It’s no secret that I absolutely adore Wikipedia. In fact, I’d go so far as to state it’s easily my #1 time-drain on the Internet, as I’m all to prone to falling deep into the rabbit hole, clicking reference link after reference link. However, I’m all too aware that Wikipedia (as is any community based knowledge source) is a flawed (and often stunningly incomplete) reference.
Wikipedia knows that too, and is working towards implemented a number of changes that will lend more weight to its articles by addressing the ‘trust’ issue raised by transparency tools as the Wikipedia Scanner. Most of these changes have to do with keeping edits unavailable from view until a trusted editor signs off on them, a fact which English speaking users are likely to chaff against, so we’re seeing a slightly different set of changes than the rest of the world.
That brings up an interesting point. I’m not so enamored of humanity that I endorse a purely egalitarian approach to Wikipedia. I’m a firm believer that experts are experts because they’ve done the time and research that the rest of us have not, so I’m willing to concede to their skillset in favor of some guy who just happens to find the subject interesting enough to write it up. Furthermore, I simply don’t trust humanity enough to assume that each and every edit to an article warrants displaying before being vetted by at least some form of editorial oversight. I realize that can lead directly to a ‘who watches the watchmen’ kinda thing, but I’m willing to deal with that.
So I ask you, fellow Wikipedamaniacs: How far do you trust the content on Wikipedia? Should editorial access be unfettered by oversight in favor of a democratic resource, or are you comfortable with letting editorial changes be monitored and approved?