When my kids were going to high school and we were having a discussion about some topic, I would always tell them to look it up on Wikipedia. The response was always a “[GASP!!] I can’t use wikipedia, my teachers tell me not to use it for research and they say I can’t cite it as a reference.”

My reply has always been to use Wikipedia as a springboard. You will get a general overview of the topic along with links to other sites that might provide more useful information.

While it is true that content can be changed by whoever wants to do so, there are many knowledgable and responsible contributors who provide very helpful information. These same contributors also back up their information with properly cited references and helpful links to other sites. If information is found to be questionable, Wikipedia members flag the article for correction. The Wikipedia information police will request the author to correct the questionable information or remove it.

What do you think? Is Wikipedia a useful tool that helps people research a subject or is it something evil that should never be used because it can be modified whenever a member wants to change something?