Simson Garfinkel on Wikipedia and truth:

Unlike the laws of mathematics or science, wikitruth isn’t based on principles such as consistency or observability. It’s not even based on common sense or firsthand experience. Wikipedia has evolved a radically different set of epistemological standards–standards that aren’t especially surprising given that the site is rooted in a Web-based community, but that should concern those of us who are interested in traditional notions of truth and accuracy. On Wikipedia, objective truth isn’t all that important, actually. What makes a fact or statement fit for inclusion is that it appeared in some other publication–ideally, one that is in English and is available free online. “The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth,” states Wikipedia’s official policy on the subject.

Marshall Poe tackled this subject in 2006.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to