PESWiki:Academy FAQ

Lasted edited by Andrew Munsey, updated on June 14, 2016 at 9:47 pm.

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: If you are thinking about assigning PESWiki as a class project, see the Academy projects.


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|align="center"|PESWiki:Overview FAQ

|align="center"|PESWiki:Readers' FAQ

|align="center"|PESWiki:Academy FAQ


|align="center"|PESWiki:Contributing FAQ

|align="center"|PESWiki:Editing FAQ

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This FAQ page deals with some questions teachers and school administrators might have about the content of information in PESWiki, and use of PESWiki by students. PESWiki's Academy is a place designated for education and learning among students, teachers, and others.

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As a online resource, PESWiki inevitably finds its way into classroom activities. It might be fair to say this open-source resource will become at least a permanent — and perhaps major—part - of the educational landscape.

Concepts such as open source, copyleft, collaborative writing, and volunteer contributions for the public good can be new and unfamiliar ideas in educational settings. PESWiki offers an opportunity for educators to explore concepts of public trust that are likely to continue growing in prominence throughout the lives of today's record population of youth.

Some common questions students or educators ask about PESWiki are listed below, with answers based on the status of PESWiki, and on reasonable projections for the immediate future.

Q. Is PESWiki accurate and reliable?

PESWiki is as reliable as the external sources we rely on. Properly written articles cite the sources, and a reader should rely on the PESWiki article as much, but no more, than the sources the article relies on. If an article doesn't cite a source, it may or may not be reliable. Students should never use information in PESWiki for formal purposes (such as a school essay) until they have checked those external sources. Fortunately, PESWiki cites its sources more frequently than most other publications.

PESWiki is rapidly developing, so the reliability of the information is improving all the time. Because readers continually compare articles to what they already know, articles tend to become more accurate and detailed. Certain articles about many of the major sciences were developed from other free or public domain information. This provides a reliable basis upon which resource writers could develop more current information.

On the other hand, it is possible for an article on PESWiki to be biased, outdated, or factually incorrect. This is true for any resource. One should always double-check the accuracy of important facts, regardless of the source. In general, popular articles are more accurate because they are read more often and therefore any errors are corrected in a more timely fashion.

Q. What keeps someone from incorrect information?

Nothing. Anyone can, at this very moment, go to almost any page and change the information to make it misleading or wrong. Very specific minor facts, like an exact date for a less well known historical event, are less trustworthy since vandals sometimes change them.

However, it probably will not stay that way. As contributors monitor the list of contributions (particularly to important or controversial articles), and will delete nonsense or obviously wrong articles, and undo baseless edits. Almost all articles will be on one or more editors' personal watch lists, and they will quickly undo any vandalism. Major articles will be on hundreds of watchlists, so that whenever vandalism is performed, it will be seen and undone in a matter of minutes or less. If an anonymous or relatively new user changes a number or a date by a little bit, without justifying their edit, it is particularly likely to raise a red flag.

But PESWiki cannot be perfect. There is almost certainly inaccurate information in it, somewhere, which has not yet been discovered to be wrong. Therefore, if you are using PESWiki for important research or a school project, you should always verify the information somewhere else.

Q. Can students cite PESWiki in assignments?

For information about how to format citations, see PESWiki:Citing PESWiki.

It depends on what teachers accept. The best policy for all writing is to have more than one source. PESWiki can be an excellent starting place for further research. Teachers might ask students what they did to validate the information they learned from PESWiki. Using a comprehensive search engine such as Google, students can easily compare PESWiki content with information from other reputable websites. Most PESWiki articles also contain an "External links" section at the bottom, which often leads to other relevant sites. Students can compare information in PESWiki with information in other encyclopedias or books. As a general rule, contributors to PESWiki are encouraged to cite their sources, but, of course, not all do. For the sake of verifiability, it is better to cite an article that has listed its sources. Most of our better articles have sections such as "References," "Sources," "Notes," "Further reading," or "External links," which generally contain such information.

For purposes of establishing authorship and finding more sources, students may also find the articles' "History" tabs useful, as these detail every contribution — the contributor and what he or she contributed. All of our contributors have talk pages for leaving them messages.

Other means of contacting PESWikins are listed at There was an error working with the wiki: Code[1]s.