Why is participation to the P2P Foundation not totally open?

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Michel Bauwens:

I'm regularly asked why access to this site is not totally open to everybody, why you need to ask an existing member to get your id and password?

The policy was instituted for the very practical reason of spam attacks and trolls.

But there is also some thought behind it:

  1. our wiki is a 'perspectival' wiki: this means that though it is pluralist, it does require an adherence to the a priori proposition that the emergence of the peer to peer dynamic is a good thing. So, we can and do discuss the dark sides, may disagree on how to achieve a broader acceptance of peer to peer modes, but we a priori agree that in most cases, it is better than authoritarianism and inequality for example
  2. we practice the principle of Vouching, this means that at least one existing participant must know you. We practice this very liberally, i.e. I cannot recall ever prohibiting anyone, but it insures that no one is completely anonymous

These principles are however open to discussion, and the existing community could at one point take the decision to take the risk of totally opening up participation.

Michel Bauwens, July 4, 2007