Wikipedia as a Reliable Authority? — The Last Word

Following up on posts of March 4 and March 7, who better than Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, to put to rest the notion that Wikipedia is an authority worthy of reliance. In this week's issue of Time magazine, and online at http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1601491,00.html, Wales responds to the question, "How can I persuade my teachers to allow me to use Wikipedia as a legitimate research source?" as follows: "I would agree with your teachers that that isn't the right way to use Wikipedia. The site is a wonderful starting point for research. But it's only a starting point because there's always a chance that there's something wrong, and you should check your sources if you are writing a paper." If Wikipedia isn't worthy of student citation, a fortiori it isn't worthy of expert reliance.

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