Bob McHenry, my boss at Britannica, has an article in Tech Central Station on Wikipedia, or as he puts it, "The Faith-Based Encyclopedia"."
Not surprisingly, he’s skeptical of the long-term value of Wikipedia, for some obvious reasons:
To put the Wikipedia method in its simplest terms:
1. Anyone, irrespective of expertise in or even familiarity with the topic, can submit an article and it will be published.
2. Anyone, irrespective of expertise in or even familiarity with the topic, can edit that article, and the modifications will stand until further modified.
Then comes the crucial and entirely faith-based step:
3. Some unspecified quasi-Darwinian process will assure that those writings and editings by contributors of greatest expertise will survive; articles will eventually reach a steady state that corresponds to the highest degree of accuracy.