Wikipedia has grown into one of the most widely used and convenient websites for looking up information but the controversial question as to trust the information presented on each page remains: is the information accurate? Can it be trusted? The answer: in most cases, yes, it can be trusted. There are many individuals who moderate the information being presented on the website and ensure its accuracy. I found this particularly interesting being a school teacher. We constantly tell our students not to use Wikipedia; the information is not reliable, they need to find credible sources. Wikipedia may not be a website that should be used exclusively when researching but it certainly could find usefulness when conducting research within the classroom. Wikipedia could potentially be used as a “jumping off” point; places to start research and to further understand the topic better.
I chose to look at three posts related to World War 1: the Western Front, Trench Warfare, and the Battle of Verdun. I started by looking at the Wikipedia talk section of “The Western Front” page. The talk page is where editors can raise points about mistakes or additions to the Wikipedia page and then there is a discussion that follows regarding whether to change or to edit the Wikipedia page. An interesting point that was made in the talk section of “The Western Front” page was whether trench warfare and specifically the conditions of the trenches (rats, food, daily life, etc.) should be mentioned. The moderator responded that trench warfare should be covered on the “Trench Warfare Wikipedia” page. World War 1 trenches are covered on the trench warfare page, however, the conditions of the trenches is not. Furthermore, the points that are raised in the talk sections are frequently about the wording of the text and whether there is a more appropriate way of displaying the information. Editors frequently highlight the text that may need revision and allow for discussion around the text-in-question on the talk page.