I don’t do many linkposts, but in this case it makes sense.
OK, every librarian knows that Wikipedia should only be a starting point toward verifiable answers. (No emoticon, but how many of you actually verify supposed information you see on Wikipedia, if you’re just answering a question rather than writing a formal paper? Not many hands up, are there? But let’s assume for this discussion that you all do what you know to be proper.)
Let’s suppose that you’re a faculty member who’s nervous about Wikipedia’s quality in a given area and tend to prefer that it really not be taken seriously in that area. Until you’re assured by another PhD. faculty member that, yes, the sources are excellent–and this faculty member should know, as he’s one of the People With Power at Wikipedia.
Then let’s assume that it turns out this faculty member actually has no advanced degrees and his faculty membership is part of his Wikipedia “identity” with no basis in the real wor.d
Problem? Well, Jimbo Wales didn’t think so, and neither (apparently) did lots of Wikipedians.
Until Jimbo was informed that this would-be-PhD was using his faux credentials to make points within the Wikipedia universe.
In other words: It’s OK to lie to outsiders about your credentials. It’s OK to lie to major media about your credentials. (How OK? Wales actually hired this guy after the external lies were exposed.) But it’s not OK to use your faux credentials to win points within the magic circle.
But that’s a short and probably faulty summary. Seth Finkelstein has put together a bunch of stuff (as has Nicholas Carr, but I’m linking you to Seth): here , here , here , here , here , here , here  and here , so far.
There may be earlier pieces I haven’t picked up. It’s an interesting story, and I tend to agree that the implications are more interesting than the facts. Do note that, if you want to find all the background, you’ll have to work from Finkelstein’s posts or some other set of posts–in the spirit of full disclosure as practiced at
Walesopedia Wikipedia, big chunks of the background have been disappeared from the various discussion pages.