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September 6th, 2009
03:34 AM ET

Does Wikipedia Work for You?

It’s one of the biggest sources of information on the planet. But can you trust it? Wikipedia gets tens of millions of visitors every month. But since pretty much anyone can add or edit text, there have been some blunders.
Our Josh Levs shows us a new “color-coding” system Wikipedia is taking to try to become more trustworthy. Here’s more from

What are your thoughts? Does Wiki work for you? Will the new system help?

Filed under: Josh Levs
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Mike

    I hope this system works. I use Wikipedia regularly but have seen some odd information on it's pages at times. As for Paul Reiser, he's alive, it's just his career that is dead since 15 years.

    September 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  2. John

    Not willing to give my full name but an angry ex partner posted a full bio of me on Wiki. by taking a news profile that was done about me and embelishing it. It took me three plus years and several thousand dollars to get it removed. The content was picked up by several other educational pages and is still searchable. If I could sue Wiki, I would have! Thank god that people from that organization are finally coming to their senses and looking at what is posted.

    September 6, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  3. Subba

    Hello Josh...

    Yes It does work..Color coding changing works....It is like (Orange ) not trust worthy...You can say STOP LIGHTS ...Where Red is Stop don't read...Yellow is it is somewhat working... Green is you are good to go....It works....!!! It's a nice way matter of fact...I agree....

    September 6, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  4. Eric

    I've already developed a pretty good idea for things in Wikipedia articles that don't sound quite right. The color coding will be great for helping the uninitiated detect suspicious text, but for veteran Wikipedians like me I don't think it really adds much.

    September 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  5. Joel

    Wikipedia articles are generally full of citations to original source material. (The Wikipedia page on CNN at cites 44 sources to back up its content). Perhaps CNN could learn from Wikipedia and occasionally cite verifiable sources from which it makes its claims.

    September 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  6. Harriet Paul

    I applaud Wiki for trying to implement a system to build more trust and reliability. And visuals CAN be highly successful. When stumbling on a "rainbow" like page, a reader will immediately know if s/he's dealing with suspicious info. But this can backfire too. If Wiki ends up having many such "rainbow" colored pages, then it would also visually project itself as full of crappy info without people having to even read it. Talk about a smeared image.

    If they are going to do this, they better work at having a fast system to verify the info so the suspicious colored info is quickly dealt with.

    September 6, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  7. Wisercrayon

    It's good to see them doing a little more, I do hope that this move helps.

    September 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  8. Tony Thornton

    Some americans r concerned about the president speech, siting numerous reasons. I believe those that r concerned do not have the courage to say what there real concerns r, which is racism.

    In my opinion those that r concerned do not want there children to idolize a black man. I'm willing to bet that the americans that r concerned about the president's speech oppose health care reform.

    September 6, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  9. Francis Dolarhyde

    The color-coding system will at least make a dent in the credibility detection of Wikipedia entries. I always knew that Wikipedia was just as much a good idea as it was a bad one.

    September 6, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  10. Barry Sotero

    I love Wikipedia and use it all the time. Thus far I have reinvented myself in my wiki three times. And that's just since the election.

    Wikipedia – Change you can count on!

    September 6, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  11. Ken in NC

    The new system will probably work for me but the core problem still exist and that is the fact that there are people on the internet that beleive what they read beacuse it is on the net. They beleive what they read because everything on the net is fact based. In other words, they take short cuts and beleive whatever another person or article tells them. The core problem, "WEAK MINDS".

    Josh there are even people right now that think the earth is round because someone else told them. They don't even realize all they need to do is tie a rope around their waist so when they reach the edge, if they fall over the edge, the rope will hold them. NOw as the result of this statement, tomorrow you will find an article instructing people to tie a rope around their waist when they go to the edge of the earth to keep from falling off. They will fall off anyway and be mad because the article didn't tell them to secure the rope at the other end. SINGLE MINDED THINKING.

    September 6, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  12. Martha

    That is a really great idea! I like it!

    September 7, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  13. Alan

    Excellent idea, and I wish Wikipedia well. I use them all the time, and the information overall, is usually quite accurate even before these changes.

    Long live Wikipedia!

    September 7, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  14. Tom

    I only trust wikipedia to an extent. I think its a great quick reference for benign subject matter.
    Unfortunately, long term I think the nature of it will detract from its trustworthiness – I don't think the color code system will work to solve the fundamental problem – its just another form of voting and we're going to end up with blogs (essentially) where the uninformed masses define 'collective truth' instead of objective truth.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  15. Lorraine, Victoria, BC

    I'm a middle school teacher-librarian. At the start of any research project in my library, I always caution my students about trusting Wikipedia too readily, because of the fact that anyone can write anything about any topic. Now I have added ammunition: a piece in my local newspaper back in June about someone(s) making changes to the entry on one of our local areas – here's the link:

    Not sure if the colour-coding will work, but it's a step in the right direction.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  16. yomama

    I think for a purely user-generated system of information, it is remarkably accurate. I have various thoughts on how such came to be. Perhaps when you have multiple users you get a convergence of perception toward the truth; through the act of of thousands of corrections we can get our version of perfection. The examples of blunders you gave were of celebrities. When it comes to history, science or other things, in general, given the amount of content it covers, it is quite accurate, given the system. A far more interesting question would not be whether this color system will make wikipedia more blunderless, but how it got as accurate as it did with the current system of volunteer-generated information. I would like to know how and why. That is far more interesting.

    September 7, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  17. Anotherfaceinthecrowd

    Common sense is critical when using Wikipedia. If I'm using the information to share with others, courses I'm taking, work – I will either research it further to make sure I know the answer or caveat anything I infer by stating "wikipedia'. However, that doesn't mean I don't love it. I use it often as my FIRST source of info before delving further for information. People are generally lazy and take most of the forwarded emails that are sent to them as 'truths' – way scary ......

    September 7, 2009 at 10:15 pm |