Talk:Citizendium/Archive 1

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I released an intro to the WP version of this article (see contribution), which I have imported here.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 09:20, 3 September 2007 (CDT)

NOTE: The {{editintro}} template atop the article page should be removed prior approval.

Management roles vis-a-vis this article

I intend to sit out the actual writing of this article. Considering our Policy on Self-Promotion, I don't believe that I or any other person "closely associated" with CZ can edit this article. Who does that mean? I'd say: anyone listed as "Staff" under Personnel, anyone on the Executive Committee, any editorial personnel administrators, and any constables.

I am willing to serve as a topic informant of course. --Larry Sanger 15:31, 23 April 2007 (CDT)

If Sanger's Grace permits, I can develop this article.--Robert W King 13:03, 7 May 2007 (CDT)
Robert, I took a stab at structuring the article today. Feel free to jump right in. --Mike Johnson 19:18, 7 May 2007 (CDT)


The problem with Wikipedia ultimately is that anyone at all could edit it. There are some people who are just malicious. They register with a random name, vandalize some pages, and if they get banned they could just register with another name. IP blocking doesn't work because

  • most home internet users have dynamic IP
  • most users on school/university/library computers have just one IP, meaning that if that IP is blocked other users who are not vandals are also blocked

While it's true that anonymous editors are not all evil-natured, a lot of energy is wasted on Wikipedia handling trolls and vandals. Energy that could've been used to improve article quality in general.

Citizendium is one step better by insisting that everybody registers with their own name, but even here there is no control whatsoever. Technically, it is still possible for someone to register as another name. We should implement email confirmations and IP check before each approval of new registration --Christian Liem 17:02, 8 December 2006 (CST)

We do require e-mail confirmation. I don't know what you mean by "IP check." --Larry Sanger 19:29, 8 December 2006 (CST)
He means checking to see which computer is being used. Nancy Sculerati MD 20:03, 8 December 2006 (CST)
Most online forums have a facility where administrators and moderators could see which members are online, what page they are reading/editing, and their IP addresses. This makes it much easier for them to avoid vandalism. If every Citizendium admin spends 10 minutes less per day protecting pages and blocking users, this time and energy could be used to write quality articles. I don't even have to mention how many Wikipedia admins have lost heart and given up because of troll actions. --Christian Liem 12:42, 9 December 2006 (CST)
Thanks for the clarification. Still, I don't know what constables would be checking for when doing an IP check to prevent vandalism and trolling. Would there be an IP address blacklist that constables would have to check against, for example? --Larry Sanger 13:12, 12 December 2006 (CST)

Using technology as our tool, the only suggestions I can think of are to:-

  • limit scipts abilities to wreak havock using a [hashcash] system when contributing edits (javascript hashcash in the browser is fine)
  • Sponsor a verification scheme of sending a couple of cents to a bank account (in their name) and ask the user how much arrived to verify their identity.

These ideas sound strange if you have not participated in this sort of verification before, as with paypal registered merchants and the like, but it is common now and as a double verification it could be funded by a token 'membership fee' of 10 cents each for new accounts, to keep the system liquid. Make gag prizes out of it and it can become an eccentric initiation ritual of the community rather than our steely-eyed stand against the vandals.

These are some technological deterrents that could be built to minimise wasted efforts, but the greatest solutions are still the social ones. Real names rock. How serious are you about it Larry? --Grant Sparks 07:21, 26 February 2007 (CST)

I think eventually we might have to encourage credit card verification as the default method of verifying identity, and perhaps we might require a virtual (not actual) "deposit." But any such thing would cost money we don't presently have. --Larry Sanger 09:22, 26 February 2007 (CST)

Unlike the United States, where I recently lived for 4 years (Austin, TX), here in Australia it is still uncommon for people who are under 20 years old to even have a credit card. They are becoming more adopted every day, yet a very large portion of our younger (and also senior) society do not own or use credit cards. My home has 8 people from 9 y/o to 91 y/o, and we have only 3 credit cards between us. Most of our friends are similar. We live 15 minutes from the city centre of our state capital.

I'd hate to see what it would be like for citizens in a third-world nation. Please folks, don't go down the credit card verification path. --Grant Sparks 03:07, 1 March 2007 (CST)

Of course we will always have alternate means of verification. --Larry Sanger 09:40, 1 March 2007 (CST)

I don't know if anyone noticed, but now WP is using Secure Login as now the main page is "HTTPS://", if you choose to do so at this link: [1]. Otherwise there is a note that says
"NOTE: Information sent over this connection is unencrypted. For additional security, consider logging in through our secure server.
Retrieved from ""
--Robert W King 13:09, 7 May 2007 (CDT)


I ported the text from the Wikipedia article but I see how people might not like that as a 'matter of pride' sort of thing. So, was that a good idea? India Williams 16:44, 13 April 2007 (CDT)

Horrible idea.  :-) We are far more competent to write an article about ourselves than Wikipedia is. We just aren't as navel-gazing as Wikipedia, so we don't see that articles about ourselves, or our competitors, are actually that interesting. Besides, if we import any article from WP, we should do so with the intention of improving it immediately. See these guidelines.

We'll get around to doing a proper job before too long. --Larry Sanger 17:39, 13 April 2007 (CDT)

Needs work

This article really needs work... --Larry Sanger 11:06, 27 April 2007 (CDT)

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds that it is needlessly inflammatory. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.)

Draft work

Please keep text that needs reworking on the talk page.

Text from prior version (potentially to be re-used with this new structure):

Citizendium is a wiki with the aim of providing internet users reliable information in the form of pleasantly readable text that keeps the reader's interest from beginning to end of an article. Articles are written collaboratively by "authors" (ordinary members) and officially approved by one or more "editors" (typically people with PhD's in a relevant field.)

Reliability of the information is maintained in several ways. First of all, approved versions of articles cannot be edited by just anyone. Secondly, professional qualifications are required to become an editor and mark an article as "approved". If there is not yet an "approved" version of an article, the draft version will be displayed, but here the third method of ensuring reliability comes in: since contributors have to give their real names and people are quickly blocked if they break the rules, there is little or no "vandalism" of even the draft versions which can be edited by any Citizen. One benefit of this is that members spend little or no time "fighting vandalism" and can spend their time writing, polishing and copyediting.

--Robert W King 08:21, 9 May 2007 (CDT)

I removed the section that describes citizendium as a wiki, because after all, I think that should be an obvious point if you are here. Also, removed the concept of using real names because it is mentioned below in the principles. --Robert W King 08:44, 9 May 2007 (CDT)

Consider that CZ is open content: it might be reprinted elsewhere, in contexts that don't make its wikihood obvious. --Larry Sanger 09:34, 9 May 2007 (CDT)

That never even crossed my mind. Excellent point Mr Sanger. Thanks for the reminder! --Robert W King 09:58, 9 May 2007 (CDT)
Additionally, it's listed as being an experimental wiki project in the first paragraph (introduction). Is that sufficient?--Robert W King 09:59, 9 May 2007 (CDT)

Article Structure


Good addition of content. I am a little uneasy about removing the prior structure-- I feel the 'principles' section does something that the 'policies' section cannot, and that a lot of content that was removed was good. But I understand this is a work in progress. --Mike Johnson 11:00, 9 May 2007 (CDT)

Mike, look at it now. I've updated some more, and I'm still progressing on it.--Robert W King 11:02, 9 May 2007 (CDT)
Robert, Sounds good. --Mike Johnson 11:23, 9 May 2007 (CDT)

Neutrality Section

Mr Sanger- Could you review the neutrality section to see if I have summed up the sections correctly and to the principles that CZ aims to achieve? Any corrections that are recommended to be made in this talk page will be made to the article. --Robert W King 11:57, 9 May 2007 (CDT)

Please review

I've put as much as I think I can today; if anyone wants to go over it with a fine-toothed comb I'd be more than appreciative. --Robert W King 14:40, 9 May 2007 (CDT)

Hi Robert- I think you've added a lot of good information and covered a lot of ground. I'll have some free time tomorrow, but just briefly, I think it's important to keep this article from being a positioning statement or partisan in any way-- as such, we shouldn't talk about "We" or how our processes are improvements on Wikipedia but just talk about facts (we may certainly talk about the rationale for the differences, albeit in a neutral manner). It is, fundamentally, an encyclopedia article on Citizendium and subject to our commitment toward not taking sides in an article.
That's my two cents. Hope that's helpful. --Mike Johnson 17:47, 9 May 2007 (CDT)
I totally slipped into "we" mode on accident. I'll fix it tomorrow.--Robert W King 21:16, 9 May 2007 (CDT)

Article Cleanup

"This basic tenant, which seemed so alien even five years ago, can be seen as justified by the significant successes of Wikipedia."

I removed this line because it seemed speculative, and opinioned, instead of decisive fact. It's debatable whether or not Wikipedia has been a "success". --Robert W King 13:55, 15 May 2007 (CDT)

I do think one can argue that Wikipedia has had significant successes. One need not count Wikipedia as a Success to grant that. I feel the line puts into context how quickly conventional wisdom on what works and what doesn't re: openness has changed. I don't have a particular attachment to the phrase, but I do believe this general notion belongs in an objective portrait of Citizendium. --Mike Johnson 15:18, 15 May 2007 (CDT)

Well, it should be phrased in such a way that doesn't sound like "flashy". "can be seen as justified by" I feel is not proper context to reference something.

You may certainly suggest an alternative. I will not mind. Do you have any suggestions on the Reception section? I think that's quite important but I'm coming up blank. --Mike Johnson 15:47, 15 May 2007 (CDT)

I'm hestitant to put anything in the reception section as it would tenatively look like a "plug", and given the previous statement I don't want to put this into the "we" concept. Tough nut to crack, that's for sure.--Robert W King 16:32, 15 May 2007 (CDT)

Yeah, that's about where I'm at with that section too. --Mike Johnson 17:04, 15 May 2007 (CDT)

Needs context, history

See for some. Stephen Ewen 17:44, 15 May 2007 (CDT)

Stephen- the link is either dead, or slow. Have another reference? --Robert W King 12:33, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
Here's the same page cached at google cache. Stephen Ewen 15:07, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

References to "wikipedia"?

Why is Wikipedia mostly (but not entirely) spelled with a lowercase "w" and only wikilinked on its second (of six) mentions this article? I tried looking through the policies, and searching for other mentions of it, and reading the Wikipedia article at CZ, and I can't see a reason for this... but it also doesn't seem accidental, so I don't want to just change it. --Andy Barnert 03:01, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

It's totally accidental. I just got lazy, and I'll edit to fix it.--Robert W King 10:03, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
Fixed. Additionally, I believe that not every time something is mentioned it should be wikilinked. If I am wrong, please correct. --Robert W King 10:06, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Spell check

Maybe I need to ask this elsewhere, but could somebody run a spell check on this article? Thanks. David Hoffman 11:12, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Went over it briefly, minor spelling corrections. The only thing that I think is left are criticisms and the other section.--Robert W King 11:19, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
Hey Robert, you didn't catch seperate, which prompted my inquiry. Seriously, I want to know if we can run a spell checking program on these articles. David Hoffman 11:40, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

More to be done here

This doesn't look very complete to me. For instance, Governance should really include the actual status of the corporation, its board of directors, Tides, etc. The constabulary is an innovation that needs to be described. Size of the project, # articles and active users, editors, etc. David Hoffman 11:44, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Unfortunately these things I don't know about, so it would be nice to have someone who can weigh in on these things. I'd rather not speculate. --Robert W King 12:05, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
Sure, it's not all your responsibility. Speaking of which, the responsibility section needs reworking / rewording. It currently makes evaluative claims (it is the duty, should aim, should exercize) that, if not excised entirely, need to be reframed and sourced as descriptive statements. IMO. David Hoffman 16:15, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Declining ranking? this Wikipedia talk page says Citizendium faces a sharp decline in Alexa ranking, does it mean less people are interested at us now? Yi Zhe Wu 18:09, 10 June 2007 (CDT)

It could just mean CZ users are much less inclined to have an Alexa toolbar installed into their browser. It is generally the less sophisticated computer users who have it. Stephen Ewen 19:59, 10 June 2007 (CDT)

Here's the full story: CZ:Statistics.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 01:42, 12 July 2007 (CDT)

The "sharp decline" was, of course, simply the falling-off after the public launch and other initial interest in the project. Sure, if there is a spike in interest, the downside of the spike is going to look like a decline of interest. That only means that the initial interest is over. Big deal. That is (was?) an example of the sort of poor research and reasoning one can find too often on Wikipedia, unfortunately. --Larry Sanger 12:01, 5 January 2008 (CST)

Other image

Two similar, I thought the one on the right was a bit better, others may think differently.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 23:22, 16 July 2007 (CDT)

Larry Sanger at WOS4 Img02.jpg
Larry-Sanger at WOS4.jpg
You made the right choice. --Robert W King 10:37, 17 July 2007 (CDT)

List of year one links:

The name

For the record, I consistently write "the Citizendium" (definite article, italics) instead of "Citizendium." That is our "official" name. --Larry Sanger 11:58, 5 January 2008 (CST)

Legal aspects of wiki collaboration

...are discussed in Wikipedia, Collective Authorship, and the Politics of Knowledge by Matthew Rimmer. --Daniel Mietchen 21:26, 9 March 2009 (UTC)