I just spent 45 minutes creating a Wikipedia article on the Incan structures known as tambos to replace a poorly-written predecessor. While the topic is one in which I have developed a bit of expertise based upon my recent research, I have to confess that my interest in Wikipedia borders on the obsessive.
Now, I do not go out of my way to create Wikipedia pages, but when I come across what appears to me to be a glaring hole in the knowledge base of the site, I feel a compulsion to weigh in on the topic. Thus, instead of spending that time working on the 30-page essay that is only tangentially related to the topic of tambos, I felt the burning need to bring this obscure word to a global audience.
It would be simple to dismiss this as an exercise in vanity, and I admit that my ego sometimes causes me to broadcast my expertise in a few narrow subjects. Yet there is something disturbing to me when I come across a Wikipedia article rife with factual and grammatical errors, or which possesses biased viewpoints that harm the integrity of the information.
I see Wikipedia and similar sites as performing a function that borders on the sacred: to collect the accumulated knowledge of the billions of human beings who inhabit the planet, and to provide access of this vast store of knowledge to everyone with Internet access.
In short, Wikipedia represents the global democratization of information.
Thus, despite my seeming inability to visit a Wikipedia page without adding or improving page material, I think that this obsessiveness at least offers some redeeming virtues. The world's accumulation of knowledge increases by a tiny amount, I get the opportunity to unload some of the excess trivia in my head, and somewhere a few Wikipedia readers will find the answers to questions they have about tambos.