Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Virgil Griffith, Wikipedia, NPR

We have all heard of and likely used Wikipedia. In high school, it was great! It eliminated the need to read an entire book for english class, or spend hours in the library researching some biologist for science, or even learn about those eerie topics that are just to awkward to talk about with our parents. Yes, everything was great-- and then we got to college. Somewhere on every syllabus that we were handed on that first day it reads, "Do NOT use Wikipedia as a source for your work."

The warnings that we received came in response to the recent buzz that questioned the credibility of Wikipedia in comparison to a standard, print encyclopedia. Where does all that information come from? Well, Virgil Griffith of Caltech University has created
a Wikipedia Scanner that helps Wikipedia users recognize edits
that have been added or removed from a wiki and additionally, where they came from.

Griffith hopes his Wikipedia Scanner will help deter "vandalism" or biased edits from occurring.

After reading NPR's News Blog Who's Been Messin' with MY Wikipedia Entry, NPR's report Scanner Tracks Who's Changing What on Wikipedia, and the corresponding Morning Edition audio-show transcript-- I concluded that Wikipedia is what it is and it is up to its users to use it appropriately. Thompson, NPR's audio-show correspondent and WIRED representative says, "The line we sort of frequently use at Wired magazine is that Wikipedia is a hundred times the information as a regular encyclopedia at 90 percent the accuracy. And for most things that's pretty good."

1.) Before this assignment, I had never been exposed to WIRED. I am now enthralled by the site because it provides information on any and every piece of technology that I would ever be interested in-- and best of all, it does so in a language that I can understand!


  1. "I concluded that Wikipedia is what it is and it is up to its users to use it appropriately." Right. But some students think truth resides somewhere!

  2. Your response is interesting to me. I think it struck me funny because, if I read it right, you are suggesting that truth resides nowhere... I am going to blame my youth and naivety for not having contemplated the idea of a truth-less world, or rather, how to define what truth is before now. I will definitely be pondering this comment for a while.