.
To conclude, I believe in Wikipedia since it essentially gathers the knowledge and brain power of thousands, nay millions, of people out there into a collaborative space which could, in no way, be as biased or commercial as many other news sources. Therefore, in the debate of whether or not Wikipedia should be a source in Google News, I vote: “Yes”!
How about you, what’s your vote? Do you think Wikipedia is credible enough for Google News?