Wikis and Authority


The credibility of Wikis such as Wikipedia stem from the concern that anyone can add, modify, or delete information on the site. WikisAndCredibility is a topic that questions the reliability of Wikis. Information comes from individuals, and in the case of Wikis, that information hopefully comes from knowledgeable people.

An authority for information is a term could be applied to anyone that contributes information to a Wiki. However, when individuals with proper authority are working along side individuals who lack proper authority on information, then perhaps the Wiki itself loses authority and therefore credibility. Some Wikis regulate which individuals are allowed to contribute, thereby controlling authority. Sites like Wikipedia which strive to present accurate information much prefer reliable sources and studies to personal or subjective experiences.

Division of Authority

Wikis can also create significant shifts in social authority within a group. For example, Wikis used in a work or teaching environment bestow a particular amount of power and authority on the contributors. Rebecca Lundin in her article "Teaching with Wikis: Toward a Networked Pedagogy" describes the shift in a college composition course:

"Since each visitor to a wiki space has equal privileges to add, modify, or even erase content, the authority in that space can be more equally distributed between teacher and students than it would in a traditional classroom"

The division of power may vary between specific Wikis. But since material is more or less freely available and able to be tampered with, authority in Wikis is equally dispersed among contributors.
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