On 26 April 2009 – that is, two and a half years ago – an account called ‘Ivanelo’ added some material to the Wikipedia article on ‘Climate of Antarctica’, including the claim that “Since mid 1960s, all major studies detect cooling over the most of Antarctica”.
Today (28 November 2011), climate expert William Connolley reverts the edit, with the comment “rm twaddle (how did that stand for so long)”. Quite. On the assumption that the claim is twaddle, how was it not spotted for so long? Particularly as Connolley himself had worked on it interim.
This is something to store up for my discussion with the UK charity commission. Wikimedia UK managed to persuade them – see the discussion here - that processes exist on Wikipedia to ensure high standards of article quality. Their solicitors, Stone King, certainly assured them that “the content promoted has sufficient editorial controls and safeguards on the accuracy and objectivity of the information provided”. This is highly questionable. Connolley is one of a few subject matter experts who understand how to make judgments about their area of specialism. But there are not many like him, and the whole process of Wikipedia governance is inimical to such specialism. Connolley himself would like the Arbitration Committee of Wikipedia "to think more about content and less about conduct" - see his election guide here - but he knows that will not happen.