September 28, 2020
Author: Guy Soreq
I struggled through my university Physical Chemistry course. The class was taught by a highly intelligent professor who might as well have been speaking a foreign language when lecturing. When I looked for additional resources to study, Wikipedia proved invaluable. It was easy to access and comprehend, and quickly replaced my expensive convoluted textbook. In fact, Wikipedia made an appearance in almost every university level course I took, sometimes to the dismay of my professors who considered it “not a credible source.” Still, I kept coming back.
These days, the conversation around online sources of data looks a little different. We’re less concerned with the credibility of Wikipedia, and more concerned with the propagation of viral “fake news” across social media platforms. Now Facebook and Youtube - facing mounting criticism for their role in actively spreading disinformation campaigns, propaganda, and conspiracy theories - are turning to Wikipedia for their salvation. These platforms are testing the addition of panels with fact-checked information from Wikipedia.
What makes Wikipedia a trusted source of data for these companies and many others? It is a collaborative platform, relying on a culture of self-policing, a community of volunteer editors, and a stringent set of rules along with built in checks. Unlike Wikipedia, companies like YouTube and Facebook, whose business model relies on ads, encourage sensationalism over facts. Their concern is less about accuracy, and more about how to monetize the attention of their users.
At Glowlit, we have always looked to Wikipedia as an example of what can be accomplished through the wisdom of informed crowds. Unlike my dusty textbooks, the Wikipedia pages on Chemical Kinetics and Catalysts are living breathing documents that are updated as new information emerges. Glowlit price reports share the same advantage, and like Wikipedia, offer users additional transparency into the source of the information. Glowlit users can see exactly how many price entries each report is based on.
We believe that one day Glowlit’s method for collecting market intelligence will be as commonplace as Wikipedia. Until then, we’ll look to the following Wikipedia entry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Wikipedia) for inspiration on how to continue moving forward.