For many Wikipedia is a great resource for free in-depth information on a wide range of topics. What many don’t know is that Wikipedia also has a darker side that is not well known to the average user.
This darker side of Wikipedia stems from the fact that the information provided comes from an open group of contributors, resulting in unreliable data lacking proper sources.
Many teachers today prohibit students from using Wikipedia as a source in reports and research due to the anonymity and possibility for unconfirmed (or even falsified) information.
Wikipedia has also been a target for vandalism by unscrupulous individuals and advertisers as a way to gain traffic and increased exposure, or even to discredit and defame competitors.
The other major problem is brought on by the fact that anyone can become an editor, and by contributing to the site even gain administrator status (granting the power to block and ban users as well as lock and remove pages).
One such example is that of the Wikipedia bio of John Seigenthaler, Sr. (editor in chief of USA Today), in which falsified information was introduced and left unchanged for 4 months!
Another great example is that of the so called Wikipedia War on Gaming, in which articles involving traditional (and historical) gaming references and even classical games were defaced, locked, and even deleted in some cases.
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia has even had problems in the past, including a short entry he created about a restaurant in South Africa that was put up for deletion because the restaurant wasn’t “notable” enough.
So the next time you find yourself on Wikipedia, remember that it can be a great resource of information, as long as you keep in mind that these are real human beings writing (and editing!) these articles (the elitist, arrogant, jealous, and spiteful creatures we are).