Talk:About.com

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Websites / Computing  (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of WikiProject Websites, an attempt to create and link together articles about the major websites on the web. To participate, you can edit the article attached to this page, or visit the project page.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Computing (marked as Low-importance).
 
WikiProject United States (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 

Use of Wikipedia in metatags by about.com[edit]

i think someone should comething about the fact that about.com is using "wikipedia: the free encyclopedia" in their metatags. so if i search "bear wikipedia" on google the about.com link comes up


There should be a link indicating that this topic is actually a word in english and that it is defined in wiktionary. 24.201.116.26 04:09, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I was told that this site would help people to get the information abt the debt collection tips as well,as i am in the same business i would like to have some tips and methods for better debt collection especially how it is done in united states of america. i am unable to find any such content in this site or maybe i am not doing it right way.

contents copied?[edit]

How come the same articles can be found in both, wikipedia and experts.about.com? collaboration or wiki-piratism (wiratism?)?

Yes, it is wiki-piratism, and I have personally complained to About.com and the NYT about this practice--especially the act of putting "Copyright 2006 About.com" on the page. They do give a tiny "reference" at the very bottom of the screen. I think this is an unconscionable practice.129.93.17.223 15:15, 23 June 2006 (UTC)Proyster 15:16, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Using our content is explicitly allowed under the GFDL. It's legit. phoebe 20:39, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
They are allowed to use it but they cannot claim it as their copyright, they also have to reference clearly where they got it.71.74.70.152 02:57, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

About.com has a history of stealing someone else's article/tutorial/whatever and putting it on their site along with a copyright for them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.185.6.18 (talk) 22:15, 2 August 2008 (UTC)


I have seen many about.com articles that are just cut and pasted from wikipedia. This seems to me like a phenomenon that is worth mentioning on the wikipedia page for about.com. Does anyone agree? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 143.215.75.165 (talk) 23:20, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

NPOV?[edit]

From the article: "About.com has had many complaints about how much it sucks." This is neither encyclopedic or NPOV; there are no explanations or counter-arguments.
"The website is disliked by many due to its false information and inabillity to speak about topics in a simple, understandable way." Again, no explanations or counter-arguments.
72.43.26.83 15:19, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Noticed this too. I don't have much experience with about.com, so I'm not in the position to correct this myself. But at any rate, these parts should be confirmed, justified and rephrased --134.109.148.26 07:09, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Needs Some Refs[edit]

Nice page, but needs references hi to back up some claims (e.g. they check all medical info) Scottedwards2000 21:09, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Kindly forgive my dawdling around for two years and a half and more, Scott Edwards,
without affirming your perfectly proper call for reliable references here.
I agree with you.
In the absence of solid documentation from reliable, independent, mainstream secondary sources with a record for checking the facts, neither About.com nor this article is any more credible than Wikipedia itself.
~ ~ Wordsmith (talk) 21:11, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
____________________________________________________

Fair use rationale for Image:Homepage with edit special promotion.png[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Homepage with edit special promotion.png is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot 18:13, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Use in wikipedia as sources[edit]

It would be good to have some mention about the reliability (or not) for using about.com as a citation for wikipedia articles. I've seen it come up several times - especially when about copies uncited wikipedia content and then its added to wikipedia as a citation. Toddst1 (talk) 17:34, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree.
.
In the absence of solid documentation from reliable, independent, mainstream secondary sources with a record for checking the facts — not only here, but in any About.com blogger's material, too — neither this article, nor About.com itself, can be seriously regarded as a source of reliable information.
I would never use any tertiary source as a reference until I could first confirm the reliability of that source (and perhaps even its secondary sources).
.
I would not ever cite a blogger directly, at all.
This article itself (as it stands) describes About.com as "an online source for original [italics mine] information." That's what a blog is, after all: an opinion piece, which I believe Wikipedia recognizes as a primary source (of opinion if not information), and as such, does not meet the Wikipedia requirements — as I understand them — for reliability to which you've drawn our attention.
.
What shall we do?
.
~ ~ Wordsmith (talk) 21:11, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
____________________________________________________
The main issue is that material on About.com is original content that's not cited meaning it fails Wikipedia:Verifiability which is one of Wikipedia's core policies. If something is on About.com then there's always a better source somewhere else. If an editor sees something on About.com that they want to cite then the best course would be to contact the author/maintainer of the article and to ask for his or her sources for the material you want to cite and to use those sources after verification. If an About.com guide is unable to give you their sources then treat the material as a self published source.
Many of the About.com guides do not seem to be widely recognized experts in the field covered. For example, articles about autism, such as What Is Asperger Syndrome? are written by a mom with an autistic child. She obviously has a great interest in the field but is not a medical professional with a global reputation for autism research.
Medical/health articles bear the statement "About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board." That seems reassuring. As a test I compared compare what's stated in the Asperger Syndrome article against Asperger syndrome on Wikipedia. Either the About.com or Wikipedia articles are seriously flawed as there's no agreement at all between the articles in terms of the points mentioned on About.com. Presumably the review board looked at this article and felt it was good enough for About.com.
About.com writers (guides) are paid based on traffic/visits to their articles. Thus the emphasis is on speed of writing and ease of reading. Factual accuracy or NPOV are likely to suffer. About.com has not published an editorial standard and we don't know if they are alert for WP:COI issues between the writer and their subject. For example, should the parent of an autistic child be the sole author of the articles related to autism?
Here are links to discussions about if About.com is a reliable source.
Here are links to discussions related to guides apparently trying to drive traffic to their articles by link-spamming on Wikipedia.

Middle Ground[edit]

In point of fact, some About.com "guides" are experts, some are not. Some of their content is well-sourced, others are not. It seems to me the common-sense approach here is to leave the site itself open, and make no policy pronouncements regarding its suitability. Instead, individual editors can be encouraged to challenge content that is sourced to About.com that is not verifiable or is poorly sourced. Ender78 (talk) 11:45, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
If an about.com article is well sourced then those sources can be used as material for a Wikipedia article. If an article is not well sourced then it's not a reliable source for Wikipedia, regardless of the expertise of the guide. This is exactly why WP asks for cites of reliable and verifiable sources rather than trusting or assuming that a Wikipedia editor happens to be an, or the, expert on the subject.
About.com articles are essentially blogs with the primary goals being ease of reading to encourage return visits which allows for more advertising revenue which is used to pay the guides. Unfortunately, the about.com system discourages well researched and sourced articles as those are time consuming to write and are often not as interesting.
One way to make an article interesting is to appear to be authoritative. The passive voice, including alternative points of view, or including "details" are discouraged. This seeming authority makes the articles attractive, both for the casual reader and casual Wikipedia editors looking for sources.
At present there are 16,294 links from Wikipedia to about.com.[1] I suggested a block as a way to slow down the tide and to encourage editors to seek genuine reliable and verifiable sources. If they can't find those sources then the material should not be on Wikipedia.
I can't say I'd be happy about a block as it would discourage those same casual editors that we hope will later see the value of reliable sources and to put the time into locating and citing them. One alternative is a robot that looks for links to about.com and hats article with a message that explains how to properly use about.com which would be to look to see what sources it cites and to dig those up and use them. If an article does not cite sources (99% of the case) then you contact the guide and ask him/her for sources. If the guide can't or won't help then the about.com material should not be a source. In the long run this will make life better for both the guides and the public as the guides will be able to use the Wikipedia article to locate the true sources and from that they can write articles using about.com's style guidelines. --Marc Kupper|talk 00:10, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for all the links. It sounds to me like it should not be blocked, but should be evaluated guide-by-guide and article-by-article. While they are paid for traffic, so are newspapers etc. You can search for any more recent discussions via the Reliable Sources Noticeboard via this link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=%22about.com%22&prefix=Wikipedia%3AReliable+sources%2FNoticeboard&fulltext=Search&fulltext=Search ★NealMcB★ (talk) 15:14, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

Blocking about.com[edit]

Wikipedia has a mechanism to block links to some sites. For example, you will be prevented from saving an edit if you add a link to encyclopediadramatica.com. It's not clear that about.com is so bad that a block is needed but it's an option. When a page is blocked you will see the message at MediaWiki:Spamprotectiontext and are unable to save your edit. --Marc Kupper|talk 23:24, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Not sure if this is the place for it, but my vote would be to block about.com. --Pengortm (talk) 17:30, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Reliability[edit]

How reliable is About.com? Can it be used as citation for Wikipedia articles? Proxima Centauri (talk) 13:19, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

There's been discussion on another website, the following came up:

  1. What is Pan-Africanism? suggests that Walter Rodney wrote between the world wars
  2. Walter Rodney was born in 1942.

In my personal experience About.com is right much more often than the site is wrong but the site probably shouldn't be used without confirmation from other sites. Proxima Centauri (talk) 15:42, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

See also the extensive list of discussions on using about.com as a source, or blocking it, above from 2009 ★NealMcB★ (talk) 15:05, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

LIST INDUSTRIES INC.[edit]

I worked at LIST INDUSTRIES INC. for 10 years. They are filled with FRAUD. The sale of the company was a fraud. I am the son and this company is a disgrace. They cheat on taxes, they dump toxic materials, they price fix, they use Chinease parts and hide this fact from buyers, many late shipments, poor product quality. Current so-called owner HERBIE LIST is a FRAUD, there is no "at arms length" bill of sale. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.104.78.88 (talk) 00:26, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

What does this have to do with About.com? ★NealMcB★ (talk) 15:05, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

"Accuracy" section[edit]

The "Accuracy" section cites a claim made on about.com and then suggests that this claim is inaccurate. However, it does not cite any source that draws attention to the inaccuracy. Thus, isn't the section a case of original research, and shouldn't it be removed? --Phatius McBluff (talk) 21:32, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

The mystery of About.com[edit]

I've always wondered how a site as bad as about.com (non-experts speaking as if they're experts in a confusing, dumbed-down way) can be so successful (about.com shows up high in google searches; lots of sites including Wikipedia link to about.com; etc.). I came here looking for the answer but found nothing. If there has been a business magazine article written on about.com, it might be good to include a summary here of their target audience, business model, revenue stream, etc. 129.63.129.196 (talk) 17:05, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Outdated CEO Information[edit]

I wanted to suggest to the editors of this page that the information on About.com's CEO be updated. Cella Irvine has been gone since 2011 with Darline Jean made the new CEO. Link to an article here though many news stories can be found online. http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/about-com-gets-new-chief-executive/ I want to be fully transparent -- I work for About.com and therefore won't update this myself in respect of community guidelines. That said, would love to see this information be updated for the purpose of accuracy. Thank you! BridgetAnnS (talk) 18:56, 24 January 2013 (UTC)BridgetAnnS 1.24.13 I went ahead and updated the CEO information as I have not seen a community editor make this change. I did include a reference. Thx.

Glowing review lifted from the About.com website[edit]

In the Wikipedia article:

"About.com's nearly 1,000 freelance writers (called Guides) provide hand-crafted information on almost every topic. Its Guides are real people with a real passion and expertise in their fields. Their mission is to provide users with solutions that empower them to do more in their lives.[4]"

From the About.com website (http://press.about.com/our-story/our-guides/):

"About.com’s nearly 1,000 freelance writers, (we call them Guides) provide high-quality information on almost every topic, ranging from cooking to parenting to healthcare and travel.

About.com Guides are real people with a real passion and expertise in their fields. Their mission is to provide users with solutions that empower them to do more in their lives."

It sounds like an advertisement, and (IMO) not a very accurate one, but this isn't the place for *that* particular discussion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.100.30.6 (talk) 04:15, 20 August 2013 (UTC)