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It has been four years...Wikipedia has grown and evolved. Good job everyone! :) With the number of references often provided in the articles, it has become an information hub more than a parallel WWW.
With that said, my original thoughts still mostly apply and have been somewhat confirmed. The idea of an encyclopedia is a quick reference rather than an understanding. There is no real link between concepts. A perfect example are articles related to maths. It is extremely hard to follow a math article since they seem to be written by people who are most likely very advanced in maths...but it is only a reference, but reference *is* the definition "encyclopedia". References are only *really* useful for people who already know the article or at least all of its underlying concepts. If you're an engineer, you don't grab a reference book to understand a circuit, you grab it to refresh! So, again, it is useful for quickly looking up a fact rather than understanding. Of course, this site is still extremely useful, as a reference, or, what it was it is by definition!
Ideal type of solution I'm looking for: I guess what I want is something useful for learning. Imagine a slider on the top of the page. When the slider was at its default "summary" position, it would post a quick summary of the information on the page, so the article as wikipedia exists today. If you moved the slider to the beginning, it would take you to the beginning of the *concept* of the article. Moving the slider towards the end, the article would become more and more in depth, showing the steps to understand the increasingly advanced ideas. You would be able to follow and learn the progression of ideas leading to the article's contents. You could understand the topic rather than be bombarded with quick facts and equations. I suppose this is a start for something like that. Brandon.irwin (talk) 00:17, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
I've decided that I don't like the idea of wikipedia. I think it's a bad idea, so, I'm not going to contribute anymore. There exists too much misinformation...and like people before have pointed out, it's making a parallel, MUCH less detailed WWW. People seem to grab all the information from the web, filter it through themselves stripping much of the contect. If the user wants to learn, they could have just as easily looked up the information on google to get a FULL explanation with (usually) INTELLIGENT AND TESTED information.
In short, wikipedia, and encyclopedias in general, are based towards gaining quick information for things such as school reports that you forget in a week, not understanding. Since I don't believe in this type of education, I can't believe in wikipedia.