Exploring (And Solving) Wikipedia's Problems

I used to be such an unadulterated fan of Wikipedia you know. The idea of an open source online reference that grew on a daily basis was quite an attractive one back in the day. But in recent times I've become wary of the encyclopaedia anyone can edit, and not simply because of a few high profile choice edits.

Whatever about libel and congressional cherry picking amidst the many articles of this once noble enterprise, what really gets me about Wikipedia is that I can't trust it on most issues. There are so many agendas, axes to grind and purely mischievous vandals that 90% of what I would be interested in reading about - history, politics and so on - is tripe.

To read an article on a contentious subject one can pick out bias, attempted compromise and ultimate failure almost immediately. Wade into the "Talk" page, where these edits are discussed, and you are confronted with chaos. There are too many vested interests at stake, and from the War on Terror to the Welfare State one will find an army of people taking one view or another entering into what are known as "Revert Wars", where they revert any edits back to the version which suits them.

From self-interest to political interest one can find "POV" (Point of View) shading almost every major article that touches on the live wires of our society. Thus I wouldn't trust anything that's even half-way current or ongoing on Wikipedia.

For one, the facts can be skewed. Secondly, the article can change overnight depending on how organised a campaign is launched against an article (and they do happen.)

I don't doubt that if one were to look hard enough one would fine seemingly well crafted articles on niche subjects which are also the subject of a "massive" editing war. Indeed, take a look at the articles on Tom's Hardware Guide and its peers and witness as old scores are settled in edit after reversion war.

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