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Medicine in Wikipedia: Reliable Information?

I’ve already talked a lot about the medical articles of Wikipedia and Citizendium. As an administrator, I’d like to provide some useful tips for those who, as a layman or a medical professional, would like to be involved in improving the medical articles of Wikipedia. Second, I’d like to show you how Wikipedia is improving in the aspect of credibility.


So, let’s see some tips on how you can join the medical editorial board in Wikipedia:

Why do I say bravely that Wikipedia is improving in the aspect of credibility and reliability? As I tried to be objective, I chose some of the first entries in the List of causes of death by rate article and determined the number of references and external links in each article now and a year ago. Here is the result:


For me, it proves that Wikipedia is still improving regarding the number of references which is one of the most important aims nowadays in this huge community.

Citizendium, the online encyclopaedia that only selected editors, professionals can edit, is, obviously, more reliable than Wikipedia, but Wikipedia is far more comprehensive than Citizendum. So both should serve as an additional source of information, but never as your last source

Further reading:

25 Comments Post a comment
  1. tjthompson #

    Why would anyone use Wikipedia for anything important without verifying the sources at least?

    October 19, 2007
  2. boss,

    you spelled (and linked) wrong. beginning of your last paragraph starts with ‘citizendum.’

    but my bad, though, didn’t mean to call you out ;) this was a good post.

    October 19, 2007
  3. Thank you, shlok, for the correction! :)

    October 19, 2007
  4. Speaking as Editor-in-Chief of Citizendium and co-founder of Wikipedia, we would be delighted to have any and all health professionals working on Citizendium! Join here:

    October 19, 2007
  5. Great to see you here, Larry!

    It’s hard to convince health professionals to edit Citizendium while their edits should be approved by others. Anyway, you should contact the medical editors of Wikipedia. We have a pretty big medical community.

    I wish you the best to create a comprehensive medical database in Citizendium!

    Berci Meskó

    October 19, 2007
  6. You’re actually mistaken; Health Sciences is one of CZ’s biggest, most active workgroups, and getting doctors and others interested in CZ has not been difficult at all. And that’s precisely because articles can be approved. Individual edits, of course, don’t have to be approved. Once you’ve got an account, you’ll see that it’s just as much (if not more) of a robust wiki as Wikipedia.

    We don’t want to compete with Wikipedia for its personnel; we have not tried to “win over” current Wikipedians. That really wouldn’t be fair play, I think. If they want to join us, though, of course, they’re more than welcome.

    October 19, 2007
  7. I’m on your side, Larry! Just as a Wikipedian, I know the good parts of Wikipedia and I’m realy convinced by the power of masses.

    October 19, 2007
  8. So are we–we are convinced of the power of the masses. That’s why most of our “Citizens” are not expert editors, but authors. But Wikipedia does not empower the masses very well; to do that, you need a rule of law in an online constitutional democracy. Instead, Wikipedia empowers cliques, and an arcane hierarchy that was already developing when I left in 2002, and which has become Kafkaesque in the intervening years. Most Wikipedians are smart, decent, well-meaning people, and good writers. It’s the others who have ruined things.

    October 20, 2007
  9. I’ve been working in Wikipedia for nearly 2 years now, but I have never experienced that hierarchy or the power of cliques. There are so many possibilities to make a complaint when you have a problem.

    Anyway, my problem is that if we create newer and newer encyclopaedias, it’s getting more and more complicated to improve them. While you have only one, we could all focus on that.

    If the professional editors of Citizendum and the masses of Wikipedia could work somehow together, for me, that would be a perfect solution.

    Just an idea: editor-in-chief for each section while anybody can edit? What do you think?

    October 20, 2007
  10. Its always a pleasure to read Berci.
    This serves as an impetus to join some wiki projects. Citizendium, here i come :-)

    January 10, 2009
  11. Usually We donít comment on you but I wanted to inform you I’ve positioned a hyperlink for your page on my small weblog. I was convinced that you may could benefit from my personal visitors since we now have fairly similar pages.

    September 12, 2011

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