Here at Japan Security Watch I link to Wikipedia. I do it a lot, sometimes several times in a single post. This morning, while checking my RSS feeds, I saw a post at BloggingPro called “5 Blogging DON’Ts that P*** Me Off“.  One of them is:

DON’T Link to Wikipedia. While the majority of information found in Wikipedia is accurate, the mere fact that anyone can change information on the fly, makes it risky to cite as a source. Plus, in my view, it’s the “easy” way out. A good blogger should go a step further and try to get one step closer to defining a word, phrase or place. Not only does it show effort that makes me want to read more of the blogger’s work, but it usually leads to a more interesting experience.

I agree. I would not accept Wikipedia as a source in a research paper. Although I see it generally as a positive thing, I have my own problems with it. And yet I still use it here.

If you’re blogging about blogging, marketing, technology, or the U.S. Constitution, or even David Foster Wallace, there are plenty of sources out there other than Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is very much the easy way out. That also goes for if you’re blogging about U.S. policy and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

The problem is, I’m blogging about Japanese security issues. I don’t read Japanese very well, and good information in English is difficult to come by. Often, that information is on Wikipedia. Such information may “look” good but be completely wrong. I confess there are times I wouldn’t know the difference. In the end all I can do is note the shortcomings of my sources and proceed with my best judgement. It’s up to readers to decide if something is credible or not.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch