The education secretary, Alan Johnson, has come under fire for saying the Wikipedia is 'a force for good'. The site's own co-founder, Larry Sanger, said that the community that produces Wikipedia was "often dysfunctional", the content was unreliable and that Wikipedia had serious management problems.

Sanger concluded by saying that Wikipedia was "broken beyond repair".

Speaking yesterday at the annual conference of the NASUWT (National Association of Schoolteachers and Union of Women Teachers) in Belfast, Mr Johnson said: "Wikipedia enables anybody to access information which was once the preserve only of those who could afford the subscription to Encyclopaedia Britannica and could spend the time necessary to navigate its maze of indexes and content pages."

But Mr Sanger - who no longer works at Wikipedia - questioned the site's reliability and integrity. Two weeks ago he launched the Wikipedia killer Citizendium, which is an encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia, but monitored by academics and experts.

Speaking about Wikipedia, Mr Johnson told The Times newspaper: "I’m afraid that Mr Johnson does not realise the many problems afflicting Wikipedia, from serious management problems, to an often dysfunctional community, to frequently unreliable content, and to a whole series of scandals.

"While Wikipedia is still quite useful and an amazing phenomenon, I have come to the view that it is also broken beyond repair."

Opinion: here and here.