How good is Wikipedia for Blender and other computer info?

Morning guys!

There’s been a lot of talk about how ‘unreliable’ Wikipedia is, and the degree to which it is open to abuse. We’ve all heard of stories of celebrity biographies being changed to make them look even more ridiculous than they already are- but how accurate or useful are the pages related to computing-hardware/software/Blender etc?

I ask, as I realized that a very large chunk indeed of my knowledge on computers (quite small admittedly!) has been gleaned from this source!

Personally I’ve always found them very informative, erudite and thorough-but as I say, I’m at that level where it wouldn’t be difficult to fool me!

What are your thoughts?

Wikipedia IMO is one of the most up-to-date and accurate sources of information around. the amount of abuse is negligable compared to the correct information.

Who won the Melbourne cup? before any online news had the answer, it was already posted on Wikipedia.

You are less likely to get malicious individuals for topics like 3D and computer graphics, or highly technical stuff. The only risk is getting people who sound like they know what they are talking about and don’t, but again, over time this is fixed, and the checks and balances that exist in numbers are pretty good.

This is all my opinion BTW. most universities do not accept citation of Wikipedia. However, my particular degree did allow it.


Publishers are financially liable for the contents of whatever they publish, so with that accountability comes a desire for accuracy. Thus, you can generally rely on printed books for information. Wiki is yet to be held financially accountable for any info it publishes, including factual errors and omissions. Some would say however, that it is bound by a higher standard, a moral standard, which binds all authors to be as accurate as possible. However, you as a reader have no way of knowing which authors have subscribed to that standard, and which just want to have some fun. Some pages have an editor who has included things like [citation needed] where the author has made unsubstantiated claims. Other pages are deliberately constructed to be false and poke fun, and I believe there are a few in the wikipedia regarding Blender to this end, something like unBlender or something like that. In summary, take it with a grain of salt, and always confirm what you read with one or two other reliable sources.

Anything wrong on wikipedia will eventually get fixed, however, in less popular topics, such as cg, it will likely take longer (of course, there are probably less errors). But, there’s always a chance the page you’re reading has, even if only for a few minutes, been vandalized. But, most of the time, if the info is taken carefully, you get a lot more information from wikipedia than from any other source.

I’d amend caveman’s statement to “anything wrong and uncontroversial” on wikipedia will eventually get fixed. People with an axe to grind or an even moderately strong opinion may consciously or unconsciously inject their bias into their wiki writings.

The wikipedia is great on factual information, less so where judgements and opinions come into play. I agree with Alltaken, there is very little abuse when it comes to technical matters.

The best part of Wikipedia in researching computer related matters is getting an overview of the subject. Doing a google search will get you details, but Wikipedia will usually tell you how those details fit together.

I don’t know how many of you read ‘the Guardian’, but in their technology section, they have a writer -Norman Finkelstein- who seems to have a real axe to grind against Wikipedia. I’m interested to see if this view is commonly held withing the computing community.

The problem with wikipedia is NOT the ability for it to be inaccurate. When that happens, people usually have no idea what they are talking about and sound stupid. And even all text books have some problems with it. The problem with wikipedia is how often it’s changed. In a report, you want firm resorses. A book may come out with a new version, but you can always list what version you used. An article only comes out once. But wikipedia changes every day. This would be a problem. You could state that wikipedia said something, and the day you wrote it, it would be true. But the next day, someone could have changed it and it what you wrote is now false. Yes, it could be changed back, but then it could have happened to someone else. The only way to even think of using wikipedia is to state he hour or even the minute in which you used the article. The other reason why wikipedia is ‘unscolerly’ is because teachers see students finding an ‘easy’ answer, and say, “You can’t do that.”

I doubt that Blender Imfo is the #1 target for those people that just seem to think its fun to wreck Wikipedia.

I’ve witnessed a couple of e-penis wars over Wikipedia and those made me very careful about the information I take from there. Everyone can be an admin in wikipedia and getting something deleted requires only two admins(one to mark it for deletion and the other to delete it), so nothing prevents two buddies from deleting completely good and accurate articles only because they have a bone to pick with the writer or writers of the article. The worst thing is that no one seems to be watching over the whole thing. The raw fact is that internet is full of idiots, so always check the sources before you believe anything you’ve read from any site on the web.

I have nothing against Wikipedia in general, but it does have some severe issues that should make you take everything you read from there with a grain of salt.

Wikipedia tends to be pretty accurate on technical matters. I can’t cite a specific issue, but a while back Discover magazine had an article about the editing of the page on evolution. While that specific [controversial] Wikipedia entry is edited alot, the Discover article said that 90% of all errors on Wikipedia are corrected within 5 minutes of them being posted.

I’ve also heard of another study, though I don’t know the source, which examined 1000 technical Wikipedia articles and 1000 technical “real” encyclopedia articles and found that Wikipedia had only one more error than did the “real” encyclopedias (4 errors to 3 errors in 1000 articles).

I go to Wikipedia mainly because the information I am seeking would be very difficult to get find in one place otherwise. I don’t know why anyone would have to ‘cite’ it anyways since it doesn’t allow (theoretically) ‘original research’, so you can use it to find something on the internet then cite that original source instead.