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Any good Physics forums for laymen?
Posted: 12 October 2013 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I.J. Abdul Hakeem - 12 October 2013 10:51 AM

Understandable.
But one must still go to the sources Wikipedia uses and then use them as sources.

Not necessarily so. That depends on how deeply one wants to know about a topic and the time involved in order to do so. If one is not doing research but is curious about a particular topic, there is no necessity to do so. Consequently, one can rely on wikipedia as an accessible and valuable resource to inform and/or educate, without prejudice.

Many wiki articles are comprehensive essays which are carefully written by experts and as such, are useful and helpful overviews on any particular topic for one to obtain knowledge without the necessity to tediously search for sources (of which some are not free or they are highly technical complex papers), understand and evaluate them to determine their reliability wrt other sources and then and only then, to cite them.

OTOH, it is essential for one to learn and practice critical thinking rather than to look for, understand, evaluate and/or cite sources, with time constraints as the reality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking

Critical thinking is a way of deciding whether a claim is true, partially true, or false. Critical thinking is a process that leads to skills that can be learned, mastered and used. Critical thinking is a tool by which one can come about reasoned conclusions based on a reasoned process. This process incorporates passion and creativity, but guides it with discipline, practicality and common sense. It can be traced in the West to ancient Greece with its Socratic method and in the East to ancient India with the Buddhist kalama sutta and abhidharma literature. Critical thinking is an important component of education, politics, business, and science.

Bold added by me.

Wikipedia itself is questionable

Generally, anything and everything, are questionable.

Wikipedia and wikis are resources, not sources. As such, and for the reasons stated in my last post, they are valuable resources and should be evaluated/used appropriately.

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Posted: 13 October 2013 05:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I.J. Abdul Hakeem - 11 October 2013 02:25 PM

Why is wikipedia being quoted so much?

Wikipedia itself says:

Wikis, including Wikipedia and other wikis sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation, are not regarded as reliable sources.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_source_examples

The reason Wikipedia is so often cited is beacuse it is handy, usually reliable and correctible.  Wikipedia always gives the sources of what they are presenting, and they are usually scientific and scholarly sources. All you have to do is investigate those sources. It does no good to shoot the messenger.  If you don’t like Wikipedia, tell us about another source of information that is more reliable and as accessible as Wikipedia. It is no less reliable than any encyclopedia. Nobody with any sense would take Wikipedia to be the final word on anything. It represents a digest of current information. If you don’t like it, point out specific errors in the sources.

You sound as if you think Wikipedia is engaging some sort of conspiracy to spread misinformation. In that case, don’t use it, don’t read it and don’t cite it. Get your information from elsewhere, but make sure you investigate all the sources.

Wikipedia’s statement is simply a disclaimer to avoid legal challenges.  It’s like a parking lot disclaimer that says they are not responsible for any losses.  They ARE responsible for some losses but they prefer not to publicize that fact.

Lois

[ Edited: 13 October 2013 05:24 PM by Lois ]
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Posted: 13 October 2013 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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What is an encyclopedia?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclopedia

An encyclopedia (also spelled encyclopaedia or encyclopædia) is a type of reference work – a compendium holding a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge.

Examples of modern encyclopedias including wikipedia:

The modern encyclopedia evolved out of dictionaries around the 17th century. Historically, some encyclopedias were contained in one volume, but some, such as the Encyclopædia Britannica or the world’s largest Enciclopedia universal ilustrada europeo-americana, became huge multi-volume works.Some modern encyclopedias, such as Wikipedia, are electronic and are often freely available.

In the 21st century:

On-line encyclopedias offer the additional advantage of being dynamic: new information can be presented almost immediately, rather than waiting for the next release of a static format, as with a disk- or paper-based publication. The 21st century has seen the dominance of wikis as popular encyclopedias, including Wikipedia among many others.

Bold added by me.

Here is a list of online encyclopedias:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_online_encyclopedias

Some good online encyclopedias are not free for full access, except for a free trial or become defunct.

OTOH, wikipedia allows free full access to the wikis with copyleft and as such, it is the online encyclopedia par excellence.

[ Edited: 13 October 2013 06:26 PM by kkwan ]
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