On Trusting Wikipedia

Episteme 6 (1):74-90 (2009)
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Given the fact that many people use Wikipedia, we should ask: Can we trust it? The empirical evidence suggests that Wikipedia articles are sometimes quite good but that they vary a great deal. As such, it is wrong to ask for a monolithic verdict on Wikipedia. Interacting with Wikipedia involves assessing where it is likely to be reliable and where not. I identify five strategies that we use to assess claims from other sources and argue that, to a greater of lesser degree, Wikipedia frustrates all of them. Interacting responsibly with something like Wikipedia requires new epistemic methods and strategies.

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P. D. Magnus
State University of New York, Albany


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