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Credibility for Wikipedia

Because you have a right to my opinion

Wikipedia is a great idea, but it suffers from such such horrendous lack of credibility that it has been banned as a reference citation at all respectable schools and universities.

In my article on evaluating the credibility of Oracle information on the web, I noted that only by providing a real identify and qualifications can the credibility of a publication be accessed.

The same is true from Wikipedia. Wikipedia has a huge ultra-liberal bias, with most of the entries being made by people who have lots of free time.  For example, the Wikipedia entry for Hillary Rodham Clinton a few months ago described her with profanity as "The First B***h of the World." Kid's have no business on Wikipedia.

This article notes that librarians are working hard to discredit Wikipedia and encourage "real" authoritative references for research:

"We feel strongly about our responsibility to educate our students on the good, credible and scholarly material on the Internet and discourage their pulling out the first thing they find which may or may not be accurate. . .

For less than $25 you can transfer the entire Encyclopedia Britannica to your desktop or laptop for immediate access. Call me old fashioned, but that's my idea of authority."

Wikipedia is so bad that it has even spun-off competing sites and parody sites.


Parody of credibility on Wikipedia

So long as an illiterate drug addict can override the work of a Harvard professor, Wikipedia will never be an authoritative reference.  We also have the issue of citing references on Wikipedia, most of which are not online.  Again, credibility for Wikipedia centers around the credentials and reputation of the person publishing on Wikipedia. 

But what is credibility?  Is credibility fostered by published research, books published, academic degrees, or expertise in the subject area?

Are Google search engine faults to blame?

Google has always had the credo "Do No Evil", but it appears that a part of the problem is the high-weight that Google assigns to uncredible Wikipedia entries. This shortcoming may herald the downfall of Google, as a more intelligent competitor finds a way to improve the "relevance" of search requests.  Remember, Wikipedia is used by criminals as well.  Business competitors routinely bash their competitors personnel and products, jealous rivals publish false biographies, and Wikipedia facilitates many other criminal acts. The DMCA Section 230 only immunizes the ISP, and it's not hard to get a subpoena to reveal the true identity of bad guys on Wikipedia. 

The DMCA is at the heart of the "I'm only a venue" argument, but it's only a matter of time before those ISP's that facilitate criminal activity are held accountable for their acts.  Let's take a look at solutions to web credibility for Wikipedia.

Web 3.0 and Wikipedia credibility

Obviously, user contribution sits like Wikipedia can be amazing, but only if the contributors qualifications are openly published.  In the brick and mortar world, becoming an expert is often determined in the courts, where a subject-matter expert is "certified" as an expert by a judge for the purpose of expert witness testimony.

For Wikipedia credibility it would be necessary to create an independent verification body to "certify" the credentials of all Wikipedia authors.  It's impossible to place weights upon these credentials, and we could imaging the fighting of Wikipedia were to attempt to "weight" the credence value of a Yale vs. a Harvard degree.  Hence, the credential would stand on their own, and Wikipedia members would be free to judge the relative value of each contributor based on their credentials.

Accountability would improve Wikipedia

Sooner of later, all netizens will be non-anonymous.  Anonymity is not a "right" of a privilege, that's just how things turned-out with the evolution of the web.  Today, cooperation from ISP's can trace-back an IP address to the person who signed-on and even track the specific computer from which a publication was made.

Imaging an internet where you could not sign-on without verifiable identify.  Spam would instantly stop, hackers could be easily arrested, and everyone would be accountable for their own words.  For those who want to enjoy the pleasures on anonymous free speech, special domains could be created for them with a special TLD to let people know that they are anonymous.  

Certifying credentials on the web

It would not be difficult for an independent body to verify credentials, and this would make the entire internet more credible, as people can evaluate each publisher on their own background.  An independent body could accept college transcripts and other verification, so that you knew exactly how much credibility to place an any Wikipedia contribution.

This would be entirely voluntary, and it should include voluntary measures of "Moral turpitude" such as criminal records and credit history checks. Such an independent body might charge a fee of $100, and collect all aspects of credibility, without making any value judgments on the credentials:

  • Academic qualifications - College transcripts can be easily verified
  • Published research - It's easy to verify authorship of academic research from accepted journals.
  • Books published - Verifying authorship of books is easy to confirm.
  • Criminal background checks - It is very easy for a volunteer to show that they are not convicted felons and have no history of deceitful acts.
  • Credit checks - The moral turpitude of a publisher is also an issue that goes to credibility, as anyone who would stiff a creditor may not have sound moral values.
  • Expert experience - Records of testimony as an expert witness and other verifiable experience can be collected.

We must remember that anonymity as just a side-effect of the nascent web technology and they only way that Internet archives like Wikipedia will gain acceptance is when contributors reveal their identify and qualifications.





Burleson is the American Team

Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

Verify experience! Anyone considering using the services of an Oracle support expert should independently investigate their credentials and experience, and not rely on advertisements and self-proclaimed expertise. All legitimate Oracle experts publish their Oracle qualifications.

Errata?  Oracle technology is changing and we strive to update our BC Oracle support information.  If you find an error or have a suggestion for improving our content, we would appreciate your feedback.  Just  e-mail:  

and include the URL for the page.


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