Essay:Identity, democratic polity and the writing of reliable articles

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To limited extent, identities such as "Eloquence" or even "User:172" can be built up and established by long familiarity. A person with a certain nickname which YOU can remember, and associate with what they've said and done, can become know to YOU even if you don't know them as Charlie Parker, 123 Main St., Provo, Utah. If they get themselves banned, they could reincarnate themselves and go to the trouble of establishing a new identity. Only this time, they can profit from the lessons of the misdeeds that got them banned.

However, it is a rare dog who can learn new tricks like this. So my quibble is no more than a quibble.

For a massive online collaboration such as Wikipedia has been trying (and you are trying anew), in many cases we must demand more accountability. For anything but the most trivial or easily checked topics (such as geography and sports), we need more than just anonymity; we need a persona. For more important topics - and this I presume is where this encyclopedia intends to focus - nicknames are not enough. With a few exceptions that must be known to the editor in chief, the writing community needs to know who their fellow writers are.

Reputation carries weight. There's no getting around that. If Michael Mann logs in and wants to write about the Medieval Warm Period, his reputation will precede him. He's not an "authority" but actually someone accused of scientific fraud. He shouldn't be allowed to contribute under a nickname, because we need to know that we can't trust him to reveal data which contradicts his POV.

To make an objective article, or at least a balanced or neutral one, we need to be clear what POV each contributor espouses. I am completely open about siding with the "natural cycles" theory of Fred Singer. Mann and Connolley, if they log in, have a track record of bias against natural cycles.

Anyone who is a POV supporter needs an Editor above him to ensure that he "plays fair". Readers would expect no less.

Indeed, we may have to make a special policy for scientific controversies - which goes beyond or is an extension of "NPOV". Something like, Any claim to be "science" must adhere to the scientific method by (1) showing how the theory is related to actual observations and (2) specifying at least one derived hypothesis which could possibly be falsified by the discovery of facts which contradict it. Claims which do not fit this schema would simply be treated the same as political or historical claims: "he said vs. she said".