I was browsing through some stuff on rpg.net recently and I came across this (which I have parphrased)
"But of course he got the information from Wikipedia, which naturally discounts it's validity"
I've seen this a few times now - the casual discounting of anything sourced from Wikipedia as being fatally flawed and almost certainly wrong. I've never really thought too much about it, but recently it has really gotten under my skin.
Our knowledge is the product of the inputs we receive from a variety of sources. We are assured that things happen, places and people exist etc. not by having experienced them ourselves but trusting in the words of others. That could be the words of our friends, the media or printed libraries.
Of course, we don't always believe the context of what we are told. We are nowadays veterans of a war against spin, bias and vested interests. Even as children we are filled with the dictum 'history is written by the victors' and then told to question it, as it might not be exactly what happened.
Of course, we cannot go to far in this pursuit of the truth. There are some areas that we hold such a powerful collective conscious belief in the absolute objective truth of the matter that their validity is unquestionable. And yes, I'm looking at holocaust revisionists here!
As I understand, Wikipedia is like a moderated collective work, yes? So if there is an inaccuracy in the presented facts, you can challenge it, assuming you know for absolute certain that they are wrong and you are right? So whats the problem? I have to listen to so-called experts talking utter utter bollocks about a load of subjects every morning on Radio 4 but that doesn't mean that I discount everything that the BBC presents as ill-informed misinformation! (Although if someone can retroactively edit the recent England cricket scores with new, better versions I would be most grateful)
If we discount Wikipedia as an invalid form of information, then we have to discount all of the information provided on the internet and indeed, everything in books too! Why? Because they are written by one person - without the rigour of the panel of thousands of know-it-all critics either! Totally useless in our objective world of knowledge.
Wikiphobia, I think, is just a sympton of a greater malaise and thats an inability to divine the trurth of a situation from the frenzied hyperbole of the twenty first century media driven society. It's an easy target for a society that is maybe coming around to the realisation that many of us walk around with the wool voluntarily pulled over our eyes for most of our lives. A society that is happy to live being force fed one point of view, without analysis or doubt, because it makes life easier. Force fed so that we can be farmed for the fois gras of acceptance and cooperation.
I have waited for someone, in response to the horrific killings at Virginia Tech (although don't get me started about how those killings command so many column inches and yet the same number of deaths, to the multiple of 10s and 100s in Africa and the Middle East are passing soundbites) to ask for 'pix pls or it didn't happen'. You know it will come sometime...
Sorry for that little bit of politics. Back to the gaming!