Anybody can call themselves a doctor, but only a handful have done the work and can prove it. Really, you could call yourself anything you’d like so that you sound distinguished. That’s exactly what one of Wikipedia’s contributor’s did. Ryan Jordan claimed to be a professor of theology to give himself some credibility, yet he was a 24 year-old college dropout.
Now Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales is saying that they’re going to implement a plan where those who cite professional expertise on the site will have to have their credentials verified. Jordan ended up in a position with Wikia where he was an arbitrator. This meant that he was in a trusted position where he had a lot of control over the content, and what stayed, and what didn’t. He had the power to override any edits made by other people.
What makes Wikipedia unique is that there’s anonymity to it, and there’s a huge variety of topics that are covered. While all of the information may not be reliable, Wikipedia does work to make them credible by hiring people like Jordan to cite the information.
Because it’s popular, it becomes a target for vandalism. Back in January, they took new steps to prevent vandalism ‘so that immature people can’t go and destroy a page and fill it with nonsense.
This next step to require proof of credentials will only help Wikipedia become a better source of information, and hopefully that will help them keep their presence in schools and other higher education institutions where Wikipedia is currently being banned. One example of this is Middlebury College where they decided Wikipedia does have value, but it’s not an appropriate source.
While I agree it’s not an appropriate source for research, it does have a lot of important information that you could always verify the validity of on your own.
If you claim you know your stuff on Wikipedia, prove it!