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Sunday, December 2, 2012

How to treat Wikepedia and Blogs

I see that Wikepedia is having a fund drive, as the following is currently on the Wikepedia Website:
Dear Wikipedia readers: We are the small non-profit that runs the #5 website in the world. We have only 150 staff but serve 450 million users, and have costs like any other top site: servers, power, rent,programs, staff and legal help. To protect our independence, we'll never run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations averaging about $30. If everyone reading this gave $5, our fundraiser would be done within an hour. Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn't belong here. Not in Wikipedia. If Wikipedia is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year. Please help us forget fundraising and get back to Wikipedia. Thank you, from the Wikimedia Foundation. PLEASE HELP
No, this is not a post in support of Wikepedia.  However, I am an arch supporter of websites like Wikepedia.  While not associated with Wikepedia, the blogsophere is similar to Wikepedia: we offer  facts for free.  However, you have to be careful, because there's a lot of junk information on the Internet too.  To filter the junk from facts, you'll have to check out the references provided.  I like Wikepedia because most of what you see on that site requires references.  In this way, Wikepedia is akin to any paper you'd write for English class, and deserves equal respect.

Like you, I use Wikepedia as a guide for learning about various things from time to time.  However, you'll rarely see me referencing Wikepedia.  I usually use it as a guide, and then do my own research.  For difficult to find subjects, I use the references at the bottom of each section.  Although more often than not I find my own sources to verify the same information from Wikepedia, then I reference those sources.

That's the same way I'd like people to use my blog.  I don't want you to take my word for anything.  I want you to use my blog as a guide, or a resource, to greater information.  Wherever possible I try to provide references at the bottom, or throughout my posts.  You should use those for furthering your knowledge, or writing your own research papers.

You do not need to reference or credit Wikepedia or blogs in any way.  However, out of respect, you should provide a note on your reference such as:  the reference here was found through Wikepedia, or RT Cave, or wherever you obtained it.  This humbles your research and shows that you did not come up with these references on your own.

This is not required, however, as I have never seen someone reference the library as a source of information, or a librarian.  Although, if you quote a librarian, then due respect is expected.

And, obviously, if you do choose to quote Wikepedia or RT Cave, you should definitely provide the reference to your information.  If you do not you are plagiarizing.

For the first 30,000 years of civilization the average person, 80 plus percent of us, were not provided access to greater information.  We were kept ignorant.  Even into the mid 1990s most of our news was provided by three main networks.

The Internet, and free access to it, has opened a door never before provided to the general populace, people like you and me.  We should use it  and use it wisely.

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