I constantly hear that Wikipedia is not a reliable or reputable source… is it not?  I had one professor tell me that Wikipedia could not be cited, he went on further, denoting in his tone of voice and demeanor that he thought the whole thing to be worthless and some kind of illegitimate child of wanna-be academia authors. Alas, Wikipedia was an academic bastard.

What were his reasons?  Maybe he thought the information could not be verified… sure.  Perhaps he thought that the amatuer nature of the authors rendered there opinion worthless.  In the end it doesn’t really matter, I didn’t cite Wikipedia, I just used the sources that it had outlined in the article.

I guess the gist of the argument is that only reputable sources can be cited because well, they have been filtered for stupidity.  In a nutshell, thats what it means.  I’m not too sure though, perhaps we should be filtering the “authoritative sources”, no?  I am pretty confident that history repeats itself, and last time I checked all the major innovations and thoughts worth remembering that were earth shattering were not invented by “authoritative sources”.  It was made by what could be called amateurs.

It’s called Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind – I don’t want to talk to the reputable sources.  I want to talk to the outcasts, see what they think.  I want to know what these “academic bastards” read, I want to know who they think is not an authoritative source.  That is where the gold is, and that is where innovation comes from.  Am I saying all traditional sources are bad?  Of course not.  What I am saying is that neither are all new/social media sources either.

So why don’t we all this this for an exercise… right a paper without citing reputable sources.  One thing is for sure, it will be more interesting than many conferences where “real” academics regurgitate the paper they read in a print journal 6 months before, who did the same thing… ad infinitum.

So, lets not be negative, but lets be fair and call a spade a spade.  There is definitely room for both traditional and new outlets of thought and science.  Let me be more blunt.  People who do not adjust will be seen as antiquated and antiques in a few years, so… they either need to move toward s the middle, or get a new argument to replace their refuted and tired claims.


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