A "completely insane idea"

Is how its founder, Jimmy Wales, describes it “a free online encyclopedia that anyone can contribute to and anyone can edit” otherwise known as Wikipedia. The Guardian has a great article on “one of the internet’s most inspiring success stories”.

Controversial, over-ambitious and to its fans “a fantastic research source – albeit one that you should use with caution”, the English language version of Wikipedia has over 360,000 entries and is growing every day, yet has cost only

  • StrayToaster

    As a fan of Wikipedia for some years now, (and of wikis in general, both as a work and personal tool) I am glad to see it get a proper airing. Though the Guardian? tcah.

    A useful place to start the settling of office debates. Where else could I have found out that the 12th was actually on the 1st. Well, I could have worked it out myself, but best let someone else do it.

  • Davros

    I have to disagree StrayToaster;)

    There is an inherent unreliability to it and as such it’s as much use- for settling points of debate- as a chocolate teapot.

  • willowfield

    Where else could I have found out that the 12th was actually on the 1st.

    Any half-decent history book about the subject.

    Or from the famous James Young sketch.

  • StrayToaster

    Willowfield: I tend not to trust historyu books on our country, be they half-decent or not. Always with the agenda. Recommendations welcome, of course.

    And Jimmy Young? Pur-lease. I am under 40, you know.

    Davros: No, I find Wikipedia a great thing, rarely unreliable. Perhaps I am just looking at different things than you. This seems fine to me. 🙂 (Plus, I was also taught by two of the three authors of the book listed in the literature section, so that helps.)

    Of course, I find choocie teapots a great boon to modern living…

  • Davros

    I must admit StrayToaster, I had forgotten that most people aren’t like me and don’t know most of what is in Wikipedia that is uncontested – and as I only need to consult Google over contested issues ….

    (runs and hides )

  • Mario

    Great site. Tons of information, I had never heard of this before.

  • maca

    It’s very hard to know about Wikipedia. In some cases you will find that the information might be 100% accurate however the problem is that you just don’t know for sure.

    I’ll use the page on the Irish language as an example. Not so long ago the page was full of bullsh1t, badly written and inaccurate, but now the same page contains well written and very accurate info.

    Very useful for reference but don’t bet too much money on the accuracy of the info.

  • Davros

    Agreed Maca.

    A useful reference site is Princess Grace Irish Library – in many hundreds of visits I have only found one mistake there, contacted them and site was corrected.