Wikipedia, a universal collection of articles that have essentially made knowledge open-source and freely accessible to the world.
Since it’s inception in 2001, Wikipedia has grown to include almost 6 million articles in more than 300 languages totalling upto almost 50 million pages of knowledge.
Wikipedia is more than just an encyclopedia
It is compiled by contributors from various fields, fact checked by admins, edited by experts and constantly maintained to ensure the knowledge available is as accurate as possible.
And the fact that Facebook, Amazon, and Google are contributors to the program and use it to power their AI adds credence to Wikipedia’s importance to the modern world.
Facebook and YouTube use Wikipedia to warn users about false news, Amazon and Apple use it to power Alexa and Siri’ Q&A where to answer a users question they look up articles.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter where if someone posts a piece of false news it will likely remain there, Wikipedia’s volunteer army of administrators and editors ensure any incorrect or unfactual content is remedied within minutes if not hours.
Where Wikipedia stands above everyone else in containing spread of fake news is its willingness to delete anything that is not backed by citation or some form of evidence. Such citations to either a research publication or news article from a reputed source ensure that the users get information which has been filtered and any fake news is removed.
Even academics and research accept the important
Even though the early educational institutes discourages students to use Wikipedia due to fear of content being inaccurate, incorrectly I might add, the knowledge on Wikipedia is almost universally agreed to be of quality that could withstand scrutiny.
In fact, in the early days of Wikipedia, 2005, Nature published research where they compared 42 science articles with Encyclopædia Britannica and found that Wikipedia’s level of accuracy is as good as that of Britannica.
Inspite of that, the humility of Wikipedia is apparent when you read its guidelines around using it as a source of information for academic writing or research.
And it is that humility which reflects the vision that the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has to bring knowledge to the masses while ensuring quality.
While it is true that can’t be considered a reliable source due to the fact that it stores second-hand and third-hand data derived from sources and written by volunteers, however, Wikipedia has always been positioned as the starting point for knowledge seekers in hope that it will kickstart their curiosity, give them an opportunity to learn, and hopefully help them go deeper.
In any case, used judiciously and by examining the source
Non-profit and charitable means free, fair, and unbiased information
Wikipedia is not a site that will charge you money for reading its knowledge, or hide the best articles behind a paywall. It will not be influnced by people contributing money to it since they don’t have to earn more and make their shareholders happy.
They don’t show you advertisements, so don’t care about who you are and what you do thus will respect your privacy.
Wikipedia does ask its users to donate every year and tries to raise next year’s estimated operating expenses through donations from users. Some corporations like Facebook, Amazon, and Google donate over $1 million each, although voluntarily.
And in return it promises Wikipedia will be free and ad-free. (Something we like a lot).
Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here. Not in WikipediaJimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, as stated on Wikimedia Foundation Website
And due to these donations from its end users Wikipedia remains the most reliable source of information, which is free, fair and free from bias.