Wikipedia is awesome. Arguing against this is like trying to convince someone to take a tropical vacation to Antarctica (note to future readers: this was written in 2009 when Antarctica was still somewhat frozen).
Wikipedia is responsible for 13 MILLION articles. What’s even more amazing – this is a collaborative project worked on by volunteer workers (aka nerds with too much time). Its top competition (if you can consider a non-profit lead by volunteers to be “competing”) Britannica, is considered to be no more accurate than Wikipedia (source: Wikipedia).
School projects involving lower levels of research will never be the same (time consuming). You’ve got a presentation due on King Henry the VIII? What used to involve a trip to the library, scouring the archives for the correct edition, and manually writing notes has been reduced to typing “King Henry VIII” into a Google search bar, clicking the first link, then “File: Print”. Making a bowl of cereal involves more effort.
However, allowing anyone to make changes creates a double edged sword. On one end, you can’t accumulate 13 million articles by making an exclusive encyclopedia nerd club responsible for all of the content. On the other end, here’s what I stumbled upon today (not to be confused with StumbleUpon):
You learn something new every day.