Bloggers: Stop Cutting & Pasting Wikepedia “facts” in your posts! (PHOTO PROOF)
Last Summer, I had one of my many spats with a friend of a friend on her Facebook post about some contentious topic.
To support her position, the friend’s friend quoted Wikipedia, a massive online collaborative public encyclopedia that anyone can edit — and when I say anyone, I mean like the delusional wacko guy who lives downstairs who thinks you are in love with him or your ex girl who keyed your car when you said it was over but refuse to believe it and wants you to pay. Anyone.
In any event, fast forward to today.
A blogger I follow posted a Black History Month piece celebrating the brilliant, gorgeous award-winning and Academy-Award nominated talented actress Lupita Nyong’o. In the bio portion of her post, this blogger clearly cut and pasted the background information from Wikipedia because she was described as a MEXICAN-KENYAN! what?!?
Instantly, I knew where she go that from:
Now you know.
Nyong’o’s dad is a life-long Kenyan politician who just happened to be stationed in Mexico city when her mom went into labor and gave birth to her there. After her dad’s station was over, the family went back home. Everything about her upbringing and early life is Kenyan. She was only in Mexico briefly as a baby and thus does not identify as Mexican anything.
Yet, if you were to rely on some random person’s entry, you’d believe she considered herself Mexican and she does not.
Here’s the thing, bloggers.
Wikipedia should only be used as a starting point for follow up research, bloggers. If you cite it or rely on it in your piece, that article, your blog and you would be given the side-eye and will lose credibility among readers and visitors and fellow bloggers. Most definitely career journalists who already don’t give us bloggers much credence will dismiss us.
Wikipedia DOES have massive value in terms of” transparency, mass collaboration, and hyperlinking”, as some have argued. It is a gold-mine of research sources that an online researcher can launchpad from, and if you are a site-owner looking to build back links, Wikipedia is a GREAT place to do that legitimately.
But beyond that, no more.
Go to the official Facebook or website of the subject to confirm information you see on Wikipedia about him/her/it.
And, parents, please please don’t let your kids do their research paper and homework using Wikipedia as a primary source. Ever. Major parenting Fail. Make them haul their bums down to the local library and or online library and put in the work.
Anyway back to the Lupita thing.
So I fixed it.
And to further prove the point about how Wikipedia is not reliable and should not be used in your article as a primary source of information, here are tweets from various people who declared how WRONG Wikipedia was about their birthdays and various other aspects of their lives.