Trash questions from Wikipedia

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Trash questions from Wikipedia

Post by PaladinQB » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:07 pm

I have read and understand the strictures against writing academic questions using Wikipedia as a primary/only source. There are very good reasons for that which are readily apparent.

I wonder, though, about the circuit's opinion on writing trash questions primarily from Wikpedia. It seems that among the Wikipedos are a thousand screaming fanboys for whatever topic you care to write about. I doubt severely, for example, that an inaccuracy in the article on Peter Griffin would be tolerated for very long.

I have no evidence for this assertion, it just seems to make sense to me. I'd like to sample the wisdom of the community on this: Is Wikipedia more reliable for trash topics?

(Mind you, I am not suggesting that Wikipedia be unquestioningly trusted on any topic. I am asking more about degrees of trustworthiness.)

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Post by pray for elves » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:45 pm

I don't see a problem with finding a clue on Wikipedia before you verify it, but there's a horrible trend to copy+paste from Wikipedia to form trash questions. If you have access to this year's Ann B. Davis set, look at the Celebrity Fight Club/Delaware packet. No fewer than three tossups and two bonuses have direct copy+paste from Wikipedia such that there are still blue hyperlinks to other Wikipedia articles.

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Post by NoahMinkCHS » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:30 pm

Yeah, copy-paste would be a definite (and hopefully obvious) violation of the spirit and rules of packet submission. But beyond that, I would think Wikipedia is probably an OK source for trash (maybe because it's one of the only sources...), but one that should probably double-checked if you're not personally sure of something. Actually, probably just about ANY trash source should be double-checked -- it's not like there are (many) peer-reviewed journals on the kind of stuff that comes up in trash.

I think your "fanboy" premise might be a little flawed though, when it comes to comparing academic and trash. Sure, errors might get fixed quickly, but let's also remember that someone like Britney Spears has a lot more enemies than, say, Philip IV or chromatids. Or, since Britney is so famous, pick a much-less-well-known but still askable person in pop culture. I would expect those academic articles to actually be more reliable than the trash ones because, really, who's going to go to the trouble to libel a guy who's been dead 300 years?

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Post by Sima Guang Hater » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:41 pm

NoahMinkCHS wrote:Sure, errors might get fixed quickly, but let's also remember that someone like Britney Spears has a lot more enemies than, say, Philip IV or chromatids.
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Post by Captain Sinico » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:54 pm

I guess I don't see why the standard should be any different. Due to its complete lack of real editorial oversight, Wikipedia is potentially fraught with errors (about any topic, really) and you should cross-check any facts you want to use from there if you care about having accurate information in your questions. I don't see why that stricture should be relaxed for trash (or for any tournament of any kind.)
My own experience is that Wikipedia is about as likely to be wrong about pop culture-type stuff I know a lot about as it is to be wrong about academic-type stuff that I know a lot about. Make of that what you will.
As for copying and pasting, doing that from any source is plagiarism and therefore obviously wrong. Plagiarizing from Wikipedia is doubly wrong as you're then plagiarizing potentially inaccurate information.

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Post by Kilby » Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:24 am

DeisEvan wrote:If you have access to this year's Ann B. Davis set, look at the Celebrity Fight Club/Delaware packet. No fewer than three tossups and two bonuses have direct copy+paste from Wikipedia such that there are still blue hyperlinks to other Wikipedia articles.
Given that this was my team's packet, that comes as a surprise. I only wrote a few of the questions and touched up a few others, but I did reformat everything and never saw any hyperlinks when I was doing that. I just went back to the packet and I see a couple of answers with blue underlines that I didn't catch, but those aren't links (at least they aren't now). I also turned on revealing the codes for hyperlinks and, sure enough, there they are. I didn't catch them because they were reformated to look normal before they were sent to me. From a quick glance at the articles, I think most of these links were just copying names of people and things from Wikipedia and forgetting to remove the hyperlink (although the Entertainment Weekly clue for Apatow is almost verbaitam from Wikipedia). My apologies for not catching these and reformatting them or sending them back to the author, depending on the case.

FWIW, the Delaware submission is clean.

And to throw my .02 cents in on using Wikipedia for trash: I've thought the same thing before, but I always verify with another source because Wikipedia articles can still be edited by anyone. I'm probably just as worried (if not moreso) about the potential for Wikipedia Bowl. The impression I get is that pop culture articles in Wikipedia tend to be more centered on lists of facts than actually being a cohesive article... but maybe I'm wrong there.

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Post by First Chairman » Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:41 am

How appropriate would it be to begin a question or a clue with "According to Wikipedia" ???
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Post by Mike Bentley » Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:43 am

I've done this a few times for some bonus parts. It's mostly in a comical fashion, though.
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Post by Kilby » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:22 am

Will Run PACE for Reese's wrote:How appropriate would it be to begin a question or a clue with "According to Wikipedia" ???
Ha, then question writing just got a lot easier.

"According to an edit I just made in Wikipedia... I mean, according to Wikipedia..."

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Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:59 pm

Quizbowl questions should not explicitly cite sources unless either the nature of the source is itself a clue, which is never the case for wikipedia, or to highlight competing claims about something in different authoritative sources, which is again never the case for wikipedia. So basically, unless as a joke, your question should never contain "according to wikipedia."

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Post by AKKOLADE » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:12 pm

Using Wikipedia as a source is like *insert bad for you item here* as *insert possibly good, but when attached to the first item impossible to actually accomplish, action here*.
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Post by Bigfoot isn't the pr » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:44 pm

DeisEvan wrote:If you have access to this year's Ann B. Davis set,
Speaking of which, does anyone have a link to this years Ann B Davis set?

On topic:
I admit that I use wikipedia as a preliminary source. Never as the final and only, however. For instance, if I were to write a "Fictional Sports Teams" subject round, wikipedia would by far be the best source to go to first. They have an entire subcategory regarding the topic and I would be able to find answers, etc. But that doesn't mean I would write the entire question(s) from wikipedia only. I would go to other sites, do my proper research, and make sure that the clues I included were correct.
I don't think wikipedia should be burned or any of that. Its a good source, particularly for question writers. I just don't think it should be the only source.

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Post by NoahMinkCHS » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:56 pm

ImmaculateDeception wrote:Quizbowl questions should not explicitly cite sources unless either the nature of the source is itself a clue, which is never the case for wikipedia...
What about something like, "According to Wikipedia, this former editor of The Tennesseean was thought to be involved in both Kennedy assassinations. That 2005 claim, made by Brian Chase, was brought to the public eye with an op-ed this man wrote for USA Today, which he helped start. Later (blah blah blah)"
ANSWER: John Lawrence Seigenthaler

Obviously it's not complete, but I feel like that's a legitimate question that could be asked. Whether there are many others like it, I can't say, but Wikipedia is such an important, notable site, it's bound to come up sometimes.

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Post by cvdwightw » Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:07 pm

Will Run PACE for Reese's wrote:How appropriate would it be to begin a question or a clue with "According to Wikipedia" ???
See, after that "According to Wikipedia, what was the purpose of the Spanish Armada" question, no one who has heard that anecdote is going to be able to moderate the words "According to Wikipedia" without attempting to contain laughter.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:02 am

NoahMinkCHS wrote:
ImmaculateDeception wrote:Quizbowl questions should not explicitly cite sources unless either the nature of the source is itself a clue, which is never the case for wikipedia...
What about something like, "According to Wikipedia, this former editor of The Tennesseean was thought to be involved in both Kennedy assassinations. That 2005 claim, made by Brian Chase, was brought to the public eye with an op-ed this man wrote for USA Today, which he helped start. Later (blah blah blah)"
ANSWER: John Lawrence Seigenthaler

Obviously it's not complete, but I feel like that's a legitimate question that could be asked. Whether there are many others like it, I can't say, but Wikipedia is such an important, notable site, it's bound to come up sometimes.
I suppose that's something like an exception. So maybe other than current events stories or clues based therein that are essentially about Wikipedia (as the question you've sketched is), I don't see why you'd ever say "according to Wikipedia."

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Post by AKKOLADE » Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:34 am

Bigfoot isn't the preferr wrote: I admit that I use wikipedia as a preliminary source. Never as the final and only, however. For instance, if I were to write a "Fictional Sports Teams" subject round, wikipedia would by far be the best source to go to first. They have an entire subcategory regarding the topic and I would be able to find answers, etc. But that doesn't mean I would write the entire question(s) from wikipedia only. I would go to other sites, do my proper research, and make sure that the clues I included were correct.
I don't think wikipedia should be burned or any of that. Its a good source, particularly for question writers. I just don't think it should be the only source.
I think this is pretty much the correct answer on the question of how to properly use Wikipedia when writing questions.

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