Urban Dictionary, Wikipedia Recently Viewed as Reliable Sources

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Many people remain wary of taking crowdsourced websites as authoritative sources for information. But Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia see repeated use in courtrooms, and Everspark Interactive experts say they can be counted on – for the right purposes.

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I'd expect to see these websites gain more and more trust.

Webster's Dictionary is no longer the authoritative source on what words mean, at least not in courtrooms. Recent court cases have increasingly seen the admission of definitions from the Urban Dictionary, Wikipedia and other crowdsourced websites. Everspark Interactive co-founder Chris Watson says there's a good reason why judges allow it, and the trend will likely continue.

The Urban Dictionary is a website where users can submit and vote on definitions for slang words, or slang uses of normal words. Courtrooms have turned to it to define slang words and clarify the intent behind suspects' words. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, uses a similar democratic process but requires more factual sources to back up information according to The New York Times (5.20.13).

Watson is the founder of Everspark Interactive, Atlanta's internet marketing and SEO company, and works frequently with social websites and crowdsourced content.

“People worry that sites like Urban Dictionary aren't objective, but often they offer insight on usage that you can't find anywhere else,” Watson said.

A courtroom in Wisconsin allowed the Urban Dictionary as a resource in April, determining that two self-styled “jack boys” were bragging that they stole things for a living.

“Crowdsourced information will never be authoritative, especially on technical topics,” Watson said. “But when you need to know how people use a term, it's the perfect tool.”

Watson also said that these websites can save courtrooms money, compared to commissioning a survey to determine the same information.

“I'd expect to see these websites gain more and more trust,” he said. “They're not going away.”

About Everspark:

Everspark Interactive is an Atlanta SEO company and internet marketing firm. With a hand picked team of the brightest marketing minds in the country, Everspark creates gripping, engaging content that drives web traffic – and dominates search engines. They can be reached at (770) 481-1766 or eversparkinteractive.com.

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