As much as we'd love to trust the Internet's favorite crowdsourced store of knowledge, it's time to face the truth: It's a flawed system.
A new study published in the Public Relations Journal shows that a stunning 60 percent of articles about specific companies contained factual errors. All those mistakes are surely a mix of simple errors and straight-up sabotage, however the really discouraging findings come in the form of user support: Over 40 percent of the 1,284 people in the survey waited days before hearing a response to their requests for corrections: 24 percent never heard back at all.
The articles themselves probably aren't catastrophically wrong, but the we have a sinking suspicion that Wikipedia lack of solid editors may be part of the problem. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said as much last August when he bemoaned his site's lack of good editors and regular contributors. "A lot of it is convoluted," Wales said. "A lot of editorial guidelines … are impenetrable to new users." The guidelines may be confusing, but here's a basic one: Only use true facts.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.