User contributed content, any value?

When users write content, is it of any value? Do we trust what we read? Can we trust what we read?

Let me ask you a question, do you value this? I am only a user, just like you. So does this make my words valuable or worthless, the answer is one only you know. The choice you make however is yours and only yours, one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure.

Take this one step further, what about other sites? Social Networking sites and blogs, readers should be aware that the source or quality of data maybe questionable. But if the site looks genuine, how do you know? Well this is what people should learn, validation and picking trusted sources. Do you use this site as a source for information, or my opinion? Is it the same thing? You decide.

Where does this leave “open” sites like wikipedia, millions could edit the content, it could be very poor quality… However, in reality any open system has less contributors than its possible to have, and you normally find they strive for quality. This is true in some of these “open source” style sites like wikipedia as it is in the open source software community.

I trust the majority of content on wikipedia, you may not. Some people strive for quality content, some have another motive. The bottom line is that the user must be given the skills to make these choices.

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