Whenever I use a Wikipedia link I try to make sure that there is never a reason for you to have to read it if you don’t want to. I always try to make sure that they information is in the post and the link is if you want to learn more, or read it for yourself.
I love Wikipedia because it’s the kitchen sink, its everything relevant to a thing. Since emotions make people care about things, usually there is a person with experience trying to make sure the information is good. Yeah it needs to be used carefully, but if you know the tricks you can learn literally everything you could ever want to.
Flaw 1: Anyone can write anything the want! It’s all garbage!
Solution 1: Learn Wikipedia’s standards! What’s that? You didn’t know it had standards? Well it does! It does not make Wikipedia perfect, but it does make it more than unreliable. My characterization of what a Wikipedia article is after the standards it that it is “All Relevant Information.”
Solution 2: How to know if the information is good when you want to use it. Remember that the internet is full of drama and use that to your advantage. Sure people with agendas other than fair storage and display of knowledge will come in and get to work, but if you learn to use internet drama to your advantage you can be the boss of your own brain.
- Learn to look at the “Talk” page on each article. Do you know what that is? It’s the people who care about the article arguing. If you know how to determine who is correct by watching an argument, you can decide for yourself who to believe.
- Learn to roll-back the article you are interested in to a previous version. That way you can see the edits on a controversial issue from both sides and decide for your self.
Note: This requires good critical thinking and logical skills, and Google-Fu…
Solution 3: Learn to judge the credibility of a source. Wikipedia gives you the citations for the facts that it states. You can follow those! Is a physicist at A university going to know more about time travel, or is someone else? The way I figure it out for myself is to ask the following.
- Did the non-expert show and say why they were right instead of the scientist or the scientific consensus? Anyone can say whatever they want, but I have always thought that the true value of an expert is in their ability to make us understand why they are correct, not just tell us they are correct. I think that if you tried to ask the physicist to do that they would be happy to do so. A person with an emotional investment will at some point answering difficult questions…
- Did the source say why the fact was correct, and not just say it.
- If the source did just say it, or did they tell you where they got the information? There is a trail and an honest source will give you the entire chain right to a thing you can judge for yourself.