I read about Citizendium earlier today and was excited to see that they are insisting that all contributors use their real names.
The Citizendium (sit-ih-ZEN-dee-um), a “citizens’ compendium of
everything,” is an experimental new wiki project. The project, started
by a founder of Wikipedia, aims to improve on that model by adding
“gentle expert oversight” and requiring contributors to use their real
Wikipedia’s failure to do this has had two consequences that I can think of – the first is that determining the validity of content relies on the judgment of editors who themselves may not be who they claim. The second is that Wikipedia, in the name of preserving objectivity, has erected rules about who can and cannot be counted as part of the community. Congressional staffers? Out. PR people? Out.
But if everyone has to be upfront and honest about who they are, that decreases the likelihood that spurious information will make it onto the site and allow people with knowledge but a perceived agenda (which frankly everyone has to one degree or another) to share what they know.
I certainly hope that the Citizendium will truly be worthy of its name and goals and will allow everyone willing to abide by the community standards to be an active and accepted participant in the conversation.
What is happening here and elsewhere is important and everyone needs to have a voice – but they also need to be willing to stand behind what they say.
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