on September 9, 2012
As a WP editor since 2005 and administrator since 2007, I figured that between my experience and reading Andrew Lih's book "The Wikipedia Revolution", that I had a pretty good handle on Wikipedia's beginnings and Jimmy Wales' vision. Nonetheless, I watched this documentary, which provides a clearer picture of the motives that drive Wales' vision, and a well-needed platform for critical discussion of Wikipedia, with plenty of screen time given to advocates and dissenters of the project. It's entertaining and informative, and a good primer for the newbie as to how Wikipedia works. It highlights some of the flaws that if addressed, could improve both the project and public perception of it, particularly academic and scholarly perception of it.
The one area where it falters is in its omission of any discussion, and almost any mention, of the site's Verifiability and Citation policies, which should've been addressed during interviews in which the talking heads talked about the site's reliability and the conflict between emphasis on experts or non-experts. If a given passage in an article is sourced to an article in The New York Times, or a book by Gore Vidal or Noam Chomsky, then that passage should be considered reliable, and articles that are generally well-written and entirely sourced (which, when vetted for quality are called Featured Articles) should be as well. One talking head in the film does allude to the problem of how the community harbors an inconsistent commitment to adherence to the site's fundamental policies, which I've long argued on the site needs to change.
Overall, though I enjoyed the film, and you're pro or anti-Wikipedia, it's both entertaining and enlightening, given how ubiquitous the site has become as a source for information.