Many-to-Many: K5 Article on Wikipedia Anti-elitism
Slashdot has a roundup of criticism of the Wikipedia, including a pointer to a Kuro5hin article by Larry Sanger, a co-founder of the Wikipedia, making three strong criticisms of the Wikpedia as it stands.
The first criticism is that the Wikpedia lacks the perception of acccuracy:
My point is that, regardless of whether Wikipedia actually is more or less reliable than the average encyclopedia, it is not perceived as adequately reliable by many librarians, teachers, and academics. The reason for this is not far to seek: those librarians etc. note that anybody can contribute and that there are no traditional review processes. You might hasten to reply that it does work nonetheless, and I would agree with you to a large extent, but your assurances will not put this concern to rest.
This analysis seems to be correct on the surface, and at the same time deeply deeply wrong. Of course librarians, teachers, and academics don%u2019t like the Wikipedia. It works without privilege, which is inimical to the way those professions operate.
This is not some easily fixed cosmetic flaw, it is the Wikipedia%u2019s driving force. You can see the reactionary core of the academy playing out in the horror around Google digitizing books held at Harvard and the Library of Congress %u2014 the NY Times published a number of letters by people insisting that real scholarship would still only be possible when done in real libraries. The physical book, the hushed tones, the monastic dedication, and (unspoken) the barriers to use, these are all essential characteristics of the academy today.