Wikipedia:The benefits of requiring account creation on Wikipedia
A long-running debate amongst Wikipedians is whether or not to require users to register an account in order to be able to edit or not. Though consensus is currently such that creating an account is not a prerequisite for editing, many Wikipedians feel that there are reasons why it should be a prerequisite. This essay is designed to outline those reasons.
- It would help reduce instances of vandalism. It was found that 97% of all vandalism comes from anonymous IP editors, presumably because it is much easier to edit a page without creating an account first. While it can be assumed that anonymous vandals would simply create accounts in order to continue vandalizing, it is believed that, on the whole, vandalism would decrease after the implementation of mandatory account creation.
- It would help reduce instances of edits based on original research or unsourced, since most of these are from anonymous IP editors. While many of these edits are applied without malicious intent and probably due to ignorance of the guidelines on verifiability and reliable source, it is suggested that registered editors might be more motivated and committed to learning about Wikipedia policies and editorial guidelines than anonymous IP users.
- It would make all editors accountable for their contributions. Currently, many IP users connect to the internet over a range of IP addresses, loading a new IP address after a certain period of time; some even load a new one after each page load. As Wikipedia keeps track of anonymous contributors by their IP addresses, many edits applied by such users (whether vandals or legitimate editors) simply cannot be traced back to the original person.
- It would facilitate the identification of abusers. IP editors with a history of tendentious editing or harassment often avoid detection and enforcement of blocks by switching IP addresses as described in point 3 above.
- It would enhance online security by keeping a user's IP address hidden from potential hackers. As the IP addresses of anonymous contributors are displayed in page histories, it would be possible for someone with malicious intent to find personal information about a person or their computer via their IP address.
- It would foster teamwork by enabling editors to connect with each other more easily. A registered user who creates or edits a Wikipedia article on a given subject is directly contactable by other editors who share an interest in that subject, or who have that page of their watchlist. Currently, an IP editor's talk page is only useful for that purpose as long as the IP address remains assigned to the same individual.