17 Jul 2009 8:00 am   //   Filed under: Stray data

Do I owe Wikipedia, or does it owe me?

My friend Jeremy recently noticed that an article he and I co-wrote in college was cited in a Wikipedia entry.

Neat! I realize this will sound corny, but I’m still flattered whenever anybody cites something I wrote. Why not be? It’s a signal that somebody considers my work useful and authoritative—what a compliment!

With this in mind, I had to ego-search Wikipedia for my name to see how many times I’ve been cited. The answer is 12 times. And on an odd collection of subjects!

How does this compare to how many times I’ve cited Wikipedia? I use Wikipedia occasionally to check information, but I rarely cite it in a story. It’s usually better to find out where Wikipedia got its information, and consult that source. It turns out I have cited Wikipedia only four times:

For all its well-documented flaws, Wikipedia is an incredibly useful tool. But if they come around asking for donations, I can tell them I already gave.

Related post: The fall of Chris Anderson