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How Confident Does Wikipedia Make You Feel?

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash
Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

Ever want to know about something, like anything, proceed to “Google it” and then click on the related Wikipedia page? 

You then proceed to skim the, likely lengthy, Wikipedia page looking for the key information that originally piqued your interest. But wait! You come across something that doesn’t make sense to you. Like Point G in a storyline. Though you’re confident in understanding Points A-C, you’ve completely lost your connecting links. Then you backtrack. Maybe you even go back to Point B, just to “fact check” the initial information you came in with. Then: you end up reading the whole Wikipedia page. 

You end up going down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. Reading multiple, lengthy Wikipedia pages on subjects you couldn’t even have imagined related to your first Google search. How do you feel? 

I can tell you that I, myself, often end up feeling like a connoisseur in whatever subject I originally was looking into. Though I don’t feel like a scholar, I do feel more informed than the average person. But should I? 

I first learned of Wikipedia’s unreliability in grade school. Wikipedia itself says: “Wikipedia is not a reliable source.” Despite Wikipedia’s excellent, in-depth detailing on Marilyn Monroe’s life, I cannot automatically trust it. Ever.

Wikipedia is a great place to start acquiring information on any subject, but should never be the last, or only place anyone looks. Seriously. No matter how confident you feel after reading anything from its site, fact check it elsewhere. If you’re looking for a place to start, Wikipedia typically lists its sources on the bottom of every page. It’s a good place to start if you’re unsure about where else to look. 

Still, I have to admit when it comes to celebrity biographies, Wikipedia pages always feel pretty accurate. J. Randy Taraborrelli’s biography, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, for instance, basically is the Wikipedia page. For reals. 

Is it just me, or does Wikipedia, despite the well-known fact that you cannot trust it, sometimes make suddenly you feel like an expert on your latest interests?

  • How Confident Does Wikipedia Make You Feel?

    • Like a pro!
    • I don’t ever look at Wikipedia.
    • I don’t trust whoever says, “I don’t ever look at Wikipedia.”


Written by Nina Slowinski

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