a c d w

Opinions on Wikipedia as a source

Oh yeah, I just remembered I need to tell you about my Opinions on Wikipedia as a source. It’s not that it’s a bad source or inaccurate—any inaccuracies that make their way in are often corrected within hours at the most—it’s that it’s an entry-level source. Wikipedia has good surface-level information on most things, but it won’t provide you with the nuance of a given subject. It’s a filtering of primary sources through the goal of providing an encyclopedia—which is often not the goal of whatever content you’re writing is.

The other thing about Wikipedia is that it has all of the sources it uses right there at the bottom of the page. Why would you use Wikipedia—a third party—as a source when you can find out where that information came from and directly quote it? You’ll probably find more context and other useful stuff as well!

In short, I don’t like Wikipedia as a source, not because of the veracity or lack thereof of its information, but because it encourages lazy research practices that ultimately fail to be generally useful.