i wont say that its the most accurate thing in the world ... but its no worse the the encyclopedia ...
for specific and specialized information, peer edited articles have the advantage, but encyclopedias are much more generalized ... for example you wouldnt learn climbing skills (if you were sane) off either a general encyclopedia or wikipedia ...
people vote with their feet, and its clear which way they voted as well ... professionals are doing the same IMO, while they still pay for specialized knowledge, its going away from books and migrating online
as to scholars, while they can be often correct on specific subjects, remember that the general consensus among them a century ago was that africa and souther america could never have been part of the same continent, or that certain races were less intelligent than others, etc ...
Sometimes the stupid-sounding ideas turn out to be the ones that take off. Almost five years ago, a free online encyclopaedia known as Wikipedia was launched. To those familiar with the peer-review process, the premise behind the new publication seemed crazy: any user, regardless of expertise, can edit the entries. It sounded like a method for creating garbled and inaccurate articles, and many critics said so.
Fast-forward to 2005, and some of that criticism is looking misplaced. Wikipedia is now a huge reference source, with something approaching a million articles in the English version alone. It's true that many of its entries are confusing and badly structured; some of them are badly wrong, and sometimes the errors are deliberate. After the discovery of an outrageously false description of John Seigenthaler, a former editor of The Tennessean newspaper, Wikipedia's publishers introduced registration in an attempt to discourage (though it cannot prevent) "impulsive vandalism".
But as an investigation on page 900 of this issue shows, the accuracy of science in Wikipedia is surprisingly good: the number of errors in a typical Wikipedia science article is not substantially more than in Encyclopaedia Britannica, often considered the gold-standard entry-level reference work. That crazy idea is starting to look anything but stupid.