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Proposal talk:Get rid of the global anonymity

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Latest comment: 13 years ago by WereSpielChequers in topic Contra proposal

Project with this principle has already been founded

This discussion has already been held on the German wikipedia, quite a while ago. It ultimately lead to the founding of a new project, Wikiweise (de:Wikipedia:Enzyklopädie/Wikiweise, http://www.wikiweise.de/ ). Looking at the recent changes, it's not nearly as successful as Wikipedia. Regards, --ChrisiPK 12:52, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

From the other side, Citizendium claims that they have similar level of activity as many Wikipedia projects of they size. At the given time only something absolutely (like maybe introducing paid registration or filling 50 % of space with advertisements) could decrease the popularity of Wikipedia to the popularity of any other alternative project. Millions of articles present have the tremendous network effect. To my opinion introducing and stronger supporting real names may increase the number of people willing to contribute to Wikipedia more than the average registered user does. I am aware that some people may make a single anonymous contribution just because they are highly competent on a subject and do not care to register. If somebody wants to go that way, should be allowed. Your referenced Wikiweise also does not look like a total loss, indicating similar activity as in many national Wikipedias Audriusa 19:47, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
You people seem to be making the assumption that every country is absolutely free, and that they people in those countries are completely free to edit about any subject. What if a person in Iran wants to make an edit that is contrary to accepted government doctrine? What if a person in the US in 2003 had wanted to make an edit that could have been construed as being "anti Iraq war"? People were fired in the US when their employers found out that they were anti-war.
There is a reason why people don't give out their real names. If editors *want* to give out their real names, then they can do so right now. There is nothing stopping them from doing so (and some people do). But forcing people to give out their real names? Never. If that happens, I leave Wikimedia projects and never come back. Anonymity exists for a reason. Gopher65talk 04:51, 23 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Citizendium had plenty of attention when it started up and is still unpopular. It may do as well as many "wikipedia projects of its size" but the reason it has that size relative to the larger english speaking community is because very few people wanted to migrate when it started up. They thought "Why should I edit at a wiki where I have to jump through hoops to edit?" and "I don't want to be looked down upon for editing things for which I am not recognized by some institution as an expert" and "I don't want people on the internet knowing my real name." Citizendium's participation (small) which is germane to its size (small) is no saving grace. --Lyc. cooperi 10:55, 1 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

what's the definition anonymity?

If a nickname is considered as being anonymous, I'm not really in favour of this proposal. Especially that some valuable contribution are coming from people not willing to give their real name (e.g. due to their work). There are also some studies showing that some good contribution are from anonymous edits : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia#Anonymous_editing AlexandreDulaunoy 14:27, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Employers banning to contribute to Wikipedia at free time does not look like a major problem for me. Sensitive topics may be more an issue. It may always stay reasons for somebody to prefer anonymous contribution, but I still think that in the most of cases there are no any reasons from the side of the contributor - s(he) is anonymous just because everybody is. An, yes, I still see accounts of people with unknown real names as anonymous accounts. Audriusa 19:47, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Employers aren't a big issue, even though they are an issue. The real issue is that organizations like The Church of Scientology sue everyone who says *anything* about them that isn't positive. If Wikipedia editors gave their real name, organizations like the CoS would use that information to sue them into bankruptcy. And they're not the only ones who do that kind of thing. In the UK the chiropractors association is suing a journalist who did nothing more than list studies proving that most Chiropractors are quacks with no training (and that is indeed true. Chiropractic "medicine" is unregulated, and because of that most, but not all, of them are frauds). Are YOU willing to open yourself up to those kind of lawsuits? If so, go make an edit on the Wikipedia Scientology page, and leave your real name. I DARE you to do that. Gopher65talk 05:00, 23 August 2009 (UTC)Reply


I'm against this proposal. I use a nickname as my user name. It's a user name I use almost everywhere on the web. I quite like the fact that my online identity is different to my real life one. It's not because I continually do things I'd like to be able to disassociate myself from. It's just that our online lives are searchable for all to see and I don't particularly want someone to access all that by typing in my real name into Google and then foraging through everything I've ever commented on or posted to. I would, however, probably support forcing would-be editors to have to register with Wikipedia before posting. A lot of trouble I see on recent changes appears to come from anonymous editors. --Bodnotbod 13:00, 17 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Against, me too. I can use my own name if necessary, but an astronomy editor on en:WP that I know of cannot, because a Google search on his true name wouldn't list his research reports, but instead all his wikipedia editings. The idea is inherently not a good thing. Rursus 13:35, 18 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Oppose I want to protect my privacy. I don't need my employers knowing what i'm doing on wikipedia nor they have to know my personal interests and opinions which could be easily determinate by my area of edits. Thanks. If you end anonymity, i will leave wikipedia because it will be nothing but another social network which happen to write an encyclopedia. --KrebMarkt 07:00, 23 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

There's nothing in the existing system that prevents us from give out our real name if we want to. I would however like to see some sort draft identification for articles that have unreviewed edits. Phatom87 16:28, 24 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Against for privacy and safety reasons A basic tenant of wikipedia is that anyone should be allowed to edit it. This ceases to be true when doing so would expose one's identity and potentially be used to connect a person to other information which could be used to locate them, steal their identity, what have you. Also, I agree with the other statements that most people simply want nothing to do with having what they do in their personal time visible to future employers, everyone who knows them, etc. --Lyc. cooperi 10:48, 1 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

The reasons I use a pseudonym include:

  • Some of the reasons discussed at en:Wikipedia:PEREN#Prohibit_anonymous_users_from_editing, en:Wikipedia:Disabling edits by unregistered users and stricter registration requirement, meta:Anonymous users should not be allowed to edit articles.
  • I wouldn't want my professional identity tied to documents anyone can edit, and neither do I want to protect those articles for life. I might put my name on a clear, well-written article - but if errors, bad writing or spam links were later introduced, the now-less-good article with my name on it would reflect badly on me. Granted, I could review all changes to the article and change those I don't like, but editor's aren't supposed to en:WP:OWN articles and pounce on other people's edits in that manner.
  • There are aspects of editing on wikipedia I wouldn't want linked to my professional identity. I wouldn't want a future employer to google my name and find me discussing what illustrations are appropriate on the 'Goatse' page, or bickering over policy minutiae.
  • Avoiding criticisms of misuse of credentials. More than a few editors support en:Wikipedia:Ignore all credentials which is worried about "puffery" and says "the Wikipedia community frowns upon editors using their credentials to gain an advantage in a content dispute" - if I said on my user page that I have ten doctorates, later my innocent actions could be misconstrued as using my credentials to gain an advantage in a content dispute. On the other hand, as long as I am anonymous, this criticism cannot be made.

Mike1024 10:12, 25 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

  • Oppose: I can see only three reasons for this proposal:
    • The editor's real-life identity would lend credence to something they had written. Which assumes there's no cited source for their edit, i.e. it's OR.
    • You want to make an ad hom attack on an editor to discredit one of their edits or votes.
    • You want to fight an editor's vandalism. How? Harass them across the web? Legal threats?
All three involve violations of wiki-principles. Bazj 11:16, 22 September 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose: We do not want articles on physics edited/influenced by physics professors and so on. This would make us a classic paper encyclopedia, written by experts, with all the POV of the experts. We want articles written by anonymous users. Who can improve articles on a certain subject, even though they had no formal training. FocalPoint 07:00, 4 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

Stupid Idea

To you think, that any user would work against right-extreme manipulators, Sect-Propaganda etc., if they would now his name and his adress? -- 08:50, 18 August 2009 (UTC)Reply


A key point of anonymous editing, I thought, was that people didn't have to even go through registering or anything, they can just contribute right away. Also, most registered users picked their pseudonym for a reason. 11:42, 20 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

There are many people who edit or fix just one or few obscure articles. Anything bureaucratic, including registration, would deter them. The value of Wikipedia lies in such obscure articles. 22:55, 20 October 2009 (UTC)Reply


I am wondering about the "As Wikipedia is firmly turning toward the legal content, ..." as this is not something I observe in practice. There is a strong anarchistic stream in Wikipedia that wars on legality (along the lines of "information should be free, and we are not going to respect any stricture"). This goes so far that users at this site are openly espousing illegal means to improve Wikipedia. - Brya 12:00, 27 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Even assuming we are trying to stay firmly within the bounds of the law, I don't think wikipedians are violating anything. Copyrighted content isn't welcomed at wikipedia, as it's illegal and can't be reproduced. Wikipedians take an active stand against information that by international dictate, is bound up from reproduction. I don't see why legality is an excuse to remove anonymity. --Lyc. cooperi 10:44, 1 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

I came to the talk page to comment on this… what is being said there? Where is evidence of this "turning"? Whatever it means how does it support reducing anonymity? --Gmaxwell 16:15, 15 October 2009 (UTC)Reply


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:10, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply

Do not throw out the baby with the bath water

As suffering some crime is the cost of freedom, reverting some garbage posts is the cost of anonymity. It is a pittance to pay for so great a good. We would eliminate a small nuisance and with it eliminate our best protection from non-merit-based oversight. Wikipedia could never have become what it is without anonymity, and it will become corrupted as quickly as it abandons this fundamental principle.

Contra proposal

I think we should ban editors from having accounts in real names, and require pseudonymous editing from all new accounts. After users have been around a year and edited a fair bit then by all means allow them to rename their account to their real name - but make sure they know and understand the risks first.

I'm an admin on en:wiki and I've deleted dozens of "real name" user pages and blocked their accounts. Currently it is far too easy to create an account in someone's name, create a user page attacking that person and as long as you don't use the account to actually edit articles it can be a while before we find and delete it.

Of course most real name accounts are good faith ones, but they limit what their editors can do here. Would you want an employer to know that you sometimes edit at 2am? Or that you have edited pages on pokemon or porn (even if you were just reverting vandalism or fixing typos)? Also people who edit in their own name are unlikely to become admins as very few people would want that sort of en:hazing ceremony linked to their name by Google.

I think most of the talkpage here has been about why we should't ban anonymous editing, so how about renaming this proposal "Make all new accounts anonymous." WereSpielChequers 18:51, 5 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

Where is your formal proposal? --Gmaxwell 16:16, 15 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
Proposal:Require all new user Accounts to start as anonymous WereSpielChequers 13:12, 18 February 2011 (UTC)Reply