kizolk wrote:Anyway, I'm wondering (not necessarily because of the comic itself): Wikipedia vandalizing (or, to use a less connoted word, editing)
I prefer "Randallizing", myself.
Wikipedia vandalizing (or, to use a less connoted word, editing) is part of what makes the "xkcd culture", but on the other hand, is it really a good thing in terms of Wikipedia's credibility? Spoiler alert: I tend to think not (even though I don't have a clear-cut opinion on that). I mean, sure, most of the xkcd-inspired edits are completely harmless, but that's not the point. It's just that while it can be really fun, it gives the I-told-you-guys,Wikipedia-is-bullshit-you-can-write-anything-you-want-there crowd ammunition.
I'd say it's definitely a bad thing. It can be amusing, but doesn't really make any point except "Wikipedia is easy to vandalize", which everyone in a position to be amused by it already knows. Moreover, it just leads editors to hunker down and treat any new edits as guilty until proven innocent, which leads to my next point:
Slightly more off-topic, but not really: I hope one day scholars will stop being the elitist douches they are WRT Wikipedia, and will start actually contributing. Being "as good as Britannica" shouldn't be its goal; I know that 100% accuracy can't be achieved, but it should be the goal. A peer-reviewed Wiki would be great! (And yes, I know there's one -- don't remember its name -- but IIRC it has less than 20 articles)
Scholars aren't unanimously elitist with regards to Wikipedia; in fact, many do
try to update articles to reflect the current state of research in their fields (new ideas that have been supported in initial studies, old findings that have/have not been replicated across several studies, alternative theories and criticism of existing theories, etc.). The key word being "try". Because many Wikipedia editors have a tendency to treat new edits as suspect even when citations are provided.
http://www.npr.org/2012/02/22/147261659/gauging-the-reliability-of-facts-on-wikipedia - here's an example from NPR about an expert on the Haymarket riots who attempted to edit information he knew to be false out of an article over a dozen times and got accused of being a vandal. That discussion also goes into other quirks of the Wikipedia system that may discourage some academic types from contributing.
(Aside: Am I unable to post links with BBCode because of my low post count/recent join date?)