There’s a huge difference between my pseudonymity and that of the Wikipedia authors. I write on blog sites expressing what I clearly identify as my opinion. But Wikipedia purports to be a reference tool offering not mere opinion but reliable information; it purports to be an “objective” summary of knowledge, not merely the opinion of the writers of the articles. In serious encyclopedias, the authors of the articles are named, so that one knows who is responsible for the information presented, and can, if one chooses, follow up on that individual to determine that individual’s qualifications. Not so with Wikipedia. No one knows the qualifications of any of the Wikipedia authors; no one can even tell which person wrote which parts of any given article.
In other words, Wikipedia is an irresponsible venture, in the strict meaning of that term – no one is ever held responsible. Contrast that with a business, where an employee is held responsible and can be fired, or with our democracy, in which an elected representative is held responsible and can be denied a second term of office. We can hold these people responsible because we know who they are and have means of terminating their activity. That is not the case with Wikipedia. It’s a very, very bad model for a reference tool. Essentially it’s an encyclopedia written by the mob. And a mob is never responsible to anyone.
More people use Wikipedia than use the Encyclopedia Britannica or other respected reference works. And it isn’t worthy of the trust that people put in it. If I had my way, I would insist that all Wikipedia contributors employ their real names, the way scientists and scholars in all other venues use their real names. One shouldn’t have any influence whatsoever on a reference tool used by millions if one isn’t willing to put one’s name behind one’s work. Opinions expressed on a blog site, and identified as opinions rather than fact, are another matter entirely. I couldn’t care less who T. aquaticus is, because only a few hundred people on the planet will ever read his posts, but millions of students and other lay folks will cite Wikipedia as if is some kind of authority, and it doesn’t deserve that authority unless it reveals the identity of its writers and editors.