Brian 's finally getting back to blogging, after being dragged to the other side of the planet and back. He knocks one out of the park with this one.

So I too use Wikipedia as a nexus for discussing all manner of digital effects. Sure, you have to acknowledge some shortcomings, but I'll stack the benefits against the liabilities any day. And when, as is almost inevitable, someone asks "what do you think of students citing Wikipedia in an academic essay?" I simply shout back "what do you think of someone citing Britannica? Huh? HUH?" and glare at them a bit. That usually shuts them up, and shutting people up is the hallmark of authoritative instruction.

No kidding. People seem to forget that just because something's online doesn't make it authoritative, trusted, nor appropriate for citation. Just the same as offline publications. You likely wouldn't cite People Magazine in an academic paper (unless, maybe, the paper was on the history of pop culture or something...)

Nor should you cite Wikipedia (or Brittanica, or Readers' Digest) as a primary source.

ps. welcome back, Brian! And with a healthy dose of "blamb's ways to enrich your vocabulary" - using "synecdoche" casually in a post. I had to look that sucker up.