Dear Rick,
 
Or you can read a book, check libraries, or check bibliographies of peer reviewed work. I cannot think all the work you outline (as always extremely thorough, valuable, and serious) is worth the trouble to discover that one is working with a completely unreliable source.  But I very much appreciate this information, which I shall pass on to my students as necessary ways to understand how to cite.
 
It is perfectly clear to me, for example, that the material on MacDiarmid was not written by anyone who either has really studied his work or respects it, and is almost certainly not Scottish. It does not use words like "ideology," but it has a few lines on his poetry--not even mentioning his first two books of brilliant Scots lyrics, Sangschaw and Penny Wheep (some of the greatest in the 20th century and at last beginning to be recognized) but a long paragraph on his communism. He was both, but his great work was as the major figure in Scottish literary modernism and a major influence on Scottish culture. No one would know that from Wikipedia--or even suspect it.
Best,
Nancy
P. S. Though he later renounced religion, his early work includes some utterly beautiful lyrics about Jesus, like "O Jesu Parvule."
 
"Followis ane sang of the birth of Christ, with the tune of Baw lu la law" (Godly Ballatis)

His mither sings tae the bairnie Chirst
Wi the tune o' Baw lu la law.
The bonnie wee craturie lauchs in His crib
And a' the starnies an' he are sib.
Baw, baw, my loonikie, baw, balloo.

"Fa' owre, ma hinny, fa' owre, fa' owre,
A'body's sleepin' binna oorsels."
She's drawn Him in tae the bool o' her breist
But the byspale's nae thocht o' sleep i' the least.
Balloo, wee mannie, balloo, balloo.

(Hugh MacDiarmid)
 
Words:  mither-mother; bairnie--tiny child; craturie--little creature [Scots uses many diminuitives]; lauchs--laughs; starnies--little stars; sib--siblings; loonikie---very little boy; fa' owre--fall asleep; hinny--honey; binna--except; bool--curve; byspale--child of whom wonderful things are expected, a prodigy, a proverb, also an ilegitimate child; thocht--thought.
 
The "God and Godly Ballades" are Medieval Scots, and he uses the tune and almost ballad form. Like the god of the medieval lyrics and ballads, MacDiarmid's is very warm and intimate and close.
 

>>> Rickard Parker <[log in to unmask]> 09/13/12 4:46 PM >>>
On 2012-09-12, at 7:14 AM, Tom Gray wrote:
>
> it is common know edge that Wikipedia has problems with editors
controlling what is written in the articles. Editors or groups of editors
will seize control of a topic and exclude any idea from it that does not
coincide with their favored viewpoint.


Another case: Irish republicanism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_republicanism
Irish republicanism (Irish: Poblachtánachas Éireannach) is an ideology based
on the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic.

Twice over a period of months I've seen a small single paragraph about the
Republic of Ireland be deleted because it was off topic. The words "Republic
of Ireland" are written only twice and used only incidently. The text
wasn't even wikilinked this morning. I did link it but I'm more than half
expecting a revert.

For articles important to you it pays to check the article's Talk page too
to see what infighting may be going on.


As for citing Wikipedia:

Sub-topic 1: Should you do it. Wikipedia itself addresses the topic at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citing_Wikipedia

Sub-topic 2: How to do it.

You can't just use simple URLs since the contents of the webpages change.
Each edit though is given a unique id and so it is possible
to retrieve older versions of pages. The page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citing_Wikipedia
says:
Note: Wikipedia has a tool to generate citations for particular articles.
For the cite tool, see Special:Cite, or follow the "Cite this page" link
in the toolbox on the left of the page in the article you wish to cite.
I don't see this but I do see under the Toolbox menu
Toolbox
* What links here
* Related changes
* Upload file
* Special pages
* Permanent link
a link named "Permanent link". Clicking that I got my browser to visit
another page identified with an ID number and the URL was shown by the
browser. The article content was preceded by a note. Example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Citing_Wikipedia&oldid=502308612
This is the current revision of this page, as edited by EmausBot (talk |
contribs) at 22:50, 14 July 2012. The present address (URL) is a permanent
link to this version.

You can also use Wikipedia's history feature to get to an old version
of an article. For example you could see the following entry in the
history listing:
# (cur | prev) 08:39, 6 October 2009‎ Wordsmith (talk | contribs)‎ . .
(15,967 bytes) (+7)‎ . .
(→‎A caution before citing Wikipedia: 1st Paragraph: Replaced
"uncorroborated" with
"without corroboration") (undo)
Clicking on the time-date stamp link you get a URL and article note of:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Citing_Wikipedia&oldid=318213521
This is an old revision of this page, as edited by Wordsmith (talk |
contribs) at
08:39, 6 October 2009. It may differ significantly from the current
revision.


There is a tool at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Cite
where you can type in the name of an article and it will present a page of
citations (MLA, Chicago, bibliographic, etc.) to the current version of the
article. For older versions of the article I think you have to hand edit
the IDs and date/times.