CZ Talk:Election July-August 2013/Referenda/4a

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Managing Editor rejects this referendum

The Managing Editor rejects this referendum. It destroys a foundational pillar of Citizendium, its policy of verifying real names to protect itself from the types of mischief and harm described here.

You can't do that. This is a charter referendum, any pillar can be changed by a charter referendum. James Yolkowski 03:29, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Whatever. I've requested a formal appeal of this decision [1]. James Yolkowski 03:44, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I think Anthony has grounds to reject this referendum because it doesn't address all the points made in his original rejection. If you were to rewrite Articles 38 and 40, and preferably include some kind of privacy safeguard (like flagged revisions, preventing unverified users from emailing others, etc.), it could work. John Stephenson 10:48, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Additional comments by the Managing Editor

Article 2 of the Charter reads:

Citizenship shall be open to anyone who fulfills the basic conditions for participation as defined by the Management Council—including registering according to the real names policy—and agrees to abide by this Charter.

Your referendum would append the following:

Creating an account shall not require manual validation or approval (other than validation of an e-mail address), but accounts suspected of not corresponding to the real name of the person using that account may be suspended or other sanctions imposed, or reasonable validation of identity requested.

I interpret the first clause (“Creating an account shall not require manual validation or approval (other than validation of an e-mail address)”) a contradiction of Article 2. Without manual validation and approval Citizendium cannot know if the name submitted at application for account is the applicant’s real name or a bogus name.

The clause also contradicts the Charter’s Preamble, which reads:

The Citizendium is a collaborative effort to collect, structure, and cultivate knowledge and to render it conveniently accessible to the public for free. It is built online by volunteers who contribute under their real names and agree to this social covenant centered around trust.

Citizendium cannot honor its mandate to require its members to contribute under their real names if we don’t know they’ve registered under their real names.

Your referendum could seriously impair the quality of Citizendium, and greatly increase its administrative burden. Anthony.Sebastian 20:37, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

When CZ was founded, and when we wrote the charter, and then when we ratified the charter, the CZ community held to a fundamental view of itself as a constitutional corpus built on trust; that vision rests on the real names policy (Article 2). To dilute the real names policy is to shatter the foundation of CZ. Russell D. Jones 23:39, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Russell, did you read the referendum text before commenting? This purpose of this referendum is to modify article 2 of the Charter, so if the community wanted that to change and the managing editor were amenable, then that could change. And while I'm thinking wishfully, I want a pony (-: James Yolkowski 14:55, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
In the discussion someone posted a link to Knowino. Not having been there recently, I thought I'd have a look and see how they were getting on. I found the recent changes almost entirely concerned with spam. That was also the case with Wikisage before Guido disabled account creation, and it also formed a large part of the activity on Wikinfo before it went down. Wikipedia may have a large army of volunteers to deal with that sort of thing, but our protection is real-name verification. Or can James suggest something none of those sites has thought of? Peter Jackson 08:45, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
The only reason why Knowino's recent changes are entirely concerned with spam is because there's no real action. The actual amount of spam only seems to be two articles per day, which doesn't seem to be too bad. One of the main reasons why we don't have a large army of volunteers to deal with that sort of thing is because we require accounts to be pre-approved. Right now, if a non-Citizen sees vandalism (or, for that matter, any other problem) here, they can't fix it for a day or two or three or more (and that's only because John is now handling account approvals; before, it would take weeks or months), by which time they may not care anymore. Getting rid of account pre-approval opens the door to vandalism but also to more users who are willing to fight vandalism.
Basically, there are risks no matter what option you choose (not that you have a choice (-: ). Changing things may result in the risks you suggest, but if we retain account pre-approval, then we run the risk of the project becoming moribund due to a complete lack of new users. Cheers, James Yolkowski 14:55, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't think outright vandalism would be so much of a problem that it couldn't be dealt with expeditiously, but trolling and sockpuppetry certainly will be an issue, and in very short order I'm afraid (it's rampant in many areas of WP) which is the real stumbling block to attracting and retaining quality contributors.Robert A. Estremo 17:35, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

More ME thought

Yes, risks both options: open registration without name verification; registration with submitted name verification. The risks entailed by the former option are well-known, and unacceptable in developing a trustworthy knowledge base—there are too many delinquents who relish the playground of a wiki where they can practice their miscreant behavior in disguise. James would have the risk of the latter option an impending demise of Citizendium due to poor recruitment success. He wants to save Citizendium from that fate, seeming unable to come up more than a single solution, and a retrogressive one at that. Why that seemingly limited creative imagination?

Citizendium cultivates creative solutions. We will begin soon to exercise that activity. Who knows what will eventuate, perhaps even a transmogrification of the wiki concept, novelty emerging in a complex adaptive system. Prediction is difficult, especially of the future, to paraphrase Yogi Berra. James, we'll keep our verified real names policy, reform our verification, and simplify. Within that framework, the challenge to you, and to all our CZ colleagues, is to use our global brain, in all its differing perspectives, imperfections and perfections, to generate a potpourri, a barrel full of ideas that we can interweave into novum Citizendium. Anthony.Sebastian 19:00, 26 July 2013 (UTC)