Educators Want Wikipedia Access Limited

    November 28, 2007

Once again Wikipedia is getting buzz from educators and marketers alike.

Wikipedia - The Social Encyclopedia

Linda O’Connor regards Wikipedia the same way former first lady Nancy Reagan campaigned against drugs.

She urges people to “Just Say No.”

The Great Meadows (N.J.) Middle School librarian hasn’t been a fan of the online encyclopedia for years. This fall, she decided it was time to make others at her school aware of the Web site’s pitfalls.

She put up a sign saying “Just Say ‘No’ to Wikipedia” over the computers in the school library.

Specifically the teachers and librarians sited two arguments to the reason for limiting access to and disallow the use as a resource:

  1. Errors
  2. Not a Primary Resource

From (at least one) marketing perspective, it based upon the fact that Wikipedia can (and is) edited by anyone, and that the primary reason for the it’s success is traffic from Google. Wikipedia does rank extremely well in Google SERPs, consistently appearing on the first page of results. It is true that there are many marketers that exploit the value that Google gives the wiki.

I’ll say it again – Google doesn’t care about you. The only thing they care about is serving ads – the more targeted the better. And as long as all the mildly nutty, essentially benevolent, little do-gooding Wikipedians think that their 26,000 donations “to-date” are going to help them spread Wikipedia goodness all throughout Chad and the Ivory Coast, then we can thank them for helping Google to better “serve” (read: game) us.

Aside from a conspiracy theory that Google is engaging in some social engineering experiment, I think that there is a much more important questions:

“Is Wikipedia really a valuable resource?”Absolutely
“Is Wikipedia an authority?”Absolutely Not

Yes, Wikipedia may point you in the right direction for a search for specific information, but contrary to Google SERPs, it is not the authority rather a culmination of all of the opinions of the authors. This is the primary reason that I refer to it as a blog; it is an opinion from the author. Just like any blog, anyone can edit the content of it that is a member, but unlike most, Wikipedia allows everyone to be an author.

In my opinion, Wikipedia is a collection of perceptions and opinions based upon other resources.

Agree or don’t, feel free make your opinions and perceptions known!