The Inquirer-Home

Wikipedia more dangerous than crack

Kids, just say 'no'.
Mon Nov 26 2007, 17:32

A US SCHOOL librarian is treating the do-it-yourself online encyclopaedia Wackypedia like a drugs curse.

Linda O'Connor has blocked the site on the school's computers and stuck up signs all around the library saying "Just say no to Wikipedia". The motto was the same one that Nancy Reagan used for her campaign against drugs.

Soon to follow, we guess, are screenshots of a fried egg with the motto 'this is your brain on Wikipedia'.

O'Connor works for Great Meadows (N.J.) Middle School and says she has had worries about Wackypedia for ages. This was before it started banning entries of the names of famous people who its fake penis expert editors had not heard about.

She had the backing of teachers who also do not see Wackypedia as an authoritative source because it can be modified by anyone.

It all started when a teacher researching Martin Luther King Jr. found white supremacist information in the civil right's leader's entry. Then a student researching the Vietnam War found Wikipedia's casualty count had been lowered by someone who wanted kids to think that the war was a walk in the park.

O'Connor said many kids were dumb enough to take Wackypedia as if it had been handed down from a mountain by God on tablets of stone. This is when it is about as reliable as asking the cat its opinion.

When the Seattle Times asked a Wackypedia spokesperson what she thought of the ban, she agreed with it wholeheartedly.

Sandra Ordonez, communications manager for Wikimedia Foundation, said that the company does not recommend using the Web site as a primary research source either.

She said that the best you could manage is get an overview of a subject. Anyway, in college you should not be quoting rubbish from encyclopaedias anyway.

Besides, being the one part of the universe where there is no Everywhere Girl just makes the whole encyclopaedia thing a farce.

More here. µ


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