The article on Wikipedia written by professor Danah Boyd (2019) is immensely curious because it presents an alternative view on the credibility of information retrieved from this website. What is more, before reading this article, I did not know about Wikipedia’s discussion section and section that shows who, when, and how edited the text. The general idea of Boyd’s (2019) essay is that such a source of information as Wikipedia is underappreciated because it shows how the current knowledge was created.
The target audience of Boyd’s paper is teachers and, to a lesser extent, students and their parents. However, from my point of view, the argument in favor of the credibility and usefulness of Wikipedia would fail to change teachers’ attitudes to it. Wikipedia was created approximately 20 years ago, and at those times, people who are currently employed as teachers were students and had no other choice but to go to the library and read academic articles and textbooks. Therefore, teachers’ personal experience prevents them from seeing Wikipedia as an effective instrument of gaining information on some issues for students. Moreover, it is easier for teachers at school to forbid their students to use Wikipedia than to explain how to use it properly and how valuable information there might be.
The effectiveness of Boyd’s (2019) essay would be much higher if the target audience were not teachers but students and their parents. It is impossible to change the opinion of teachers and professors on Wikipedia but it is possible to explain to students how to use Wikipedia in the right way. If the target audience were students, Boyd (2019) should have recommended them to use Wikipedia not as a primary source of information but as a means to trace the changes in the interpretation of some topics or events. To persuade the teenaged audience that Wikipedia is not as bad as they used to hear, the author should note that Wikipedia could be regarded as a complement to their textbooks and a way to become aware of an alternative point of view on historical events or any other topic.
Boyd, D. (2019). Wikipedia as a site of knowledge production. In R. Bullock & M.D. Goggin (Eds.), The Norton field guide to writings with readings (5th ed., pp. 816-822), W. W. Norton & Company.