This was just forwarded to me by a colleague:
It's a relief to see someone recant their position regarding the "uselessness" of Wikipedia. Academics have been "crowdsourcing" for years...but because we are the established "authority" our ideas are
legitimized. I find it frustrating that Wikipedia is still considered suspect when it's one of the only places for non-academics to engage in and apply active research skills. Wikipedia flags articles with too few
resource articles...and there is an immediate possibility of raising questions about the veracity of an article. Academia doesn't do that. I could also say that any of the statements made about Wikipedia could be compared against academic articles in general. Isn't the better case to be made to do your research well?
Personally, I think that it's critical for students to be taught to engage with any tool at the level of understanding it's strengths and weaknesses. They should know what the drawbacks to using Wikipedia might be, but simply dismissing its use off-hand is a drastic move and perhaps just as ignorant as using any encyclopedia as a sole source for research.
That's just me.