For most professional citations, Wikipedia is frowned upon, but this answer defies all of those conventions.


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It's case-by-case. If you try to use Wikipedia as a reference and get challenged, you'll have to go deeper and follow the references to come up with your own summary of the situation.

Wikipedia will likely be accepted as a source in an answer when:

  • linking to a permanent link for a particular version of a page, so that future edits don't change the content of the reference,
  • when the material contained in the Wikipedia article/section is well-sourced itself,
  • when using the Wikipedia reference simply to establish the meaning of some technical or jargon term for lay-readers,
  • repeating the references from Wikipedia in your answer if the material from Wikipedia is essential to the answer here, or if the material is contentious.

(Those rules-of-thumb are my best guesses based on what I think I've observed here over the past year... could be subject to failed memory, confirmation bias, etc.)

I did this in this answer. I liked the sentence and wanted to use it, so I needed to cite Wikipedia.

Regarding the specific question you're asking about, it would be improved if it linked to a permanent link. Other than that, apparently nobody has found the answer contentious or likely to change over time with new evidence, so it's been well-received here.

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