Week 4, Question 2

Wikipedia: Why is it not a credible source?

As stated by Metzger, in the digital age, “authority is no longer a prerequisite for content provision on the Internet” (2007, p.1) which is exactly the problem with Wikipedia. Wikipedia states in its own disclaimer that its articles are authored by anyone regardless of their academic credibility. This means that the truth to the articles is not regulated and may contain posts that are outdated or written by people who are not experts on the subject. While there is a wide range of information that is correct on Wikipedia, because it is not reviewed by experts, without research into more credible sources, there is no guarantee that the information on the page is true.

One of the key points found in The Stanford Web Credibility Project which gave credibility to a site is to “make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site”, “make it easy to contact you” and to “highlight the expertise in your organisation and in the content and services you provide” (Fogg, 2002). Wikipedia conforms to none of these points. There are often multiple authors to each page, none of which can be easily contacted and as stated before Wikipedia itself is very honest about the fact that it’s content may not be 100% accurate. The only factor that gives any credibility to the pages is that a lot of the information is referenced at the bottom of the page, which provides further research which may be more credible to the reader rather than the information on the page.


Fogg, B. J. (2002). Stanford guidelines for web credibility. Res. Sum. Stanford Persuasive Tech. Lab.

Metzger, M. J. (2007). Making sense of credibility on the Web: Models for evaluating online information and recommendations for future research. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology58(13), 2078-2091.


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