Wikipedia and QA

I’ve been following the arguments about the quality of Wikipedia entries and came on this thoughtful post by Ethan Zuckerman. Excerpt:

When I use Wikipedia to research technical topics, I generally have a positive experience, frequently finding information I would be unlikely to find in any other context, generally resolving my technical questions – “How does the GSM cellphone standard work?” with a single search. When I use Wikipedia to obtain information that I could find in a conventional encyclopedia, I often have a terrible experience, encountering articles that are unsatisfying at best and useless at worst. Generally, these experiences result from a search where I already know a little about a topic and am looking for additional, specific information, usually when I’m researching a city or a nation to provide context for a blog entry. My current operating hypothesis? Wikipedia is a fantastic reference work for stuff that doesn’t exist in other reference works, and a lousy knock-off of existing works when they do exist.