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Is English Wikipedia More Reliable Than Other Languages?

Published on Mon Sep 04 2023Project 365 #82: 230317 On The Move? | Pete on Flickr Project 365 #82: 230317 On The Move? | Pete on Flickr

A study conducted on Wikipedia articles across multiple languages has found that the reliability of references varies across different language editions of the online encyclopedia. The research analyzed over 5 million Wikipedia articles and focused on the perennial sources list, which is a collection of reliability labels for web domains used by Wikipedia editors. The study discovered that certain sources deemed untrustworthy in one language, such as English, continue to appear in articles in other languages. This trend is particularly evident with sources tailored for smaller communities. Additionally, non-authoritative sources found in the English version of a page tend to persist in other language versions of that page.

The findings of this study highlight the challenges in coordinating global knowledge on source reliability. As Wikipedia is read by a global audience and serves as a foundation for many language models and search engines, it is important to ensure the accuracy and reliability of its references. The research demonstrates that cultural and regional influences play a role in determining source reliability, and what may be considered trustworthy in one language edition may not be seen the same way in another.

The study also raises questions about the impact of the dominant English edition of Wikipedia on other language editions and the need for global coordination among editors to determine what constitutes "global knowledge." While efforts have been made to improve the quality of references in Wikipedia articles, the study suggests that more work needs to be done, particularly in smaller language editions that may have fewer resources to assess the reliability of sources.

Moving forward, it is important to consider alternative approaches to determining source reliability, such as relying on external domain ratings. However, it is crucial to address cultural biases and include discussions among community members from different language editions to ensure a fair and comprehensive assessment of sources. Future research could also explore temporal patterns in managing untrustworthy sources and the evolution of reference quality in different language editions of Wikipedia.

Overall, this study emphasizes the importance of maintaining the reliability of references in Wikipedia articles across multiple languages. As an open-access and widely used knowledge resource, Wikipedia has a responsibility to provide accurate and trustworthy information to its global audience.

Tags: Computer Science

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