Courtney Brown, Ph.D.
H O M E
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A Warning on Student Use of Wikipedia. Please Read.

There are, indeed, a great many very good articles in Wikipedia, and I often find these articles to be rich in useful background information and links, especially regarding noncontroversial subjects. But the quality of the articles is not uniform, and in general, Wikipedia is not an appropriate source for students to cite in college papers. The articles in Wikipedia are written by anonymous contributors with no verifiable backgrounds as authorities in the subjects of the articles. Very often, contributors insert their own strongly held views into these articles, which Wikipedia indirectly encourages by shielding the identities of its contributors. This has sometimes contributed to Wikipedia being a significant source of Internet abuse. It has often become a venue for flame and revert wars exploited by all sorts of people trying to manipulate public opinion, including congressional staffers, campaign consultants, and just about anyone wanting to push a particular viewpoint on the public. Public people and controversial issues are the most common victims of this abuse. It is exceptionally difficult for credible people to constantly monitor and correct these abuses because of Wikipedia's on-going revert and revision capabilities. The "point of view pushers" tend to win such battles due to their persistence.

No student should cite any Wikipedia article in any written work submitted to me as a class assignment. In general, try to cite original research as found in journal articles and books.