I've been reading some questions where the answer was given by an employee of Canonical, the company sponsoring Ubuntu. I thought it would be a good idea if users who are employees of Canonical (or whatever company that has a direct impact to Ubuntu) have a badge with their names instead of actually visiting their profile page to know if they're Ubuntu's employees (if they mentioned it in the biography).
That idea may have drawbacks or difficulties like the need of a good verification process (how to really know if you're an Ubuntu employee?), the need of following up (are you still an employee?) and it may require a lot of thinking for the UX guys for the badge icon and how (and where) to place it, and maybe some alerting that their answers are their own not on behalf of the company (right?). Advantages for this may include the ease of identifying the more credible answers, and the news answers (is there an outage? is this a known issue?)
I have thought of this a few times, and I like the idea, but it may have drawbacks. I will try to list a few here and maybe others can follow up.
Canonical is not well loved by some in the open source community. Exposing (especially "low level") Canonical employees via a badge is invitation to harassment. It would be possible to moderate such activity, but we would be better off without it.
Canonical employees will know the answer in many cases, but not all. We really wouldn't want users expecting Canonical employees to be able to answer their every question (and some users would).
Though the context may be arguably acceptable here, some long-time users may feel slighted, in that Canonical employees are granted some special badge, and they are not. This is not a major issue, but still a realistic possibility.
As you mentioned, Canonical employees need a degree of freedom. If they are tied simply to the company (in the eyes of the community), it would open up a lot of risky doors, and require a stringent effort by Canonical to protect the image of the company.
It would be preferable to avoid this trouble.