A wise man at the ripe old age of 21 told me that he had the knowledge of the world in his hand. He flashed his mobile and told me that anything he wanted to learn was accessible on the web via his phone. He believe that a) he didn’t really needed to remember anything because he could check it out easily via his mobile phone and b) he could learn about anything anywhere and anytime. He posed a question of why people still recruited based on qualifications and not what you actually know. Qualifications may be a means of a checkpoint to recruiters to ensure that everything you know is well checked and certified.
We went on to discuss about whether to believe everything you read and sad to say, most people do. Got a medical condition, birth tips, how to fix your car or any other problem just google it. How do you know if it’s really true or written by some half wit like me? Well here’s an excerpt from the wiki folks that explains a little bit more.
“So every Wikipedia article is based on sort of these three core tenets. The first is neutrality. Wikipedia articles have to be neutral in the way that they present information. And what that means generally is that you don’t see a lot of adjectives in Wikipedia articles because adjectives are slippery, they can mean different things to different people.
They have to be based on reliable sources and reliable sources, so that’s the idea that it’s verifiable, you can go back to the source that it comes from.
And Wikipedians will use different types of reliable sources depending on what you’re writing about. If you’re writing about current events you’re going to use very different sources than if you’re, say, writing about 18th-century tapestries; just different types of publications cover these things. And the way that Wikipedians think about reliability is not about “source A is good and source B is bad”, instead it’s more around “how do those sources think about and engage in knowledge creation, generation, and critique?”. So they look at things like: does the source fact check? Does the source engage in peer review? If the source is wrong will it issue a correction? And that is sort of the approach that Wikipedians take to assess different types of reliable sources for different areas of knowledge creation.
And then the last is no original research. So while new knowledge is being created every single day, until it has actually gone through a process of shaping consensus review it doesn’t belong on Wikipedia. We are not a place to break news, in the sense of new information. We are a place to provide an overview of what is understood and accepted, and the work has been done in other forums.”
Wonderful. So the next time to want to check something on the web, take a leaf off the wiki folks and try to get a second and third opinion. Maybe from another source, a friend or an expert. Good luck on the knowledge hunt.