This piece divides the publishing world up into "conservatives," "reformers," and "upstarts":
A useful heuristic test to determine the politics of publishers today is to drop the Wikipedia question. Do you like it? Do you use it? The Wikipedia is to discussions of digital media what abortion is to the American electorate, the topic on which there can be no compromise.
For a Conservative a reference to the Wikipedia is almost in bad taste, like a comment about Hillary Clinton's sex life or a passing acquaintance with the names of porn stars. The Wikipedia is so, well, so . . . unclean. It is what the world has come to, and that is not a good thing. It cannot be relied upon, no one knows who wrote it, and it is absolutely indiscriminate in what it chooses to cover.
Reformers like to say they have a balanced view of Wikipedia. It's not perfect, but it sure is handy. No, it's not the only source to use for anything (yet how many Reformers actually go to a second source after first consulting Wikipedia?), but it is a place to start. Nor is it clear that there is anything wrong with broader coverage than one might find in Encyclopaedia Britannica. After all, what is wrong with including an article on Radiohead? (Hmmm. I see that EB also has an article on Radiohead. What's the world coming to?)
Ask the Wikipedia question to an Upstart and you will get an are-you-serious stare in reply. The Wikipedia is a community, not a book, and it demonstrates the wisdom of the crowd. It covers more, can be updated virtually in real-time, and has, through its community, built-in safeguards through its constant review process. it is a model for user-generated content and, for all we know, may turn out to be the harbinger of the form of government of the planet. And besides, it's free!
The author of the piece insists he's not writing about politics. But once you get the concept that knowledge is dispersed, it's a powerful concept, and who knows where it may lead. Link via John Ellis.