7 thoughts on “Wikipedia Fraud”

  1. When I read the articles by Seth Finkelstein, I was wondering if Wikipedia could possibly be charged for fraud. However, I realized that it probably could not be charged because although users CAN be deceived by information on Wikipedia, the website itself does not DELIBERATELY deceive users. In its “Wikipedia: About” article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About), its goal seems to be to gather information and have that information improved over time by allowing everyone to edit the articles. Therefore, Wikipedia is not seeking to deceive users; it wants its users to improve its articles so as NOT to misinform others.

    While I do believe that Wikipedia’s intent seems benevolent, I think the website should still only be used as a sourse of current popular opinions and thoughts; users should definitely use it with caution. As Seth Finkelstein described and as the website notifies, ANYONE can edit articles. Moreover, it IS free, so users are not paying for high-quality information.

  2. Ryan Jordan did falsely claim to be a tenured professor; however, Wikipedia cannot be held liable for verifying his credentials. First of all, all online information is subject to scrutiny. This is the one cost of reading material on the Internet, it is not as reliable as print sources. This is because online materials are most often not published as print materials are. Since print materials are published, publishers are liable for any false, damaging information that let out into the public. Thus, this liability for publishers cause them to hire editors to make sure they do not publish any non-fiction materials with fictional information in them.
    On the contrary, anyone can post any claim on the Internet and establish it to be fact. Since Wikipedia does not charge anything for its services, we cannot blame it for allowing a false professor for post information online. Wikipedia does not even claim that all its information is 100% accurate. There are many articles about different cultures that I have read on Wikipedia that have disclaimers that say that the articles are under dispute by different sources. Since everyone is free to edit and post on Wikipedia, there is bound to be some falsification on the site. Perhaps if Wikipedia charged a membership fee it could hire editors or pay writers to provide their credentials or sources for their uploaded work. The founders of Wikipedia did intend good by providing a free information service to the public, yet because this service is free and does not guarantee the accuracy of its data, we cannot hold it to such high standards.

  3. Fantasizing about his intellectual status does not necessary make Ryan Jordan a bad editor or “community manager.” Although he may have deceived Wikipedia users into believing that he had more authority, it is as what Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, stated, “encyclopedias as a whole (whether print or online) are not usually appropriate as primary sources and should therefore not be relied upon as authoritative.” (Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia)
    Wikipedia should not be held liable for the accuracy of the credentials of its employees or volunteers (or the accuracy of the information posted, as a matter of fact) since it is public knowledge that ANYONE can edit the information on the website.

  4. I agree that Wikipedia shouldn’t be held liable. I am not sure, as previous writers have claimed, that the reason they shouldn’t be held liable is because the service is free. There are plenty of free resources out there that are reliable. The companies that provide these resources just get their revenue through other means, i.e. advertisting. What if a company was giving out samples of one of their products (since it is a sample, it is free) and the product ended up being defective and harming those who used it; would the company be free from liable since the product was free? I would think not. I don’t believe Wikipedia should be allowed to call itself an encyclopedia. This is a misnomer. I know, as student330 pointed out, anyone who researches things online needs to check the source and validity of so called “facts” because it is likely to never have been edited (as a print source would be). Until last year, when it came up in one of my class discussions, I didn’t even realize that Wikipedia was open to editing by the general public. The extent to which many people are beginning to rely on the Internet for research is a bit worrisome. I think Wikipedia could be wonderful if the company just hired a few experienced editors to verify the validity of submissions made to the website.

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