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Anonymous/Pseudonymous Editing (was: Template protection, template CSS and anonymous edits)

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2012 12:07:34 -0400
Message-ID: <507ED7C6.4090303@w3.org>
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
CC: public-webplatform@w3.org
Hi, folks-

tl;dr: I don't support anonymous editing on the wiki.

While I appreciate the arguments about lowering barriers, I strongly 
support Janet and Scott's reasoning. I think that pseudonymity is a 
sufficiently low barrier to contribution in practice.

Requiring users to make an account before making changes may dissuade 
some users, but it will actually encourage those who have made an 
account to make more than a single edit, and to learn what kind of edits 
best match expectations.

On the subject of attribution, there are 2 sides to it: fame and blame.

"Fame" is getting recognition for your work, and many studies have shown 
that this not only increases contributions, but also the personal 
satisfaction, accomplishment, and sense of belonging in the 
contributors, which is important for the long-term health of this 
project and its community.

"Blame" at its most innocuous is giving readers (or reusers) the ability 
to evaluate any given contribution for viewpoint or potential bias, and 
in the most serious case, the ability to audit or remove edits by a 
particular contributor (for any number of reasons, like incorrect 
information, copyright violation, or outright malice).

(On a side note, just because Wikipedia has used a policy around 
anonymous edits while using CC-BY-SA doesn't mean it's a best 
practice... only that it happens to have worked in their particular 
case; I don't think it would work as well in our smaller community.)

Even with pseudonymous accounts required, I still support using the 


p.s. I trimmed this down to just the anonymity topic, since I think it's 
a very different issue than template protection or sharing the site's 
source code.

On 10/16/12 8:43 PM, David Singer wrote:
> I also agree that anonymous mods are not desirable. If we needed to
> protect people's privacy or anonymity, maybe, but we're not running
> Wikileaks.
> On Oct 17, 2012, at 1:43, Alex Komoroske wrote:
>> On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:37 AM, Janet Swisher wrote:
>>> Wikipedia (i.e., Wikimedia Foundation) doesn't seem to see any
>>> conflict between anonymity and attribution, since they allow
>>> anonymous edits and use CC-BY-SA. Anonymous edits on Wikipedia are
>>> logged in page history by IP address. Allowing anonymity lowers
>>> the barrier to participation to as low as possible.
>>> However, raising the barrier to entry even slightly increases the
>>> sense of community; requiring contributors to claim an identity
>>> enables long term interactions and encourages responsibility for
>>> one's actions. I think the benefits of encouraging long-term
>>> identities (even if pseudonymous) outweigh the benefits of
>>> anonymity. This is also not a context where anonymity is needed
>>> for personal safety or confidentiality.
>> +1 to this whole paragraph.
>>> On 10/16/12 11:41 AM, Scott Rowe wrote:
>>>> The other issue Tomato raised was that of anonymous edits. Are
>>>> there implications for content imported from elsewhere under
>>>> CC-By-SA? What about under the CC-By license for the site generally?
>>>> Frankly, I don't think anonymous editing serves to improve
>>>> collaboration or the quality of the documentation. As a curator
>>>> and contributor, I'd like to be able to correspond with other
>>>> editors. I also think that responsibility is the best policy, period.
>>> On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 2:33 AM, Chris Mills wrote:
>>>>> It certainly sounds worth checking out the Abuse Filter,
>>>>> and considering anonymous edits, to normal pages at
>>>>> least. Templates and stuff I wouldn't be so sure of.
>>>>> On 15 Oct 2012, at 18:43, Taylor Costellowrote:
>>> >>
>>>>>> Last topic, I want to open up anonymous edits on the
>>>>>> wiki. Our Q&A has anonymous posting, but not our wiki!
>>>>>> Let me just throw out there that anonymous editing is
>>>>>> very easy to watch, any user can revert a bad edit. We
>>>>>> also have AbuseFilters that will protect from obvious
>>>>>> spam and tag edits for admins to look at. Any admin can
>>>>>> add more AbuseFilters in the situation where we need to
>>>>>> adjust to new spam methods. There are a ton of benefits
>>>>>> to allowing anonymous wiki editing, and most of the
>>>>>> negative argument being "to prevent spam".
>>>>>> You can check out the AbuseFilter here:
>>>>>> http://docs.webplatform.org/wiki/Special:AbuseFilter
Received on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 16:07:41 UTC

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