Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

As everybody knows Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, launched on the web in 2001, available in over 280 languages and with more than 35 million entries. Every page can link you to many others making your research way easier than using the books. But what does it have to do with the audience participation? Well Wikipedia basically exists thanks to its users. Users can donate money in order to support the website. They can also add notes and parts to the already existing pages; they can also add pages themselves. Obviously everything that is written down form the users will be double checked from the experts first and if they agree that it is right and correct, it will be published then. I personally find this website one of the most important talking about the audience participation in something online not only because it has EVERYTHING inside (from the recipe of a typical dish, to the most famous actor, ending with the explanation of one particular event) but also because it is very well done.

Fun fact: no matter what page of the encyclopedia you are in, you can get to the Adolf Hitler page in less than seven clicks. Try starting from here for example.

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4 Comments

  1. Wikipedia is definitely one of the best and most useful websites out there. There’ve been a few times when a wiki page with necessary information didn’t exist in the language I needed or didn’t exist at all and it felt like the end of the world to me because I had to spend time actually looking for the answer on other websites. But do you really think that every single page is checked by an expert? I usually trust the information I get from Wikipedia but we’re forbidden to refer to it when writing essays for a reason, right? Although there’s a bibliography list at the end of every article so you can go deeper in the matter, it’s still not enough for the academics to allow us use Wikipedia. If only experts in certain fields had access to wikipedia (I mean the creation of its content), there’d definitely be fewer articles but they’d be more trustworthy.

    P.S. I came across that fact somewhere but I tried 3 times and I didn’t get to the page about Hitler at all; forget about “less than 7 clicks”. Have you tried that? Did it work?

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    • You should click on the words with a link, the blue ones, and chose the right ones. Like for example starting from Leonardo di Caprio, click on J. Edgar Hoover, than German and I assure you you will find the Hitler page. Or after J. Edgar Hoover, try choosing directly WWII. You should chose the right ones but it is proven that in less than 7 click you can get there

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  2. This is a classic example of audience participation within the media. Although Wikipedia isn’t the most reliable website for research, I often find myself browsing many different topics, from the profile of a famous actor to the definition of journalistic term. I think it’s almost like a guilty pleasure for many of us, we know we could use better websites but we stick with Wiki because of it’s large online community and because it’s free. However, I think I disagree that everything written down by users is double checked by experts. There have been several times when Wikipedia hasn’t been able to give me sufficient information, e.g. when I was looking at an episode guide for 24 Hours in A&E, I realised that many of the episodes were missing from the chart and the descriptions were inaccurate. I think this is the problem with Wiki, if someone edits something in the wrong way, there may not always be someone else there to correct it. I agree with prettyblobfish that this is why academics tell us not to use Wikipedia when writing essays. Nonetheless it’s useful other research that may be lighter and where inaccuracies wouldn’t matter as much.

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  3. Wikipedia is definitely the first thing that comes to mind when you think about “user generated” content on sites. It runs completely on audience participation, and with that comes contradictory opinions of it. First, like others commented, we are taught in school to not use Wikipedia as a reference being that anyone can build a page, making it not creditable. @jessicaoliviakwan made a good point in that there have been times when Wikipedia provides information that you know isn’t correct and conflicts with evidence on more creditable sources. This is an issue that internet can face when audience participation essentially is 100% of the content on the website.

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