My Software Notes

Useful things I discover

Why do Wikipedia articles rank so high in Google?

with 2 comments

Is it because Wikipedia provides the most accurate data?  Or maybe because a huge number of links refer to the article?  Or is it some other logical explanation? 

The answer seems to be “None of the above.”  Read this article about the “SearchFest 09” conference and about 3/4 of the way down the page you’ll see this:

Dan Boberg quoted Google CEO Eric Schmidt as saying, “Wikipedia is mankind’s greatest gift to mankind.” I can’t find that quote online, so make no guarantee of authenticity; I am quoting Dan Boberg, not Eric Schmidt.

But if true, that is certainly revelatory as to WHY a lame Wikipedia article, written by people with an axe to grind or an apple to polish, rank so highly.

Because Eric likes Wikipedia.

I personally am not a fan of Wikipedia for the same reasons the writer of the article gives. I think it is way overrated. I find it helpful at times when I can’t get the data from elsewhere, but this slavish acceptance of Wikipedia as the ultimate “authority” on all human knowledge seems to me very foolish.

If you really want to know about something then find several sources, don’t just lazily click on the Wikipedia link.  It is important to know the source of your information but on Wikipedia you don’t know who wrote the article and you don’t know if they have “an axe to grind or an apple to polish.”  So think twice before blindly accepting Wikipedia articles as gospel truth.


Written by gsdwriter

March 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

Posted in Rant

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2 Responses

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  1. wow yeah because people say or think wikipedia is “the ultimate ‘authority'” for anything… everyone knows wikipedia can be messed up, his point is that the information on wikipedia opens up a ton of possible knowledge for people who might otherwise not have it.

    this page offered no help as to the question and just knocked down a straw man


    March 24, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    • Hey db,

      I don’t really get what point you are trying to make. The article I quoted says, “… that is certainly revelatory as to WHY a lame Wikipedia article, written by people with an axe to grind or an apple to polish, rank so highly.”

      He’s not saying, and I’m not saying, that every article on Wikipedia sucks. But you shlould think for yourself and question the accuracy of Wikipedia just as much as you should question the accuracy of anything you come across on the web.


      March 25, 2010 at 8:48 am

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