My editor recently questioned whether I should source my blog posts with links to Wikipedia, the community-built online encyclopedia. It’s a good question, a fair question, and one that many newsrooms are grappling with to some extent. Wikipedia is an amazing resource, with more than 1 million entries in English on an array of topics — with versions in dozens of other languages. The mind-boggling aspect of Wikipedia is that it uses the collective knowledge of its public contributors and editors, none of whom is paid. And when vandals or other history-revisionists strike, those same editors are tasked with keeping things in the “neutral point of view.” But still, the quality of Wikipedia varies from entry to entry, so I told my editor I would link to it when the entry did a good job defining a technical term. The counter-argument is that no information source is totally trustworthy and unbiased.
What do you think about Wikipedia? Do you trust it as a source for neutral information? Should journalists and bloggers link to it to back up their stories or opinions?