Tuesday, February 13, 2007


In today's Curmugeon Alert, I have to ask "And this is newsworthy why, exactly?" AP is actually reporting that:
Middlebury College history students are no longer allowed to use Wikipedia in preparing class papers. The school's history department recently adopted a policy that says it's OK to consult the popular online encyclopedia, but that it can't be cited as an authoritative source by students.
Now, don't expect a line of Wikipedia-bashing here. I love Wikipedia, and I've never understood some folks' need to rip on it. It's a useful source of information, and with footnotes and citations, readers can determine for themselves whether the entries are reputable or not.

That said, above the middle-school level, when has an encyclopedia ever been an acceptable source in an academic paper? And Middlebury -- party school though it may be -- is a little bit higher than a middle school. It's college! College students have never been allowed to use Encyclopedia Britannica as a source for papers, so why the surprise regarding Wikipedia?

Though I'd love to meet the clown who used it in his paper.

(Hey, I admitted I'm a curmugeon here.)


Blogger The Clown said...

I never cited Wikipedia in my paper. Now take that back.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Well, well, well, John (I mean Clown), this is gonna change the commenting dynamics around here, isn't it?

And we're all honest here, so you can admit to the Wiki-citing. It's cool, no judgments.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Thrillhous said...

Agreed. Wikipedia is very useful, but citing it as an authoritative source for a paper?

I'm betting this guy's paper began "Since the beginning of time, man has . . . ."

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

He also cited to The History of the World, Part I for his paper on the French Revolution.

12:09 PM  
Blogger The Clown said...

I never cited Wikipedia. Never. Of course, I was in school before Wikipedia. But, I am proud to say that I did cite to Playboy one time.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Otto Man said...

Man, those are some lazy students. Citing Wikipedia in a paper is just one step above "My Mom says..."

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Clown -

I am proud to say that I did cite to Playboy one time.

I'll cite to the following "Mike's Neighborhood Rules of Commenting":

Rule 14 (b) (I) (C) (iv): He who doth allude to the use of Playboy, Penthouse, or Hustler for any purposes other than those for which Onan suffered god's wrath . . . he shall explain in detail the circumstances of said allusion.

Clown, you're on the spot. Don't make me come after you.

Otto -

Citing Wikipedia in a paper is just one step above "My Mom says..."

Actually, I'd say "Mom" ranks higher in the citation food chain, just because she COULD be a primary source.

8:28 PM  

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