Wikipedia’s Problem is its Popularity

I saw this article going massively viral, by Tracing Woodgrains: Reliable Sources: How Wikipedia Admin David Gerard Launders His Grudges Into the Public Record.

There are two issues here:

1. The problem is not so much that Wikipedia is biased or has corrupt editors (this has been known for a very long time, and has led to the creation of alternatives such as Conservapedia, which failed to gain any traction), but that Wikipedia is highly popular and is regarded as an authority. This is a separate problem from bias or corrupt editors. If Wikipedia was not so popular or had more competition, the aforementioned problems would not be so bad. Google is to blame, too, for assigning so much domain authority to Wikipedia compared to alternatives.

The issue of laundering false accusations of sexual harassment, racism or other social transgressions, again, is downstream from the public’s perception of Wikipedia being an infallible authority. Those sources, which are cited by Wikipedia, like Wired or Rolling Stone, are also to blame for publishing such unsubstantiated rumors or hoxes as news, aside from Wikipedia.

2. Wanting unbiased content for politically-charged, inherently controversial topics or individuals is asking for the impossible. Imagine trying to find or write a perfectly neutral, unbiased article about Trump, beyond things that are incontrovertibly true like his birthdate. Where would you go? The official Trump campaign website? CNN? Fox News? Twitter? Biased. Biased. Biased. Can such a thing even exist? The majority of articles on Wikipedia are decent enough for general research purposes outside of politics.