I think we’re at the point where we’re just going to make this an ongoing series.
Why shouldn’t we use Wikipedia as a reference we can trust? In the wake of yet another Wikipedia hoax (this one creating an entirely fictional 17th century war between Portugal and the Maratha Empire that remained on Wikipedia for five years), William Henderson of the Telegraph UK says it best,
“Editor participation on the English Wikipedia has been in decline since 2007, and one of the factors for that has been the more restrictive environment. Who’s going to be sticking around to examine stuff that was put there long ago? In fact, there are articles that literally nobody is watching. All registered users have the option to add articles to their ‘watchlist’, which automatically lists the edits made to articles on it. Buried within Wikipedia’s maintenance reports is a cached list of pages that aren’t on anyone’s watch list; for obvious reasons it’s only viewable to administrators. Due to a technical limitation, only the first 1,000 pages by alpha-numerical order are shown, but one administrator inferred that there must be tens or even hundreds of thousands of articles that no one is keeping an eye on.” (emphasis mine)
For more thoughts on Wikipedia and its lack of credibility, check out these earlier posts:
Need facts you can cite? Try CREDO Reference!