User:JWSchmidt/Blog/10 March 2007
The second thing to be said is that there are really two limited reasons for such a credential verification process. The first reason is to try to prevent future problems in which a Wikipedian falsely claims to have a set of credentials. It has been suggested that Wikipedia have a template saying "this claim of credentials has not been verified" that could be placed on any user page where a Wikipedian claims to have a set of credentials. The second reason to verify credentials is the original reason given by Jimmy two years ago; as a way to let the world know that there are experts who edit Wikipedia.
But how can a community of volunteer wiki editors verify the identities of their fellow wiki editors? I am most concerned with verification of the identities of wiki editors who have a professional website, particularly in the .edu domain. I wonder if it would be possible to make modifications to the "Email this user" system in order to create a semi-automated system for verifying that wiki users are the owners of .edu email address. I'm not sure how hard it is to fake access to a .edu email address (see), but in any case I'm not sure that verification of a .edu email address is itself very useful. What is really needed is a webpage at a .edu website that lists the credentials of a person. If that person wants to be identified as editing Wikipedia as user FooBar, they that fact could be included on their professional credentials webpage. Again, I'm not sure if it is possible to fake the control of a URL in the .edu domain.
Relevance to Wikiversity
If Wikiversity does develop a system that allows for some editing outside of NPOV, then there will be a need for participants who can help guide the community in making sure that good scholarship is used. Sometimes it takes an expert to spot spoofs and bogus research methodologies. Can most people have confidence in Wikiversity without some formal evidence that there are experts helping with the project?