MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Use your wiki but scrutinize it too!

Like Katia, I too found the article on the student wiki hoaxe to be a little alarming. I also use Wikipedia fairly regularly and mainly in part to its prominence near the top of Google searches. However, I rarely, if ever take the information found there as an academic source for scholarly research.  

Perhaps, what is most concerning about this case study and wikis in general is the ease with which contributors can manipulate the reader. Large corporations or product and service providers for example may (and do) use these wikis to promote themselves and sell their products. Instead of providing unbias information, these corporations are making pitches and vying for our consumer time and dollar. Of course this is expected of any business concerned with the bottom line, but it is when it done covertly that it becomes unethical and shady. The consumer or reader has a right to know who is publishing this information so as to be able to evaluate the senders intentions in disseminating the message.

It was refreshing however to hear that the administrators of the wiki that featured the fake quote noticed the lack of attribution and removed it from the site. It’s nice to know that we have these sorts of watch dogs, guarding or at least filtering out some of the questionable material. What’s more, being analytical and continiously questioning content and attribution is really our only safe guard against being dooped like the journalists in the article. Red flagging questionable content is a courteous action we can all take to forewarn our online peers.

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May 24, 2009 - Posted by | Comment on Course Material |

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