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Is Wikipedia an illegitimate source?

miketheman1200
Posts: 49
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1/22/2014 11:51:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I constantly see people losing source points for using this site. I feel like it really isn't that unreliable. To be honest all the articles are heavily cited and contain accurate information. If it isn't the bases for your argument as a whole, I don't see a problem with using it as a source.
OtakuJordan
Posts: 280
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1/23/2014 12:00:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/22/2014 11:51:58 PM, miketheman1200 wrote:
I constantly see people losing source points for using this site. I feel like it really isn't that unreliable. To be honest all the articles are heavily cited and contain accurate information. If it isn't the bases for your argument as a whole, I don't see a problem with using it as a source.

My older sister is a research librarian and teaches information literacy at a university. She says Wikipedia is a legit source.

/shameless appeal to authority
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Ragnar
Posts: 1,658
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1/23/2014 12:44:28 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Basically it's often misused, but it can be great for a general overview. Usually I consider it little gained, but certainly nothing lost.
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Oromagi
Posts: 857
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1/23/2014 2:08:55 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think Wikipedia might be the finest achievement of the Internet. It seemed unlikely that the first attempt at a volunteer, collaborative, non-profit encyclopedia would be so wildly successful, but I think Wikipedia's predominance is hard to deny. Since its inception, Wikipedia has maintained its status as the most-visited non-advertising non-profit site on the Internet. It is the only site of major magnitude on the Internet that does not collect or sell user data. It beats out the second largest encyclopedia in history by 3 orders of magnitude in terms of number of entries although it is only 14 years old, it is the most consulted reference work in history.

Further, Wikipedia does an amazing job of preserving previous versions including all editor's comments and debates. If you really want to read a history of how our understanding of a concept like climate change or an event like 9/11 changes over time, Wikipedia is an unmatched source.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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1/23/2014 6:43:35 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think most of the Wikipedia articles are fine. The problems arise on a few controversial topics, particularly things having to do with politics, where they go astray. They have some bogus articles on global warming, for example.

If the Wikipedia article has sources referencing the facts claimed, then the article is as good as the source. So if what's issue is population trends in Rumania versus Bulgaria, then Wikipedia is likely to work well. The advantages of citing Wikipedia rather than the original sources is that Wikipedia is more convenient, provides tables and graphs, and often gives a concise summary.

Wikipedia can be attacked as a source, but a specific reason should be given, not just that it is Wikipedia. "The conclusion given by Wikipedia is refuted by X, which they have not addressed."
TUF
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1/23/2014 7:16:46 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Despite all the flack it get's, there's a good deal of useful information on the site. But there's a social stigma against it, due to the factor that people can edit things, etc.

TBH, if you post a wikipedia link with accurate, to the point information, people will likely take a less accurate opinion based blog over it still. It is a great resource for personal information, but not for citing in a debate based purely on it's image.
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TUF
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1/23/2014 7:19:05 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/23/2014 6:43:35 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
I think most of the Wikipedia articles are fine. The problems arise on a few controversial topics, particularly things having to do with politics, where they go astray. They have some bogus articles on global warming, for example.

If the Wikipedia article has sources referencing the facts claimed, then the article is as good as the source.

^ Generally I will just scan the articles for their sources, and use them in debates if they are good enough. Wikipedia already did the research for you, and presented in a well detailed conclusion.

Wikipedia can be attacked as a source, but a specific reason should be given, not just that it is Wikipedia. "The conclusion given by Wikipedia is refuted by X, which they have not addressed."

+1
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Cheetah
Posts: 106
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1/23/2014 7:23:04 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
No, Wikipedia should always be avoided. Wikipedia gets their information from outside sources, use those instead. If your information could not be found anywhere else then most likely that information is faked. I admit, for a mock trial I edited a Wikipedia on the Combination act just to use it as evidence to support and argue my stance.
ClassicRobert
Posts: 2,487
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1/23/2014 7:24:59 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
It doesn't really tend to gain you much in the sources category. However, it almost always provides sources for its information within the articles, so you can use those sources if you want to bypass the perceived illegitimacy of Wikipedia.
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zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcb
Posts: 42
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1/23/2014 8:14:46 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Anyone can edit Wikipedia; it is neither peer reviewed nor written by professionals of any kind other than the professional fraud.
z
Citrakayah
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1/24/2014 7:38:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'll admit, I found "bogus articles regarding global warming" rather amusing. What would be bogus would be if they ignored the consensus of actual climatologists and instead relied on pundits, engineers, et cetera.

At 1/23/2014 8:14:46 AM, zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcb wrote:
Anyone can edit Wikipedia; it is neither peer reviewed nor written by professionals of any kind other than the professional fraud.

There are two ways to view "written by."

1. Only written by
2. Written partially by

Wikipedia does have some professionals editing it, and it is not entirely written by professional frauds, therefore your argument is invalid.
Zaradi
Posts: 14,124
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1/24/2014 7:48:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/23/2014 7:23:04 AM, Cheetah wrote:
No, Wikipedia should always be avoided. Wikipedia gets their information from outside sources, use those instead. If your information could not be found anywhere else then most likely that information is faked. I admit, for a mock trial I edited a Wikipedia on the Combination act just to use it as evidence to support and argue my stance.

I never understood this argument. Like, the flow of logic makes no sense at all. If it's a site that has information that's well-sourced, the site is bad, but the sites it sources are still good? Like, this never made any sense at all.
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Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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1/24/2014 8:39:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Wikipedia can be edited at any time, thus the information or quote cited may disappear.
This is why it is a bad source.
I don't think this happens as much as it used to, since it doesn't seem that anyone can edit it anymore, or maybe you have to sign in to do so, so it isn't anonymous.

I would still be careful about using it for non-fact research regardless, like political views or a bio. There can always be bias, and the more controversial the issue, the more likely it may be slanted by an opposing party (e.g. Reagan's policies' effects), or is frequently edited, thus losing the purpose of citing (i.e. bad source).
However, it is not a bad place to start for information gathering on any topic.

My rule of thumb is using Wikipedia for biography, politics, religion, or anything controversial, don't use it, but use the sources cited.
Anything that is fact, like information on helium, an equation, or how something works should be fine.
My work here is, finally, done.
Ragnar
Posts: 1,658
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1/25/2014 11:39:14 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
1. If using it timelock the link.

2. It's often what information is currently most popular, thus a bit of a bandwagon appeal.

3. If refuting it, there is likely some small disagreement between it and some of it's own sources.
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donald.keller
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1/25/2014 12:40:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/23/2014 8:14:46 AM, zyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcb wrote:
Anyone can edit Wikipedia; it is neither peer reviewed nor written by professionals of any kind other than the professional fraud.

And yet it only has a tiny number more errors per page than The Encyclopedia Britannica. The only real criticism from the study was that it's structure wasn't as good.

It has professional volunteers who go over big changes and articles.
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Smithereens
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1/26/2014 1:36:49 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
For anything professional or official, the use of a secondary source is usually forbidden. Quoting from Wikipedia in a University paper will be ignored and your paper marked as if it didn't exist. However, for debates, Wikipedia is more reliable than Encyclopedia Britannica. If the debate instigator wishes to impose restrictions on the type and quality of sources, it should be clarified in the first round. Voters shouldn't prejudice against someone who sources from Wikipedia unless the page in question is not locked, in which case it is contentious.
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FREEDO
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1/26/2014 1:44:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Wikipedia shouldn't be thought of as a single source. It's a compilation of many different sources. All of which are listed at the bottom of every page.

Instead, treat wikipedia links in debates as a third party between you and the actual sources. Then treat those sources as you would any other, as if those sources had been posted in the debate themselves. Which is what I prefer to do anyway, to save everyone the trouble.
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Cheetah
Posts: 106
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1/26/2014 3:27:57 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/24/2014 7:48:03 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/23/2014 7:23:04 AM, Cheetah wrote:
No, Wikipedia should always be avoided. Wikipedia gets their information from outside sources, use those instead. If your information could not be found anywhere else then most likely that information is faked. I admit, for a mock trial I edited a Wikipedia on the Combination act just to use it as evidence to support and argue my stance.

I never understood this argument. Like, the flow of logic makes no sense at all. If it's a site that has information that's well-sourced, the site is bad, but the sites it sources are still good? Like, this never made any sense at all.

No, you don't understand, if an information is sourced, you use THAT source for citations. Ergo, if it ISN'T sourced, then don't use that piece of information at all. Such as: Line A is backed up by a source, you use the ORIGINAL SOURCE of information as your cite, NOT WIKIPEDIA"Line B isn't backed-up, then you don't use it at all.
Zaradi
Posts: 14,124
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1/26/2014 12:42:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/26/2014 3:27:57 AM, Cheetah wrote:
At 1/24/2014 7:48:03 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/23/2014 7:23:04 AM, Cheetah wrote:
No, Wikipedia should always be avoided. Wikipedia gets their information from outside sources, use those instead. If your information could not be found anywhere else then most likely that information is faked. I admit, for a mock trial I edited a Wikipedia on the Combination act just to use it as evidence to support and argue my stance.

I never understood this argument. Like, the flow of logic makes no sense at all. If it's a site that has information that's well-sourced, the site is bad, but the sites it sources are still good? Like, this never made any sense at all.

No, you don't understand, if an information is sourced, you use THAT source for citations. Ergo, if it ISN'T sourced, then don't use that piece of information at all. Such as: Line A is backed up by a source, you use the ORIGINAL SOURCE of information as your cite, NOT WIKIPEDIA"Line B isn't backed-up, then you don't use it at all.

This is the exact argument that doesn't make sense to me. You can't say that the information on a site is good and bad at the same time. I'm obviously not going to defend that any information not backed up on Wikipedia is something we can trust, but if it's backed up it's fine.
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lannan13
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1/26/2014 1:50:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/22/2014 11:51:58 PM, miketheman1200 wrote:
I constantly see people losing source points for using this site. I feel like it really isn't that unreliable. To be honest all the articles are heavily cited and contain accurate information. If it isn't the bases for your argument as a whole, I don't see a problem with using it as a source.

I always say you can use it for reserch, but never quote it in a debate, because guess who edits wikipedia. However, at the bottom of the page they have their work cited and you could use that.
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wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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1/26/2014 2:20:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/24/2014 7:48:03 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/23/2014 7:23:04 AM, Cheetah wrote:
No, Wikipedia should always be avoided. Wikipedia gets their information from outside sources, use those instead. If your information could not be found anywhere else then most likely that information is faked. I admit, for a mock trial I edited a Wikipedia on the Combination act just to use it as evidence to support and argue my stance.

I never understood this argument. Like, the flow of logic makes no sense at all. If it's a site that has information that's well-sourced, the site is bad, but the sites it sources are still good? Like, this never made any sense at all.

That's because you're butchering the flow.

The flow is if a site can have any form of information, then that information is unreliable. If the site also has sources and those sources are reliable, then you should lean towards using those sources instead of the site.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Zaradi
Posts: 14,124
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1/26/2014 3:35:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/26/2014 2:20:56 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/24/2014 7:48:03 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/23/2014 7:23:04 AM, Cheetah wrote:
No, Wikipedia should always be avoided. Wikipedia gets their information from outside sources, use those instead. If your information could not be found anywhere else then most likely that information is faked. I admit, for a mock trial I edited a Wikipedia on the Combination act just to use it as evidence to support and argue my stance.

I never understood this argument. Like, the flow of logic makes no sense at all. If it's a site that has information that's well-sourced, the site is bad, but the sites it sources are still good? Like, this never made any sense at all.

That's because you're butchering the flow.

The flow is if a site can have any form of information, then that information is unreliable. If the site also has sources and those sources are reliable, then you should lean towards using those sources instead of the site.

It doesn't matter if I can alter the site so that it says 1+1=2, that doesn't change the validity of the information. So long as the information on the site is sourced, then the information presented by wikipedia is sound. To attack the site's content means you also have to contest the sources provided to back up the information. The problem is that you're not attacking the sources at all, you're saying you should use them. That doesn't make any sense.
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wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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1/26/2014 3:39:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/26/2014 3:35:47 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/26/2014 2:20:56 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/24/2014 7:48:03 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/23/2014 7:23:04 AM, Cheetah wrote:
No, Wikipedia should always be avoided. Wikipedia gets their information from outside sources, use those instead. If your information could not be found anywhere else then most likely that information is faked. I admit, for a mock trial I edited a Wikipedia on the Combination act just to use it as evidence to support and argue my stance.

I never understood this argument. Like, the flow of logic makes no sense at all. If it's a site that has information that's well-sourced, the site is bad, but the sites it sources are still good? Like, this never made any sense at all.

That's because you're butchering the flow.

The flow is if a site can have any form of information, then that information is unreliable. If the site also has sources and those sources are reliable, then you should lean towards using those sources instead of the site.

It doesn't matter if I can alter the site so that it says 1+1=2, that doesn't change the validity of the information.

lol, I think the problem is that you may alter the site so that it says 1+1=3. =)

So long as the information on the site is sourced, then the information presented by wikipedia is sound.

Agree, but I'm sure you're aware that not every sentence asserted by a wikipedia link is sourced.

To attack the site's content means you also have to contest the sources provided to back up the information.

I understand what you're saying...the thing is, the standard for reliability is much closer to 100% than it is to 10%. So, if a link is 70% sourced (which is rare, it's typically less than that), then it's still unreliable. News articles and especially academic papers are held to a much, much higher standard of rigorousness, so those sources are reliable and credible.

The problem is that you're not attacking the sources at all, you're saying you should use them. That doesn't make any sense.

It makes perfect sense. Cite the sources, but don't cite wikipedia.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Zaradi
Posts: 14,124
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1/26/2014 3:49:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/26/2014 3:39:45 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/26/2014 3:35:47 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/26/2014 2:20:56 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/24/2014 7:48:03 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/23/2014 7:23:04 AM, Cheetah wrote:
No, Wikipedia should always be avoided. Wikipedia gets their information from outside sources, use those instead. If your information could not be found anywhere else then most likely that information is faked. I admit, for a mock trial I edited a Wikipedia on the Combination act just to use it as evidence to support and argue my stance.

I never understood this argument. Like, the flow of logic makes no sense at all. If it's a site that has information that's well-sourced, the site is bad, but the sites it sources are still good? Like, this never made any sense at all.

That's because you're butchering the flow.

The flow is if a site can have any form of information, then that information is unreliable. If the site also has sources and those sources are reliable, then you should lean towards using those sources instead of the site.

It doesn't matter if I can alter the site so that it says 1+1=2, that doesn't change the validity of the information.

lol, I think the problem is that you may alter the site so that it says 1+1=3. =)

Non-responsive to what I'm actually saying.

So long as the information on the site is sourced, then the information presented by wikipedia is sound.

Agree, but I'm sure you're aware that not every sentence asserted by a wikipedia link is sourced.

To attack the site's content means you also have to contest the sources provided to back up the information.

I understand what you're saying...the thing is, the standard for reliability is much closer to 100% than it is to 10%. So, if a link is 70% sourced (which is rare, it's typically less than that), then it's still unreliable. News articles and especially academic papers are held to a much, much higher standard of rigorousness, so those sources are reliable and credible.

The problem is that you're not attacking the sources at all, you're saying you should use them. That doesn't make any sense.

It makes perfect sense. Cite the sources, but don't cite wikipedia.

This is the exact flaw in the logic you're using. You're saying that the sources are correct. Wikipedia is taking that information from the sources, which you agree are correct, and displaying it on their page with the proper sourcing. You're then turning around and saying we can't trust that information, which came from the sources that you say are accurate and correct and have been sourced, because it's from Wikipedia. Like, the logic is absolutely astoundingly bad.
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wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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1/26/2014 3:52:25 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/26/2014 3:49:22 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/26/2014 3:39:45 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/26/2014 3:35:47 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/26/2014 2:20:56 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/24/2014 7:48:03 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/23/2014 7:23:04 AM, Cheetah wrote:
No, Wikipedia should always be avoided. Wikipedia gets their information from outside sources, use those instead. If your information could not be found anywhere else then most likely that information is faked. I admit, for a mock trial I edited a Wikipedia on the Combination act just to use it as evidence to support and argue my stance.

I never understood this argument. Like, the flow of logic makes no sense at all. If it's a site that has information that's well-sourced, the site is bad, but the sites it sources are still good? Like, this never made any sense at all.

That's because you're butchering the flow.

The flow is if a site can have any form of information, then that information is unreliable. If the site also has sources and those sources are reliable, then you should lean towards using those sources instead of the site.

It doesn't matter if I can alter the site so that it says 1+1=2, that doesn't change the validity of the information.

lol, I think the problem is that you may alter the site so that it says 1+1=3. =)

Non-responsive to what I'm actually saying.

It's fully relevant. You're assuming that altering wikipedia does not alter reliability. I'm saying it does. I'm surprised you didn't catch that.

So long as the information on the site is sourced, then the information presented by wikipedia is sound.

Agree, but I'm sure you're aware that not every sentence asserted by a wikipedia link is sourced.

To attack the site's content means you also have to contest the sources provided to back up the information.

I understand what you're saying...the thing is, the standard for reliability is much closer to 100% than it is to 10%. So, if a link is 70% sourced (which is rare, it's typically less than that), then it's still unreliable. News articles and especially academic papers are held to a much, much higher standard of rigorousness, so those sources are reliable and credible.

The problem is that you're not attacking the sources at all, you're saying you should use them. That doesn't make any sense.

It makes perfect sense. Cite the sources, but don't cite wikipedia.

This is the exact flaw in the logic you're using. You're saying that the sources are correct. Wikipedia is taking that information from the sources, which you agree are correct, and displaying it on their page with the proper sourcing.

It does not do this 100% of the time. So, it's not 100% reliable. There's no flaw in the reasoning here.

You're then turning around and saying we can't trust that information, which came from the sources that you say are accurate and correct and have been sourced, because it's from Wikipedia. Like, the logic is absolutely astoundingly bad.

Correct, we cannot trust wikipedia 100% of the time. I've already explained this (underlined) and you did not refute it. The logic is fine, try again.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Cheetah
Posts: 106
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1/26/2014 6:54:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/26/2014 12:42:06 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/26/2014 3:27:57 AM, Cheetah wrote:
At 1/24/2014 7:48:03 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 1/23/2014 7:23:04 AM, Cheetah wrote:
No, Wikipedia should always be avoided. Wikipedia gets their information from outside sources, use those instead. If your information could not be found anywhere else then most likely that information is faked. I admit, for a mock trial I edited a Wikipedia on the Combination act just to use it as evidence to support and argue my stance.

I never understood this argument. Like, the flow of logic makes no sense at all. If it's a site that has information that's well-sourced, the site is bad, but the sites it sources are still good? Like, this never made any sense at all.

No, you don't understand, if an information is sourced, you use THAT source for citations. Ergo, if it ISN'T sourced, then don't use that piece of information at all. Such as: Line A is backed up by a source, you use the ORIGINAL SOURCE of information as your cite, NOT WIKIPEDIA"Line B isn't backed-up, then you don't use it at all.

This is the exact argument that doesn't make sense to me. You can't say that the information on a site is good and bad at the same time. I'm obviously not going to defend that any information not backed up on Wikipedia is something we can trust, but if it's backed up it's fine.

The thing is, a lot of things on Wikipedia isn't backed up with a source and some are backed at the same time. Authors of pages are too anonymous, there are other sources of information which require some verification in order to edit (meaning that you have to be an intellect about that topic or whatsoever). Take a look at this Wikipedia article I edited 2-3 years ago:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

"The act itself was passed in early 1799." <-- This information is bogus, I made it up to win a mock trial, as you can see, it lasted for quite a while meaning that people don't notice that it is bull and hence remaining untouched for three years. Someone may have cited my bull-dung information on one of his debates and it would have been wrong information.

If I wanted to win a debate, why can't I just keep using Wikipedia articles and edit them to favour my argument? You don't quote from Sparknotes if you are going to make an essay on a book, you cite the book itself, give the original author some credit.
JesseR
Posts: 18
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1/27/2014 8:17:09 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
If the article that you are researching has good, legitimate references then yes. Otherwise stay away, and go to a website that is non-profit, or .org for example.
Khaos_Mage
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1/27/2014 8:37:57 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/27/2014 8:17:09 AM, JesseR wrote:
If the article that you are researching has good, legitimate references then yes. Otherwise stay away, and go to a website that is non-profit, or .org for example.

LOL
Because non-profits or .orgs are never biased, right?
Actually, IMO, I do think getting biased information bolsters one's case, if the data from the opposing bias source helps your case. For example, a labor issue where the union website has data that aids your anti-union stance.
My work here is, finally, done.
JesseR
Posts: 18
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1/27/2014 8:39:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/27/2014 8:37:57 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 1/27/2014 8:17:09 AM, JesseR wrote:
If the article that you are researching has good, legitimate references then yes. Otherwise stay away, and go to a website that is non-profit, or .org for example.

LOL
Because non-profits or .orgs are never biased, right?
Actually, IMO, I do think getting biased information bolsters one's case, if the data from the opposing bias source helps your case. For example, a labor issue where the union website has data that aids your anti-union stance.

Agreeable