Apparently there’s been an announcement about tighter editorial controls being implemented by the founders of Wikipedia,
one of my favorite Internet resources. The point of a wiki is to enable
anyone to edit any content as they wish, creating information that
benefits from the collaborative process. Some idiots choose to use this
liberty to vandalize some entries, or are pig-headed enough to insist
that only their version of facts can be true. The change in editorial
policy, which is a direct response to this idiocy, has engendered a very interesting discussion on Slashdot, including comments like this one from Chris_Mahan
in response to a claim that “Wikipedia is a fundamentally flawed idea”
because the accuracy of its content is doubted due to its origins in
the wiki community:
that information is correct is always asking for trouble, regardless of
where the infomration comes from. What wikipedia allows you to do is
more easily contact the authors to validate or invalidate, as the case
may be, the factual nature of the information.
This topic has broader implications than just Wikipedia, of course. It speaks to fundamental socio-economic theories, such as the Tragedy of the Commons, and the cultural implications of innovative technology. Well worth a read.