By Justin Mann, TechSpot.com
Published: March 7, 2007, 8:30 PM EST
Anonymous Wikipedia submissions are about to become slightly less anonymous, or at least less anonymous for those claiming to have credentials in their respective fields. Whether it be certifications or degrees, due to the fallout of a submitter who claimed he had certain education but didn't, Wikipedia is now asking submitters to verify that they indeed have such if they claim to:
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said in interviews by phone and instant message Wednesday from Japan that contributors still would be able to remain anonymous. But he said they should only be allowed to cite some professional expertise in a subject if those credentials have been verified.
This certainly doesn't stop anyone from contributing anonymously, merely prevents them from assuming an aura of expertise when they can't verify it. In actuality, it doesn't sound like a bad idea – if someone claims to have a degree and Wikipedia has verified it, their information might come across as more trustworthy. That is something the site needs, due to many critics who still cite it as being an easy target for vandalism or misinformation.
It's quite a good read and even has some commentary by the man with the fraudulent credentials. Regardless of him getting hired, though, the site owner still maintains that he feels it is inappropriate to try and win arguments based on credentials you don't have.