Re: Why is everyone so in love with Wikipedia?
I think of Wikipedia more and more as a helpful online resource and a wonderful foundation. To be more specific, they are part of the Wikimedia foundation, which has full of various open source projects, such as Wikimedia itself, which allows people to create an encyclopedia of their own for various fan-bases or broad subjects that Wikipedia would not cover in detail, such as board games, anime or video games. They also have WikiBooks and Wiktionary, which I actually use if I get the chance. It's meant to help all of society increase their understanding on particular subjects.
It's not a written down, stupid hard copy encyclopedia of various things. Have you seen how big those damn things can get in libraries? And as such, that means it can have a wider array of content (expandable). You can't really expand a fixed-size book, can you? And it's fully user contributed, by millions worldwide.
The reason why schools suggest not to use Wikipedia are for both right and wrong reasons. The first right reason is that Wikipedia articles can be very volatile and can easily be corrected or changed over time, unless the page has been locked or featured. These pages are very rarely ever changed, and they can't be changed by just normal users if they're locked. Moderators will (hopefully temporarily) block IP addresses and usernames of anyone that tries to spam or deface Wikipedia pages or does any other wrongful activity.
And they are right, unlocked Wikipedia articles can be changed at any time, someone can ruin the factual information by temporarily putting false information on a Wikipedia page or using terms that are not "Wikipedia friendly" such as weasel words. Avoid stubs and pages that say will require cleanup whenever you can. Sometimes Wikipedia can cause a student to get a really bad grade, or maybe it was information that was never looked over quite yet. But moderators usually know about any changes to pages they are assigned to, and there are thousands of people who read Wikipedia pages every day. If you click on the view history tab, changes to pages can easily be viewed and reverted just like the fashion of diff files on UNIX/Linux. Moderatiors probably know everything that goes on. There are these "Special pages" on Wikipedia that show all changes in all sorts of categories for all to see, I think.
And finally the most wrong reason for teachers not to like using Wikipedia is because they are fearful of how it works. This is utter grime right here. It basically means the teacher is talking about what he/she thinks about Wikipedia instead of how Wikipedia actually works. This hurts the Wikipedia community when people teach others to stay away from it. It's true, a lot of people don't know how Wikipedia works, and how everything is verified! Yes, there are things in Wikipedia called citations, which are scrutinizingly verified by all users of Wikipedia to make sure the citation links all stay the same, even after the page is complete. Teachers who don't understand this need to just die.
Well, anyway, that concludes my thoughts and ideas.
One more thing though, I can't say I've ever donated any money to the WF, but I sure as hell hate it when there's that little box at the top that pops up and asks me for my money so often, even when I've helped write a few articles on there myself. Oh well, such is life.