Newslines has some very sophisticated commentary on the state of Wikipedia. While they cite thirteen problems, the problem that goes to ’11’ is the most critical and valuable.
I’m going to quote their article directly, attribution is to them.
Newslines: #11: Every Wikipedia problem can be traced to the wiki software.
The wiki software is responsible for the great success of the site, but also for its impending demise. The wiki system had great benefits on the upside — it allowed for fast content creation, but the conflict-driven editing has led to biased and incomplete content, lack of innovation, and many community problems.
In 13 years the software has barely been updated to adapt to the needs of its users, or its readers.
It’s important to realize that Wikipedia was never designed from the ground up as a content creation system. Larry Sanger and Wales took off-the-shelf-wiki software and put it to work as an encyclopedia.
Consider this exchange between Wales and the inventor of the wiki, Ward Cunningham, in Jan 2001.
My question, to this esteemed Wiki community, is this: Do you think that a Wiki could successfully generate a useful encyclopedia? — JimboWales
Yes, but in the end it wouldn’t be an encyclopedia. It would be a wiki. — WardCunningham
What is the social cost of all this conflict? Many Wikipedia editors have slaved for months, if not years to try to get information added to the site.
Time and emotional costs are never considered because there was a seemingly endless group of people willing to experience that pain to satisfy their ego.
I suspect that creating documents using wiki software is one of the least efficient methods of content creation. When you have an infinite amount of monkeys anything is possible, but what happens when the monkeys would rather just fling poo?
Read about the remaining 12 sins of Wikipedia on Newslines here.