If you’ve taken a college course, chances are you’ve seen on the syllabus that Wikipedia is not an acceptable reference. It’s now common knowledge that one of our most used, loved and treasured sources of information doesn’t cut it when it comes to writing academically.
Wikipedia is constructed as a living organism of information, where anyone can contribute her or his knowledge of a subject. It’s a wonderful idea and a useful site, but its fundamental idea is its own undoing. Who’s to say the information is legitimate? Like so much information on the Internet, it sometimes needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The Internet may be the information superhighway, but “information” is a loose term. Deciphering whether the information is good or bad can be problematic.
As a response to the naysayers, Wikipedia is openly soliciting academics to contribute to its site to help enhance its overall value and intellectual respect. Part of the incentive for academics is to have their work noticed. Basic Internet searches almost invariably yield Wikipedia results in the top five spots, so posting expertise can promote useful, accurate knowledge while providing a sense of utility and accomplishment for those involved.