Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Home Uncategorized Wikipedia can be misleading, says study

Wikipedia can be misleading, says study

New York, You should not trust Wikipedia blindly for every topic as entries on politically controversial scientific topics could be subjected to “information sabotage”, a study says.

images
commons.wikimedia.org

Study co-author Gene E. Likens, a distinguished research professor at the University of Connecticut, has monitored Wikipedia’s acid rain entry since 2003.

Likens had co-discovered acid rain in North America.

“In the scientific community, acid rain is not a controversial topic. Its mechanics have been well understood for decades,” Likens said.

“Yet, despite having ‘semi-protected’ status to prevent anonymous changes, Wikipedia’s acid rain entry receives near-daily edits, some of which result in egregious errors and a distortion of consensus science,” he said.

In an effort to see how Wikipedia’s acid rain entry compared to other scientific topics, Likens partnered with Adam M. Wilson, a geographer at the University at Buffalo.

Together, they analysed Wikipedia edit histories for three politically controversial scientific topics (acid rain, evolution, and global warming), and four non-controversial scientific topics (the standard model in physics, heliocentric, general relativity, and continental drift).

Using nearly a decade of data, Likens and Wilson teased out daily edit rates, the mean size of edits (words added, deleted, or edited), and the mean number of page views per day.

While the edit rate of the acid rain article was less than the edit rate of the evolution and global warming articles, it was significantly higher than the non-controversial topics.

Across the board, politically controversial scientific topics were edited more heavily and viewed more often, the researchers said.

“Wikipedia’s global warming entry sees 2-3 editing a day, with more than 100 words altered, while the standard model in physics has around 10 words changed every few weeks,” Wilson said.

“The high rate of change observed in politically controversial scientific topics makes it difficult for experts to monitor their accuracy and contribute time-consuming corrections,” he said.

“As society turns to Wikipedia for answers, students, educators, and citizens should understand its limitations when researching scientific topics that are politically charged,” Likens said.

Wikipedia does employ algorithms to help identify and correct blatantly malicious edits, such as profanity.

However, Likens and Wilson urged users to cast a critical eye on Wikipedia source material, which is found at the bottom of each entry.

(IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

18,992FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,781FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Here’s How you can Manage Flu at Home

The monsoon has begun, and while it brings relief from summer heat it also brings perils of humidity. With the rain showers comes the...

Top Selection Criteria for a Voltage Stabilizer

In our power grids, voltage fluctuation is a common phenomenon. But it also is a concerning one as it can harm sensitive electrical appliances...

Dalai Lama Turns 85, Tibetans Dedicate Year 2020 to him

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), also known as Tibetan government-in-exile, on Monday announced to dedicate this year...

Here’s What to Expect When You Catch a Flight from the Airport

Hustling sounds, frequent announcements, savvy travelers glued to their gadgets, emotional families waiting to receive or see-off their loved ones-- it's perhaps the opening...

A Must have Adventure Bucket List

The worldwide lockdown due to coronavirus has brought a screeching halt to every industry, including the travel and hospitality. With restrictions on international travel...

Picture Perfect Living Room Decor Ideas

A cosy and comfortable sofa set, a coffee table for tete-a-tete and a perfect TV unit to keep the entertainment mode on, all these...

‘Covid’ Now the most Searched Word of 2020

The term 'Covid' - the commonly used shorthand for Covid-19 or Coronavirus disease caused by the SARS CoV-2 virus - is the top word...

Beauty of Indian Culture: William Dalrymple on his Experience Living in India

India is one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse nations with the oldest culture in the World. The Indian culture varies like its...

Recent Comments