In the media
Reliable or not, doctors use Wikipedia
The month of May saw significant coverage concerning the reliability of Wikipedia's medical articles. A study entitled Wikipedia vs peer-reviewed medical literature for information about the 10 most costly medical conditions (available here on the National Institute for Health's website) concluded that nine out of the ten Wikipedia articles on the costliest medical conditions have factual errors. Wikipedia's medical editors vehemently disagree. MastCell wrote: "I don't doubt that we need to improve the accuracy of our medical articles, but I agree with James that this particular study is utterly meaningless and isn't worth the electrons it's printed on."
Other editors questioned the neutrality of the The Journal of the American Osteopathy Association, with one editor asserting they have a vested interest in "trashing" Wikipedia. The Guardian noted the study, and seemed to support its findings:
|Lots of studies have looked at Wikipedia's accuracy. It seems more reliable for kidney disease and mental health problems, less so for drug information (especially on how medicines interact with each other), digestive and liver diseases, and gastroenterology. One study found information on children's ear, nose and throat problems had twice as many errors on Wikipedia as on eMedicine, a free online resource for medical professionals. This latest study found that, for each Wikipedia article, between 55% and 100% of the factual statements found were substantiated by the peer-reviewed literature. There is, however, often disagreement on what is "medical fact" within that literature and the study didn't take this into account.
Regardless of its reliability, Men's Health reported that a majority of doctors use Wikipedia at least occasionally, and suggested the websites of the Center for Disease Control and the United States Department of Health and Human Services as alternative sources.
- Wales calls EU ruling "astonishing": BBC News covered Jimmy Wales' comments about a recent EU decision against Google in which it guaranteed a right to privacy. Wales said, in part "If you really dig into it, it doesn't make a lot of sense. They're asking Google... you can complain about something and just say it's irrelevant, and Google has to make some kind of a determination about that."
- Is Wikipedia a reliable legal authority?: Above the Law examined Wikipedia's status as a legal source, noting its frequent citation in court cases (see Wikipedia:Wikipedia as a court source).
- Issues with Google caching libelous versions of Wikipedia: Two incidents underscored issues that ensue when Google caches libelous versions of Wikipedia pages.
- Bad Wikipedia pictures: TheWire.com reviewed some of the less flattering Wikipedia pictures that presently manifest themselves in articles.
- Civil servants behind "sickening" Hillsborough slurs identified: The Telegraph reported that an internal investigation has identified individuals responsible for "sickening" slurs posted on soccer articles.
- Wikipedia is a masterclass in digital democracy: Wired.com reports how Wikipedia is a good example of how democracy can exist on the internet. This is due to the fact that everyone is allowed to contribute to the site, as well as recognize those who do exceptional work.
- "Love and drama at the Wikipedia Conference": New York Magazine sent a reporter to cover last weekend's WikiConference USA. After a candid discussion with multiple editors, two editors were chosen to be a part of the article and made up most of the interviews within it. Frank Schulenburg was also profiled, and included towards the end of the article. The piece was not without controversy, though—Wikimedians on the Wikimedia-l mailing list were disheartened to see the conference represented in such a light, including the liberal editing of the quotes of two of the editors to change the essence of what they said.