Welcome to the Rhetoric and Composition Wiki Book. This wikitext is designed for use as a textbook in first-year college composition programs. We are writing this free wikitext because we believe that while commercial textbook publishers offer excellent products, many of our students are unable to afford them. We would also like to make our knowledge available to anyone with the desire and ambition to learn rather than those few privileged enough to attend a university. Finally, we hope that readers like you will not only benefit from our work, but also contribute to its ongoing development. —Rhetoric and Composition (Wikibooks)
A wiki is a collection of user-editable web document. If you think you can explain something better, you can change it.
Several of my freshmen seemed surprised when they learned that Wikipedia — the most famous of all wikis — is user-editable, and that anyone in the world can work on it. Wikipedia has a devoted community of amateur fact-checkers, so that any deliberate vandalism is quickly spotted and reversed. I tell my students that Wikipedia is an acceptable resource for an informal in-class oral presentation, or if they want to consult it to inform their written responses to assigned readings.
For cutting-edge topics that involve online culture, or that require the sorting out of huge amounts of information (such as ongoing coverage of natural disasters), Wikipedia is an excellent source. If the article has been edited recently, and has been edited numerous times, its probably a fairly good representation of the common understanding of a topic. From time to time I find inaccuracies and omissions, but I try to fix them.