Wikipedia:The benefits of not requiring account creation on Wikipedia

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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. Consensus is currently in favor of not requiring account creation, and this essay is designed to outline reasons why.

The reasons[edit]

  1. It would go against one of Wikipedia's core principles as stated on the Meta.
  2. It would cause many useful contributors not to edit Wikipedia. Many people do not desire to edit under user accounts and therefore their contributions would be lost.
  3. It would not be the "cure all" to vandalism that it would seem to be. Though the 97% of vandal edits come in the form of anon editors as this study found, it is believed that many of the same anon vandals would simply create user accounts with which to vandalize. Thus vandalism would not decrease to the extent that it might seem.
  4. Not everybody thinks it is necessary to have to go through the rigmarole of signing in to correct typos etc. in passing.
  5. It would lead to "multiple pen-name contribution" (such as employed by Eleanor Hibbert) – people who wish to operate outside their normal spheres of interest and wish to keep such interests separate. (This may happen to some extent anyway – if the multiple pen-name user ensures that there is no obvious link between times and areas of activity, and avoids idiomatic language use.)
  6. The only way to avoid vandalism etc. completely would be to require "everybody" to sign in on their real name, provide confirmation of identities etc... and Wikipedia would turn into something else.

See also[edit]