The Register has posted an interview with Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy
Wales wherein the "uberpedian" admits that, as a general reference
source, the Wikipedia is pretty unreliable.
What's scary is that as free open content the Wikipedia is quoted
verbatim on at least half a dozen other "reference" sites, propagating
the inaccuracies as consensus fact (Answers.com, I'm looking in your
Now, I've been pretty open about my love of the Wikipedia and use of it as a core reference for Geek Trivia,
though I rarely use it as a sole reference, and take pains to
back-check the cited references of any Wikipedia articles I use. Plus,
I have a great editor who keeps me straight, and I'm pretty lucky in
that my Trivia subjects are rarely those that misinformed laymen would
Still, I'm sure that there are plenty of closed-content curmudgeons who
will use Wales' admission to dismiss the entire open content movement,
while the Creative Commons crowd will scream that this is an
out-of-context indictment that is neither accurate nor fair. Me, I tend
to agree with Barb Dybwad over at The Social Software Weblog, who warnsthat Web 2.0 (Warning: Industry Buzzword!) will be all about open content and collective intelligence,
so we'd better find a way to balance the wiki free-for-all and closed
content's glacially slow and inefficient high quality control.
Crack that nut, and we'll all have a better Internet, and—more importantly—better Geek Trivia.