Wikipedia has become the ubiquitous source of information for millions of users worldwide. High school and university students rely on Wikipedia for basic information and evidence and for their own research and writing. Indeed, many students engage in cut-and-paste plagiarism, copying passages from Wikipedia’s seemingly infinite pages.
Wikipedia’s influence in modern life is stunning, as people increasingly rely on the website to broker data and facilitate information management in a period dizzying information overload.
What Wikipedia offers is utterly useless knowledge, however.
Critical readers are already intimately aware of the multiple layers of unreliability of Wikipedia: no authorship, unstable entries, changing arguments and conclusions, poor citations, outright vandalism, uninformed editorship, outdated methodologies, and utter lack of expertise. Wikipedia is set up to generate the greatest possible quantity of information at the expense of abandoning any qualitative measure of that information. As such, it contributes absolutely nothing to human knowledge.
A historian, Timothy Messer-Kruse, offers a telling critique of Wikipedia’s anti-intellectual editorial policies and amateur editorial practices at the Chronicle of Higher Education.