My first-year writing students generally know they aren’t supposed to use Wikipedia as a source in a research paper, but many can’t quite articulate why. A willingness to trace a citation to its source and evaluate the source, rather than accept the source uncritically, is crucial to intellectual competence in the Information Age.
An article about an obscure 17th Century war in India has been deleted from Wikipedia — after an enterprising editor discovered that despite being on the site for 5 years, it had never actually occurred. Started in 2007, the Bicholim Conflict article described a “period of armed conflict between the Portuguese rulers of Goa and the Maratha Empire” that ended in a peace treaty, as well as its effect on later regional politics and popular culture. When Wikipedia user ShelfSkewed looked for the sources cited, however, he found that they either didn’t exist or made no mention of the conflict. —The Verge.