Last July, I wrote this here about a particular entry in Wikipedia. The point was that for me, the greatest value of Wikipedia -- this freely editable, constantly updated work -- is not so much the knowledge contained in it, but what it says about the ways of the world.
It's good to find that the particular entry I referred to in that July piece is now much more comprehensive and useful than it was at that time. But in the meantime, there's another Wikipedia entry that's, again, worth a look.
Yes, I've just stumbled on the Wikipedia entry for IIPM.
And it turns out that this is the latest weapon in the ongoing war against IIPM, a war in which I too struck a small blow. If you watch the entry, you'll see it evolving all the time, and don't miss the discussions about this evolution either.
After that July piece, someone wrote to tell me that Wikipedia is "rock-solid" and "authoritative." Well, good. But when it is explicitly turned into a weapon in a Web battle, when the whole tone of this entry -- despite the use of words like "claims" and "alleged" -- is critical of IIPM, I'm reminded of what I said was Wikipedia's greatest value to me. Not the knowledge contained in it, but what it says about the ways of the world.
So yes, for that reason it is invariably fascinating to read Wikipedia. But no, when I want authoritative or rock-solid information about something, I'll be looking elsewhere.
That's one fallout of using Wikipedia as a weapon.