There will be no logged-out editing and no anonymous editing [in Citizendium]. Anyone may participate, but all must be logged in under their own real names (we will use the honor principle to begin with), and with a working e-mail address. Where Wikipedia shares the culture of anonymity found in the broader Internet, the Citizendium will have a culture of real-world, personal responsibility.
Larry Sanger, one of the founders of Wikipedia, has started a new project called Citizendium, which initially is supposed to be a “progressive fork” of Wikipedia. One of the key differences is the inclusion of editors (vs. authors) who must state their credentials on a user profile page. With this system, Citizendium hopes to fight the “widespread anonymity that, according to Sanger, has led to a “troll problem” in Wikipedia. He also want to make Citizendium attractive to academics, “so that they can contribute in a way they feel comfortable with”. He explains his approach in detail in an essay called “Toward a New Compendium of Knowledge“.
Trying to get rid of anonymity and trolls is a good idea. It will bring who-edited-my-wiki-page feuds to an end and make it easier to call out people for editing an entry a certain way. The proposed editorial system could be a challenge, though. Larry Sanger suggests that Citizendium editors and “chief subject editors” act as “facilitators and organizers, not dictators”. I think it is a great idea in theory but in the end, when there are differences in opinion, somebody has to make a decision. But overall, I find the notion of taking personal responsibility for writing or editing entries very appealing.
Larry Sanders wants to have software and servers for Citizendium set up by September 30th.