Any way you look at it, Wikipedia is honestly extraordinary, the first bona fide wonder of the information age. Far bigger compared to any other body of collected information, Wikipedia is also free, by virtue of a large community of active editors and brilliant methods to solve misunderstandings between them, normally accurate. That is the reason why half of the human population use the website to look for information, research essays, find answers in pub tests, and spoil amusing debates. It is so excellent, as a matter of fact, a specific survey in the United Kingdom shows that Brits trust it more than BBC.
We mere beings rely on Wikipedia in everyday life. We live in the age of the crowd when we put our faith to what other people think collectively rather than what experts say. As a matter of fact, the populace is now the new expert.
One of the reasons this is happening is due to the loss of trust in expertise and institutions popularly. Whether it’s the justice system, the police force, the people in the government, or the media, for the last decade trust has been degrading. However, a bigger reason is that ‘crowd wisdom’ has turned into the only way to manage the torrent of digital material flooding us every time. The world wide web is a pile of clashing, perplexing, flooding information. There are an infinite number of choices, whether it’s about music, books, hotels, and especially opinions. Too much of all things.
The only way to identify what’s what is to find out what everyone else is thinking. A good example is YouTube. We only watch videos that are trending. A story trending on Twitter? Better check that tweet out! It must be really important since everyone else is reading it. Having a restaurant dilemma? You can now easily scan customer reviews online. Almost all things in your life are now driven by the populace. Views, ratings, shares, and likes are now useful gatekeepers that help us control our limited time. Ultimately, two hands are better than one. Therefore a thousand must be better still, right?
Not all the time. First of all, things you see online aren’t always correct. For example, lots of companies today use fake reviews to make it look like their company is actually providing excellent products or services, but in reality, it’s the total opposite. On Wikipedia, there is this problem known as “Wikiwashing”. This is when professional editors are getting payments to write and edit articles.
Regardless of these setbacks, Wikipedia as a whole is still a remarkable website. In fact, a popular study shows that Wikipedia is nearly as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica, which we all know are written by the world’s greatest minds.
However, Wikipedia doesn’t always work well for encouraging independent thinking, for making opinions, for critical thoughts, for discernment – for learning how to take or analyze information. We are herding animals: we have.