I was reading all of my library blogs this morning and came across this really great analogy for comparing Wikipedia to McDonalds. It's from the blog "Bring Your Noise"
"Speaking of Wikipedia, if I worked in an academic library and was required to conduct library instruction classes, I would tell students that Wikipedia is exactly like McDonald’s, because it is. McDonald’s is a perfectly respectable restaurant. There’s a lot of junk on the menu, but there are some legitimately good, nutritional items, too. It’s quick, easy, and convenient–good to turn to in a pinch. However, if your favorite aunt was coming in from out of town, and you were going to take her to dinner or recommend a restaurant, you would lose a lot of credibility with your favorite aunt if you recommended McDonald’s. You would probably want to take her to a restaurant with a stellar reputation and with food of a bit more substance on the menu. So, therefore, students should never take their professors to Wikipedia (or McDonald’s) as in you can like Wikipedia, you can use Wikipedia (use the references posted at the end of articles as a starting point!) just don’t cite it. Case closed. And who doesn’t love a McFlurry?"