When people need a quick synopsis of a subject, the website “Wikipedia” is exactly the place to go. Wikipedia is a free, online encyclopedia that can be accessed and edited by almost any user. Wikipedia is one of the most widely used sites on the Internet, and there are both positives and negatives with the site. Henry Jenkins states that, “Whereas Wikipedia is extraordinarily convenient and, for some general purposes, extremely useful, it nonetheless suffers inevitably from inaccuracies deriving in large measure from its unique manner of compilation” (Jenkins).
I decided to look at the Wikipedia page for my hometown NBA team, the Chicago Bulls. The page gives a great synopsis on the history of the Bulls and because the facts are well-documented across websites such as ESPN and NBA.com, the page is very accurate. This standard is also upheld due to the abundance of editors from different locations for the page that make sure all of the facts are reliable, all while withholding bias or opinions in the text. Whenever a biased or untrue statement is made, editors discuss this on the “Talk” tab and make sure to edit it promptly and to link outside references to confirm these facts.
While the facts about certain players, coaches, and records are extremely reliable, other facts on this page are hindered due to Wikipedia’s encyclopedia format. Wikipedia is known for its quick synopses of information, and when these facts do not have references to go along with them, it is difficult to determine if a statement is extrapolated or if it is reliable. Under the “Uniforms” section, information regarding jerseys is mentioned.
Because the uniforms are not as discussed as players and records, facts are more difficult to find. Without links to references in this section, it can be easy for an editor to extrapolate on information that is not entirely correct. Viewers need to rely on Jenkins’ skills of “judgment” and “networking” to evaluate reliability and to search for correct information (Jenkins).
On the “Talk” page, lengthy discussions are held about points on the page, pooling the “collective intelligence” of fans onto this one page (Jenkins). These editors discuss information such as former guard Ben Gordon’s nationality, biased opinions about Michael Jordon and Scottie Pippen, and small facts like playing “Another One Bites the Dust” at home games during the mid-1990s dynasty.
As editors discuss information, they edit the page accordingly to sustain truth regarding the Bulls. On the “View history” tab, edits from just minutes ago all the way to 2004 are logged with information regarding to what was edited. This maintains the reliability of the page, allowing a user to view what was edited and by whom.
The Chicago Bulls have been highly discussed throughout NBA history, and Wikipedia’s various tabs on this page are evident of this. Thankfully, the collective intelligence of users maintains a standard of accuracy that can be difficult to attain on the site.
Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About the New Media Literacies (Part One).” Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 26 June 2007. Web. 05 Mar. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab.html>.
Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About the New Media Literacies (Part Two).” Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 27 June 2007. Web. 05 Mar. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab.html>.