5 Common Misconceptions About Wikipedia. A Detailed Guide


5 Common Misconceptions About Wikipedia. A Detailed Guide

Misconceptions about Wikipedia

Mythbusting Wikipedia:  5 Common Misconceptions About Wikipedia

As of January 2023, statistics indicate that Wikipedia has received over 24 billion page views. Undoubtedly, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world. However, many people view the platform skeptically, citing inaccuracies and biases as reasons to avoid it. Although Wikipedia has its fair share of issues, it’s crucial to comprehend the root of these problems. This blog will delve into the misconceptions about Wikipedia and explore the reality behind this controversial platform.

What Is Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that covers almost all subjects. It is written collaboratively by worldwide writers and editors who handle its content. It was launched in 2001 by Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales. Wikipedia uses open-source software called MediaWiki to manage and publish its content.

Wikipedia’s List of Common Misconceptions

What Are the Common Misconceptions About Wikipedia?

Despite its widespread use, Wikipedia remains a source of controversy and criticism.

So what are the common misconceptions about Wikipedia?

Let’s dive deep into the world of Wikipedia.

1.   All Pages on Wikipedia Are Editable

Wikipedia is a collaborative, open-source encyclopedia that relies on contributions from volunteers. Anyone can create a Wikipedia account and start editing pages on the site. One common misconception about Wikipedia is that anyone can edit all pages on the site. In reality, not all pages on Wikipedia are editable.

Sometimes, administrators protect pages on Wikipedia to prevent other users from making edits. They do this for various reasons, such as deterring anonymous users from vandalizing the page and preventing unauthorized editing. There are several forms of page protection that administrators can set up, including:

a.    Semi-Protection

Semi-protection prevents anonymous and newly joined users from editing the page but allows longer-term users to make changes. You can recognize semi-protected pages by the silver or gray padlock icon.

b.   Extended Confirmation Protection

Extended confirmation protection limits editing rights to registered users who have confirmed their email addresses and meet certain criteria. You can recognize extended confirmation pages by the blue padlock icon.

c.    Full Protection

Full protection only allows administrators to edit pages. It protects pages that are subject to content disputes or edit wars. You can recognize fully-protected pages by the gold or brass padlock icon.

d.   Special Protection

Special protection protects policy pages and notice boards. It can include move protection, template protection, and interface protection.

2.   Wikipedia’s Unreliability

The contentious topic of the reliability of Wikipedia has led certain groups, such as academics, to discourage its use as a reliable source. It is mainly due to Wikipedia’s policy of being open to all editing. However, this belief is a misconception about how Wikipedia works and the rigorous standards it follows.

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand that Wikipedia is not a primary source of information. It’s a tertiary source. It means that Wikipedia compiles and summarizes data from primary and secondary sources. This makes Wikipedia an excellent starting point for research, as it can provide a quick and easy overview of a topic. However, it’s always best to check the primary and secondary sources cited in a Wikipedia article to verify the information.

Furthermore, Wikipedia has strict guidelines to ensure the accuracy and reliability of its content. The citation must be from verifiable sources, and editors are encouraged to use high-quality, reliable sources.

Additionally, Wikipedia’s volunteer editors constantly monitor and update the site, ensuring that inaccurate or misleading information is quickly corrected or removed.

3.   Wikipedia Is Biased

Is Wikipedia biased?

Wikipedia strives to be a reliable and neutral source of information. According to Wikipedia’s policy on verifiability, all information on the site must be based on reliable, published, credible, and independent sources. It means information should not be based on personal opinions but on facts.

While Wikipedia editors try to adhere to these principles, criticism of the site has focused on concerns over bias in its content. Conspiracy theories suggest that certain groups may control the information on Wikipedia.

However, there is no evidence to support this misconception about Wikipedia. Wikipedia’s policy of openness and transparency makes it difficult for any group to maintain control over the information on the site.

In addition, Wikipedia has implemented several measures to address these concerns, such as strict rules around sources and a system where edits need approval from other editors. Additionally, the site has developed tools such as the Neutral Point of View Policy, which requires editors to write from a neutral perspective.

4.   Wikipedia Is Dying

In recent years, the issue of whether Wikipedia is dying has sparked debate. One of the main reasons for the concerns about Wikipedia’s future was the viral donation request from the Wikimedia Foundation in 2016. After the Wikimedia Foundation’s donation request went viral, rumors began circulating that Wikipedia’s death was imminent. It is crucial to remember that a non-profit organization hosts Wikipedia.

Although there are challenges, many reasons indicate that the misconception about Wikipedia’s death is unfounded. One such reason is that statistics on Wikipedia show that its main page has received over 46.8 billion views as of January 2023. Additionally, Wikipedia Foundation generated an annual revenue of $155 million in 2022. These facts provide clear evidence that Wikipedia remains popular and thriving.

5.   Wikipedia Is a Homogeneous Community

Wikipedia faces criticism for its lack of diversity in its editors and the content on the site. Systemic bias has been a long-standing issue that has affected the accuracy and completeness of the information available on Wikipedia.

For example, articles on women, people of color, and marginalized communities are often incomplete or biased due to the lack of diverse editors contributing to these pages. It perpetuates the marginalization of these groups and creates a distorted view of history and culture.

The following reasons show that the misconception about Wikipedia’s lack of diversity is unfounded.

I. Geographic Diversity

Wikipedia is a global platform, and its editors come from around the world. Different countries have different cultural, linguistic, and social backgrounds, influencing people’s contribution to Wikipedia.

II. Linguistic Diversity

Wikipedia is available in over 300 languages, and each language edition has its community of editors. Each language edition has its own set of policies, guidelines, and traditions that reflect the linguistic and cultural characteristics of the language.

III. Diversity in Interests and Expertise

Wikipedia covers vast subjects, from popular culture to obscure scientific topics. Editors have different interests, expertise, and backgrounds, which shape the articles they contribute.


Should you use Wikipedia?

Wikipedia has come a long way since its inception, proving to be an invaluable source of information for millions of people worldwide. While there are certainly valid concerns about accuracy and reliability, it’s crucial to understand that these issues are not unique to Wikipedia and exist in all forms of media. With a little bit of caution and critical thinking, Wikipedia can be a valuable resource.

We hope this article has helped you understand the common misconceptions about Wikipedia and consider it a reliable source. You can use this platform to get authentic information and publish your business.

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