I don’t know how many people reading this have signed themselves in as Wikipedia members. It only takes a minute, but it gives you a WP identity in case you want to do some editing. Editing might involve simple correction of typos or transcriptions, or more ambitious rewriting of articles; I have noticed occasionally when teachers have encouraged their students to take on the improvement of a particular topic as a project, which strikes me as a great idea if it’s done properly.
Another thing that signed-up Wikipedians can do is to mark articles for their Watchlist. This useful feature lets you “star” a particular article so that whenever someone edits it, a summary of the edit is put in your Watchlist. I have marked almost all of the phonetics articles (as well as a few related to my non-work interests), and it lets me see where there is some action going on.
Anyway, my watchlist these days is full of the increasingly heated controversy over Wikipedia’s use of diaphonemic symbols for IPA-style information on pronunciation. I mentioned recently the use of //a:// as a symbol for a vowel that could be either /æ/ or /ɑː/ in a word like ‘bath’. This is similar to the “either/or” symbols introduced in the Oxford Dictionary of Pronunciation – there, “barred ɪ” can stand for [ə] or [ɪ], and “barred ʊ” can stand for [ʊ] or [ə] in unstressed syllables.
Some people in WP complain about this from a practical point of view: how can you assume that the average WP user has the phonological sophistication to interpret diaphonemic representations? Won’t they get confused by this? (Answer: probably yes). The other issue is much more a matter of WP’s own house rules, and in particular the OR principle: a WP writer must never introduce Original Research into an article. Everything written in a WP article must be capable of being backup up by published or publicly available material, but some of the proposals for adding to the WP diaphonemic scheme do seem to go beyond anything used in conventional phonetics and phonology. Some supporters of the diaphonemic scheme claim that the OR principle is not violated because it concerns a WP tool for putting in pronunciations, not a WP article making factual statements.
If you want to see the state of the argument, you can see some of it in the “Note on variable vowels” discussion. The more theological side, with a discussion of the OR issue from the WP rules point of view, can be read here. Since I am appealed to in this discussion, I shall probably have to weigh in myself, though I don’t really think I can shed any light in the diaphonemic fog.