That scandal, plus a less intense scuffle over the history of podcasting and the influence of vee-jays thereon, prompted Wikipedia's founder Jimmy Wales this week to change the site's policy and accept new entries from registered users only. Anonymous users are still permitted to edit existing entries. CNet News.com has compiled a full section on the controversy this week.
Because Wikipedia prides itself on being a grand experiment in the nature of populist, user-driven content creation, this week's controversy and the changes resulting from it will have a greater impact on all kinds of collaborative media on the internet. In the short term, it raises the question of liability — who can be held liable for libelous or inflammatory remarks made by anonymous users of a website?
In the longer term, it asks whether collaborative content creation is viable at all. Can Wikipedia's model of the natural selection of information really create a valuable resource, or is it doomed to be only ever as strong as its weakest link?
Past criticisms, and our long-winded but completely NPOV assessment, based on science, after the jumpThis paragraph is a disambiguation paragraph to explain why an internet-wide encyclopedia project is being discussed in what is ostensibly a blog about San Francisco local interest.