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Citizendium ownership change

Hi all,

A few different people have reached out to me recently about future directions with Citizendium. I appreciate that.

As you know, Citizendium stopped being "my" project a long time ago. But until this morning, I still owned the domain name.

This morning, I transferred ownership of all the Citizendium domain names to Pat Palmer, whom I know and trust and have worked with since the early days of Citizendium. She is not just a former computer science professor at Penn and a highly-sought-after computer consultant, she understands what has worked—and what hasn't worked—both with Wikipedia and the experiment that has been Citizendium. She knows all the old Citizendium folks well. She has a diplomatic and highly intelligent head on her shoulders. Maybe most importantly, she is highly motivated not to let CZ die. And from what I heard, she has sound, practical ideas about how to reinvigorate this project. If I can help that happen by getting out of the way, then I'm happy to do that.

We're not ready to make any big public announcements about this, but I wanted you on this group to know about this change of ownership. Pat will be the new legal owner of Citizendium as soon as the transfer is complete, and she has my support as this project's leader, as we make some important improvements.

--Larry Sanger (talk) 17:09, 2 July 2020 (UTC)

Https back

We now have secure login and browsing back thanks to Joshua Sadule. should redirect to its https equivalent. Any problems can be noted here or on one of the Google Groups such as the non-member forum. John Stephenson (talk) 17:49, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

Thanks a million to Joshua for installing the SSL certificate, and to John S. for testing. Good job!Pat Palmer (talk) 17:52, 3 July 2020 (UTC)


As to copying material to WP, this has been going on all along. Any WP editor can do it, whether or not they're a Citizen. I understand there's a way to search WP for articles acknowledging CZ as a source.

I agree wit Pat there are often problems with this.

  1. much of our material is unsourced, as this was policy, since demoted to guideline but never formally repealed
  2. some topics may not be notable
  3. our criteria for original research are less strict
  4. if you try doing it for anything controversial (politics, religion) you're liable to get into a fight with one faction or another

Peter Jackson (talk) 11:45, 18 July 2020 (UTC)

A related technical issue. If the site is put into Archive and someone then wants to copy something from it, there will usually be a legal requirement to link to the full history. I don't know about the technicalities of that. Peter Jackson (talk) 11:47, 18 July 2020 (UTC)

As to Pat's proposals, I've been happily contributing here and elsewhere for many years without payment, but I draw the line at vanity publishing. If that's the way it's got to be, include me out.

Is that how it's got to be? Pat's wording isn't explicit on whether those who pay the piper (Editors?) can authorize non-paying contributors (Authors?) If they can, they'd still make the decisions. Admit/expel Authors. Lay down policy. Impose topic bans like WP. Or the reverse: I think Scholarpedia invited non-member JW to write an article about WP.

Of course it's none of my business to tell others what to do with their money. Peter Jackson (talk) 11:54, 18 July 2020 (UTC)

Peter, the discussion about how to proceed is ongoing but offline from the wiki right now. There is an invite to the advisory group on your Talk page. Please consider joining that group to make sure things don't go in a direction you would dislike.Pat Palmer (talk) 14:43, 19 July 2020 (UTC)
I may get round to jumping through the bureaucratic hoops when I've got more time. Peter Jackson (talk) 11:49, 25 July 2020 (UTC)

Status report, end of July 2020

After all the discussions about possibly shutting down, we've formulated a plan to keep Citizendium running after all, and I want to give a brief status update, since a lot has been happening behind the scenes. During the past month, the server hardware was upgraded, resulting in a significantly faster wiki. As of August, monthly server costs will be less (~$75/month instead of ~99/month). The technical staff continue to plan vigorously for an eventual upgrade of outdated software, from the operating system and database right up to the MediaWiki software which drives the wiki, though we're not sure yet when to expect those upgrades because that move is very complex. The domains have been transferred to my name, and I have renewed them for another five years. Treasurer Hayford Peirce and I are working on transitioning the financial account from his personal bank into a Citizendium account. This is fairly complicated, is part way done, and will be complete (we hope) by the end of August. Hayford plans to continue as Treasurer, but he'll no longer need to use his personal bank account to manage it, and when you donate funds, you'll see it going to "Citizendium". The advisory group has had some offline discussions, and the plan, for now, is to continue patching and shoring up the servers and operations side of things, while informally seeking new users. We hope those of you who've written here in the past will return and do more work, and invite friends. At the point where the software can be brought up to date, we hope to conduct a major membership drive, with a modest initial goal of finding fifty active users. Why fifty? It's enough to support the servers, and a small enough number that people can get to know each other. The point is to provide not only a place for writing, but a place for community. Most policies will remain in place for now, although we're not averse to the idea of allowing multiple articles on a single topic in the future if this would allow people with different approaches to a topic to work in parallel without stifling each other's creativity. I will shortly archive the long (but useful) discussions above; they will still be easy to find via the archive table at the top of this page. Community comment is, as always, welcome.Pat Palmer (talk) 02:27, 1 August 2020 (UTC)

PS - I want to have a WriteAThon again, maybe some Saturday in August. Who remembers the WriteAThons? Who would try to "attend"?Pat Palmer (talk) 02:33, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
I remember! They were fun! Let's do it. Roger A. Lohmann (talk) 23:37, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
PS PS - Using Citizendium will still be "free". We'll ask for help financially, but won't require it.Pat Palmer (talk) 02:36, 1 August 2020 (UTC)

A few thoughts

  1. We haven't actually got much in the way of policies right now, just CZ:Policies
  2. On alternative articles, we've already got CZ:Signed Articles, which might serve as a starting point
  3. Are you going to have a title? Larry was Editor-in-Chief, Daniel and Anthony were Managing Editors
  4. You do realize people are liable to ask you to deal with any disputes that might arise?
  5. You certainly seem to have got activity going (or is it just the prospect of imminent execution concentrating minds?

Peter Jackson (talk) 12:01, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

Hi Peter! I hope you won't find it rude if I refrain from answering these questions until, or unless, I have to. Suffice it to say all those things have crossed my mind. Right now, I'm trying to prioritize operational needs while also making time to write a little in the wiki. I had forgotten how much fun writing can be (and how challenging). I'm grateful to everyone who is doing things, openly and behind the scenes, to keep Citizendium going; they are many, and you are one of them.Pat Palmer (talk) 16:18, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

Asking for community input

Hi everyone,

In preparation for a future recruitment drive, I'm trying to clarify what Citizendium wants to be. I'm proposing some changes to the policy document. Please discuss. An election will need to be held in a few weeks on that (date to be announced).

Since The Citizendium no longer enforces what formerly was called Neutrality, I've added "We strive for objectivity.", a short personal essay of my own, to the lower right on the landing page. I hope it won't displease you.Pat Palmer (talk) 22:41, 18 August 2020 (UTC)

Sad news

For those who go back several years on this wiki, I'm sorry to report that I just heard, via User:Mary Ash, that User:Aleta Curry passed away very recently. Aleta was someone who, as Mary said, "had the wiki spirit". RIP Aleta. Pat Palmer (talk) 18:54, 27 August 2020 (UTC)

External links

Recently I'm finding these links displaying in full. I don't think I'm doing anything different. Peter Jackson (talk) 09:39, 11 September 2020 (UTC)

Network outages last weekend

I just received confirmation from the Citizendium hosting service that the two network outages which we noticed last weekend (around 11 pm EST on 9/18, and again about the same time on 9/20). were the result of a DDOS attack on's center in Chicago. Each outage lasted about an hour. As a result of troubleshooting done during these outages, we discovered that the disks of the server are old and need replacing. Steadfast is working on the disk upgrades now, and those should occur without interruption. We are sorry if anyone was inconvenienced by these outages; such interruptions have thankfully so far been rare.Pat Palmer (talk) 19:11, 25 September 2020 (UTC)

Plans to upgrade the server software

Just want to make people aware the Francisco and Joshua are still actively making plans to upgrade the server software "sometime soon", which I hope will be before the end of this year. This is always a difficult thing to accomplish, as every layer of software from the OS on up through Wikimedia, is nearing or past it's desired end of life. But the reason I'm posting here is to give people a heads up that, when the time comes, we'll actually need to shut the wiki down for (it looks like) about two days, possibly longer, while everything is migrated over to the new platform. Kudos to the technical team for continuing to work on this difficult matter. Updating our software will mean, I hope, better looks when using mobile devices, and possible better results in search engines. Better edit capabilities and, if the past is anything to judge by, also a slightly frustrating transition period where we have to live with found bugs until volunteers get time to track them down. We'll keep you posted! Pat Palmer (talk) 22:55, 16 November 2020 (UTC)


Computer says your certificate expired in the last day. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:13, 9 September 2021 (UTC)

Just renewed the SSL certificate. Sorry about that, and thanks for leaving this notice so it came to my attention quickly.Pat Palmer (talk) 17:00, 9 September 2021 (UTC)

Now it's saying it can't verify, maybe because of misconfiguration or attack. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:05, 1 October 2021 (UTC)

Mind you, it's saying the same about all sorts of sites today, so maybe the problem is at this end. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:17, 1 October 2021 (UTC)

Yes, this one is not the CZ server, but rather the fact that (especially on older devices) a commonly used browser certificate expired on 9/30/2021. No doubt this will annoy a lot of folks who use this equipment, but hopefully you can click past it. Upgrading the browser to a newer version would possibly fix the problem. Here's an article about the issue.Pat Palmer (talk) 15:38, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
I see it looks like a permanent and wide-ranging problem. I've switched to Firefox as that article suggested, and it hasn't given the message again (unless Firefox knows I've already overridden the message in Explorer?). Switching will be easier than overriding the message for every relevant site I want to visit. Firefox Google search has a harder job finding CZ than Explorer Google search, though. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:20, 2 October 2021 (UTC)

licenses on image uploads

A user reported this to me recently: "... trying to upload an image with CC BY 4.0 copyright, and the "Licensing" box just says "None selected" and won't let me select another. When I click the "Upload" button, it demands that I select a copyright. Something is broken." We were able to work around the issue temporarily by uploading the image as CC by 3.0 with an explanation and source attribution, but it would be better if the license menu could be updated. I'll probably have to figure out how to do this myself, unless John can or we can awaken one of the busy-with-real-work tech guys, and I'm putting this here as a reminder. Also so others will understand that it may be necessary to do workarounds with images for the time being.Pat Palmer (talk) 15:42, 1 October 2021 (UTC)

Google Search

At least in Firefox, this gives a message "No information is available for this page." Clicking to find out why gives the explanation "It means that the website prevented Goggle from creating a page description." Is this deliberate or a glitch? Peter Jackson (talk) 11:15, 13 November 2021 (UTC)

Peter, this *could* be a robots.txt issue, but to tell, I'd need to know what you had searched for, and what page it failed to let you look at. If you don't want to leave that info here, please message me privately. Pat Palmer (talk) 02:17, 15 November 2021 (UTC)

Main page. It doesn't refuse to let me access the page; it just doesn't give information about it. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:32, 15 November 2021 (UTC)

I've found it doesn't cache the page whether the link in a Google search is or The robots.txt file doesn't block CZ: pages from being indexed. I've looked at the code on this page and others which are indexed and can't see anything obvious. Is it something to do with forwarding? John Stephenson (talk) 14:04, 15 November 2021 (UTC)

I get it just putting in "citizendium". Peter Jackson (talk) 10:44, 16 November 2021 (UTC)

Yes, I see the issue now. Thanks for pointing this out. Also, I see that some of the pages which show up under the Google search could use updating. I will try to look into this. It may take me some time. If anyone would like to update the other pages, please have a go at it.Pat Palmer (talk) 16:38, 17 November 2021 (UTC)

Maybe connected: the site itself is no longer top of the search results, displaced by WP's article on us (which was out of date last I looked). Peter Jackson (talk) 11:33, 9 December 2021 (UTC)


Could someone please have a look at the last few edits I made here? I hope you can see what I was trying to do, and what actually happened instead. This doesn't accord with my usual experience of the workings of Wiki markup. Peter Jackson (talk) 11:40, 4 December 2021 (UTC)

Notice of impending software upgrade, possible wiki outage

Dear users, Citizendium software and hardware is due to be upgraded, possibly as soon as later this week. Be aware that the wiki might go down for one or more days during the move. User accounts will be recreated on the new server, and you will get a new password when that happens. Please bear with us as we make this necessary transition.Pat Palmer (talk) 15:20, 28 February 2022 (UTC)