The Instigator
Zealous1
Pro (for)
Winning
34 Points
The Contender
lmc211
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Wikipedia, with certain standards, can be used as a source on debate.org

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2011 Category: Technology
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,416 times Debate No: 15470
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (7)

 

Zealous1

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

I will be defining what I mean by "certain standards". Any statement that is being made on wikipedia must have a source to back it up.

Basically, if wikipedia says that dogs like eating metal (just a random example, whether it's true or not), and there is a credible source backing it up, wikipedia is good enough.

I want this debate to be lighthearted and not too technical. Let's just keep it fun.

Dropped arguments are conceded.

I await my opponent's response!
lmc211

Con

I am absolutely not for wikipedia as a source of information.Anybody can just edit it theirfore it is not a viable source of info.what if i was to just walk into a library and start editing the books.these books now contain scribbles in them and are no longer a good source of information.so wikipedia nomore
Debate Round No. 1
Zealous1

Pro

"I am absolutely not for wikipedia as a source of information."

Mmhmm, you're supposed to be against it.

"Anybody can just edit it theirfore it is not a viable source of info."

It's true anybody can edit it. But let's go through the statistics.

3,578,000+ english articles. That's not even counting the millions of articles that are in different languages. Let's be pessimistic and say there are 1,000 vandalizers. Each vandalizer would have to destroy 5,000 articles each to take out all of them. Basically, the chances of the article you're accessing is vandalized = very low.

But that's not enough. Wikipedia has an edit patrol system. Basically, after every edit, it is sent to a list to be checked for accuracy. Only members of the patrol system who have been elected can patrol edits. If an edit is found to be vandalism or inaccurate, it is reverted. It takes less than a day to be found and reverted. In fact, if it’s anything close to wikihow’s patrol system, it should take an hour or less.

Still not impressed? Let’s take it farther. Let’s say you just get really bad luck and you do find a vandalized article. Most of them are extremely obvious. I do WikiHow, and I’m an edit patroller. Out of 3,000 or so edits patrolled, I have yet to see a vandalizer put false information rather than something obvious like profanity or something to that effect.

One last obstacle. Remember in my first post, how I stated that you can only use it if a source is cited? When in doubt of the information, simply check for a source. Most vandalizers just put HAHAHA or something on the pages. I don’t think any have ever actually made a false claim and cited a source.

In summary, there’s about a 1 in 5 million chance that you will find a vandalized article, even without the patrol system. Add in the patrol system, and it raises that bar much higher. Add in the fact that 99% of edits are obvious, and you have a nearly impossible chance of getting the wrong information. Lastly, add in the obstacle of always checking sources.

As you can see, Wikipedia is perfectly fine for quoting as a source. I’d like to quote my opponent here:

these books now contain scribbles in them and are no longer a good source of information”

Exactly. They have little penciled in scribbles. No one is going to use the scribbles as evidence, just the text. Plus, imagine my opponent doing this in the library of congress. Except with five million books. What are the chances that you will stumble upon one book he has scribbled in? Now imagine that as soon as a book is used and then put back in the shelf, it is sent to an office to be inspected for edits. A computer highlights the new text in the book, and the person in the office deletes the text and sends it back to the bookcase. Now what are the chances that on any given day you’ll walk into the library, find the very book that was scribbled in, and find it before it’s sent to be checked? Add in that it’s scribbles, so it’s easy to see. So if you by some crazy bad luck find that book, you see the scribbles and immediately know that’s vandalism so you don’t read that.

Obviously, you’re probably shaking your head thinking of that slim chance. It’s the same and even less for Wikipedia.

To put that small chance into perspective, I have an article from (http://www.livescience.com...) that shows the chances of dying from a given problem.

Heart Disease

1-in-5

Cancer

1-in-7

Stroke

1-in-23

Accidental Injury

1-in-36

Motor Vehicle Accident

1-in-100

Intentional Self-harm (suicide)

1-in-121

Falling Down

1-in-246

Assault by Firearm

1-in-325

Fire or Smoke

1-in-1,116

Natural Forces (heat, cold, storms, quakes, etc.)

1-in-3,357

Electrocution

1-in-5,000

Drowning

1-in-8,942

Air Travel Accident

1-in-20,000

Flood

1-in-30,000

Legal Execution

1-in-58,618

Tornado

1-in-60,000

Lightning Strike

1-in-83,930

Snake, Bee or other Venomous Bite or Sting

1-in-100,000

Earthquake

1-in-131,890

Dog Attack

1-in-147,717

Asteroid Impact

1-in-200,000

Tsunami

1-in-500,000

Fireworks Discharge

1-in-615,488

None of these are even close to one million. Let alone 5 million, or 10 million, which is around the chances of finding a sneakily vandalized article in Wikipedia and quoting the wrong information. Oh, that adds another element I forgot! (There are a lot of factors going into the chances of this). Wikipedia articles are generally more than seven to eight pages long. When you’re quoting something, you usually need one sentence or maybe a paragraph at the most. You have a very slim chance of actually using the vandalized material. You trust that you won’t be killed by fireworks with much grimmer chances than you trust you will use sneakily vandalized material from Wikipedia.

Summary of all that I’ve said? Don’t worry about finding incorrect information from vandalism. You have a twenty times higher chance of dying from fireworks than doing so.Thank you, please vote Pro.

lmc211

Con

My opponent is completely right.He actually changed my point of view. We should all use Wikipedia. It is a credible source of information.
Debate Round No. 2
Zealous1

Pro

My opponent concedes. Therefore all my arguments fall through and I win.

Thank you for voting on this debate, however unusual it turned out to be.

Please just say "Concede" for the rest of the rounds to finish this off.

lmc211

Con

lmc211 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Zealous1

Pro

Forfeit. At this rate it'll take a week to end this debate.
lmc211

Con

lmc211 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Zealous1

Pro

Forfeit once again. Please vote Pro.

When you're voting, please cast aside personal bias on the issue. If for some reason you don't agree with me, that's fine. But you should vote on the debate, not on your own bias about the issue.

Thanks for voting on what turned out to not be much of a debate!
lmc211

Con

lmc211 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
I think Wikipedia is fine most of the time. As Pro suggests, they have references that good through to the original sources.

Where Wikipedia goes wrong is on controversial topics where they cherry pick sources to justify a position. They are often biased towards the standard politically-correct opinions. A good example is on articles related to global warming, where the editors make sure that little contrary to the-world-will-end-soon nonsense appears. That's not fatal to using Wikipedia as a source, however, since virtually every source is subject to the same problem. If we had an absolutely definitive reference, we wouldn't need to debate.
Posted by Zealous1 5 years ago
Zealous1
There's a 72 hour limit.
Posted by lmc211 5 years ago
lmc211
Why isn't zealous1 making an debating. I don't get it. its a debate argue with me already.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
Zealous1lmc211Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con gracefully concedes.
Vote Placed by famer 4 years ago
famer
Zealous1lmc211Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Zealous1lmc211Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession and Forfeit, but Pro never addresses the fact that wikipedia articles may be inaccurate to begin with and the mods could be unethical.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
Zealous1lmc211Tied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited. Pro won by default
Vote Placed by BangBang-Coconut 5 years ago
BangBang-Coconut
Zealous1lmc211Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit!
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
Zealous1lmc211Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Obvious
Vote Placed by RougeFox 5 years ago
RougeFox
Zealous1lmc211Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded. Thus, args pro. Con forfeited. Thus, conduct pro.