My students, especially on the freshpeep level, tend to be surprised when I tell them that while Wikipedia is frequently a useful way to get general background info on a topic, it isn’t reliable enough to be an acceptable source for one of my classes. I talk a bit about the idea of crowdsourcing-as-peer-review, and I tell them that while a mistake or misinformation will be corrected eventually (at least in theory), they don’t want to risk using info that hasn’t been corrected yet. I’ve given them the example of the comedian Sinbad’s alleged death as an example, and occasionally mentioned the Siegenthaler episode as well.

Well, here’s another piece to which I can refer them — and it’s a pretty good mystery that’s worth a read in itself. There are heroes and villains, and motives as old as humanity. Check it out.


About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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2 Responses to Wiki-Wackiness

  1. Kate P says:

    “Surprised” sounds about right. At the 5th grade level, it’s more like “crestfallen,” as I discovered when I spoke with a student a couple of weeks ago. He was so proud of himself for getting done ahead of time (Googling at home), and the kid had to redo his Science project research. Too bad that article isn’t written for a 6th grade class because I’d love to use it to discuss online behavior with my Research class. It really illustrates a lot of key terms (and unethical behavior) well.

  2. Linda Roberts says:

    This is my favorite example for research short-cutters: Endangered tree octopus proves students believe everything they ……/Endangered-tree-octopus-proves-students-believe-…
    Feb 3, 2011 – The creature was concocted in a research ‘laboratory’ to test how so-called ‘ digital natives’ evaluate information they find on websites. “But I looked it up on wikipedia!!!”

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