[Foundation-l] [WikiEN-l] Accountability: bringing back a proposal I made nearly 2 years ago

Jeff V. Merkey jmerkey at wolfmountaingroup.com
Mon Mar 5 17:54:47 UTC 2007


This is going to be nightmarish to police and run. Not to mention you 
have to have a
signed release from the person in order to obtain access to this level 
of personal information.

The whole controversy over Essjay will die down in time. Folks should 
stop and think
things through rather than reacting to the bad publicity. One reasonable 
step would be that any high ranking member
must submit accurate credentials before being appointed to an office of 

Let's be honest, if it were a low level editor or admin on the english 
wikipedia no one would have cared
or even noticed. It was because it was a high ranking member of the 
community who had been used for
press interviews.

One other solution is that only PR or spokepersons talk to the press, 
not just anyone.


Erik Moeller wrote:

>On 3/5/07, Anthony <wikilegal at inbox.org> wrote:
>>There are two parts to the suggestion: 1) marking some statements with
>>a "verified credentials" tag, and 2) a "policy of gentle (or firm)
>>discouragement for people to make claims like those that EssJay made,
>>unless they are willing to back them up".
>I'm cross-posting this to wikipedia-l and foundation-l, because it may
>very well become a Foundation-level issue at some point.
>I would support the following:
>1) Any user can ask for his or her professional credentials to be verified.
>2) Making up professional credentials is prohibited, and may result in
>a ban. (This may or may not be covered by existing policy, but judging
>from the Essjay case, it is probably not sufficiently clear.) This is
>independent of whether or not the user asks for credentials to be
>verified. We may investigate claims that are dubious when they are
>pointed out to us.
>3) Any user trusted on admin level or higher who makes a statement of
>credentials on their user page must have them verified through a team
>of volunteers designated to this role by the Wikimedia Foundation (we
>may want to involve the chapters if this becomes international). The
>process of verification could be similar to what Citizendium uses,
>a) have an existing, credentialed user vouch for the credentials to be
>correct based on personal knowledge,
>b) respond to an email associated with a reliable institution, and
>point us to a web page of that institution where their credentials are
>c) point to someone associated with a reliable institution we can
>contact to verify the credentials.
>We may extend this to regular users if it proves to scale well.
>4) Users with verified credentials will get a little "Verified
>credentials on <date>" marker on their user page, nothing more. This
>marker would ideally be independent of the wikitext of the page, and
>set in the user table instead.
>I am opposed to any marker of edit contributions and such -- users who
>care about credentials can look them up, those who do not care should
>not be bothered by them in discussions or contributions.

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