Confirming John Lopez in his worst suspicions about Wikipedia is this strip from Penny Arcade.
The character “Tycho” elaborates on this theme in an extended (and undeniably true) rant.
I had seen the unbelievably detailed He-Man and PokÃ©mon entries and assumed – like any rational person would – that PokÃ©maniacs were largely at the rudder of the institution.
I am almost certain that – while they prune their deep mine of trivia – they believe themselves to be engaged in the unfolding of humanity’s Greatest Working.
Reponses to criticism of Wikipedia go something like this: the first is usually a paean to that pure democracy which is the project’s noble fundament. If I don’t like it, why don’t I go edit it myself? To which I reply: because I don’t have time to babysit the Internet. Hardly anyone does. If they do, it isn’t exactly a compliment.
Any persistent idiot can obliterate your contributions. The fact of the matter is that all sources of information are not of equal value, and I don’t know how or when it became impolitic to suggest it. In opposition to the spirit of Wikipedia, I believe there is such a thing as expertise.
The second response is: the collaborative nature of the apparatus means that the right data tends to emerge, ultimately, even if there is turmoil temporarily as dichotomous viewpoints violently intersect. To which I reply: that does not inspire confidence. In fact, it makes the whole effort even more ridiculous. What you’ve proposed is a kind of quantum encyclopedia, where genuine data both exists and doesn’t exist depending on the precise moment I rely upon your discordant fucking mob for my information.