Interesting insight that outlines some of the complex relationship dynamics that often occur "behind the scenes". These dynamics are especially relevant to enterprise strategists that might try to duplicate Wikipedia's success internally within corporate intranets.
Like a startup maturing into a real business, Wikipedia's corporate culture seems, at times, conflicted between its role as a harmless nouveau-digital experiment and its broader ambitions. The "power and prestige" to which Carr refers results from management practices that were less noticeable when Wikipedia was smaller and its editorial community newer and less formal. However, these practices were noticeable enough that Wikipedia cofounder Larry Sanger departed in 2002, later citing issues with the project's "antielitism." The issues have become more visible since Wikipedia has grown.
Wikipedia claims anyone can edit an entry and, superficially, that is true for most pages (due to edit wars, administrators can now lock pages). Popular culture even identifies Wikipedia's loose access as its primary weakness. Stephen Colbert mocked Wikipedia on The Colbert Report, editing an entry while on live television, and CalTech graduate student Virgil Griffith embarrassed thousands of companies, organizations and individuals with Wikiscan, an interactive website that can "list anonymous Wikipedia edits from interesting organizations," revealing self-serving edits from organizations as diverse as Diebold, Bob Jones University, and the Republican and Democratic parties. What is not explained is that edits made by those outside the informal circle of leadership may not stick very long. The quieter rumblings about Wikipedia have less to do with vanity edits or poor maintenance of content than they do with the organization's increasingly arbitrary editorial overrides and deletions and rapidly thickening in-group culture.