Academics hate Wikipedia, apparently. We tell our students not to touch it, to ignore its siren calls of easy, organised information. She’ll do you wrong, we claim. She’ll lead you astray and leave you floundering for verifiable facts and data, swimming in a sea of information, desperate for a peer-reviewed book or journal article to cling to.
This is about as effective as Just Say No and Abstinence-Only, as you can imagine. Our students continue to rely on it, and all that happens is that they don’t bother to cite the source, knowing they’ll be dinged for using Wikipedia. Not quite the desired or intended effect of a total ban on using the site.

And the thing is, we’re hypocrites.  Especially those of us who have worn the journalist’s hat. Wikipedia is great, I use it all the time, even/especially when writing lectures. Can’t remember the exact date the Guardian was founded? Look it up. Need to remind yourself what the title of that essay by Althusser is? Wikipedia knows.

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