101 rules to follow on Wikipedia | The Daily Star
01:12 AM, March 06, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:16 AM, May 22, 2015

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101 rules to follow on Wikipedia

I am sure your parents taught you all the ABCs and nursery rhymes well enough. And even if you decided that all those manners and whatnot they talked of were dispensable, I am sure they taught you to be perfect gentlemen and ladies. They taught you of the dangers of talking to strangers, to wake up early, brush your teeth, not to smoke or abuse substances. If you had particularly cool parents, they may even have sat you down one fine morning and gave you 'the talk' and ruined the entire day for you. But one thing they forgot to warn you of was Wikipedia. Sure, you discovered the seemingly heaven-sent site one fine day when that dial-up modem was brought home and your homework was long overdue. And like all proper addictions, you started to depend on it. One page was not enough, links lead to more links, and now as a working professional in your mid 20s every time you need to find out a bit more on some obscure legal term, you somehow end up reading about the original 151 Pokémon. Wikipedia hooks you in with the promise of condensed knowledge and then the hyperlinks bind you to it forever in a Davy Jone's-ish nightmare. Here's 101 rules to follow on Wikipedia.

Number one, as mentioned above  –  hyperlinks. You decide to read up on Corporate Laws. And six clicks later, you are on the page 'Moon landing conspiracy theories' – seriously, the two pages are separated by just six clicks. Which brings us to number 10 (because hyperlinks, duh). As good an idea condensed information sounds like, Wikipedia is user edited. And as much as I would like to believe in the goodness of humanity, I have known people who intentionally change facts on certain pages just for the funsies. Click-click-click… Number 42. Remember that encyclopaedia on aircrafts you forced your parents to buy and then never ended up reading. Well, the comprehensive articles on the W are so general and thus huge that sometimes you end up reading the first paragraph and then get bored. So if you spent that time on an article which was written solely on the dimension you are interested in, you would have had done something much more productive. But, hey, you are bored already, so you click away.

Number 82. You are so engrossed that you decide you will learn everything there is to know about swords today. Knowledge, even if not particularly useful, is good. But at work, when the office is burning down and in desperate need of your supposed expertise, knowing the difference between a broad-sword and a talwar will not help. Remember what Sherlock said about the mind being an empty room/computer hard disk?

And finally, a few more clicks away, number 101. Complete dependency on one source of information is never good. Not many people take the time to verify the references and so end up thinking just changing the formatting will hide their lazy attempts of copy-pasting. Never works. Instead, you will be forever remembered as the guy who plagiarises. Build a habit of using multiple sources, verifying information and cross-referencing. Now that you know, join the closest Wikipedian Anonymous group and remember, the first step is acceptance.  

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