I get tired of hearing people argue that “you can’t use Wikipedia as a resource” for anything, but most specifically academic papers ….
Why is it important to use an academic paper instead of a blog as a legitimate source? When you use an actual research paper there is a bibliography where you can check, confirm, or dive deeper into a claim. How is Wikipedia any different?
Here is an example from Wikipedia:
“Common descent stretches back over 3.5 billion years during which life has existed on earth.“
This simple statement has four references: a Princeton paper (unavailable online), an article from the National Academy of Science, a published paper by a Harvard profession in Nature magazine, and an article in Scientific American.
I’m assuming that these works also have citations to this specific claim; which in turn, will have further citations and so on. According to the Wikipedia Logic, you cannot cite anything expect The Origin of Species.
Guess what? The Origin of Species has 32 pages of listed works.
There are 284 references listed on the Wikipedia “Evolution” page.
I stopped counting at 500 citations to these references in the article. Someone could argue that Wikipedia has more citations, is better organized, and is more legitimate than most elite academic journals.
Someone could make that argument.
However, someone who would make that argument in the academic world might be shunned, much like Charles Darwin.
Yes, it is editable by anything. COMICS like Stephen Colbert and Daniel Tosh have proven this. They also proved that within minutes, those pages or edits were immediately changed. It is tough to make the claim that false information about important and popular topics remain as facts.