I think it does really depend on the individual article. I think of it as a place to start, not somewhere to end up, if that makes sense. Wikipedia is good for getting a general overview, then if you want to learn more, check out the citations and sources at the bottom and track those down. From there, you can usually find even more once you have the right keywords or search terms you need to get at what you really want.
For example, if the Wiki cites a book, you can go look up that book and read more on the topic, or learn about the context. Then you can go to that book’s sources and bibliography, and see why they make this or that claim. You can keep doing that until you’re just left with primary documents or objects, and having multiple perspectives on it and adding your own is sort of how academic research and writing is generally supposed to go.
I mean, one of the problems with Wikipedia is that in an article, they’ll phrase something as an absolute, when really there are definite counterarguments with support if you read someone else’s book on whatever topic. Obviously, the farther back you go, the fewer objects and documents that survive, so it becomes more open to individual interpretation.
And one of the problems there is that you get to a point where there are these interpretations that are considered beyond questioning or revising. It’s like, somewhere between “wicked rude” and “you’ll never get funding if you keep on like that”. As if revisiting primary sources is desecrating sacred ground; as if just kind of bypassing Mr. I Wrote The Book on It 300 Years Ago is equivalent to summoning the Elder Gods to consume civilization as we know it.
Which is why I do get messages from historians and “historians” like, “your methods are disgusting and unacceptable!!!” because yes, yes, I’m breaking the rules; yes, yes, I’m Doing It Wrong. I am a Bad Historian. I think this fails to take into account that I’ll go ahead and cite Mr. I Wrote The Book on It 300 Years Ago, because the object or idea will be fully documented there (in other words, ‘proof this thing exists’), but then I’ll have the brazen gall to disagree on the interpretation of that evidence.
Am I wrong about this stuff sometimes? Absolutely! Do I speculate sometimes? Sure!! Do other people exist who know more about this specific detail than I do? Definitely. But the bottom line is, someone needs to be poking at this stuff. Sometimes “this stuff” turns out to be a beehive. Oops.
What does this have to do with the reliability of Wikipedia? Well, firstly, I link to it a lot because it’s accessible to anyone and that’s super important. Secondly, maybe the people who are mad I poked the beehive will go shore up those pages. I’ve already seen improvements and changes that have happened after I’ve linked to something, and I’m quite glad of it. It’s happened with other sites and databases I’ve linked to, and that’s actually an amazing and tangible form of real change.
Which is why I’ll probably continue to “answer” questions that have no answers, or at least none that we can claim are sure. It’s my hope that more people will look askance at those who claim to have easy answers, who claim absolutes about any of these topics, or shut down lines of discussion (no POC, no exceptions!!) that are worthwhile when we talk about art, history, race, and what they mean to us today.
This is exactly my view on the use of Wikipedia. Its a website that’s useful for engaging a general overview and picking up the basic reading of a subject - it’s not the final say, but a starting point. People who loathe Wikipedia are in my mind incapable of understanding the difference between base ‘common’ knowledge research and research that’s more in-depth, or just have a bad understanding of the internet in general.
It’s interesting at a graduate level - we’re actually ‘encouraged’(I emphasize this because our tutors are careful about the wording on this) to get a general overview of a subject from Wikipedia before tackling the huge amount of research behind it. At an undergraduate level it was absolutely forbidden however, I assume because some of the youngsters had trouble discerning between legitimate research and half-assed analysis of a subject someone had posted up a couple of weeks before.
What I will say about Wikipedia just to add to this, and this is perhaps a warning to anyone researching history for stories/art on my blog, is steering clear or at least being careful of unpopular subjects. When I say unpopular subjects, I mean subjects that are outside the norm in anglo-centric historiography (not that some subjects aren’t interesting, I think we can all agree that the certain subjects however have been researched to death while others still have so much potential for a historian to unpack the significance). For instance if you’re studying regiments during the First World War in the British army, you’re sure to find oodles of research, but researching the mythological significance of the Hill of Tara in Ireland, a couple of badly worded sentences if you’re lucky in the Wikipedia article (that I had to add to in my undergraduate ><)
Also can I say, because I probably won’t get another chance your research has been very enlightening on tackling the anglo-white-centric emphasis on visual culture - there’s some things I can disagree with - but I can absolutely see the research behind everything.
Thanks-I try to show why I say some of the things I do, and it’s nice to know someone reads the sources.
I would encourage people to research unpopular subjects, but not to use Wikipedia for that because as you’ve said, it’s considerably less reliable for those topics.
When I was teaching (secondary school) and the kids had to do an annual research project, I’d tell them ‘I don’t want to see Wikipedia cited as your source for anything, but you can use it like this: any GOOD Wikipedia article will have ITS sources linked at the bottom. Use that as a starting point to find sources you can use.’
There were still twerps who handed in reports citing Wikipedia, but I felt I’d given them a fair chance.
I do that too, airyairy, but I think what I like most about wikipedia is that medievalpoc’s answer to the original question is the kind of attitude there needs to be more of with respect to history anyway. People didn’t talk about this stuff when our encyclopedia’s were only in print or CD roms. And it wasn’t because they were better; we just didn’t talk about it. Wikipedia actually makes it easier to ask these important questions.
100% agree with the bolded!
I just graduated from college and just about every research paper I wrote (starting back in high school) the first step for me was to wiki it. What I read there often led me to other questions (and usually an hour of link-hopping) but I always used the sources, not the wiki article itself. So even though all my teachers and a good number of my professors said not to use wiki I always did because I understood that it was a good springboard for a given topic.
A thought experiment: Imagine how people might react if Taylor Swift released an album made up entirely of songs about wishing she could get back together with one of her exes.
We’d hear things like: “She can’t let go. She’s clingy. She’s irrational. She’s crazy.” Men would have a field day comparing her to their own “crazy” exes.
Yet when Robin Thicke released “Paula” – a plea for reconciliation with his ex-wife Paula Patton disguised as an LP — he was called incoherent, obsessed, heartfelt and, in particular, creepy.
But you didn’t hear men calling him “crazy” — even though he used it as the title of one of tracks.
No, “crazy” is typically held in reserve for women’s behavior. Men might be obsessed, driven, confused or upset. But we don’t get called “crazy” — at least not the way men reflexively label women as such.
“Crazy” is one of the five deadly words guys use to shame women into compliance. The others: Fat. Ugly. Slutty. Bitchy. They sum up the supposedly worst things a woman can be.
WHAT WE REALLY MEAN BY “CRAZY” IS: “SHE WAS UPSET, AND I DIDN’T WANT HER TO BE.”
“Crazy” is such a convenient word for men, perpetuating our sense of superiority. Men are logical; women are emotional. Emotion is the antithesis of logic. When women are too emotional, we say they are being irrational. Crazy. Wrong.
Women hear it all the time from men. “You’re overreacting,” we tell them. “Don’t worry about it so much, you’re over-thinking it.” “Don’t be so sensitive.” “Don’t be crazy.” It’s a form of gaslighting — telling women that their feelings are just wrong, that they don’t have the right to feel the way that they do. Minimizing somebody else’s feelings is a way of controlling them. If they no longer trust their own feelings and instincts, they come to rely on someone else to tell them how they’re supposed to feel.
Small wonder that abusers love to use this c-word. It’s a way of delegitimizing a woman’s authority over her own life.
Most men (#notallmen, #irony) aren’t abusers, but far too many of us reflexively call women crazy without thinking about it. We talk about how “crazy girl sex” is the best sex while we also warn men “don’t stick it in the crazy.” How I Met Your Mother warned us to watch out for “the crazy eyes” and how to process women on the “Crazy/Hot” scale. When we talk about why we broke up with our exes, we say, “She got crazy,” and our guy friends nod sagely, as if that explains everything.
Except what we’re really saying is: “She was upset, and I didn’t want her to be.”
Many men are socialized to be disconnected from our emotions — the only manly feelings we’re supposed to show are stoic silence or anger. We’re taught that to be emotional is to be feminine. As a result, we barely have a handle on our own emotions — meaning that we’re especially ill-equipped at dealing with someone else’s.
That’s where “crazy” comes in. It’s the all-purpose argument ender. Your girlfriend is upset that you didn’t call when you were going to be late? She’s being irrational. She wants you to spend time with her instead of out with the guys again? She’s being clingy. Your wife doesn’t like the long hours you’re spending with your attractive co-worker? She’s being oversensitive.
As soon as the “crazy” card is in play, women are put on the defensive. It derails the discussion from what she’s saying to how she’s saying it. We insist that someone can’t be emotional and rational at the same time, so she has to prove that she’s not being irrational. Anything she says to the contrary can just be used as evidence against her.
More often than not, I suspect, most men don’t realize what we’re saying when we call a woman crazy. Not only does it stigmatize people who have legitimate mental health issues, but it tells women that they don’t understand their own emotions, that their very real concerns and issues are secondary to men’s comfort. And it absolves men from having to take responsibility for how we make others feel.
In the professional world, we’ve had debates over labels like “bossy” and “brusque,” so often used to describe women, not men. In our interpersonal relationships and conversations, “crazy” is the adjective that needs to go.
Men really need to stop calling women crazy - Harris O’Malley (via hello-lilianab)
(Source: Washington Post)
There’s two types of anger one is dry and the other wet and basically wet anger is when your eyes water and your voice shakes and I hate that cause I feel weak when I’m crying while angry I like dry anger when your face is like stone and your voice is sharp I guess wet anger shows that you care too much and dry anger means you’re done.
This is the best description ever
I just want to test the gamer side of Tumblr
I have every xbox
I have every Playstation
Are there really people that have no gaming device at all???
Computers can play games.
You either reblog this or you’re a liar.
So can a tablet and phone
I keep forgetting I own a game system.
EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE THRIFT SHOP LISTEN TO THIS SHIT!
seriously guys, listen to this
this sounds like the background music you’d hear in a movie as the camera leads you around a bustling marketplace in the 17- or 1800s and it leads to the sight of a bunch of sailors hoisting and tossing around a bunch of packages on a ship getting ready to set sail for adventure
HOLY SHIT. MY NEIGHBOUR IS SCREAMING AT HER BOYFRIEND.
Yeah, the two that keep me up at odd hours of the night.AND I’M ONLY PICKING UP BITS AND PIECES BECAUSE HE’S NOT SHOUTING BUT I’M FAIRLY POSITIVE HE JUST TOLD HER HE’S GAY AND THAT HE’S BEEN CHEATING ON HER WITH HIS BOYFRIEND.
UPDATE. UPDATE. HE’S CHEATING ON HER WITH HER BROTHER.
SON OF A BITCH IT’S LIKE A BAD SOAP OPERA EPISODE.
Ah, fanart. Also known as the art that girls make.
Sad, immature girls no one takes seriously. Girls who are taught that it’s shameful to be excited or passionate about anything, that it’s pathetic to gush about what attracts them, that it’s wrong to be a geek, that they should feel embarrassed about having a crush, that they’re not allowed to gaze or stare or wish or desire. Girls who need to grow out of it.
That’s the art you mean, right?
Because in my experience, when grown men make it, nobody calls it fanart. They just call it art. And everyone takes it very seriously.
It’s interesting though — the culture of shame surrounding adult women and fandom. Even within fandom it’s heavily internalized: unsurprisingly, mind, given that fandom is largely comprised by young girls and, unfortunately, our culture runs on ensuring young girls internalize *all* messages no matter how toxic. But here’s another way of thinking about it.
Sports is a fandom. It requires zealous attention to “seasons,” knowledge of details considered obscure to those not involved in that fandom, unbelievable amounts of merchandise, and even “fanfic” in the form of fantasy teams. But this is a masculine-coded fandom. And as such, it’s encouraged - built into our economy! Have you *seen* Dish network’s “ultimate fan” advertisements, which literally base selling of a product around the normalization of all consuming (male) obsession? Or the very existence of sports bars, built around the link between fans and community enjoyment and analysis. Sport fandom is so ingrained in our culture that major events are treated like holidays (my gym closes for the Super Bowl) — and can you imagine being laughed at for admitting you didn’t know the difference between Supernatural and The X Files the way you might if you admit you don’t know the rules of football vs baseball, or basketball?
"Fandom" is not childish but we live in a culture that commodified women’s time in such away that their hobbies have to be "frivolous," because "mature" women’s interests are supposed to be marriage, family, and overall care taking: things that allow others to continue their own special interests, while leaving women without a space of their own.
So think about what you’re actually saying when you call someone “too old” for fandom. Because you’re suggesting they are “too old” for a consuming hobby, and I challenge you to answer — what do you think they should be doing instead?