The most important link on Wikipedia

By devin, 11 February, 2016

People should cite Wikipedia when they use it for information.

People are afraid of citing Wikipedia because their professors in university or high school said it "wasn't academic". Then they went on to talk about academic dishonesty and plagiarism, probably in the same breath.

We all use Wikipedia as a source! Wikipedia is an excellent source of information, because it's not controlled by a tiny cadre of powerful people and it's committed to the Neutral point of view (NPOV).

You should cite Wikipedia. You should cite it in blog posts. You should cite it in tweets. You should refer to it in conversations to back up your claims, and if someone challenges you, show them that Wikipedia's got a source for that. Hell, if you're committed to truth, you should cite it in your university papers. Not doing so is academic dishonesty, no matter what your prof says about how Wikipedia isn't a worthy source to pass under their ivory tower eyeglasses.

That said, you should also actually read the sources of what's written on Wikipedia. But at least those sources are clearly marked, unlike on tinfoil hat conspiracy theory websites. And they're definitely way better marked than on your friend's blog.

Anyways, here's the most important link you'll ever see on Wikipedia:

The Permanent link tool appends an "oldid" parameter to your URL:

This ensures that when people are linked to the Wikipedia article, they can see the same version you saw. There won't be any changes. This hopefully will also direct your readers with extra time, via a helpful box at the top, to see what revisions have been added since, and perhaps what revisions led to the article's current state.

Use the permalink feature! Acknowledge Wikipedia, because you're using it anyways! Accept that it's an incredible source of truth in an often-murky world! Even if it's not always right, it's a much better tool for putting together information than conspiracy blogs online or hateful news articles.

Thank you.

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