Proposal:Get rid of the global anonymity

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Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

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  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


Currently there is a strong pressure to press on hiding the identity of the people that contribute to Wikipedia. This may provide protection to crackers that upload copyvio material but in general it is difficult to say where and how this policy is useful otherwise. As Wikipedia is firmly turning toward the legal content, it may be useful to initiate movement of using real identities and real names, probably even with GPG or other similar signatures.


Encourage using real names for accounts, also provide some functionality to the reliable, key based authentication. Not all people would choose to work under real name, this may even be dangerous when writing articles on some socially sensitive topics. However in some, mostly academic-related areas, long time work under real name may give a person certain status in real rather than just in a virtual word.


The main idea of this proposal is to break the barrier between virtual and real worlds. Currently a person can earn a respected status as an anonymous user with six letter name but this will not help him in the life outside Wikipedia world in any way. It is even possible to say that treating Wikipedia community as an anonymous mass encourages some thoughts that it is owned by some central organizing group and not by all people who actually contributed the content.

Also, in the deep past some poets and writers, even famous ones, sometimes also used false names but at the end now majority of printed publication are signed by real individuals.

Key Questions

  • Why the majority of Wikipedia contributors hide under short usernames? How much this is they own decision?
  • Can we say that Wikipedia directly or indirectly puts pressure on maintaining the global anonymity?
  • Who benefits from the global anonymity?
  • Can we benefit from some people working under real name?
  • If we give up all the advantages of anonymity; How do we ensure NPOV in areas where editors who don't follow an outside organisation's wishes re the contents of an article are vulnerable to stalking?

Potential Costs

  • Loss of many editors


Who owns Wikipedia?

See also

Community Discussion

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