Its nothing like google penalizes and wmw is the place for all the rumours. Its just has couple of things for such an incident.
1. Does not give value to all the links but slowly does.
2. Has sandbox to cover the stuff (again doubtful)
Say situation like tsunami and every one linked to the articles on wiki but google did not penalize anything and thats a very known issue but if link building is slow its good and benefited in the long run.