I have noticed as I read through this site, that many people are asking questions about specific authors and asking for good places to get information. Places that are not Wikipedia. The reasons they cannot use Wikipedia is that "the teacher does not allow it".
I know we have many teachers here, and I know we have many students. I would just like to see what people think about the modern encyclopedia.
In defense of Wikipedia:
Wikipedia is a compendium of all our knowledge with a bit of hitchhikers guide thrown in. The understandable aversion to using such a page is easily abated with a simple scroll down to the bottom of the page where a treasure trove of primary sources resides. Wikipedia relies upon the nature of the internet itself; publish something incorrect, and someone will correct it, someone will demand more sources. The internet is based on arguing, from the earliest alt.____ to the forums of today, all it is is arguing and proving points. The problem is, of course that anyone can edit it, but I don't think this means that there are roving bands of wiki-hooligans putting subtly incorrect facts out their for the student populace to cite in their hurriedly written research papers.
This does not take in to account the wiki-nerd, the man who enjoys correcting facts and citing sources, these noble creatures scour Wikipedia just looking for incorrect dates, poorly captioned pictures, or terror of terrors images that are not on the site, but should be. Some of these are moderators themselves, some of them are volunteers. These heroes keep the internet working, and keep the data flowing.
That being said, should people use Wikipedia as a primary source? No. But neither should one use any encyclopedia as a primary source (except of course for definitions etc. which I say is perfectly permissible, people can submit definitions to dictionary.com, that is valid)
I would say that Wikipedia is a force for good, an encyclopedia that fits the times, constantly morphing as new information comes to light, always changing, entertaining and full of links that send the user to the less oft-visited areas of our world wide web.