Barbara Ortutay of the Associated Press recently discussed the challenges students face when trying to find reliable information. Susan Miller-Cochran of North Carolina State University and Rochelle Rodrigo of Maricopa Community Colleges recently presented a paper suggesting that students be given a checklist to help determine the reliability of information that they might find online, such as on Wikipedia, or offline, such as self-published books. The two main questions on the checklist would be whether or not the material changes over time and how it has been reviewed. While the answers for Wikipedia articles may not be entirely clear cut, Miller-Cochran wants to transition away from "pigeonholing the material based on where it was found."
Keith Murray, lead singer of We Are Scientists, complained that his Wikipedia entry contained information that was "awesomely untrue." He made specific reference to the article's claims that he donates half of his earnings to PETA and that he was scheduled to be the face of Louis Vuitton's next collection. He went on to say "I love that there is an encyclopaedic entry online that seems to be the basis by which people get information about me that contains outright lies." By the end of December 8, the day the article was written, all of the misinformation referenced in the article had been removed, as well as various other questionable claims.
A study has found that Wikipedians lack agreeableness, openness and conscientiousness, and are more comfortable online than in offline life. A team of psychologists from the Sammy Ofer School of Communication in Herzliya, Israel, compared 69 Israeli contributors to 70 students, matched for age and intensity of Internet use. The study also found that, amongst women, introverts were more likely to contribute than extroverts. Leading the study, Yair Amichai-Hamburger speculated in New Scientist magazine that the average Wikipedian takes part because they struggle to express themselves in real-world social situations.