Related new thread should be good for a laugh (and I'm so
happy my accompanying poll is on the A2K home now!
Colbert, Wikipedia, elephants' penises and the Uncyclopedia
Mind you, in general I think Wikipedia is a laudable experiment; has very useful entries on most subjects (though things obviously get more iffy on more controversial and political stuff*); is maintained by a great number of idealists who put in a lot of work; and pioneers a valuable non-profit, non-corporate, collaborative mode of grassroots production.
Obviously, entries stand or fall on the quality of the editors on a subject at hand. And the shared knowledge of the community will probably never equal the hyperscrutinous professionalism of a venerable proper encyclopedia. I would never take a Wikipedia entry as the final word on anything. But I often use it to quickly look some common-knowledge detail up that has passed me by or slipped my mind, just because it's simpler than Googling, and I also use it as a starting point when reading up on a specific subject, going on to more in-depth stuff from there if it rouses my interest enough.
*Actually, it's not so much the hyper-controversial entries that pose a danger on Wikipedia; the collective scrutiny of those is so intense that any boo-boo is either quickly removed or results in an endless to-and-fro that will have the item flagged as contested (so you're warned in advance). The problem I've come across on Wikipedia is more re entries on lesser
known controversies that only attract niche interest groups, since biased editing there can survive uncontested much longer than on much-scrutinised universal hot-button issues.