Excellent article by Bill Thompson on the problems of accuracy in Wikipedia. Bill says that:
If Wikipedia can find a way to combine community participation with greater oversight, perhaps by encouraging every registered user to check changes and edits instead of leaving it largely to the central cabal of administrators, then they may be able to make the new approach work.It is true that there is a serious problem with giving power to users to edit, as exemplified by Stephen Colbert's take on the entry for Wikipedia and elephants. However, there is already a two-tier system in Wikipedia, with IPs (unregistered users) who generate minor edits, and registered users who are supposed to be more responsible and a part of the community.
Perhaps we should all be asked to check one random page for every ten or twenty we look at, giving our time to make the site work in return for better content?
As someone who has had some frustrations with Wikipedia, I agree with Bill's take on this subject. Maintaining the vibrant nature of the site, while making sure articles are accurate, should be the desired balance.