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RationalWiki:What is going on at Citizendium?

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Keep up to date with what is going on at the alternate Wikipedia, Citizendium, with our rolling reports of the happenings there. We report, you decide which entries are worthy of thumbs up and down! If you are contributing for the first time please read the instruction manual. For older entries, have a look at the archives.
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What is going on?

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What is going on?[edit]

Note: Citizendium is a bit like a bad horror film: just when you think it's dead, it comes back and does something ridiculous. The WIGO is still open to entries, but gaps of five days without edits just aren't newsworthy anymore. Maybe they'll be back after the summer, or maybe the rot will continue.

November 2018: Citizendium 2.0: Electric Boogaloo[edit]

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11Over the past seven days or so, Citizendium has actually been fairly active, with 10-20 edits per day. However, it has been almost entirely a two-person affair, with only Peter and John Leach really keeping the ship afloat, with only six edits by Peter and one by Martin preventing a complete domination. Leach is still focusing on his cricket articles, while Peter is still doing Shakespeare. Will Citizendium ever become relevant again with this kind of activity? Spoiler alert: No.

October 2018: The Zombie Saga Continues[edit]

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22For the first time in forever, Citizendium has had days with almost or more than 50 edits in one day, all to cricket-related articles and courtesy of John Leach. Is he the savior that Citizendium needs? No offense Peter.
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22On a more serious note, it appears that the news section of Citizendium (which has the words "consider updating"), hasn't been updated in two years.
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22Citizendium is now down to three edits in the past seven days, all of which were the aforementioned edits by Peter. Can we rename Citizendium "Peterium" or "Peterpedia" now?
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22In the 7 days from 15-22 October there were 6 edits, only four of which were to content (all small changes to Collected editions of Shakespeare) and every single one by Peter. I hope he isn't getting lonely.
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12There were no edits on October 8 or 11, and the remaining days were almost entirely filled with edits by Peter, with only a handful edits by Martin, Hayford, and Steve Bracke keeping it up. It's like Citizendium is turning into Peter's personal sandbox.

September 2018: The Saga of the Titanic's Deckchairs[edit]

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12Nearly two years later, those pesky servers are apparently still being set up, and an announcement is still on every page of the site telling people that. The request (previous link) to change this has been ignored for nearly a month now.
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12The Approvals Committee chooses which articles they look at. They're pretty much a rubber stamp, but they do, at least, do copyedits first.

Thing is, they don't seem to be able to understand the articles they're working on. Take this paragraph:

The song features a number of innovations including 'backwards reverb' a technique Page pioneered with the Yardbirds and in Mickie Most sessions, where the tape is flipped over, and reverb recorded to an empty track while it is playing in reverse. Then, when the tape is turned back over, the backwards reverb is heard starting before the sound it was applied to it.

...They know one of the two bolded "it"s should be removed (and anyone who even slightly understands what reverb is can figure out that you should remove the second one). But their discussion... is two people obviously clueless about what they're doing, thinking the whole concept of audio is completely incomprehensible:

"There are a number of unfamiliar words used throughout that assume an interested reader will understand." -Anthony, complete with grammatical errors of his own.

These are the people behind pretty much everything left to document on that site. And they're not really interested in making a good site, just in stating what's there is wonderful.

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11Despite all the problems mentioned below, W.S. Gilbert, a badly-cut-down version of an early version of the Wikipedia Featured Article, was unanimously approved to gain a Citable Version
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12How to adapt a Wikipedia Featured Article for Citizendium, the Approvals Committee way: 1. Strip all the images and most of the references from an older copy of the article, before most of the refinement happened. Don't bother to bring over any of the missing images from on Wikipedia! That would be silly. 2. You're done, I guess?

If this passes, it'll possibly be the point where CZ looks worst compared to Wikipedia, as at least in other cases it's unique content.

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12The surge of activity from August seems to be petering out. September has gone back to 1-3 edits a day, with occasional gaps. Indeed, at time of writing, the last edit was on the 13th, and it's the 16th. Approvals Committee appears on the way out again too.
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12Here's a fun question: Has the Approvals Committee officially approved the articles on Bill Tilden and Richard Condon? The Approvals Committee page says yes, but if you go to the articles, it looks like they aren't. [1] [2], with banners at the top talking about working towards a future possible Citable Version. But if you CLICK on the apparently inactive Citable Version links there, it gives you the... um... source code for an apparent citable version, e.g. [3], and if you then click on "Page" you can get to this. So what is the answer? Probably incompetence.
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12Citizendium has problems. These problems require devs. They don't really have devs. (diff)

August 2018: Citizendium, the Wasteland. Of Bureaucrat's Dreams. But Mainly Just a Waste.[edit]

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22August is coming to an end, so some stats: There are, at time of writing, a little over 250 edits in the month of August, of which a little over a hundred were to articles. Approximately 20 different articles were edited, though this includes several with only one or two edits. The largest numerical source of article edits were caused by the Approvals Committee making long sequences of small changes to articles they're reviewing - basically, hitting save after every change. The largest additions of new content were two articles imported from Wikipedia. Most edits otherwise were Approvals Committee-related, with a small selection of talk page edits on articles, e.g. [4]. Basically, the month was mainly spent doing minor cleanup for a process only of interest to Citizendium itself. It's active, barely, but it's a funny kind of very specialised active. It's like trying to finish up a project for a society or club that's shutting down, wanting to finish it while it still, in some slight way, matters...,
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12Hayford uses his position on the Approvals Committee to suggest approving... His own articles. ...and we learn a new way Larry's vision was a detriment to the project's success.
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12Continuing its explosion of growth Citizendium gets a new user, its second in the past three months. Too bad most of their new users don't make any contributions, and those that do rarely stick around longer than a couple of weeks.
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12For the first time since March, Citizendium takes in less money than it spent. Whether this will be a trend is not yet clear.
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12Sandy Harris pokes the bear and triggers some activity. Sandy points to a site that failed for requiring real names; Andrew claims that they don't require scans of driver licenses (is that even true? They've probably asked for similar). And then Andrew runs off and tries to revive the Approvals Committee. ...And as quickly as it started, the activity largely died down again.

July 2018[edit]

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22

Couple of records to report: For the first time ever seen, CZ has dropped to less than 50 edits in the past 30 days; only 44 edits have been made. News flash: Now less than 40 edits in the past 30 days.

Over half of those edits (24) have been made by Peter Jackson alone. For the third time this year, there is only one lonely edit in the last seven days; again, by Peter Jackson. In fact, without Peter Jackson’s heroic efforts, in the last 30 days, there would have been only 20 edits over 7 (SEVEN) days.

They are currently at six active users: - Peter Jackson (24 edits, 11 days; MVP), Martin Wyatt (2 edits, 2 days), Robert A. Estremo (7 edits, 2 days), Hayford Peirce (2 edits, 1 day; Financial report‎), ‎Koen Demol (8 edits, 1 day; 1st edit since May 2011), and finally ‎N Rajendra Raju (1 edit, 1 day; 1st edit since March 2018 and his/her 3rd ever edit to the CZ).

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12 Citizendium has resumed inactivity: No-one bothered to edit since the 20th, which is over five days at time of writing. Just three days (with only one edit each) separate it from the last long gap. We may need to reconsider what counts as an unremarkable hiatus on Citizendium at present. ETA: And the gap ends at 6 days, with an edit by Peter. Think he's watching us?
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12For the second time this year, CZ is down to a single edit this week. And the sole editor is again Peter Jackson. That guy is single-handedly keeping CZ running.
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12It's the 17th 18th' of July at time of writing, and there have been no edits since the 12th, and only one edit since the 10th. ETA: One edit on the 18th broke the chain, but that's still six days between edits.
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22As of the end of May, Citizendium had never had more cash on hand, and June broke the record again. At the same time, though, it's looking more dead than it ever was. Does someone have a direct debit they meant to cancel?
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22To no-one's surprise, the Approvals Committee is dead - or, at least, hasn't had any activity in two months when it's supposed to vote on things every two weeks. Great job setting that up, guys. You really revitalised Citizendium with your briefly-extant token effort.

June 2018[edit]

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22At last, the first edit in 13 days from somebody other than Peter Jackson! Things are looking up.[5]
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32And then there were two!!... edits, total, for the week of the 11th, both by Peter Jackson.[6]
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32⚠️ A new foe has appeared! Stan Protigal. Not only is this a "new user", but this user has actually made some edits to the Citizendium. The first new CZ contributor in nearly a year. CZ is finally on the up and up.

May 2018[edit]

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12There were no edits on May 23 and 24, and for the past week, aside from one lone edit by Andrew W. Teal (where he blanked his userpage), all edits have been by just two users (Peter and Martin). Where are the other regulars?
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12Citizendium's recent changes is looking very bare this week. Only 2 edits made all week, both to the same article (Pali Canon‎) and by the same person (‎Peter Jackson). That's two new records in two days for Citizendium. ETA: Down to a single edit all week.
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22The Citizendium breaks new ground with with a huge 5 days with no edits (6th — 10th inclusive). Even better, because the last edit on the 5th and the first edit on the 11th where at exactly the same time (09:24) that makes exactly 6 days between edits.
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12No edits on April 29 or May 1. Only one edit on April 27. Only three edits on April 26. Only four edits on April 28. And a grand total of three editors (Peter, Martin, and Robert A. Estremo) made any edits over the past seven days.

April 2018[edit]

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22There were no edits between April 20 and April 22, but on April 23, Citizendium welcomed its newest member, Jeff Smith. Let's wish Citizendium good luck on their new blood, considering their three previous new editors have yet to edit. Also there were no edits on April 7, but that was quite some time ago, so yeah.
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12As the first week of April comes to a close, only four users (Hayford, Peter, Phil, and Martin) had any edits this week so far. At least there were two Approvals-related edits on April 3, but it didn't really stop the rot.
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12No edits on March 28 or March 30, only one edit for March 26, and only two edits each for March 29 and April 1.

March 2018[edit]

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32Well, the Approvals Committee remembered they exist. Nearly two weeks after the deadline their own proposal for their creation set up for them, they actually bothered to vote on last month's articles. At time of posting, they still haven't closed the voting or moved on yet. But does it even matter? They're a rubber stamp run by people who clearly don't care. We can point out their stupidity, but the site's basically dead, just mysteriously well funded.
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22Spot the explosion of active users! ...If you can. Citizendium continues its process of completely ignoring anyone new or returning until they go away. Take Richard, mentioned in February, who was all set to continue work on Cowdray House with only a little guidance... and their only response was to delete his comment and move it without telling him, then ignore it.
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32Citizendium has more doubled their number of active users! They're now at 13, up from 6 a few weeks ago. Could Larry's "explosion of growth" finally be here?
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22Less than two months in, the Approvals Committee is apparently dead, or at least on life support, having completely ignored their latest articles for over three weeks, despite having a time limit of two weeks. Hayford's been about, but isn't paying the slightest bit of attention; Martin's gone; and Anthony may have recused himself, but he isn't doing anything to speed the others on... or anything else.
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22Despite the inactivity, their finances have reached a record high this month: They have literally never had as much money available as they do now.
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12No edits on March 3, only two edits on March 7, and only one edit so far for March 8. Also, only five users have made an edit in the past 7 days, all but one of which were by Peter, Richard, Hayford, and John.

February 2018[edit]

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32About three years after it stopped working, and five years after the last post, Citizendium finally notices that they've been linking the long-dead blog from every single page of their site.
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22Ah, Richard, has anything they've done given any indication whatsoever that the Approvals Committee actually wants to help you improve an article? That would mean actually putting in a little effort.
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22In an unromantic turn of events, there were no edits on Valentine's Day. A few days later, John Stephenson fully protected three Approvals Committee-related pages indefinitely because "all Committee members are sysops".
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22On the other hand, their "In the News" bar hasn't seemed to have been updated in almost a year.
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22There were no edits on February 11, and only two for February 12. The good news is that the other days of February were quite active. The bad news is that with all but six edits (courtesy of Anthony and Gareth Leng) in the last week being made by just three editors (Peter, Hayford, and Martin), it remains to be seen if the "glory" days will ever return. Maybe the Approval system wasn't so bad of an idea after all: at least it gives them an excuse to make at least a few edits a day.

January 2018[edit]

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22It's a rubber stamp. For comparison, this is what their "rival" is doing.
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22Well, let's see if the CZ Approvals Committee is a rubber stamp. They're evaluating the currently-approved Jane Addams article, which is quite a bit less in-depth compared to the Wikipedia version, and contains lots of dense, difficult phrasing, poor organization, and facts thrown together.[1]
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22The Approvals Committee had to make a decision to keep on their arbitrary schedule, so... they took the easy route. The article that was already approved remains approved, with no changes, even though they themselves say it's probably a bit out of date.

The Cowdray House article, meanwhile, is rejected. Two of them think the Wikipedia article's better - but Martin thinks that Wikipedia shouldn't matter. In any case, they think it would be a lot of work to try and incorporate the Wikipedia article into the Citizendium one, so they're not going to bother. Great work, guys. You really improved Citizendium.

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32Apparently, someone had $1,000 ($970.70 after PayPal fees)(!!) to blow on Citizendium.
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22The Approvals Committee has started work.... and it's dumber than I thought. I presumed that the Approvals Committee would be editing articles to bring them up to standards, taking all the things left almost good enough, and fixing them. However, "if one makes substantial changes, then it becomes partly one's own article, which could disqualify one from judging it". They have six people who edited in the last 30 days, three of which are on the committee. So... more rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic it is!
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22Wikipedia is often accused of a perceived bias towards popular culture but the latest addition to Citizendium beats that. Any student wanting to research full moons will surely be disappointed.
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32

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Take this paragraph:
    Addams' construction of womanhood involved daughterhood, sexuality, wifehood, and motherhood. In both of her autobiographical volumes, [...] Addams's gender constructions parallel the Progressive-Era ideology she championed. In A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil (1912) she dissected the social pathology of sex slavery, prostitution and other sexual behaviors, among working class women in American industrial centers during 1890-1910. Addams's autobiographical persona manifests her ideology and supports her popularized public activist persona as the "Mother of Social Work," in the sense that she represents herself as a celibate matron, who served the suffering immigrant masses through Hull-House, as if they were her own children. Although not a mother herself, Addams became the "mother to the nation," identified with motherhood in the sense of protective care of her people.