My son the computer whiz sent me this recent article on the standard of 'truth' that Wikipedia uses, namely verifiability from a recognized source. When one couples this with the banning of original research, it leads to real problems, and explains why so many academics do not allow the use of Wikipedia in student papers much less in scholarly work.The criterion of verifiability from a recognized source is in fact one of the reasons for the competence of many of Wikipedia's articles, and acts as a good model for students who are engaging critically with what Wikipedia says on a given subject. And the avoidance of original research is also entirely natural and right in an encyclopaedia of this kind. Encyclopaedia Britannica is the same -- it is not a place to publish original research. Original research is published in monographs and journal articles and not in encyclopaedia entries. Indeed the value of the encyclopaedia is that it directs the reader to good original research on the topic in question.
Incidentally, I do rather like the last line of Garfinkel's article:
That standard is simple: something is true if it was published in a newspaper article, a magazine or journal, or a book published by a university press--or if it appeared on Dr. Who.Of course the truthiness there depends on whether one is talking about canonical Who or not (a remark for the geeks).