Vote: Is Wikipedia credible enough for Google News?

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:

  1. 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.

    "Too Many Eyes" By: Ken Sotrch

    "Too Many Eyes" By: Ken Sotrch

  2. 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?
  3. 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?

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    While I feel wikipedia is credible enough, I don't see it really work as a source of news. I mean news should be fresh, and if it is fresh enough on wiki, then there would be no enough time for people to filter out false information.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    I think Wikipedia is reliable, and would vote yes.

    But I do have my doubts about the freshness. Wikipedia's 'many eyes' collective intelligence moderation has a cycle from the moment the piece of information is added till the time the 'many eyes' see and correct it.

    Maybe Google News should use it along with some sort of difference calculation algorithm. Let me try to say what I'm thinking of in English: the algo scans Wikipedia constantly (Google does that anyway) and decides which piece of information was added and when. I'm sure the Wikipedia 'update-edit' cycle has some sort of signature that Google can figure out and start predicting what's news and what's just a spelling-correction.

    … my geeky thoughts :P

  • http://www.magicksandwich.org kathcom

    Look to your left and right. These could be the people determining “facts”. So, um, NO!

  • http://kawakayan.blogspot.com/ ER

    I vote YES!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    Hmm, the people to my left and right do have some good thoughts and ideas. As news sources, they might depend on less reliable channels, but they have good opinions and can spot non sense, and would probably fix it on Wikipedia.

    You just contributed with a valid perspective to this post, don't you think that if you found a mistake on Wikipedia you wont go in and fix it? I would – if I've got time.

    There are 10's of millions of Wikipedia users!

  • djcastel

    By Wikipedia's own standards, it should not be used as a news source. No current events are supposed to be posted in Wikipedia unless it is already referenced in some reputable news source. Being a tertiary source, it's entirely redundant to include Wikipedia as a news source. In fact, editors are actively discouraged from posting current events until the facts are well established (especially on biographical articles).

    This is an unfortunate decision by Google. As if they haven't done enough already to inflate Wikipedia's search rankings.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    If people respect that, and Wikipedia force referenced-only updates, then I agree with you. But I think things are not working like that, and news items still manage to get onto Wikipedia quickly enough.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2009/07/are-bloggers-influencers-journalists-or-both-does-it-matter.html Are bloggers influencers, journalists or both? Does it matter? | Thoughtpick Blog

    [...] I like what Andrew Lih, an editor/administrator at Wikipedia, said about journalism:

  • http://www.jehzlau-concepts.com/ jehzlau

    I think because it has a lot of useful information even if others edit it without a reliable source, the editors behind Wikipedia is spending most of their time and doing their best to give us what is really true and accurate.

    So I'll vote yes. However, Wikipedia is not optimized for Google news. It's mainly an online encyclopedia. Unless they'll create a page for Wiki Latest News and Updates. :D

    Just my 2 cents. :)

  • Ken Storch

    Hi
    The photo “Too Many Eyes” should be credited to 'Ken Storch'

    Thanks for the linkback.
    Cheers,
    Ken Storch
    http://www.PhotographyUncapped.com

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