Wikipedia may start checking up on its administrators.
The online encyclopedia suffered a black eye after a contributor and administrator was found to be faking his credentials. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, after initially sticking up for the administrator--real name Ryan Jordan, known online as Essjay--eventually asked him to step down.
Now Wales has posted a proposal "for greater accountability around credentials," that would give people who verify their real name and credentials a special tag on the site.
While the step may seem small, it was met with heated discussion among Wikipedians. Some applauded the move, saying it would lend the site credibility, but others argued it would interfere with the "anyone can edit" nature of the site.
Blog community response:
"Perhaps the simplest thing people could do to verify their name would be to charge something nominal on their credit in donation to Wikipedia (like $1). At least you would know that the person has a credit card with that name on it--it would be a start. You could back that up with a drivers license, email address, and diplomas."
"Would it help if I could learn a bit more about the person or people who are giving me the info from a particular Wikipedia entry? If it was just something I looked up randomly and was curious about--it wouldn't matter. If it was something for research I was doing or a project that had importance to me--definitely."
"The fact that Jordan was so successful, though ultimately an embarrassment to the project, adds weight to one of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales' central tenets--that expertise can obscure the substance of the work."