There's already a single player mode, for days when you don't feel like interacting with other players, and a 'friends only' mode where you only interact with people on your friends list.
Your ships and money are shared between modes. If they added an off-line mode too, then they'd face complaints like "I've just spent 60 hours in off-line mode working my way up to an Asp, and now you're telling me that I can't use it when I play with my friends??!? W.T.H. You guys suck!"
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Gary Taubes is an advocate of high-fat/low-carbohydrate diets. He seriously overstates the importances of the source of calories, compared to the calorie total itself, and willfully ignores the strong evidence linking saturated fats to heart disease.
He has a habit of jumping on any bandwagon that supports his conclusions, regardless of whether the bandwagon is valid or not.
His support should therefore not be given much weight in your deliberations.
Nor is it whether a crowd can be arranged in such a way that it makes better decisions than the average person in the crowd. (THEY CAN.)
It is whether you can arrange the decision making process among a crowd to consistently make wise decisions, even if no individual member of the crowd is consistently wise.
Since, in any sufficiently large crowd, somebody is going to come up with a wise answer to any particular question, the key problem is getting members of the crowd to agree on which of two answers is the wiser. One solution is to get the members who don't have a clue to delegate that decision to others who they think are, in general, good at picking winners. With a sufficient track record, you have an objective basis to decide who is or is not good at recognition, provided there is some correlation between past and future problems, or at least some way to categorise which sort of expertise is relevant to each problem.