Non-anonymous users (narrow focus)

The defining question here is, which do you feel Wikipedia should be in the longer term:

  1. The "fairly okay I guess encyclopedia anyone can edit" (including many more who will inadvertently reduce quality on high quality items than will improve or maintain it).
    This sets a quality ceiling in practice, and makes it a constant struggle to keep the quality head above water. Eventually we will lose that, because capable users burn out faster than they are added.
  2. The "high quality world reference work anyone can edit" (but to maintain good quality users need to show certain competences before editing certain specific pages)
    This accepts that just like not everyone in the world is equally willing to write neutral encyclopedic content, many in the world who can edit, lack the skills or topic knowledge to work to a high standard. Singling out those who can, and letting them work on specific pages which are delicate, specialist, or are at a level of quality where going down is far easier than going up, will encourage a quality environment. It also strongly incentivizes and operationalizes creating a quality-oriented community for those who initially don't have that skill.

There are further choices and ways to bridge the gap, but ultimately you have to choose which of those you want to be.

The first is a dead end anyway, in the long run.
The second respects the principles of Wikipedia, by allowing "anyone" to edit the delicate or high quality pages, in the same way "anyone" can be an admin -- pure competence, attitude, meritocracy, open to all, and for all to seek at any time. Open to all, and valuing the goal of being an encyclopedia a bit more than it is at present.

I've made my choice. I will respect if you feel it's a harsh one, or a middle way is possible, or the issues can be mitigated. But ultimately I fear you bang up against that question in some way, and ultimately you have to choose the second -- or history will choose for you.

FT2 (Talk | email)22:14, 20 December 2009