Instigator / Pro



The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After 3 votes and with 8 points ahead, the winner is...

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Last updated date
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Two days
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One month
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Contender / Con

A trickier version of Oromagi's debate.

Copied from Oromagi:


WiKiPEDIA is "a multilingual online encyclopedia created and maintained as an open collaboration project by a community of volunteer editors using a wiki-based editing system. It is the largest and most popular general reference work on the World Wide Web. It is also one of the 15 most popular websites as ranked by Alexa, as of August 2020. It features exclusively free content and has no advertising. It is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, an American non-profit organization funded primarily through donations."

FEATURED ARTICLES are considered to be some of the best articles Wikipedia has to offer, as determined by Wikipedia's editors. They are used by editors as examples for writing other articles. Before being listed here, articles are reviewed as featured article candidates for accuracy, neutrality, completeness, and style, according to our featured article criteria. There are 5,871 featured articles out of 6,181,203 articles on the English Wikipedia (about 0.1% or one out of every 1,050 articles). Articles that no longer meet the criteria can be proposed for improvement or removal at featured article review.

MORE RELIABLE [comparative form of] RELIABLE is "better suit[ed] or fit to be relied on; more worthy of dependence, reliance or trust; more dependable, more trustworthy "

SOURCE is "the person, place or thing from which something (information, goods, etc.) comes or is acquired."

INFORMATION is "things that are or can be known about a given topic; communicable knowledge of something."

NEWS is "A publication or broadcast program that provides news and feature stories to the public through various distribution channels. Media outlets include newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet." This doesn't include amateurs.


Wikipedia advises:
"When two parties are in a discussion and one makes a claim that the other disputes, the one who makes the claim typically has a burden of proof to justify or substantiate that claim especially when it challenges a perceived status quo. This is also stated in Hitchens's razor, which declares that "what may be asserted without evidence, may be dismissed without evidence." Carl Sagan proposed a related criterion – "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" – which is known as the Sagan standard."

As instigator PRO bears the larger burden, however CON has a responsibility to affirm that FOX is more reliable than Wikipedia. PRO must show evidence that Wikipedia is more reliable than FOX. CON must show evidence that FOX NEWS is more reliable than Wikipedia.

PRO is requesting sincere and friendly engagement on this subject.
No trolls or kritiks, please.

- RULES --
1. Forfeit=auto loss
2. Sources may be merely linked in debate as long as citations are listed in comments
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. For all intents and purposes, Donald Trump may not be used as a source of information. Trump may be quoted but Trump's testimony or opinion must never be mistaken for reliable evidence
5. For all relevant terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the rational context of this resolution and debate

Round 1
oh, I realize I copied over Fox news part when I meant most news sources. Anyways.

My only argument is, Inherent Bias
News are meant to inform, but some of them are also meant to entertain and try to convince the audience of a certain side. They have no obligation to give the full story, nor are they arguably checked upon more time than Wikipedia Featured articles. A famous Chart displays out of all news sources, the only ones that are truly reliable with no bias are Bloomberg, NPR, Politico, CBS News, and a dozen of others, which are the vast minority compared to all the news sources listed there. In contrast, Featured articles are checked by countless peers for truth and well written ideas. As the criteria says

  1. It is:
    1. well-written: its prose is engaging and of a professional standard;
    2. comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details and places the subject in context;
    3. well-researched: it is a thorough and representative survey of the relevant literature; claims are verifiable against high-quality reliable sources and are supported by inline citations where appropriate;
    4. neutral: it presents views fairly and without bias; and
    5. stable: it is not subject to ongoing edit wars and its content does not change significantly from day to day, except in response to the featured article process.
  2. It follows the style guidelines, including the provision of:
    1. a lead: a concise lead section that summarizes the topic and prepares the reader for the detail in the subsequent sections;
    2. appropriate structure: a substantial but not overwhelming system of hierarchical section headings; and
    3. consistent citations: where required by criterion 1c, consistently formatted inline citations using footnotes (<ref>Smith 2007, p. 1</ref>)—see citing sources for suggestions on formatting references. Citation templates are not required.
  3. Media. It has images and other media, where appropriate, with succinct captions and acceptable copyright status. Images follow the image use policyNon-free images or media must satisfy the criteria for inclusion of non-free content and be labeled accordingly.
  4. Length. It stays focused on the main topic without going into unnecessary detail and uses summary style.
A study from finds that it is nearly as reliable as an actual Encyclopedia in terms of information. Now I don't know about you, but only the most stubborn people would not trust a professional encyclopedia. In contrast, Pew research shows that Democrats don't trust Republican news and vice versa. It's a tough site to run if you alienate basically half the people, which confirms the suspicions I laid out in the beginning. 

Even on the basic level, Wikipedia has been found to have 80% accuracy with 9 random sample articles compared to actual Encyclopedias. Featured Articles are faced under even greater scrutiny than usual articles, and therefore are more reliable than most news sources. Indeed, when it comes to drug information there was analyzed to be 99.7% of accuracy and 80% of completeness, far surpassing any standard set by news sources. As you can see, Featured Articles are more trustworthy sources of information than most news sources.
I Rebuttal: News outlets are not arguably checked more than Wiki
I.a My opponent argues that news outlets are not “arguably checked upon more time than Wikipedia Featured Articles,” and “are checked by countless peers for truth and well written ideas.” The only citation is a “famous Chart”[1] which declares on its website a disclaimer relative to its methodology, “Admits it [speaking of the chart] is necessarily subjective...” Pro lists 9 factors by which the methodically is organized to demonstrate that Wiki is superior to news outlets. Not to forget that its methodology is subjective.
I.b Is Wiki reliable? Wiki says it is not. The Pro BoP of this debate must demonstrate that Wiki is more reliable than most news sources. When the Google search string is composed as: “is Wikipedia reliable,”  here is the first hit on “reliability:”
I.b.1 Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any time. This means that any information it contains at any particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or just plain wrong.”[2] Who is Ad Fontes Media to claim otherwise? Who confirms Ad Fontes Media reliability?
I.b.2 To answer the above question, referring to rebuttal I.a, above, consider: Reliability and validity are criteria used to assess metric adequacy and are typically quantified by correlation coefficients. Reliability is described as the extent to which repeated measurements yield consistent results.Validity is described as the extent to which a measure actually measures what it purports to measure... Appreciating how coefficients are influenced will better enable clinicians to assess the adequacy of subjective outcome measures.”[3]
I.b.2.A Translation: Subjective measures are not as reliable as objective measures. That is the reason why subjective information is not reliable. While Pro’s cited chart is critical of media bias, its self-assessment [I.a] admits it is subjectivity [bias], and Wiki admits it is not reliable [I.b.1].
I.c According to MIT Technology Review,[4]  “…[Wikipedia] is not operated by a sophisticated corporation but by a leaderless collection of volunteers who generally work under pseudonyms and habitually bicker with each other.”  That is not a glowing review by an academic stronghold of technology. “There is no other free information source like [Wikipedia],”[5]  and that may be the source of the problem Wiki has with reliability. In times passed, much time, energy, and expense was given for the ability to research information that is now available, literally, at one’s fingertips, and at no cost beyond monthly Internet access fees. Even print media newspapers still charge a moderate fee for the privilege of reading them.
I.c.1 Further, noting that a majority of editors at Wiki are anonymous,[6] how is one to confirm their scholastic knowledge of the subjects they address? What is “arguably checked upon more time than Wikipedia Featured Articles,” and “are checked by countless peers for truth and well written ideas.” Typically, when one is sourcing a claim, the source is cited with specific reference, including a searchable reference to named persons offering the sourced material, whose scholarship can be verified. Wiki has no possible verification when the source is anonymous. 
I.c.2 I conclude that Wiki’s own assessment renders the site unreliable. Pro has offered a definition for “more reliable,” and I am perfectly willing to accept that definition as rendered, requiring better suitability for dependable, trustworthy information.
I.d I will address Pro’s last two paragraphs of R1 in my R2.
II Argument: A thumb on the scale
II.a Pro’s description declares the grounds for BoP and necessity of requiring evidence of claims, and specifically restricts a source in Rule 4 [“Trump may not be used as a source for information. This is a biased BoP rule. Why should one source be exempted, and all other sources allowed to be used? 
II.a.3 Pro has unwittingly prevented Con’s full access to the “majority of news sources,” not because they can only be accessed through Wiki, which is not the case at all, but because of the information contained therein happens to include prohibition of information from Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, a source I have the right to access by virtue of the right of availability to a free press, constitutionally guaranteed, but prohibited by Pro. 
With broken wing, I pass the argument to Pro.

Round 2
Firstly, the editing can be fixed with web archive and looking back on the history for changes and ensuring yourself that they are accurate, as Wikipedia requires cited sources (while news don't tend to cite other research, for the most part). Secondly, Wikipedia is very humble and con has not refuted that Wikipedia is only comparing itself to the best of the best, obviously 80% is less reliable than 95% of true encyclopedias, but news are not that much better. A more strong scholarly study finds that nearly all news have some sort of bias within them: " Results show that the media have a measurable bias, and illustrate this by showing the favoritism of Chilean media for the ruling political parties in the country. This favoritism becomes clearer as we empirically observe a shift in the position of the mass media when there is a change in government. Even though relative differences in bias between news outlets can be observed, public awareness of the bias of the media landscape as a whole appears to be limited by the political space defined by the news that we receive as a population. We found that the nature of the bias is reflected in the vocabulary used and the entities mentioned by different news outlets. A survey conducted among news consumers confirms that media bias has an impact on the coverage of controversial topics and that this is perceivable by the general audience." As you can see, though "subjective" the chart can still show the untrustworthy nature of the news. Because there can be anyone who can edit the articles, when you balance it out, eventually the culmination of ideas will be more comprehensive than news article. Consider if, only a dozen people worked together on a single news article, and they were all democratic based, well, that's not very trustworthy. Now even if 10,000 random people visited Wikipedia's "Philosophy" and thought about changing it, the moderation and ideas combined together with ability to look at history can combine for better facts overall. Not to mention there's a greater chance an expert or trusted researcher is working on the article because Wikipedia is very popular and accessible, while news article has journalists, not guaranteed to have expert on the side giving trusted information. 
I Rebuttal: study
I.a From R1, Pro offered a “statistical analysis” of direct comparison of accuracy of Wiki vs. encyclopedias. “Statistical” in quotes because according to the CSSBB Primer [Certified Six Sigma Black Belt],[i] 50 samples for Nature’s “study” taken from Wiki’s 4 million entries,[ii] [no, let’s use Pro’s citation of “featured articles,” 5,865 total], is pitifully insufficient for reliable accuracy of statistical results. According to the CSSBB Primer, a population of 5,865 requires a minimum sampling of 1,704, meaning 50 samples is 34x deficient. No reliability there worth cheering. From those 50 samples [actually there were, according to, only 42 usable responses, so the reliability is even less. From these results, Pro claims 80% reliability of Wiki, whereas encyclopedias ranked 95% realiable. But let’s read carefully what Pro said in R2 of this study: “Wikipedia is only comparing itself to the best of the best, obviously 80% is less reliable than 95% of true encyclopedias, but news are not that much better.”  I am suspicious that Pro means to say that news does not have >95% reliability, but I conclude Pro is saying that news is “not that much better,” but, then, better than Wiki’s 80%. Case closed? Well, not yet.
II Rebuttal: Another study by Reference Service Review
II.1 Pro offered in R1 another study, this by RFS, comparing Wiki to Britanica Encyclopedia, and used nine samples of  Wiki articles for their statistical analysis, reaching a similar conclusion as above: Wiki is 80% reliable. But 9 samples is worse than 42, by a factor you can figure out. These results, statistically, are out of the ballpark, compared to that analyzed in I.a, above. I suggest Pro find a study, if there is one, that uses a statistically significant sample size [min. 1,704] to reach statistically accurate results. As a professional in this realm, a certified SSBB, I declare these studies as a nice waste of time.
III Rebuttal: Real and perceived bias in mainstream media
III.a A third Pro “statistical” study.[iii] First, let me submit an agreement that MSM is biased. But that argument merely suggests one reason why any source would have less than 100% reliability. Since bias exists, clearly in both Wiki and other news media, it is an accepted qualifier of reliability. I submit, however, my conclusion of rebuttal I.a, above, that Pro claims news media is “not that much better” than Wiki’s 80% reliability, and this means it is still better, by Pro’s own words. Further, let me remind readers that Pro’s resolution is comparing Wiki to the “majority of news sources in the U.S.” Unfortunately, Pro’s cited study analyzes Chilean news media: “In summary, the results indicate that the political orientation of the media in Chile is in line with and follows the political orientation of the government.”  As that factor, government orientation, potentially changes in the U.S. every two years, minimum, with congressional elections, I suggest that media reliability will fluctuate. I therefore declare this source, and Pro’s discussion in R2, off-topic, and not needing rebuttal.
II.b Con concludes R2 with, “there's a greater chance an expert or trusted researcher is working on the article because Wikipedia is very popular and accessible, while news article has journalists, not guaranteed to have expert on the side giving trusted information.” From my R1, I argued, with citation, that Wiki’s editors are anonymous; therefore their searchable “expertise” is impossible to verify. Every major news media in the U.S. excluding Wiki, has an editorial staff, and at least the Editor is an identified individual who can be researched for personal expert accuracy.
III Argument: Reliability of MSM
III.a According to Pew Research,[iv]  using 4,654 samples, 82% of those sampled find MSM [Mainstream Media], not including  social media, reliable local news sources. National news sources are rated slightly lower, at 76%. But, once again, Wiki offers a biting indictment on itself: “Wikipedia's requirement for writing articles is “verifiability, not truth.”[v]   It is easy to “verify” a matter, such as the theory of a flat earth.[vi] There are numerous articles, blogs, books, etc., that “verify,” however, the truth of the matter is out there in cyberspace, and elsewhere, as provable truth.[vii][viii]   

Sources listed in comments

Round 3
I concede
I accept seldiora's concession. Thank you for a good debate. Extend argument.
Round 4
I Conclusion: News Media is more reliable than Wiki
I.a This conclusion is not necessary, given Pro’s concession, but I am going to button up this debate anyway. I accept Pro’s concession, and thank him for two good rounds of argument.
I.b Pro began argument in R1 with presentation of a chart[1]  and claimed that news outlets are not “arguably checked upon more time than Wikipedia Featured Articles,”but offered no evidence other than the chart, which “Admits it is necessarily subjective...”  This admission does not succeed to support pro’s “arguably” claim. I further rebutted Pro’s argument by noting Wiki’s own assessment of itself that “Wikipedia is not a reliable source…”[2]  Both pro claims are, therefore, successfully rebutted without a defense from Pro.
I.c Pro argued in RI & R2 with multiple sources of “statistical” studies concluding that Wiki has superior reliability, however, all the studies Pro referenced used faulty statistical methods, to wit, use of insufficient sample sizes to demonstrate their “statistical” evidence of superior reliability of Wiki.[3],[4]  Proeven declared in R2 that“…news media is “not that much better” than Wiki’s 80% reliability.” The clear implication of this statement is that Pro agrees news media is more reliable than Wiki. Further, the latter of the studies resulted in quoting a study of Chilean media, not U.S. media, which is the subject of this resolution. My rebuttal noted that these statistical studies lacked sufficient sample sizing according to the Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Primer, the definitive statistical body of knowledge determining appropriate statistical methodology. Pro offered no defense of his R1, R2 claims.
I.d Pro conceded in R3, thus ending the debate. I, therefore, declare victory, both on the strength of my arguments, rebuttals, and Pro’s concession. I request votes in favor of Con. Thank you.