General Question

girlofscience's avatar

How many Wikipedia articles do you read on average, per day?

Asked by girlofscience (7556points) August 23rd, 2008

I would say I read at least 15 per day. It is just a habit of mine, I guess. Based on my sorted browser history from this past month, the articles I have read over the past month (not including all of those I’ve read at work!) include:

110th United States Congress
Aging in dogs
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alyssa Milano
Amelia (film)
American Movie
Audi alteram partem
Black pudding
Black swan theory
Bounty hunter
Campbell University
Cervical cancer
Change blindness
Chico, California
Christina’s World
City Confidential
Columbia County, Pennsylvania
Coming out
Coven (film)
Cuisine of the Southern United States
DeVry University
Dead Sea scrolls
Delirium Tremens (beer)
Do it yourself
East Millinocket (town), Maine
Edward Scissorhands
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Elizabeth City State University
Ellen DeGeneres
European Union
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (novel)
Flowers for Algernon
Foodborne illness
Genericized trademark
Gonzo journalism
Google’s hoaxes
Gymnastics at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Historically black colleges and universities
Human papillomavirus
Hunter S. Thompson
Identity theft
Immortal Technique
In Plain Sight
In Treatment
Caste System in India
Internet Movie Database
IntraUterine System
James “Sawyer” Ford
Jane Alexander
Jeanne Tripplehorn
Jill Biden
Jim Jones
Joe Biden
Johnny Depp
Josh Holloway
Katharine Towne
Katherine Paterson
Keith Holyoak
Kenneth Starr
Kevin Trudeau
Kirsten Gillibrand
Lysergic acid diethylamide
Larry Page
Laurence Olivier
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Lenovo Group
Library Science
Tween Brands
List of generic and genericized trademarks
List of historically black colleges in the United States
List of political parties in North Dakota
Living in Sin
Market liquidity
Marlon Brando
Mary Lou Retton
Mary McCormack
Michael Silverblatt
Microsoft Excel
Mike Easley
Monica Lewinsky
Myasthenia gravis
Nash County, North Carolina
Nastia Liukin
Network (film)
Newbery Medal
Niagara Falls
No Child Left Behind Act
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
North Dakota
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania
Number the Stars
Only child
Oprah Winfrey
Paula Jones
Physical attractiveness
Plus-size model
Political positions of Joe Biden
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Pomona, New Jersey
Portia de Rossi
Public Ivy
Quest Diagnostics
Radnor High School
Raleigh, North Carolina
Red tape
Richard Stockton Colleges of New Jersey
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Ron Paul
Roseanne Barr
Saint Joseph’s University
Santa Barbara, California
Sex and the City characters
Shawn Johnson
Bard College at Simon’s Rock
Southern United States
Split (gymnastics)
Star Jones
State University of New York at Binghamton
Steubenville, Ohio
Summary offence
Swim briefs
Syncronized swimming
Tell Me You Love Me
Ten Commandments
Tennessee Williams
The Giver
The Great Gilly Hopkins
The Reaping
The Onion
Toccoa Falls Colleges
Transcription error
Tucker Max
Tween Brands
Twelfth Night
University of California, Los Angeles
United States
Democratic Party (United States)
University of California, Santa Barbara
Vanessa Paradis
Vanity Sizing
Vincent D’Onofrio
Viral marketing
Visual Basic for Applications
Waist-hip ratio
Walnut Creek, California
Wesleyan University

Feel free to share your lists as well!

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28 Answers

willbrawn's avatar

Usually zero

peedub's avatar

¿Cómo se dice ‘you are my hero’ ?

I skim about 3–4 a day.

marinelife's avatar

ZERO. I never use Wikipedia as a primary source except for totally vapid things that don’t matter that deserve the wiki.

eambos's avatar

Lolcat? You’ve hot a couple of strange ones on there.

If I ever end up on wikipedia I always spend nearly half an hour flipping through random articles.

@dubs: ¡Tù eres mì hèroe! Not certain ‘bout the accent mark.

jlm11f's avatar

around 1–2 articles a day. one of my friends spends time surfing through wiki and reading different articles. I just use it when i need quick information about something.

girlofscience's avatar

@Marina: Of course I never use Wikipedia as a primary source either… If you look through my list, they are all very random. Wikipedia is a convenient way to get a great wrap-up of any topic. And sometimes, I’m simply interested in how something is described on Wikipedia. For example, “Gossip.”

Whenever I see on facebook that a friend of mine is from a town of which I’ve never heard or attended a college of which I’ve never heard, I typically read the Wikipedia articles for those to gain a brief overview and understanding of their background.

girlofscience's avatar

@Marina: I’m also kind of offended that your comment implies that I would use Wikipedia as a primary source… I thought it was more clear that the nature of my Wikipedia browsing is purely recreational.

marinelife's avatar

@gofs I did not mean to comment on how you used it. I was commenting on how I used it. I guess, since I do research as a profession, it scares me how many people (and no, I do not mean your very bright self) cannot differentiate quality from crap on the Web. Not all sources are the same. My snitiness may have leaked. I’m sorry. :(

Randy's avatar

Anywhere from 0–10 per day. It all depends on the situations.

girlofscience's avatar

@Marina: It’s ok—thanks for the apology, though.

Research is my “profession” as well. As such, using Wikipedia as a legitimate source is, in my mind, so far from anything that would ever occur, that I simply do not view Wikipedia as a negative entity because I do not associate it with having a purpose beyond a convenient collection of information. I find its articles informative and enjoyable, and I use it for recreational reading very frequently. Whether I’m watching something on TV, reading an article online, or talking to a friend, I always like to learn some extra info on the topic, and Wikipedia is a great source for that! I think it should be valued for what it is supposed to be.

I was once very annoyed with a particular fluther member because of a PM he sent to me. I had answered a question and mentioned the “Drake Equation” in my answer. Even though I explained what the Equation was in my answer, someone sent me a comment that said, “What’s the Drake Equation?” I responded to him by PM with a link to the Wikipedia article. He then responded: “Ahhh! to sciency shouldn’t have asked, but thanks anyway. oh and uh did you know wikipedia is not a really reliable source, sometimes.”

I wanted to rip my hair out when I got that PM. The Wikipedia article was a quick, easy explanation of the Drake Equation he had asked about. There’s no reason that the Wikipedia article would not be “reliable” enough for the purposes of giving him some quick info on the Drake Equation. And it’s not like my personal explanation of the equation would have been any more accurate. I thought this person was really, really stupid.

trumi's avatar

Probably 10–20 per day. I’m a big fan of Wiki when I just want a basic overview of something.

girlofscience's avatar

@trumi: You had exactly 1000 points more than I (before I gave you lurve). Yeah, I feel the same way about wiki. :)

marinelife's avatar

And I so totally lied. Not on purpose, of course, but I have been ditzing around with great rock guitarists and guitar solos tonight, and I have been looking up quick bios of people I get interested in on wikipedia. So, I guess I use it more than I thought!!!!!!!!!!

joeysefika's avatar

If I’m at school, a fair bit. I find it very helpful to get a quick grasp on something. Especially simple wikipedia for physics and chem

galileogirl's avatar

Wikipedia is great for confirming things, and secondary sources. I usually use it several times a day when I am working. For example if I am preparing a lesson on Chinese dynasties I would go there for a list and then go to other sites for more in depth information. Recently someone asked about other election years when both candidates had the vote sewed up before the conventios and I used Wikipedia to refresh my memory. A few minutes ago there was a question about the SF Bay Area and I knew the answer was 9 counties but couldn’t recall the names of all 9 but it was right there on W.

Skyrail's avatar

I use Wikipedia regularly, I couldn’t give a good estimate about how many articles I read a day. Sometimes I won’t go to it at all, other times I may visit 20+ pages in a single session. I find Wikipedia to be a great source of information (sure not a primary source, more of a tertiary if anything) and I use it to get a base idea, then to go to the links that cite the article, if any, and look further into the topic if I’m interested. Wikipedia is a reliable resource to a certain extent, I rarely have to look much further though because I don’t need my data for professional or educational usage, and most of the time I’m not that interested in the topic

wrestlemaniac's avatar

Only when i need it, and GirlOS you killed my brian with that list…..(i kidding)

drhat77's avatar

i’m a researcher in a hospital as well, and at one point i wanted to do a study dredgeing data out of the hospitals URL logs to see how much medical information is gotten through non-standardized methods (like google or wikipedia). i did not go through because of privacy concerns, but also i was afraid i’d end up seeing something like

gailcalled's avatar

(Poor Brian. What a way to go.) I rarely use Wikipedia.

Skyrail's avatar

I’m just wondering. You see an article, you know it’s down right wrong and incorrect, and have sources elsewhere of correct information. Besides limitations due to time, why don’t people edit the articles (the whole idea behind Wikipedia) to ensure that the articles are actually correct and people are getting the correct information? Instead of complaining about how bad the information is, why not try and improve the standard of information that can be provided by that service. It is after all there to help spread the knowledge of the world around, you wouldn’t sit here and watch an incorrect answer posted on Fluther, you would help correct the problem, therefore improving the knowledge of both the person who asked the question and the person who answered incorrectly. Why not do the same on Wikipedia? I’m not having a go at anyone. It’s just something that niggles me a bit.

gailcalled's avatar

@Sky: That’s a separate issue/question. Why not ask it?

Skyrail's avatar

@Gail good idea, I think I’ll do just that :) Thanks.

cyndyh's avatar

I do use Wikipedia quite a bit. I probably look at about 5 or 6 articles a day. It’s a great jumping off point. If I really want to know something more than just a “what’s that?” I’ll look further.

Tantigirl's avatar

I very rarely use wikipedia. I don’t use it because of that fact that anyone can write anything they want to, about whatever they want to, and it doesn’t matter if it is correct or not. If I read through wikipedia, it would be for recreational use.

Knotmyday's avatar

I’d rather read Uncyclopedia.

netspencer's avatar

I read on average 5 a day. I will read like 30 on a few different days of the week and at least 2 on other days…

90s_kid's avatar

Teachers tell us not to use it because “anyone can edit it”. I use it anyway. Very Helpful!

netspencer's avatar

Anyone can edit it but not anyone can be a moderator. Also, because anyone can edit it, it becomes a lot like Fluther! Everyone is an expert an something. In a normal encyclopedia, people are hired to write about certain topics. In wikipedia, however, the authors can be some of the most tallented, smartest people in the world. And, there is a lot of colabaration!

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