A Wikipedia paradox

The site is most useful when you know either absolutely nothing about something, or a great deal about it. It permits those utterly unaware of a topic to get some essential facts – probably true – very quickly and easily. It also allows real experts to track down something they once knew, can remember, but had forgotten very quickly.

Wikipedia is least useful for those in the middle zone. These are people who know more than the minimum, but not enough to really judge the credibility of complex arguments in the subject area.

Nonetheless, it is a wonderful resource. I use it at least twenty times a day.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

2 thoughts on “A Wikipedia paradox”

  1. Isn’t this true of all sources of information? Knowing just a bit about sometime can actually make you easier to mislead.

  2. Some sources of information serve the middle ground better. In many cases, Wikipedia entries go straight from the most basic introduction to additional information that is highly technical.

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