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General guidelines for reading Wikipedia[edit]

  1. Don't rely on the Article alone. Always check the Talk page to see what's being fought over
  2. Especially don't rely solely on the Article's lead. It is often the most heavily contested area. Again, the Talk page is your friend.
  3. Remember that being mentioned in Wikipedia doesn't mean that it's a Real Thing. Traditional paper encyclopedias, like Britannica, had to be choosy about what they let in and what they left out. As such, when Britannica leaves something out, it may be telling you something valuable; i.e. that the subject you're looking for barely deserves to even be a subject and so you should consider stopping looking for it. Wikipedia doesn't suffer from that limitation which has the upside of keeping it current and letting lots more in, but it has the downside of sometimes allowing in stuff that really should have been strangled at birth, and that's despite the best of intentions. One way to spot this problem is to ensure that you don't rely solely on Wikipedia for your information. Of course when looking at other sites, make sure they haven't just copied from Wikipedia, because many, even some who should know better, do precisely that.