Why I Reference Wikipedia

A few of you have cautioned me (even chastised me) for my use of links to Wikipedia in many of my rants.  That’s a fair criticism, so I’m sending out an answer, and some observations about research overall.

Of course Wikipedia has to be  taken with much more than a single grain of salt.  It’s only slightly above a public forum of ideas and opinions isn’t it… and is certainly NOT admissible as a legitimate source for
any real academic pursuits.

However, Wikipedia is a site covers just about everything you can think of and is (typically) well footnoted with links to other resources online.  But that’s the rub, isn’t it – “online.”

More and more libraries are relying on online – or at least networked – resources.  Further, while I suppose I would have the inclination for that sort of research trip, I have no time for it.

But just because someone has managed to get themselves published does that make their opinion any more “true” or reliable?  Of course not! Just because someone has graduated from one of our “ivy league” institutions with an advanced degree does that make them any more likely to have a rational opinion?  Perhaps, but lately I have become increasingly concerned about our scholars as a result of some of the ridiculous positions I see many of them take on the issues of the day.

Instead I do my best to gather “news” and opinion from as many sources as I am able to access across the Internet with the limited time and bandwidth available to me.  I do have a job.  Eat, sleep, gym, work… then there’s this war and all.

I subscribe to several daily informational e-mail newsletters such as STRATFOR and (typically) before I “issue an opinion” of my own, I do check a number of Internet accessible sources for verification, background and alternate opinions well beyond Wikipedia.

Of course the central theme in all of that is the Internet.  But while that may not pass the sniff test when it comes to a Doctoral dissertation (or really any serious college-level work), it’s “good enough” for what I am doing… in my opinion… I think.

I don’t “trust” Wikipedia.  I simply provide links there as a start point for YOU to conduct your own research!  Don’t chastise me for not providing you with a properly researched and footnoted Masters-level dissertation.  Don’t be a “low information citizen” (God, I hate that term!)  Hasn’t this been the general theme of my writings for at least this past year?  THINK FOR YOURSELVES!

The bottom line is that you should all be doing your own research!  If you have something to say then SAY IT!  But don’t discount what I say without telling me why I’m wrong, and don’t throw out my admittedly limited “research” until you provide your own.