I finally have an answer, of sorts, for the times when I'm asked about the Wikipedia and its use. I say that it's much like a cop show when they have a hot lead that wouldn't stand up in court. You know, perhaps they broke into a proverbial perp's trunk without the perp's consent or a warrant and found cocaine/money/the holy grail. They know the perp's guilty now and can practically eliminate other suspects, which gives them the benefit of not wasting time in the wrong place any more.

Problem is the info isn't worth anything by itself. Without a second source, they'll look like Dan Rather reaching the point where he's got his back to the wall, his shirttails on fire and the bill collector[] at the door (sorry). They know the facts, but haven't a case.

That's the Wikipedia. It's great at telling you what you need to find in a reputable source and can save a lot of time supplementing your research, but that's about it. Though, since academics et al seem to have a real issue with encyclopedias anyhow, it doesn't sound like a position that's much worse than when I would flip through The World Book in middle school.