Great article about Jimmy Wales in the Economist. (Wales co-founded Wikipedia.)
“I think that reality exists and that it’s knowable,” he says, adding that Wikipedia aims not for truth with a capital T but for consensus. “You go meta,” he says, meaning “beyond” the disputes and to the underlying facts. For instance, when deciding how to describe abortion, “I may not agree that it’s a sin, but I can certainly agree that the pope thinks it’s a sin.” Despite their disagreements, people on both sides of a debate can in many cases reach a consensus on the nature of their dispute, at least. Through this process, says Mr Wales, Wikipedia articles eventually reach a fairly steady state called the “neutral point of view”, or NPOV.
“Wikipedia resolves the postmodern dilemma of truth by ultimately relying on process,” says Gene Koo of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Centre for Internet and Society. “Its process is both open and transparent. The levers of power are not destroyed—Foucault taught us that this is impossible—but simply visible.” To which Mr Wales responds, more simply, that NPOV is a way of saying: “Thanks, but, um, please let’s get back to work.”