Wikipedia is one of my favorite tools on the internet. No, I don’t take the information there as utter fact–no more than I would any one encyclopedia or source, but I do use it, find it helpful and informative.
With that said, I was interested in the technologyreview.com interview with Wikipedia’s cocreator (he left Wikipedia in 2002), Larry Sanger in which he discusses, among others things, one of the problems which happens with such a massive collaborative endeavor as Wikipedia:
there’s a second complaint against Wikipedia that bothers Sanger more deeply—the fractiousness among Wikipedians themselves. Sanger says participants often become embroiled in “revert wars” in which overprotective authors undo the changes others try to make to their articles. He says he’s afraid that this kind of behavior drives away academics and other experts whose contributions would otherwise raise Wikipedia’s quality.
Indeed, the interview suggests that a “revert war” was one of the reasons Sanger left Wikipedia. But what it all boils down to is not so much about knowledge, rather human nature:
To build a public encyclopedia, you don’t need faith in the possibility of knowledge, he says. “What you have to have faith in is human beings being able to work together.”
(found the link to the interview on: slashdot)