Wikipedia Balances the Taut Line Between Accuracy and Editorial Control

Who polices accuracy on your website? Probably you as web editor, right?

Wikipedia uses a large battery of editors to guard the accuracy of its millions of articles, and still, its reputation is often questioned. A recent article in The Atlantic highlights their dilemma as they try to balance between remaining open for anyone with knowledge to update information and managing those with strong opinions but little other standing who insist on pushing their views on the site.

In this case, a topic expert with new information from recent research tried to update an article on a subject important in American history. But his startling new information didn’t match the popular view on the topic, so the Wikipedia editors – who often aren’t topic experts – reverted the entry back to its original form, which was then less accurate.

If you have ever been involved in a content dispute with someone on Wikipedia, you know this can be frustrating for both sides. Someone has to be the arbiter, yet not everyone can be expert enough on every topic to know what is a genuine revelation and what is someone’s obsession – who is knowledgeable and who is not.

Was Wikipedia right to revert the content back? As a web editor, what’s your take on it?