Explain why Wikipedia is considered unreliable.

Expert Answers

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Wikipedia is unlike other encyclopedias. For example, compare Wikipedia's entry on chess with that in World Book. Wikipedia's is much more extensive and it includes numerous notes, links, and a bibliography. World Book's much briefer article on the subject was written by Larry Evans, a five-time winner of the U.S. Chess Championship. The author of the Wikipedia article on chess is unknown.

Uncertain authorship is indeed a major problem with Wikipedia. In February 2020, as Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign gained momentum, the authorship of his Wikipedia article became the object of much speculation. Buttigieg insists that he was not the author, but there is no way to be certain.

Wikipedia is a free resource, so it is not surprising that it not as professional as the Encyclopædia Britannica. Britannica, which charges a fee, does have an occasional error, but its content is far more reliable than that of Wikipedia. An encyclopedia's cost does not always reflect its accuracy, however. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia is an excellent source which is available for free.

Personally, I rarely use Wikipedia, and I do so only when I cannot find an answer elsewhere. Then, I check the article's bibliography for further information. As an author, I would never cite Wikipedia because finding a corroborating source is paramount.

Wikipedia is written by volunteers, not professionals. This is the main reason why it is less reliable than other encyclopedias.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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