Many teachers in my school district have banned the use of Wikipedia, they believe that the information is unreliable, written by "just anyone" and downright false. Where do people get this information about Wikipedia? I can't believe that information sources are banned from our schools in 2010, it is like we are back in Hitler's Germany.
I am sorry to be so sensational, but this is really starting to bother me. As a contributor to Wikipedia I want to set the record straight on a few things.
Every time I have ever posted information on to Wikipedia, that information is verified and reviewed by an editor. I cannot edit or add anything to an article without a resource that can be verified. Because of this very reason I have had some of my contributions rejected.
"Just Anyone" can contribute to Wikipedia:
Wikipedia is the "World's Encyclopedia" which is what makes it so great. All of us as a society can add something to the knowledge of the world, we all have something to give. If I was to pick up a paper-type encyclopedia, let's say the 2006 edition because it is way too expensive to buy one each year and look up a subject like "cell therapy" I would get some expert's opinion on the matter, that information would be verified by the editors of the encyclopedia. Not only would it be out of date, but it would also be just one person's opinion. What if there is a "non-expert" who has some radical ideas that is changing how the world will think about cell therapy? This person would be rejected by traditional encyclopedia editors but he or she could have a voice on Wikipedia as long as their information could be verified. (Being verified is different on Wikipedia and is a lot different than you think -- the idea of community consensus plays into a lot of it -- don't get freaked out.)
I can't believe that people still think this. Please use the contact link on this page if you know of any article on Wikipedia that has false information on it (remember your claim must be verifiable) and email me your findings. Some teachers I work with think that Wikipedia says things like the moon is made of cheese or some nonsense. This is just an old rumor about Wikipedia that teachers perpetuate.
Wikipedia is not the end all, or the final word on anything. What it is is a great jumping off point to gain new insights and ideas. Teach students to verify and validate information. Teach them to contribute. Teach them to open their minds.
Are we not beyond banning information from our students?