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The best alternative to Wikipedia is Wikipedia plus a dose of healthy distrust for the content therein. Look up the edit history, check page discussions, verify the references. Do the homework and you should be safe.

I think that depends on the subject.

If I look up, say, resistor colour codes, a car or TV show, the the info Im looking of is as good as fact. The colour codes are correct, the car specs should be pretty much correct, and the general TV info is correct.

If I know Im delving in to something opinion based, for example, political or general history, I treat it as a starting point.

Problem comes when the subject falls in tot he middle, for example looking up a person. Some of I I assume to be correct like date of birth, home town, etc. Or at least its probably as correct as anywhere else. But often trivial type thing turn out to be little more than folk lore. But, if that matters, its very wise to look for something the person's own pages, if they exist. Or at least google the claim to see if its likely to have weight.

So, I think its fair to think some subject are likely to be acceptable as fact, other not so much.

Part of me thinks there should be a separation between things that can be seen as fact, and things that are likely to contain some sort of bias. No idea how that can reasonably be achieved though.

I used to check page discussions too but noticed that it's usually just a few people arguing back and forth over the same few points, leading you to believe an issue is controversial when in fact it is not – often it's just one person who keeps repeating junk in order to pollute the talk page, and if you don't know enough about the subject these things are hard, if not impossible, to spot because of the fake politeness, rationality and sources employed. The linked article also mentions this tactic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Ravpapa/Tilt#Use_the_talk_...

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