How Wikipedia's Community Polices Vandalism

If you laid every story that’s been written about Wikipedia’s content being of questionable accuracy end to end, how many times would those stories circle the Earth?

I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that data somewhere on Wikipedia.

Rather than writing yet another article on the subject of Wikipedia’s inaccuracy – which would be tough for me, considering how valuable I find the site – why not look into how the site actually patrols itself for vandalism?

The next time someone tells you the information on Wikipedia is of questionable accuracy, just show them this:

Wikipedia Minneapolis Subscribers

What’s that? That’s a shot from Google Reader showing that over 2000 people subscribe to the edits to the Wikipedia entry on the city of Minneapolis. Just that one page! Since Google Reader’s currently running around 1/4 to 1/3 market share, there are probably 6000 people subscribing to the edits of that one page of Wikipedia.

Want to vandalize that page? Go ahead. But at least a thousand people will likely know about it within the hour and thousands within a day.

Wikipedia doesn’t rely upon a single editor who does things like sleep, go on vacation, and hangs out with friends. Instead, it taps into the time and energy of thousands of volunteers who choose to police topics that interest them.

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