RationalWiki talk:Nothing is going on at Citizendium/Archive1

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How not to run an election[edit]

One of the things I am really interested in is the protocol for this election, since we will be having one of our own here shortly. There has been a lot of interesting conversations taking place about what voting methods to user and all that, but when we get down to it, how well is the method chosen actually working. The CZ system is overly complex to begin with, allowing people to stand for more than one post but only be allowed to serve on one, two legislative style positions, two executive positions and separate standards for who can be elected in one of the legislative bodies. This over complex system added with the voting method chosen has lead to some really interesting potential nightmares.

The discussion starts getting interesting about here. Thoughts? tmtoulouse 16:34, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Gosh, it's not like the Citizens to come up with a ridiculously top-heavy bureaucratic system far beyond what twentyish people need to talk to each other ... OTOH, given the vitriol and bile that's de rigeur on the forums, it may actually be the only way to get these twenty people to go along with the result - David Gerard (talk) 19:09, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
No sooner had the dramas finished with the charter, there are daily dramas now over an election. I'm beginning to run out of popcorn over this. I think it's pretty damning for the project that so few people wanted to be managing editor or ombudsman. You would think that if citizendium was so successful people would be kicking down the door wanting to be managing editor. It seems no-one wants to be burdened with the bickering and politics. FreeThought (talk) 09:10, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
And now a candidate for both councils has been banned indefinitely for alleged "vandalism". The "vandalism" involved copying and pasting citizendium policy onto the users own Talk page. The admins action is exceedingly heavy-handed. FreeThought (talk) 01:55, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
That wold be the one new author they've added recently, right? It's a pity we're so mean-spirited as to be the last people paying any attention - David Gerard (talk) 22:35, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
They've already broken the newly-implemented charter rules: Article 38 "The Constabulary shall enforce the Citizendium's rules of behavior as determined by the Management Council, ... In particular, Constables shall not intervene in matters of content, and shall act with reasonable pragmatism and leniency, and only in those situations where a behavioral dispute is clearly covered by existing rules." Article 40 "Citizens shall not have arbitrary or excessive sanctions imposed upon them." The charter as predicted is worthless. Already one long-term user Bruce M. Tindall has resigned over what's going on. FreeThought (talk) 00:26, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Mary Ash was apparently unblocked after 24 hours by the blocker. I hope he told her... ħumanUser talk:Human 02:43, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Apparently, the block was only ever intended for 24 hours, but they didn't have a setting for that! Peter Jackson 17:23, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
It could be safely said citizendium's election has been a failure. They have essentially elected the same minority of people that edit there without any radical changes, except for the fact it appears they now have set up their own "cabal". An inner group that has cut itself of from the plebs to make their own private decisions behind closed doors. FreeThought (talk) 00:31, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
The core group that runs things simply is being formally recognized. It couldn't have turned out any differently -- the core group is the core group. As ever, the problem remains that there aren't enough "plebs" (as you call them) creating sufficient content for the site to attract readers.
I've occasionally looked in on their forum over the past couple of weeks. There's been a huge amount of discussion with lots of talk about committees and councils and boards and liaisons and such. So much is going on that it would take hours of study to figure out what's happening. Therefore I've been waiting for things to settle down before updating the RW article.
The Editorial Council has in "interesting" combination of people, especially Baldwin-Edwards and Berkowitz who are constantly feuding and name-calling on the forum. On the upside they elected a very solid fellow, Daniel Mietchen, as Managing Editor. Time will tell whether Mietchen has enough power to effect meaningful change. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:02, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Yeah it does appear as if the elections basically made the core users the "official" leaders. But that is not really bad or good. The "core" users were fairly impotent to exact any change on wiki before the elections, so lets see what they. I am waiting to see the likes of Dana Ullman being summarily shown the door. As long as he is given even equal weight to grind his single issue I am extremely not-impressed.
The biggest issue is of course that they desperately need users, or a niche that collapses their content goals. If they could redesign themselves so that they aren't trying to beat wikipedia, they don't need huge numbers of users. But as long as it is a general purpose encyclopedia 30 people aren't going to be able to create enough content to justify itself. As long as they are direct competitor to WP they are nothing. You need a niche guys!
As for updating the article, yeah, right now its a confusing mess about how everything is going to shake out so I have been just watching and seeing what they do. I did learn some important lessons, both good and bad about running wiki elections. I think it will help my own planning for here. tmtoulouse 05:19, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
But WP needs competition. Its monopoly position leads to complacency. It shows no serious interest in solving its problems, indeed it even denies they exist. (See [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Peter_jackson] for a bit more detail.)
So where can the competition come from? Single-POV sites like you & CP? Or attempts at a broader approach like CZ & WI? Peter Jackson 11:57, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia does have competition. There is Knol, Encyclopaedia Britannica online, Encyclopedia.com, Wikademia, Encyc, NetKnowledge, etc. all of these are encyclopedias with a broad scope. The idea that cz is alone, up against wp, is incorrect. FreeThought (talk) 06:55, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Personally I think there is two ways to provide competition. The first is built all around niche, it doesn't have to be POV, but sites that do less than WP but do it a lot better. The Wowwikis and wookiepedias of the world are better informational resources than WP for their subjects. That kind of specialized focus if it becomes much more widespread over a range of topics could provide some competition.
The second is what I think CZ tried to do, and that is create a general purpose encyclopedia but use some sort of the method or approach that is far superior to WP. CZ tried to use their real name policy and expert guidance. The problem is that I don't think that is enough to differentiate from CZ, and two it doesn't increase the fun, ease, or motivation of the potential user base. It is actually more cumbersome than WP, so why make the switch? CZ's editor ship pool has gone from "everyone" to "people heavily involved with WP bureaucracy whose sick of it and ready to try anything." The last group is smaller than the first.
So what kinds of approaches could one take that might actually pull in users? The answer to this question has almost always been in the technological infrastructure department. User friendliness, intuitive interface, wysiwyg editing, things WP sorely lacks. If microsoft was still using command lines for their OS and Linux had a GUI the market share would look very different. At the moment WP is stuck in command line era, the first person/site to move wiki editing into the GUI era will easily smash through WP. There are other things as well but in the end no one knows for sure what is different enough and better enough to pull users. If your really focused on the general encyclopedia issue than you have to have a creative body of people that are willing to make drastic changes based on what works and frankly what doesn't. Real name, expert guidance doesn't seem to be working for CZ. Its time to look at ways of pulling back on that and pushing forward new ways to differentiate yourselves. tmtoulouse 16:52, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
The charter and election process has claimed another user. User:Thomas H. Larsen has resigned. He sees no future with the project. FreeThought (talk) 06:21, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Well he does bring up a point I keep coming back to, every other issue aside, CZ has created a massive bureaucracy to support a couple dozen people in an echo chamber. tmtoulouse 06:35, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
What's interesting Trent, is Hayford Peirce's beration of Thomas stating Citizendium was "never designed to be egalitarian or a perfect democracy". Compare that with Larry Sanger's cz blog announcing that the project is: "… far more open and egalitarian compared to most everything outside of Web 2.0.". FreeThought (talk) 07:42, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
People may be interested in [1]. In brief, the amount of editing done on WP stopped growing in 2007, and has since been at best static, more likely slightly declining. As it's impossible to keep an ever-increasing number of articles up to date with a constant amount of work, the quality of WP must be declining. That should be good news for competitors. Peter Jackson 11:44, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
As to following what's going on over there, I think it might make things easier to note that the only parts of the forum that matter any more are at the bottom of the main menu: EC & MC. They're the deciders. The rest is just people sounding off. Peter Jackson 11:48, 2 November 2010 (UTC)


Anyone here know what the hell is up with turkeys? How the hell did that turn into a flash point? tmtoulouse 02:41, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

The country or the bird? And why the hell do they use top-level headers for sections? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:46, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
I sense a bad pun waiting to be made. But in the meantime there's this. Doctor Dark (talk) 17:05, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. Their roast turkey article is pretty amateurish. Are they trying to compete with wikipedia? How? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:22, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Hehe, I encountered a glaring error in an article so I looked for "edit". N/A. Clicked "sign up" and was confronted with a form that will keep that project dead forever. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:30, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Juvenile denialism[edit]

So I just came across this thread discussing us and our article. First of all I find the whole "not naming us" crap to be amazingly juvenile. I hadn't put them in that category of internet maturity but whatever.

A few other interesting observations, the claim that we have some the facts, data and charts we provide are falsified. Straight up denial apparently. If the approach they want to take to the observation that only a small number of people participate is to deny that its true, I am sure things are going to work out great.

I like how we are also now "obsessed" with CZ. Hey guys, until you get a fucking dedicated WIGO you an't nothing. You currently rank somewhere between rationalwikiwiki and A Storehouse of Knowledge on the interest meter.

And finally since they apparently talk about us with little nick names in hidden dark corners of their collective community, we actually make it really easy to sign up and edit, or discuss anything on our site. We have no giant hoops to jump through, applications to fill out, hell you don't even need an account. Your even free to use your real name if you really want. Man up and come over and tell us what is wrong about what we are saying.

This sticking your fingers in your ears and crying "LALALALA we can't hear you" bull shit should be beneath you guys. Thats the crap I am used from the likes of conservapedia. If I am wrong I am wrong, and I can readjust my expectations down a few notches but I actually have some respect for you guys, and have actually gotten some interesting ideas about community management both good and bad. tmtoulouse 05:52, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

I agree. Most juvenile and childish, but it doesn't surprise me. The inference though that rw is fudging the figures is a bit rich. LArron has put a lot of effort into getting the charts and data precise. FreeThought (talk) 06:31, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
"I'd say they have a better homeopathy article than we do." - Sandy Harris. They're not all butthurt, at least. I don;t see why they dislike us so, other than that we are far more vibrant than they are? And yeah, if they can get it together, and let people sign up easily to fix mistkaes, maybe someday they will be a great wiki that everyone (meaning Google) bookmarks as a go-to site for good info. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:33, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
People are ignoring our biased, badly written article with its cherry picked references, quote mining and manipulated data tables? Fighting words!
  • Some of the pics are just visualizations of the data provided by Citizendium...
  • Have a look at Citizendium's own graphs to check ours on plausibility (you could compare RW's version and CZ's version...)
larronsicut fur in nocte 08:01, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
Well yeah, I shouldn't be brushing the whole community with the same brush. There are several editors there that I enjoy following, and Sandy Harris has always seemed to be generally supportive of us and is fighting a good fight at CZ. Personally I think the vitriol directed at us is facilitated by basic cognitive dissonance. People with an extreme time and emotional investment in a project are never going to be happy about criticism. And the more accurate the criticism, the bigger the emotional lash out in response.
What got me was the whole "site that can not be named" crap. And a refusal to directly interact with us. If there is really lies and wrong information there is many ways to communicate with us. Hell I am on CZ they don't even need to come here. tmtoulouse 08:16, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
I was gonna join, and check off all the expertise boxes. But they wanted, like, my birth certificate and stuff. Why can't they just let plebes join the way other wikis do? ħumanUser talk:Human 08:35, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
When I joined, way back in the day, you to e-mail them all sorts of crap. Was pretty terrible. I tried CZ but it just wasn't a comfortable editing environment. tmtoulouse 08:39, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

<- Well, I tried to get in contact with them one: I've (or better: they have - and are still having) a problem with the api: their database doesn't accept queries for timestamps from the api. So, I registered for their forum and posted the problem under technical issues. And what happened? The main action was that my post was moved to Non-Citizen comments. And the problem still exists - I just have to work around. larronsicut fur in nocte 09:28, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Reading some random "non person" threads on their forum, I was struck by Howard C. Berkowitz including "don't contribute to CZ" in most of his posts. Nice. ħumanUser talk:Human 10:21, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
I love the why should we listen to non-members - or even help them? approach :-) larronsicut fur in nocte 11:34, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
Reading the talk page of their rather schizophrenic homoeopathy article I found this link which is pretty funny.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:06, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
It is already included in RW's article on homoeopathy! larronsicut fur in nocte 11:34, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
Aleta Curry doesn't call the charts "falsified", because that would be a blatant lie. She calls them "manipulated", which implies it in a weasely deniable form custom-made for shifting goalposts.
Hi Aleta, you're reading this. What about the charts is misleading? Please make a specific, falsifiable claim - David Gerard (talk) 12:21, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
(Sparx' and human's comments were moved here from the section #Aleta below.)--ZooGuard (talk) 18:26, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
The reference to manipulated tables might refer in part to the misleading data for median article length; those wordcount data (from Citizendium) include more than 5,000 "lemma" articles, which are simply definitions, and which (unlike stubs) are not included in the article count of 15,000 plus. Lemmas were a late introduction, and probably shouldn't have been included in the median word length count. There isn't general hostility to RW from Citizendium, there's plenty of positive comments - they're just trying to do two different things. (BTW, no comment from RW on "Infant Colic" above?) Sparx (talk) 17:18, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Isn't "lemma" a silly name for a dicdef, since it already means something else? Oh well. ħumanUser talk:Human 18:03, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Apparently, "lemma" can actually be used in this way: wp:Headword.--ZooGuard (talk) 18:26, 2 November 2010 (UTC)


For some reason I have her categorized in my head closer to the woo side than the rational size, and don't remember why I made that judgment. Can anyone tell me if I am off base or not? Don't really want to dig through contributions. tmtoulouse 16:57, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

I don't recall her saying much about science and/or woo one way or the other. She doesn't seem to care for their homeopathy article but I gather that's more because she doesn't like all the arguing over it rather than any point of factual substance. Doctor Dark (talk) 17:06, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
All right, I am still learning the names of the major players I mean not that it really matters that much. The only woo propagandist over there that consistently pushes my buttons is Dana Ullman and Howard seems to be leading the pitch fork charge on that one. Show him to the door CZ! tmtoulouse 17:14, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
She has created the cz:Goat stub "lemma" [2], so she can't be that bad. ;) --ZooGuard (talk) 17:25, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
(Comments moved to the previous section, where they are more relevant.--ZooGuard (talk) 18:26, 2 November 2010 (UTC))


When one defines defines a bureaucracy as an organization that pays most of its time and attention to rules, committees, means of communication, demarcation of responsibilities, ..., and hardly any to the real purposes and aims of the organization, then indeed Citizendium is an extremely bureaucratic organization. As a proof anybody may compare the number of words added to the Forum with the number added to main space (the encyclopedia itself—the purpose of Citizendium) during the last year or so. Note that quite a few "Citizens" have written ten thousands of words about "Charter", "Elections of Councils", "Lines of Communication between Councils", "Responsibility of Constabulary", and none about encyclopedic topics (other than in talk pages). The same kind of bureaucrats write thousands of words about the pressing problem whether "Myanmar" must be a redirect and "Burma" a title, or vice versa, while contributing nil to the article itself.--P. Wormer (talk) 08:32, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

If the name of a country is not worth arguing about, then what is? Are you trying to tell us that you wouldn't complain if somebody wrote an article on Plumbum instead of lead? You are just being hypocritical and bitter. (talk) 10:52, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
I honestly couldn't care less whether the title of a CZ article of mine would be Plumbum with Lead as redirect, or the other way round. And yes I'm bitter about the way I was attacked at CZ with cheap shots about my alleged income. But I don't know why I'm hypocritical. Could you elaborate on that mr. with your Greek ISP? --P. Wormer (talk) 11:27, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure Martin Baldwin-Edwards edits from Greece. He's an institute director there. FreeThought (talk) 12:00, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Universities to collaborate with Wikipedia[edit]

Nine universities will be participating in a new Wikipedia policy initiative, including Harvard, Georgetown, George Washington University and the University of California-Berkeley, to write articles for the project. This will erode citizendium's position further, which had a similar system of inviting students to write articles as part of their coursework. FreeThought (talk) 03:30, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia's run academic collaborations for years; CZ got the idea from there - David Gerard (talk) 16:04, 5 November 2010 (UTC)


Someone fucked up and the MC board is viewable by anyone, and this thread is interesting.

First interesting observation the "benefactor" of CZ has pulled support. Second $700 a month?? Multiple dedicated servers?? I call BS. RW gets as much traffic and more edits/editors a day meaning more memory and CPU requirements and there is no way that we are at the point that we need multiple servers and load balancers.

It is like this MC/EC/ME/Charter stuff, they are pretending they are way bigger than they really are. The bureaucracy just kills time, editors and content production. Network infrastructure overplanning means money down the drain, which could actually kill the project. tmtoulouse 22:44, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

They have $1800 in the bank, I could run RW for 2 years on that easy. And they have been blowing $700 a month to another non-profit that was suppose to be supporting them? Sounds like they got taken by a con job. What a money sink. tmtoulouse 23:08, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
One last thing and I will stop. I like how the Tide Center is suspected of pretty much embezzling CZ donations as well. Larry sure knows what he is doing. tmtoulouse 23:09, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
Link for while it is still alive http://forum.citizendium.org/index.php/topic,3545.0.html ħumanUser talk:Human 23:58, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
And its cut off! But Citizendium meet User:Capturebot2 the thread.Tmtoulouse (talk) 05:43, 5 November 2010 (UTC)


Is there, as I see it, only the one thread on this board (apart from the "read this" crap) 23:21, 4 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Apparently, the privacy settings I think are suppose to be set to "only the initiator and the MC can read" now whether or not there are other threads with the right setting we cant see or if the whole forum is jacked and there is just the one thread I don't know. But based on the fact that the forum is new I think today I am guessing its the ladder. tmtoulouse 23:23, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
Some "Tech Staff", eh? 23:26, 4 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
I don't want to disparage the tech staff too much, its a thankless job and I sympathize. Shit happens and mistakes are made. I have had some major blunders in my time. But one thing I will call them out on is to justify their stated requirements for CZ infrastructure. I see no way that they need what they are claiming to need. It is a huge waste of money. tmtoulouse 23:30, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, but aren't they payed for this? Anyway I think it's just being a bit too optimistic in the beginning, and now they don't want to admit that their project has failed.— Unsigned, by: Nx / talk / contribs 23:37, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't know if their tech staff is compensated or not. I have actually wondered about that. I think you are right that Larry setup up way more than was needed because he was expecting to surpass WP any day. And I guess institutional momentum, particularly if they had a guardian angel donor keeping them afloat, would prevent downsizing. But now that their golden ticket has been pulled and the end is nigh in 2 months I would think they could do the rational thing. But then again I see whats going on with the substantial governing body they put in place (that requires all active editors to keep it staffed) and it fits the general pattern. But as I said, over extending your site management just kills site growth, but over extending your infrastructure can lead to a dead project and negative funds. tmtoulouse 23:43, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
They're not, according to Susan's linkie below.-- Nx / talk 00:10, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Tech staff with the sig: Q:Why is it that programmers always confuse Halloween with Christmas? A: Because 31 OCT = 25 DEC. Make me wanna puke! 23:48, 4 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
I thought that was funny, I even wrote it down to memorize, in order to use it someday. ħumanUser talk:Human 23:56, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I thought it was funny - in 1982! 00:02, 5 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Well forgive me for liking it the first time I heard it! ħumanUser talk:Human 01:08, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, my antiquity showing, I suppose. 01:12, 5 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
It always irked me because I have never seen octal and decimal numbers written like that. 032 and 25 would be the way of writing them in standard C-based syntax, and that's what's almost always used. Stupid bastard Phantom! 16:37, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
For what it is worth, CZ:Personnel says no one is compensated except for Larry Sanger and a Jason Potkanski who appears to have been the initial tech guy. So the current tech staff is volunteer. I can't believe Sanger was compensated for his "role", the more that comes out, the deeper issues are explored so much comes back directly to Sanger being fail. tmtoulouse 23:54, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
I was also shocked when I saw that $700 figure, knowing their level of activity right now. They seem to think they have built it, and everybody came, to twist a cliche. But there are no customers, no product line, no janitors... just a head office. ħumanUser talk:Human 23:56, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
The tech staff are not compensated. Sanger and Potkanski used to be, but this stopped in late 2007 as far as I can see. --Chris Key (talk) 06:11, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

"The Citizendium is a project of the Tides Center, but is operationally independent. We are currently a non-profit in virtue of the fact that we are legally a Tides project." [3] So if they're legally a Tides project, they might have some difficulty escaping? 00:07, 5 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Eh the whole thing sounds shady to me, some sort of back door deal so that the donations from their guardian angel donor could have tax deductions. It seems akin to a "shell corporation" where the connection to Tide Center was merely a formality at best. Sanger is just so sketchy from start to end. tmtoulouse 00:10, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
And if any legal action had been taken, it would have been Sanger getting sued. That may explain why Sanger decided to cut his loses, quit as head and jump ship, when he saw the state of their finances. FreeThought (talk) 00:44, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
If I were to hazard a guess I still think the answer to Sanger's behaviour lies in his inability to see thing through. He has what he thinks are brilliant ideas and all he has to do is "build it" and "they will come" and he can move on to the next idea. He is jumping ship on watchknow.org now too. I think he is generally incompetent too, his relationship with the Tides Center sounds sketchy, he was funneling an absurd amount of money into it, and getting compensated in return. He also seems to be the source for embarrassments like Ulman and the Homeopathy article. Not to mention his aggressive and off putting nature pushing away contributors and supporters early on. Every line of failure at CZ seems to lead back directly to Sanger. This is just another tick on the board.
However, the big unanswered question is who the guardian angel donor was, and why support was pulled now? It also sounded like that support was pulled from watchknow, which make actually back up your hypothesis that Sanger sticks around as long as their is money then jumps ship to the next cash cow. Tmtoulouse (talk) 00:49, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
a Memphis-area philanthropist? 01:01, 5 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
"If we come together, we can great such a resource." Sanger is funnier than Schlafly sometimes. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:16, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Trent's comment "Every line of failure at CZ seems to lead back directly to Sanger" sums it up. They have some good people (and had more in the past). But Sanger's moves crippled the project. It's an odd situation: CZ wouldn't exist if Sanger hadn't started it, yet CZ might have succeeded had he walked away sooner instead of staying around to meddle and micromanage. Doctor Dark (talk) 12:57, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
And now they seem to be left with a self preserving elite 'in crowd' who are more interested in how things are done than in what is done. Beaurocracy to the nth power - almost [pseudo-godwin-warning] Stalinist. 13:09, 5 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
beaurocracy? When beautiful men govern? larronsicut fur in nocte 13:40, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
It's one of those words that totally evade my speelinge senze. How the hell do ou splel it anihou? 13:54, 5 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
It's bu - for the oxen - reau - from the French for paddle - crac - what they are smoking - y - why do you aSK? ħumanUser talk:Human 15:26, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Following the money[edit]

So as pointed out above their was a "guardian angel" that was keeping CZ afloat with its absurd overhead vs. actual need. I found this post which says:

"The Citizendium also today announced its acceptance as a project of the nonprofit Tides Center, through which it may receive tax-free donations. Tides acts as an "incubator" of nonprofit organizations. The Citizendium intends to become independent at the end of 2007. The Citizendium has received a significant "start-up" grant from the Revson Foundation, as well as additional gifts from individuals, including a very generous gift from Craig Caviezel, a Salt Lake City philanthropist."

So it seems to be roughly what I said above, CZ took up with Tides as a way to offer tax deduction to donors. However, it seems like all the money was given up front as start up and is now running out and when Larry went back to ask for more he was told to go away. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:02, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

And obvious page is obvious: CZ:Donor List. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:06, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

I followed up on the Revson Foundation and found this excerpt about why the funded CZ[4]:

"To help support the pilot phase of a new “expert” Wikipedia, designed to test whether the quality and reliability of information in the on-line encyclopedia can be significantly improved by adding expert editors and by requiring contributors to use their real names, instead of pseudonyms, when making changes. "

So they asked the question, funded the research, and I guess they got their answer! Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:10, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

And pulling it all together, CZ has seen likely over $75,000 in funding and has blown it all in 4 years. Roughly $33,000 in server costs from what we can see, which is crazy for what they need. But that leaves $40,000 at least not going towards actual infrastructure support which probably means going to Sanger himself. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:14, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Jesus on an easter stick, that would have kept Trent & I in hookers and cocaine for at least, um (counts on fingers and cat's toes), three or four weeks! ħumanUser talk:Human 01:20, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
I am tempted to add a new snarky RW slogan: "RationalWiki - run by experts!" Since the wiki has always depended on the varied expertise of the people it has attracted, and thrived on letting them do what they do well. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:23, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
And despite forking out $33,000 in server costs they had many server problems and downtimes over the years. Sounds to me it wasn't money well spent. FreeThought (talk) 01:51, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
This is astounding. For $700/mo they should have gotten bulletproof solid-gold hosting. And yet they have had recurrent outages. Looks like somebody has been taking these guys for a ride. Before anyone goes all smart-arse I don't know whether solid gold is bulletproof. I'm a biologist not a metallurgist. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:32, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Solid gold is bulletproof - if it's thick enough. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic? 16:18, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
You could get top end commercial hosting for less than half of that, and if you cut back to the RAM levels that are actually used half again. There is just no justification for that amount of money. It is likely related to them using 2 servers, but even still...and I don't know why they are wedded to this multiple server infrastructure anyway. If they took quick and rational action right now they could likely have enough in whats left of their accounts to get them by for a year. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:38, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Their MC needs to enquire about how exactly the $75,000 was spent as a breakdown figure, and why a project like citizendium which accepts donations was not kept informed on a monthly basis on finances. It's shocking that only one person, Larry Sanger, actually knew the exact figures. FreeThought (talk) 14:43, 6 November 2010 (UTC)


So they are probing for solutions over at CZ forums. First, man up and realize you have pissed away 10 years worth of operation costs on over-the-top infrastructure for your actual needs. You don't need more than a couple gigs of memory, few hundred gigs of bandwidth, and all the CPU cycles you can afford. You can find that for between $100-$150 a month as a VPS, worse case scenario you would need no more than $300. You have $1800 in the bank account. If you transfer to a reasonable VPS now you would have a year or more on your current funds to find a new guardian angel. Or just piss away the last of your money at the Tides Center. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:05, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

And this talk page appears to be the CZ News Agency. o_0 TRANSPARENCY! - David Gerard (talk) 22:24, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, the fact that the ME refers CZ editors here to get the story about whats going on was not lost on me. But hey, if we can copy edit CP from here we can help manage CZ as well :)! Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:27, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
That was not lost on me, either. How many wikis can we run from here? Six or seven? They also appear to be clueless as to where the money comes from, and where it goes, while we have always been acutely aware of Trent's frozen food "problem". And our little pi dollar contribs, when we could make them. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:12, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Seriously, is there any help we can offer them? "These are your needs, you want this much server, it costs this much, use this as a backup"? You and/or Nx writing up ideas? - David Gerard (talk) 22:30, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Tom Morris over on their board as the right idea. Slice host, 1.5gb VPS should be fine, 2gb if they really want. Linode isn't bad, its cheaper but maybe a little more tendency for downtime. The main benefit of slicehost is the automatic backup images you can get for a few bucks a month. These are amazing. EC2 is not the way to go for a wiki, its expensive, and the lack of permanent storage complicates setup and creates massive hassle. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:34, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
I've used Linode. It works and stuff, y'know. I wonder if there's a way to effectively parallelise or otherwise redundantly set up cheap commodity hosting - David Gerard (talk) 22:53, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah I have heard good things about Linode for the most part, but people have commented on a few of their data centers being sketchy. The lack of snap shots for the VPS sucks too. The slicehost VPS snap shots are an awesome perk. But as for CZ, the first thing is to sever the relationship with Tides Center ASAP. I can't believe they have pissed away $75k+ in start up money in only a few years. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:57, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
If they decide to move to a cheaper host, it will only be a short-term solution. Here's why: With only $1800 in the bank, the costs to move and set-up would take money out of that. Then after a few months any money left would have been spent in monthly running costs anyway. So the life of the project would be only extended by a few extra months, than what they actually have projected now. What they need is a major sponsor. Simply relying on small donations and hope every month is like living on a knifes edge and not very good financial planning. If they can't secure a major sponsor, one option really left is to ask a university to take over the project. This will mean the project will have to give up some of its rights, be no longer be independent, and will be controlled a university board, but I guess it would be better than having no project on-line. A third option, which they will probably reject out of hand, is to amalgamate with an existing on-line encyclopedia project. FreeThought (talk) 02:35, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Eh I don't think its that doom and gloom. Lets say they go with Slicehost, a good choice. Pickup a nice 1.5gb slice. There is no setup fee at all and its $100 a month plus another $20 for the backup space. Assuming they still have $1800 that's well over a years hosting covered. RW manages by getting small donations from users every quarter and we have had a lot of success, though I am always here to fill in any gaps that may arise. But its a lot easier to deal with a $50 gap than $$650. Tmtoulouse (talk) 02:39, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes Trent but as we know rw has a lot more active users and traffic than cz. Who wants to donate to a hobby project dictated to by a small shrinking clique of users where you cant edit freely? FreeThought (talk) 02:43, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
If everyone on the MC/EC donated $10 a month they would be game. You don't think the elected management of CZ would be willing to pony up less than the cost of a movie? Then again Mary Ash is on the forums explaining why donations would destroy CZ. Though watching the defense of NPOV of Josef Mengele is more entertaining at the moment. Tmtoulouse (talk) 02:56, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes they are dead against citizens donating as the donors may have some influence on how citizendium is "run". FreeThought (talk) 02:59, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, like it was ever a problem here (they can learn from us as much as we can learn from them, right?). As far as I can tell, though, CZ is "dead set against citizens". Seriously, they are dead in the water with their current "application to correct a typo" form. That is why WP works - sure, any teenager can vandalise it, but I can just fix typos and grammar issues. ironically, of course, I edit WP under my real name. Doubly ironically, I stay away from topics where I might be considered an "expert". Lessons to be learned all around, I think. And I thank Trent for dragging me into this mess 3+ years ago... ħumanUser talk:Human 03:16, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
It's OK! They're going to fix the "application to correct a typo" form. They want to require a 500-word bio instead of 50 word. This move alone will ensure their healthy growth - David Gerard (talk) 10:59, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
To be fair and accurate, "they" is one guy suggesting it. Cooler heads are prevailing, mostly suggesting that Editors should have longer bios, and eliminating the "direct application to be an editor" aspect of the sign up sheet. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:38, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Who knew what and when did they know it?[edit]

The mad scramble is starting to begin, and as with all good scrambles a bit of who to blame is popping up [5]. Now I am not calling them out on that as "who to blame" is stage one of about any conflict resolution system we have on this site (headless chicken mode).

But in the category of "keeping it honest" the "only Larry Sanger knew until RationalWiki told the rest of us" seems like it might be a bit off. Various CZ members had been asking for the details on current costs and finances for months, and the tech staff (maybe even some constables?) sounded like they were aware of the situation but didn't want to release figures because they thought then any attempt to "put it out to bid" would be biased based on their current numbers. That was actually a pretty big hint that something was wrong with the amount, you don't worry about tossing out figures that are great deals, you worry about when your paying through the nose and don't want someone to oversell your bid.

Of course commercial hosting of sites is not exactly something that you really need to "put out to bid" unless your really pulling in huge traffic levels. Commercial hosting costs are standardized. There is no way Slicehost is going to say, well CZ you have been paying $700 a month so we are not going to let you buy our 1.5 slice for the normal $100, but at $600 instead.

It is also possible that Sanger was feeding this line directly to the tech staff who were just parroting it back, but it sure sounds like people were aware of the situation earlier. Tmtoulouse (talk) 15:50, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Actually looking at the thread again (remember we have the screen caps up above if anyone from CZ or elsewhere hasn't seen it yet), it looks like the MC has been aware of the situation for a while and been discussing it. So it wasn't like that thread was the first anyone at CZ had heard of it. In fact, if I hadn't stumbled upon it, or if the ME hadn't posted it, then I bet no one at CZ outside the MC would have any idea even still. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:39, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah but the impression Larry was giving to CZ was that although finances was low it wasn't critical. At no stage was actual amounts on how low was given or on what the donors money was being spent on. The bottom line here is that no matter how trustworthy the person is, you still need a basic auditing process that's publicly accountable to the committee running the project. FreeThought (talk) 16:53, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

First stop the bleeding. Then get the patient stabilized. And only then does one have the luxury of assigning blame. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:57, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

I agree, but I am neither victim nor shooter, I am the guy standing on the sidewalk in a sleevless t-shirt, boxers and half empty bottle of jack in a brown paper bag, shouting loudly for everyone to hear that "I seen who dun it." Then again the fact that I have found a stream of early 1990s Cops could be illiciting tortured metaphors from my addled brain. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:08, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Sorry for the ambiguity, my comment was directed at the folks on CZ not you. On RW it would be more like "First hide the drugs. Then lock up the goat. Then..." Doctor Dark (talk) 17:34, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Oh I got where it was directed. I was just, as I stated above, in the middle of reminiscing my early teen years watching 20 year old Cops shows on a random internet stream, and I couldn't help but offer up my tortured metaphor. You know if we started hiding the drugs in the goat we could cut down our emergency response time by half...hmmmTmtoulouse (talk) 17:38, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

I like how Berkowitz if off in la-la land talking about 'elevator moments" with Bill Gates. That is not the solution. I also loved Mary's reply to his question "what makes CZ unique?": "All articles require an approval process before they are considered complete. / Editors aka experts review and bless said articles. / Hopefully, this means Citizendium presents accurate and unbiased material." That's not "unique", that's tedious. ħumanUser talk:Human 22:22, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Larry Sanger and the $75,000 question[edit]

Estimates are that CZ had upwards of $75k in donations, and certainly at least $60k from what I can gather. That's not chump change to mismanage. If I was a member of CZ I would be wondering where that money went. A lot went to Tides Center for absurdly priced hosting, but there is still half that money unaccounted for. Larry admits to compensating himself for his, uh work, at CZ. If Larry walked away with $20,000-$30,000 and is now pulling the exit stage left I would be raising hell. There is a difference between community mismanagement and negligent mismanagement of financial resources.

Ultimately though the people that really need to look into this are the big time donors. I would be curious what the Charles H. Revson Foundation or the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi would have to say about it. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:08, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

And now they are down to $1800 in the bank and $700/month hosting costs (for those from the CZ who missed the links above). Rats, ship, sinking, rearranging deckchairs all come to mind. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:13, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Which is why the MC over there needs to launch an enquiry into how and what the money was spent on. It appears there was no proper accounting of the money. If I was one of the major donors I would be unhappy if the thousands donated simply went to larry buying baby bottles and nappies for his kids. FreeThought (talk) 02:04, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, he wouldn't be the first High Priest to be caught with his finger in the till. 02:08, 7 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
No, FT, they need to get competent and simple and move to reasonably-priced hosting tout de suite. Then they can sue Larry, if they can agree what to sue him for. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:16, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
This is CZ we're talking about. "Competent" and "simple" aren't found in their dictionary. FreeThought (talk) 02:59, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, my major criticism of this situation is only about two things. First, is Larry Sanger's magic trick of making $20,000-$30,000 disappear to where no one knows. The second is the basic complacency of sitting around chewing through substantial start-up funds with overplanned network architecture. Did no one at any point say, hey guys maybe this is a bad idea?
I don't think the situation was handled particularly well either, this is another example of why open, collaborative communities function proportionally to the inherent openness and ease of the the ability to collaborate inherent in the infrastructure and governance of the community. This seems almost tautological but apparently it is not obvious to everyone. If your building a community based on open-source, copyleft, collaboration, and volunteers but use a set of tools and policies to place hurdles and hoops for participation bad things happen. The closed-door, the experts are handling it attitude isn't instilling confidence in the community of volunteers and now potential funding sources still at the project. My internet chops were cut in the earl '90s hacker community, back when the phrase "information wants to be free" wasn't a trite, cliche poorly constructed anthropomorphism. While I have become perhaps more jaded and discriminating in my memetic chants over the years I still thing that basic idea of net neutrality, pseudoanonminity, and widely disseminated cost-free information is better than alternatives.
CZ was an interesting test case for me when I first heard about it. I had an open mind when I joined the project during its early start up phase. Ideally I would like to see the project thrive or die based on its inherent real names, expert guidance philosophy. But its become impossible to pull apart Sanger grinding it into the ground because of his own...hang ups...and problems that might be inherent to the basic design philosophy. I am still holding out hope that things will settle down to a stable community and we can see the failures or successes based on the model rather than management. Tmtoulouse (talk) 02:18, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Surely the first thing to do would be to create a legal entity divorced from Larry with authority over whatever money there is. Until they do that they are talking to the air. Presumably Tides consider that they own something, Larry was the one who dealt with them, I presume. There has to be ownership FIRST. 03:09, 7 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Yes, that's what they need to do. Setting up a nonprofit organization isn't all that complicated. My kids are involved in a long-term community service project that is set up as a nonprofit. The benefits are many: donations go directly to the organization as a legal entity, your books are available to those who have questions, and (no small matter) donations are tax deductible. It doesn't take an army of lawyers. It doesn't even take one lawyer. And it would look better to outside donors if they could donate directly to "The Citizendium Foundation" or suchlike instead of having it filtered through an individual or third party such as Tides. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:27, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
If they're going down the 501c3 path, it takes a minimum of 3 months. That doesn't include registering a name such as "The Citizendium Foundation" which takes a minimum of 12 weeks to process. All this involves processing fees. FreeThought (talk) 05:59, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
We incorporated as a non-profit for fairly cheap, the big cost comes from filing for actual 501 3(c) status. The IRS wants like $600 non-refundable administration fee. Tmtoulouse (talk) 06:00, 7 November 2010 (UTC)


So I went to CZ:Josef Mengele at Trent's "insistence" (he said it was funny). It's a "lemma", ie not written in sentences, and would make Ed Poor or myself proud. I click on "discussion" and what the fuck? "You do not have permission to edit pages, for the following reasons:" Oh, I get it, that page has no discussion yet, so I hit the red link (which they don't do) wall. Nice work, Larry, way to kill a project while utterly inflating the contributors' sense of importance. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:36, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

The Mengele discussion is here. Sorry wasn't specific. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:40, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! The first paragraph is better than their "lemma" (what an awful term!) that is their "article" on him. On to more reading now... ħumanUser talk:Human 03:51, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Clicked a link, found this header (!) "The Call for Nominations began on September 23, 2010 and will end Midnight October 7 UTC(GMC)." Just saying... ħumanUser talk:Human 03:53, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Berkowitz: "If nothing else, we've probably done more experimentation with techniques for contextualization than any other open wiki." "Open wiki"? Since when? ħumanUser talk:Human 22:30, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

To beat up on him more, does he remind anyone else of a certain early adopter of WP? ħumanUser talk:Human 22:31, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

More wtf hilarity: "Many features as implemented by Wikipedia, such as subject categories and so-called user boxes, may be eliminated from (or never included in) the Citizendium. Special roles will not be created without excellent reason, and bureaucracy will be kept to the absolute minimum necessary." Emphasis added by lolling potential "the Citizendium" contributor. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:52, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

I fell on the floor, um, laughing: "We can even assert "no fair use", since these are not published". Dumbass, you are putting it on the internet. What on earth does "no fair use" even mean??? ħumanUser talk:Human 00:59, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Yeah the "no fair use" comment made me chuckle too. Later in the thread the same guy haughtily pronounces that he is well aware of copyright law. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:02, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
"My point is simply that I do not wish the discussions of which i will be a part to be distributed widely over the internet." - Martin B-E. So, um, don't put it on the internet. Also, hasn't anyone there ever heard the phrase "sunlight is the best disinfectant?" They are a bunch of egomaniacal freakazoids, except for that tech guy who is sane. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:11, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

"No fair use" means that it is not reasonable to derogate from copyright law. Since the intention was not to publish them on the internet, but to place them on a password protected site that only CZ members could access, this was perfectly reasonable. Even on an internet site, the "fair use" claim is not supported by jurisprudence or legislation, even in the USA. It is no more than an untested belief or prediction of what US courts will decide in a copyright case. It does not exist in European countries, although there are some comparable provisions for citation purposes. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 12:37, 7 November 2010

They are still pulling the you don't need to know anything until we tell you what you need to know crap. The problem with this approach is that your content producers are the people your giving the finger to. You might be able to afford that attitude if your producing the content and your talking to your readers, but when your talking to your content producers it doesn't fly. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:13, 7 November 2010 (UTC)


I wonder who owns the domain name. Premusably it's still Larry as they don't appear to be incorporated(?). Something to sort out, no? — Unsigned, by: SusanG / talk / contribs oopsSusanG Toast

Well according to whois data [6] it is indeed Larry Sanger (excuse me Lawrence Sanger) who owns the domain. That is to be expected as you said there is no "entity" that can own CZ in lieu of their management structure. However, the tech staff I am sure has access to the DNS controls and can point the domain to anything they want. Tmtoulouse (talk) 15:54, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

EC wiki[edit]

They are also agonising over a wiki for the Editorial Council (or committee or whatever it's called). Haven't the learned that it's a bit silly to add complications to things when they haven't got basic things like finance sorted? Prioritise, people, prioritise! 16:06, 6 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

  • Overly complex solution that is even confusing to core members: check
  • Being boxed in by a nearly pathological adherence to "founding principles": check
  • Puffed up sense of self-importance: check
  • Attracting more comments, and more detailed comments than significant problems that could kill the whole project: check

It is a CZ discussion alright! Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:24, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Couldn't they tax contributions to pointless discussions? 5¢ each? They would have all the money they need in no time... larronsicut fur in nocte 17:27, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Heh! we'd be paid up 'til the next millenium at that rate! 17:30, 6 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Almost the entire discussion occured before we were aware of the financial situation. --Chris Key (talk) 06:05, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough, and as has been pointed out we take random pointless talk to a level that CZ could only dream of. I still say you guys just make things too complicated. I think a healthy infusion of parsimony across the board would help you out. Tmtoulouse (talk) 06:08, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but being pointless is one of our main features - while Citizendium and Conservapedia are building an encyclop(a)edia... larronsicut fur in nocte 11:46, 7 November 2010 (UTC)'
Larry Sanger in the past argued that citizendium is a compendium rather than an encyclopedia. FreeThought (talk) 16:51, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Just some manipulated data tables...[edit]

...comparing CZ, RW and CP in October 2010.

Citizendium Rationalwiki Conservapedia Top 50 Editors

Is this comparison fair? No, of course not. For instance, RW doesn't have a forum like Citizendium (or would RationalWikiWiki count?), and it has - perhaps - no secret discussion group like Conservapedia, so most of the comments diverted by such enterprises are channeled to the site itself.

In October 2010, CZ was more vibrant (or less undead) than CP: there were even a couple of new citizens/editors/contributors (whatever, I don't intend to learn the nomenclature), so the whole charter thing may have helped.

IMO, the current financial crisis could easily be addressed by giving an honest account of the - well - accounts, and just asking the regulars for a couple of bucks. OTOH, admitting how small the infrastructure is which is actually needed implies to recognize how big the difference to wikipedia is (though wikipedia has not one approved and finalized article)...

larronsicut fur in nocte 21:49, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Nice as usual! Minor minor quibble: the right hand side of the images is truncated. No big deal. What amazes me is that "275 Others" have half the edits on RW. ħumanUser talk:Human 22:45, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
What amazes me is that somebody else made more edits than Human. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:18, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
That is amazing... larronsicut fur in nocte 12:33, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Most of Howard Berkowitz's article creations and edits are stubs. Would be interesting to place a qualifier on the table on word length added/edited. FreeThought (talk) 13:04, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Before I make my first comment here... I will only post information here that is already in the public domain. Please don't ask me for more than that as I won't be able to help. Just a clarification here, the wikieditor user group is a legacy issue and has no real meaning. Prior to a certain date (2-3 years ago, not sure exactly when) the wikieditor user group was given to all users and gave them the permission to modify pages. After this date it was only given to new Editors (not authors), but only if they originally applied to be an Editor. If they originally applied to be an author and were later made into an Editor then they were not given that usergroup. Therefore it doesn't actually correlate to any specific role, and gives no special rights. --Chris Key (talk) 06:03, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the info! The whole thing is a little bit to convoluted for an only semi-interested bystander like me :-) I understand that online communities develop over the time some idiosyncrasies which makes it hard for any newcomer or outsider to understand them. Personally, I would always advice such societies not to invent new words and meanings, but to try to use common words in the usual ways, especially if they want to attract newbies. Just saying
larronsicut fur in nocte 11:43, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
BTW, I added a pic of the editors (authors?), who made the most contributions to one of the three wikis... larronsicut fur in nocte 12:34, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Am I correct in that at CZ, the words author and editor mean the opposite of what they mean in real life? IRL, authors provide drafts, and editors massage them into finished version to present to the world. On CZ, aren't "authors" the "experts" who vet articles and "editors" the peons whose work stays in the beta version until approved? ħumanUser talk:Human 14:38, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

No, you are not correct. Editors on CZ do what editors do in real life, as do authors. The only complication is that a lot of editors actually act as authors (but cannot approve their own work, of course). (talk) 15:49, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

No: CZ editors are "experts" that have the right to approve an article in their field of "expertise" (when an article is approved, nobody can touch it anymore, except constables). Curiously enough, an editor may not edit the article that he is going to approve. Editors may not approve their own work. Your misunderstanding is caused by most CZ editors writing more new articles than most CZ authors. --P. Wormer (talk) 15:50, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Your explaining what confused me is wrong, however, since I know nothing about who wrote what there. My confusion is most likely due to the generally confusing environment over there (for noobs, anyway). ħumanUser talk:Human 16:45, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
That is not quite correct: editors can (and should) copyedit articles they intend to approve. They are not allowed to act as authors on the article before approving it, but can require the author(s) to make substantive changes in order to get the article to a reasonable standard. (talk) 16:32, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
So is that what is causing the problem with approving even well done articles? That most of your authors are also editors and therefore most content production is by editors so there is no one with the power to approve? Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:34, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Sounds about right, certainly for military articles. Now, many are short articles for the contextualization/related article schemes, but there are a fair number, I think, that are approvable but there's no other Military author. Those that I've had approved could also be placed in Engineering or History. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 04:10, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
P.S. Can an editor who is an author on a page actually prevent approval? How is it that Dana Ullman approved the Homeopathy article, or can prevent approval of a real article? Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:36, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Another question. Does "user" = "author"? And if not, what is the distinction? ħumanUser talk:Human 16:46, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Authors are users who edit but do not approve? The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true. larronsicut fur in nocte 17:01, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
I shall admit there I times I wish to offer certain people the Flagon with the Dragon. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 04:10, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

LOLOL (I charge by the hour:-)) A user is anyone registered on CZ, which includes all authors and editors and bots etc. An editor cannot prevent approval (but in the past could pressure the EiC, I suppose; I don't know that that ever happened). The lack of approvals is that editors are appointed to wide subject areas, and most of us do not feel happy to approve things that we don't feel at least semi-competent in. There are also a lot of subject areas with no active editors.

The exception to an editor not being able to approve his/her own work, is that two other editors can join in and there is tripartite approval. This is occasioanlly used when all three were also authors of the article. If you look at the top of Approved articles you can see which editor(s) approved them. Indeed, the famous Homeopathy article lists three such editors. (talk) 17:11, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarification. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:16, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, I get it now: The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon, the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true! larronsicut fur in nocte 17:21, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Maybe I should concentrate more but having read this thread a couple of times I still feel stupid. Perhaps comments such as this:
  • A user is anyone registered on CZ, which includes all authors and editors and bots etc. An editor cannot prevent approval (but in the past could pressure the EiC, I suppose; I don't know that that ever happened). The lack of approvals is that editors are appointed to wide subject areas,....
assume too much knowledge on the part of the reader.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:05, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
The reason I ask is that on my prefs I am listed as "user". Does this mean I am an "author", or is that a "higher" level? IOW, are all users at least authors? The reason we asks here is that it's hard to figure out at CZ. Maybe you could charge them? ħumanUser talk:Human 21:35, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
It's just the status level given to all, which means author at least (as opposed to sys-op or Bureaucrat etc). You can see some explanation here: http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Special:ListGroupRights . We're going to change it anyway, because the system is over-complex and messy (assuming there is any money to continue existing). — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
<- For your amusement larronsicut fur in nocte 21:40, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Another problem with approval is the shortage of editors. Look through the workgroups & you'll find a lot with none. Peter Jackson 11:40, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Props where deserved[edit]

I see now that they are actually referring to us by name. Props for that, the whole "the other site", the "site that can not be named", "I won't dignify them by calling them by name" stuff has stopped. Circling the wagons and setting up an "us versus them" mentality is an easy trap to fall into with sources of criticism. Its good too see that they are taking a higher path here. Tmtoulouse (talk) 02:28, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

I just joined. I note they have no "classical music" article. Willing to bet they don't have nowt on the "building trades" either. Hello, spring of 2007! ħumanUser talk:Human 04:54, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
But there is an article on the Symphony. It's even approved, despite containing factual errors. Peter Jackson — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 12:09, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
So even approved articles contain known factual errors. Citizendium needs an overhaul of its approval system. FreeThought (talk) 13:06, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
Interesting way to approach a topic. On CP 3 1/2 years ago I wrote "Classical Music", from which I linked to the five major periods, which I then wrote, linking to major composers of each style/era, and the next thing I knew, homskollars were writing composer articles, correcting typography in names and article titles (accents I had ignored), and for a brief shining moment, a corner of CP was flourishing as a user-built encyclopedia. A did a similar thing with "Building Trades", but the NotBK struck just before big yellow machinery photography season started here (yes, back in the day, plebes could actually upload images there!). I keep trying to motivate to dig out the original bits I wrote, and rewrite them for CZ. ħumanUser talk:Human 15:56, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Compendium, Contextualization[edit]

What do these words mean in relation to CP? Anyone know the story? Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:59, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

(CZ shirley?) 17:02, 7 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
er yes. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:03, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Citizen's Compendium? It was there from the very beginning. I tried to use the articles on mathematics, but they are much less informative than wikipedia's. And frankly, I can't see how any wiki could match wikipedia in this regard: though the work is far from being perfect, it is the cumulative knowledge of ten of thousands of editors, often editing on their professional area...
larronsicut fur in nocte 18:08, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
But did he really mean a compendium? I always thought of compendiums as a summary of a particular specialty. How does that jive with a general encyclopedia? And they keep saying that their contextualization is a unique and major contribution from CZ. But what do they think is their contextualization? I have googled around a bit but didn't see anything obvious. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:17, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I've not the slightest idea. Then, I'm no philosopher (couldn't stay silent for long :-) larronsicut fur in nocte 21:00, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
I think it's supposed to mean that articles are located in a serious academic literature context, even though much of that literature is not explicitly referenced. This is the task of editors -- either to guide (or actually to write themselves) so that mainstream and less important viewpoints are fairly represented. The contrast with WP varies by subject matter. Some WP articles manage to do that, more or less; others fail miserably and just have long laundry lists of competing analyses and claims. In principle, Approved CZ articles should be academically respectable. (talk) 22:13, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Here's one bizarre explanation why citizendium calls itself a compendium. FreeThought (talk) 10:38, 8 November 2010 (UTC)
That whole thread is bizarre, but especially that strange post. By the way, I have an edit box open at CZ and it says my contribs will be released under CC by SA 3.0. ħumanUser talk:Human 15:49, 8 November 2010 (UTC)
Just noticed that was over 3 years ago, so obviously they made up their mind on what copyright to use for the site. ħumanUser talk:Human 15:54, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

(undent) While it's not an exact fit, you might want to think "ontology" or "semantic techniques" with respect to contextualization. There are other principles, and I'm not sure I can give you a specific definition, rather than an understanding expressed in a lot of informal discussions. One example that isn't exactly information science, but practice, is that I rewrote the old Vietnam War article, which basically treated it as an American event that, perhaps, had a few Vietnamese extras. If you start at the top-level article, Wars of Vietnam, you'll see a structure that contextualizes manually. Another area is interrogation, which works its way down to such things as what, I hope, is an objective discussion of intelligence interrogation under the George W. Bush Administration.

Compendium? I am clueless on what it means at Wikipedia. I suspect someone liked it because it was alliterative with Citizendium. As a photographer, my compendium bellows is a very flexible lens shade and filter holder. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 06:46, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

As Larron said above, the word "citizendium" is an intentional portmanteau of "citizen(s')" and "compendium". If the compendium is one of human knowledge, it basically = "encyclopedia". I think a lot of CZ's "jargon" is (was) to make it intentionally different from WP. ħumanUser talk:Human 14:43, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
Long enough ago that I like to forget, there was a Forum discussion, mostly for fun, about naming alternatives. Several people suggested new portmanteaus with "pedia" in them. I told the physician in the group that I hadn't realized he was a pediatrician as well as a nephrologist, and the possibility of pediaphilia went mercifully unmentioned. :-; Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 17:40, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
If you can't camel cap it then its not web 2.0! Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:52, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

Announcement by the Management[edit]

Is it just me, or is this announcement without any substance? They should know the scope and scale of the project by now. But they prefer their audience to be left in the dark...

larronsicut fur in nocte 09:17, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

They're ruling by committee - not the best method to tackle urgent matters when the committee's dependent on email and forum messaging across all time zones. They probably can't get hold of accounts that are divorced from Tides and are probably fighting over the size of server(s!) they need.
If anyone does give them a donation who has the legal right to it? They've got to sort out the legal position regarding ownership of the site and indeed the name before they do anything, I'd have thought. 09:38, 8 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
IMO, the should have answered the most basic questions in such an announcement:
  • How much money is there?
  • How much resources do we use at the moment? The database can't be that big, and the traffic neither.
But I understand that there is some resentment to deal with numbers so small: they try to think big over there...
larronsicut fur in nocte 10:02, 8 November 2010 (UTC)
To the best of my personal knowledge, and with the caveat that I am technical but not on the tech team, Tides doesn't provide any computing support. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 07:41, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
Thats right. Tides provides the legal non-profit status and handles funds, Steadfast provide our servers (as mentioned in the footer of every page on the wiki). --Chris Key (talk) 16:18, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
Lol, "servers". Fire Steadfast ASAP, they are overcharging you by 500% ħumanUser talk:Human 04:46, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

To any CZ users editing here[edit]

Watch what you say! 21:30, 8 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

"We could also extend this to include comments made while not on Citizendium.org." - *LOL* not big supporters of free speech it seems. FreeThought (talk) 03:01, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm done there before I even start, then, retroactively. Damn. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:24, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, I've used the Internet and its predecessors since about 1970; military nets before that. Doesn't scare me. Looking from the outside, it may not always be obvious what a proposal is trying to accomplish in a community. Neverthess, a decision may just be the least bad choice. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 07:43, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm intrigued by the description It is intended that the phrase "personal attack" in the third sentence is of the same meaning as "personal comments that are derogatory to named individuals" in the first. If it's intended to have the same meaning, then why not use the same words - or reference it. Something like People who display a pattern of such comments. It just seems a very ham-fisted way of ensuring the two terms are considered to be equal. Worm(t | c) 09:29, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
This is the first time I've ever looked, but that shit's a joke. A bunch of self-important asshats wanking around like their doing something important. The Russell guy is a total douche, not to mention a complete idiot. How are they going to go around positively identifying these people in the far corners of the internets? Gerard, don't you run shit over there too? Occasionaluse (talk) 21:12, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
And if you don't think this is a good idea you're HITLER! - David Gerard (talk) 20:52, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
Godwin! ;-) Occasionaluse, something being missed is that the proposal calls for monitoring only things written with CZ resources. I am of the strong opinion that email for the Councils should be through CZ mail servers, so it is possible for someone to look at abusive actions in the councils. This position is not universally held. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 00:22, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
A minority of one, to be precise...— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 00:07, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Lol, you have "councils", cool. We have the mob, and a three person Board of Trustees. And we are incorporated and have a relatively transparent budget. With a similar size operation. "Councils"??? Why don't you just call assholes assholes and let them feel the shame for a day or two, instead of imagining you can stalk them all over the internet? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:44, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, I think most people agree with that. The two councils (committees really) were elected to set things up for CZ when/if it becomes a more populous internet location (lol). Obviously, if that doesn't happen, the whole thing is pointless. We are trying... The policing issue is a distraction from the two big issues of funding and recruitment: all else is trivia, as far as I am concerned. (talk) 00:12, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
I'd agree with 85, but go farther. Right now, there are huge problems to clear up. Some division of labor is useful. There's a balance between transparency and getting adequate -- not perfect -- decisions made while bills are coming due.
While some personality conflicts may get in the way, there is some synergy between the Councils. Some excellent content contributors are on the MC. Some EC people have technical or management experience. I see one of the immediate roles for a joint effort, possibly led by the EC, to write the core of the proposal of "why should you support us? What have we done and what do we plan to do?" Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 20:28, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Hissy fit[edit]

Hayford doesn't like it when someone's nice about Wikipedia. 05:01, 9 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Apparently he is also too incensed to make a point, to say what his problem is, even. Omigod, WP has good articles about video games? ħumanUser talk:Human 06:11, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
What the article praises WP for is exactly why CZ is a failure, so it's understandable that the citizen is upset. -- Nx / talk 06:16, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

Howard snipes[edit]

Wikipedia takes a step that CZ hasn't had the nous to. Howard praises it with faint damns: "Anthony, we both remember Berkeley in the 1960s. Is this the tradition of their Nobelists or of Mario Savio of the Free/Filthy Speech Movement? " Come on, Howard, shouldn't this be the sort of initiative that Citizendium is taking? Contributions moderated by Uni Profs sounds good to me. 00:45, 10 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Ah, but you lack context. Anthony and I have a long history of comic sniping at each other, but we are also friends with off-wiki correspondence. Susan, it's not always easy to judge interactions between people with extensive personal history.
I believe that university professors are one source of expert guidance, but not the only one. Especially in engineering, for example, the center of experience isn't all academic. Academic status isn't the only thing that qualifies one as an expert.
For that matter, though, a number of CZ Editors are professors (well, one is a dean and another is a department chair). Every Editor in Health Sciences, as opposed to the wretched Healing Arts, is a faculty member. I certainly wouldn't preclude, however, having a non-academic practitioner involved. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 01:30, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
You wanna watch your interactions on a publicly readable forum then: don't forget that you(plural) represent, however unofficially, CZ to the outsider.
What I meant was the professors recruiting their students. Obviously the profs themselves could join & edit. You need more authors! 01:49, 10 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Your point about recruiting is well taken. An initiative called Eduzendium has existed for a while, and I think we are learning things about what works and does not work both to get decent student articles and to make things more interesting for them. For example, it seems to work much better when the professor assigns an article to a small team rather than an individual. The faculty members also seem more open to CZ members interacting with the students.
As far as interactions, would you apply those behavioral standards to RW? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 02:04, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
EZ is creepy. Forcing students to contribute to a volunteer project in order to keep it afloat? Schalafly tried that, and it didn't work. All he wound up with was "constables".
As far as the off-wiki, off-forum "collegiality" you have developed, there is a reason we try to keep everything that matters "on-wiki" here. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:22, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
Cabal? There is no cabal. 15:20, 10 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
We're not trying to be anything particularly worthy. So no. 02:12, 10 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Wikipedia Signpost coverage[edit]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2010-11-08/News_and_notes - David Gerard (talk) 14:05, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Very interesting. ħumanUser talk:Human 14:25, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, interesting. I share the discomfort of some of the people in the Signpost comments with regard to our wording on Sanger's role in the finances. I've changed the wording so that it cannot be misunderstood as an accusation of wrongdoing by Sanger as he was up-front about stating that he was being paid for his role in CZ (at least at the start of the project). Doctor Dark (talk) 02:46, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, really the question of Sanger's compensation which could be anywhere from $500-$30,000 is secondary to the central criticism of poor stewardship and absolutely no public accountability for what money paid for what and when. However, if Sanger paid out towards the upper end of the possible amount (anything over $10-15k) then I think that deserves serious criticism even though it wasn't illegal. Tmtoulouse (talk) 02:50, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
That's how I see it. There's evidence that money wasn't spent wisely -- whether it's the hosting service or Sanger's management -- but no indication of wrongdoing. There's probably a corollary of Hanlon's razor that would be applicable here (replacing "malice" with "avarice" or something like that). Doctor Dark (talk) 03:13, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes. The hosting was a total waste, a symptom of the ongoing "building far beyond current needs" mentality that has plagued CZ. As far as Sanger, let's assume "the worst" and postulate he was paid 30k: Wasn't he working on CZ for 3-4 years? So that would be 7500-10k a year, which might be little more than covering expenses (travel, etc., to promote CZ?). Surely someone has receipts somewhere. ħumanUser talk:Human 15:18, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
The money though was donated to Citizendium, and not to Sanger. If Sanger needed the money to cover expenses etc why wasn't the committees consulted? At any rate, he shouldn't have left citizendium without properly preparing the project to go independent. He's left them in the lurch in regards to little time and money left. Obtaining a 501 3(c) status and completing the paperwork and paying fees is no overnight task. If Sanger knew the finances were getting low well in advance, its rather poor management to expect users who have no experience in running a not-for-profit website to keep the changeover running smoothly. FreeThought (talk) 15:54, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
The committees did not exist until what, two weeks ago? I agree when he left he should have shared his notes, not to do so was very remiss. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:24, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
As I understand it, citizendium had an Editorial Council that existed prior to the election of the current committees. FreeThought (talk) 06:40, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, there was a prior EC. I became the secretary in late 2008, and quickly found that Larry did not want it discussing anything other than resolutions formally presented to it. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 07:38, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Ah, ok, thanks. ħumanUser talk:Human 17:15, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
They are looking at $700 or so to establish a 501 3(c) assuming they don't need to pay anyone to do the paperwork. It also takes time, both to get the paper work filled out correctly, fill all the roles, mail it and get approval. But they don't have to get the full 501 3(c), they can do something similar to what we did and that create a non-profit corporation without tax deductible status. It is much cheaper, and a bit easier, and at the very least gives you a legal entity to work with in managing accounts. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:02, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Speaking personally, I do think creating any corporate identity is essential, and, in any case, it's usually a prerequisite for 501(c)(3). For a friend's project, I assisted in doing the 501(c)(3) paperwork and it was successful. She does have substantial tax preparation experience.

I will say, however, that there are enough challenges with which to deal that I'm focusing on editorial matters, and trusting that the management people deal with the funding and legal matters. I don't want to get into an analysis of Sanger's tenure, but it's no secret that I confronted him on a number of editorial and information structuring issues that I felt he micromanaged.

Now, I may be an exception case, but a good number of people at Citizendium believe not only in civility, but in the expectation that everyone will act like friends and Be Nice. Not Being Nice has been grounds for Constable deletions, but I believe that enforcing "criticize ideas, not people", and "allow reasonably presented ideas with which you don't agree" would solve many. I do regard it as silly to insist on first-naming everyone, when that isn't even culturally appropriate worldwide. Yes, I freely admit that I would address someone I disliked quite formally. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:32, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

*LOL* of course not naming a certain individual by their first name. Would they be by chance near marble buildings? FreeThought (talk) 00:12, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
'twasn't my idea to impose such a rule. Shifting to a formal mode, to me, is a perfectly fair and reasonable way to signal disapproval, and has a long history in Parliaments and Congresses. The elegant insult, or even more elegant response thereto, also has a long history:
  • Earl of Sandwich to John Wilkes: 'pon my word, Wilkes, you will die either of a loathsome disease or on the gallows!
  • John Wilkes to Earl of Sandwich: That depends, My Lord, if I embrace your mistresses or your principles.
Even "I say to you what Goetz von Behrilichengen said to the Bishop of Bamberg", or "I quote Rhett Butler's final comment to Scarlett O'Hara". It is not a Godwinism to say I still cherish such an in-person confrontation with members of the American Nazi Party, who were several Dortmunders short of a six-pack. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 00:34, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Except for part of your first sentence above ("I do think creating any corporate identity is essential"), Howard, do you realize that nothing you wrote makes any sense whatsoever? Not that that is a crime on RW, heck, it's a hobby, a requirement, even! Welcome to the Dollhouse! ħumanUser talk:Human 03:12, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
As with all inductees, remember to bestow him with our introductory crucible full of Swaggering MeatPies and the matching jewel-toned hobnail vase. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:22, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
It's a cryptic message directed as a certain user on the citizendium forums. FreeThought (talk) 06:40, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Did I mention that if certain people had CZ business cards, they might say Organization by Eris? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 08:45, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes but who gets the golden apple? FreeThought (talk) 08:56, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
As an encyclopedia, with at least some scientific pretensions, is it not also important to write the article on milliHelen, the more practical unit of face that causes the launch of a reference Greek ship? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 13:09, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
What encyclopedia are you talking about? RW isn't one. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:20, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Howard, do you realize that nothing you wrote makes any sense whatsoever? Does the C. in your name stand for "Crazy"? :) FreeThought (talk) 13:23, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Conundrum. Ro Thorpe (talk) 16:28, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

(undent) Ah, but it does make sense. For example, if one is forbidden to use "four letter words", a mere literary reference to Rhett Butler/Clark Gable saying "my dear, I simply don't give a damn" is not a technical violation of the rules.

What would make less sense but still conveys a message is "If Yoda so strong in Force is, not why he put words in right order can the?" Is Larry a Jedi? Has he gone to the Dark Side, with due regard to the reality that in the Star Wars Universe, the Force has a light side, a dark side, and holds the universe together. In our universe, that is the role of duct tape. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 17:35, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

I've not trouble believing that you are the most industrious contributor to Citizendium! larronsicut fur in nocte 17:42, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

What you need versus what you want[edit]

So more details are emerging here that will need to be incorporated in what we report. Turns out the Tides center has been sucking out a couple thousand dollars a year from their donations, more brilliant long term strategizing by Sanger.

We also get some specs on what they want from their server setup. They are still wedded to the idea that they have to have multiple machines. This is a big bump in cost and I have seen no justification in traffic or usage patterns to point to this requirement as a "need." But the really interest and the most potentially deadly requirement is hard disk space. That is actually a really, really huge database. I wonder if its the postGRE older versioning or what. But that kind of size requirement is going to force them into oversold territory on servers. And two? Ouch. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:05, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

If you don't VACUUM (compact) Postgres tables regularly, they literally grow forever (or until there's 2^31 rows including marked-deleted ones). I have been bitten by this. But with Greg Sabino Mullane (PG dev) on board, I'd be amazed if they'd missed this.
I'm wondering if the culprit is the full Wikipedia dump they started with and abandoned ... - David Gerard (talk) 21:31, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
That thread started out with so much honesty and clarity, and drifted into so much stupidity... very sad. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:01, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
...361 GB? That... sounds like a lot. Could I have some comparison number? How much do for example projects the size of RW or CP need on average? Very rough estimations are fine, I just need some sort of yardstick.
And it's really, really late, but the simple dollar numbers spell out DOOM for me somehow: Assuming that the $1800 they claimed to have two weeks ago go out for hosting until the end of the year (they mention that their old funds have been used up, which I assume to mean the $1800 vs. hosting costs), they got $1500 in donations, but are looking at incoming costs of $1500-$2000 this year alone. Yes, this is apparently independent of hosting woes and after accepting that they won't pay the Tides Foundation. So... what will be left at the end of the year? The way I see it, their remaining funds are paying for a few months of hosting while the donations cover these "incidentals". And after that, they will have practically zero. They think they can fix the site in half a year, but I currently don't see how they're going to last that long. Then again, like I said, it's wayyyyyy late and I'm not even half awake, so I may be missing something big time. Feel free to point out the errors in my thinking, I'll appreciate it once I'm awake again. --Sid (talk) 04:33, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
RW is is at about 30gb. I don't think they can survive on user donations no, they will have to come up with a way to drastically reduce requirements for hosting (its the database size that's going to kill them VPS dont have a lot of hard disk space which forces you into dedicated servers, which means your over buying ram/cpu/bandwidth to support your storage needs....) or find someone to host them as some sort of civic duty. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:39, 14 November 2010 (UTC)`
I seriously doubt the latter will ever happen. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:46, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Well they have to get 501 (c) 3 status as a non-profit, cause any place that is going to do it will require the tax right off. Then they will need to do what Howard has suggested. Come up with a way of selling CZ an important academic and educational venture that will return PR dividends to anyone that will support it. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:51, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Lol U R so funny! ħumanUser talk:Human 05:27, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Apparently they also pay Tides a minimum of $X or 9% of revenues, and $1k (how often) for "insurance". Nice work, Larry. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:44, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
X=2000, by the way. So Tides' minimum fee is $3k a year, and if a lot of that $75k came in all at once in year one, the 9% might have kicked in. And what the hell does Tides "insure" them against? Based on all this, I am willing to bet that no one on CZ works on their car themselves. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:57, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Everything has to be so complicated[edit]

I am looking at the threads on forming a non-profit corp, or 501 (c) 3 and its the same pattern all over again. Everything just has to be so complicated over there. Hey guys our by-laws are licensed GFDL! Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:59, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

Link to threads? ħumanUser talk:Human 05:28, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

Sanger pops up[edit]

Wow Larry $250 whole dollars, how much money did you take out of the coffers for yourself? Still no word on that amount. Tmtoulouse (talk) 05:18, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

How much you wanna bet he only did it to save face? In that, I mean only so that his "better than Wikipedia" wiki wouldn't fail and, thus, make him look like the asshole he is? The Goonie 1 What's this button do? Uh oh.... 05:25, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Wow, they're up to $1800 or so. We could run RW for a year on that. I hope they do as well as we would with that lolly. PS, I hate the pomposity of the phrase "non-citizens". ħumanUser talk:Human 01:22, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
For you, Human, even if you are a Citizen, we might make you a Special Deal to be called an alien. Needs to be extraterrestrial or paranormal, though.
Apropos vaguely, I had running arguments about the registration "security", and sending in registrations (admittedly known) from one of my cats...who does indeed watch the screen. I also, when challenged, sent in a verifiable registration from a non-free domain, when challenged about "Moses on the Mountain". Cats are far more productive than my current opponent, and I don't want to think about changing his litter box. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 05:06, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Can't I just be an irrational number? Perhaps even a transcendental number if things go well? ħumanUser talk:Human 20:56, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Sounds OK on your user page. As an example, practice the Caltech cheer:
E to the x, dx/dy
Cosine secant theta prime
Three point one four one five nine
Caltech! Caltech! Rah!
Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 21:05, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Sorry but...[edit]

The site pretty much sucks. I am basing this on one random observation. I clicked random, and got this. It is/was so badly written as to be embarrassing. Sentence I can't even begin to fix: "She was of colonial American stock of English ancestry and brought a dowry of £50,000." WTF so these arrogant goons think they are "building"? I take back my wishes for them to do well and survive, and now wish them to be off the map in two months, for complete and thorough incompetence at creating content and running a website. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:52, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

That article was mostly written by Conservapedia's Richard Jensen. FreeThought (talk) 02:58, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
That is sad to hear. Is it "approved"? How does one know what is approved and what is beta there? ħumanUser talk:Human 03:05, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
It is an unapproved draft, however the status bar has 4 out of 5 bubbles filled, so it may be just a step below approved. --Oniontalk/edits 03:08, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
When an article is approved it usually has a green coloured metadata tab-box with the text beginning "Article approved" within it, at the top. FreeThought (talk) 03:12, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
So how is the casual internet user supposed to understand this? I'd rather just go to the wiki encyclopedia any teenager can vandalize and figure it out as I go. Is CZ expert-vetted or not? Apparently not? Not in a way that is clear to the casual user, at least. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:28, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Never mind, mea culpa, "This is a draft article, under development and not meant to be cited; you can help to improve it. These unapproved articles are subject to a disclaimer." is fair enough. Sorry for the arrogance. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:29, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Is it easier to sign up for than Conservapedia? I see some stuff I'd fix in the homeopathy article :) Nutty Rouxnever mind 03:41, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
The sign up requires no more information than that Nigerian prince who is hooking me up with a $50 million euros. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:51, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
And if you do manage to sign up, good luck dealing with the site's cabal of "healing arts" promoters who managed to get that article featured on the main page with the support of the site founder. --Oniontalk/edits 03:59, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
I think the homeopathy comment was facetious, but yes its one the the top 10 Larry Sanger School of Community Management moments. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:20, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
I just hit "Random ten times, every one was "Draft". Are there any approved articles? Can't "Random" be made to select from only them? Incidentally, I note that about (guesstimate) half of the pages had a nasty yellow box @ the top informing that Larry had announced the charter through and something about the elections: bad housekeeping? 04:39, 15 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

(undent) You can find the approved articles here. Currently the random page button links to any large-ish article. This may change at some point now we have councils in place who can change things. If you are still getting the message about Larry announcing the Charter, that is a caching issue. You might need to clear your cache. --Chris Key (talk) 05:15, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Yah, I found the approved article list, thanks. Cache? All on pages I'd never previously visited an a handheld phone that has trouble remembering my own log on? And at least two different versions of the notice? If you say so! 05:29, 15 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Yes, cached. The site notice is cached separately from the rest of the page, and the browser uses the same cached version on every page. Therefore if your cache holds one version, it'll appear on every page. Also, there are two webservers for CZ. It is therefore quite possible that you have two cached versions. We've had similar issues with the site notice before. The current version of the sitenotice is found at http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Sitenotice. If your header doesn't match that page, there is a caching issue. Your phone may have trouble remembering a log on, but that is a cookie issue not caching. Phones tend to make extensive use of caching as they expect you to have to pay per MB for data, and also have a slower than normal connection. --Chris Key (talk) 17:24, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't buy this "blame the customer" explanation. A few days ago I was on a (random?) page and there was a year-old banner on it. System is borken. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:42, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Human (did I just write that?). CZ isn't worth all this fuss. It was a nice idea but it hasn't worked, and the RW article gives many reasons not to give a damn. Idea -> Hype -> Good Start -> Plateau -> Decline -> End. Welcome to the Internet. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 12:04, 16 November 2010 (UTC)


Anybody else think we should setup Pibot to archive this page, given that it has grown massive in size and usage? We can always remove the autoarchive later. The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 12:36, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

I was scrolling up to look for some things to archive yesterday, and a lot of what we have is still pretty current. Perhaps a few early sections could be tucked away, but I don't think it's quite time yet. Perhaps after the current money/tech fiasco is resolved a whole lot of this will be ancient history? ħumanUser talk:Human 17:24, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, I've set up Pibot for now. We can always disable it later. And the setting will keep stuff that is newer than 40 days, also. Lord of the Goons The official spikey-haired skeptical punk 17:28, 16 November 2010 (UTC)


  • Editorial Council wiki is setup though nothing really interesting there so far.
  • Panic on the financial front I guess they are sticking with Steadfast for now. They have the two servers still up locke and reid, so I assume they are still munching through $700 a month hosting. This is getting dangerous. Tmtoulouse (talk) 02:22, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Their community ego expects some uni or other org to take them under their cozy wing. There is no financial reality check there, compared to what RW has lived with and been through (Trent: "We really need a new power cord, can we raise $5 in donations?"). ħumanUser talk:Human 03:05, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
That thread is embarrassing, by the way. Back to "ask no questions, give money now!"? ħumanUser talk:Human 03:08, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
(EC)And that's the other thing, when you are asking for money from people they want to know what for exactly, and why. The who, what, where, when, why and how much....a response of "I am not authorized to give you any information or answer any questions just give us money now" just doesn't seem a good donation pitch. My biggest concern is they are trying to stick it out one more month with Steadfast at $700. If they raise that and blow it they are in trouble, cause raising $700 is like to dry up the well of financial giving for months to come. And to waste on just a single month. But I am just guessing since no information is being given. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:10, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. What is sad is that for years they haven't had to deal with this sort of thing, so they have no idea where to start. Other than the rather embarrassing start point of "we are the intellectual elite, surely someone will pay for our playground". Sorry if that sounds mean-spirited, but is the gist of what I pick up on the various threads that I get linked to. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:38, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
I think the biggest error was that sort of did things organizationally backwards. Susan pointed this out as well. First things first, and that's to settle the legal ownership of "citizendium" at the moment that seems to be no one. You shouldn't elect a governing body that is legally toothless and actually has no right to do anything with CZ. You wind up with things like this thread where no one knows who can do what. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:11, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Cripes, I know it took you a few months of research, but you did it pretty much without a lawyer and got it all done for a few quid. Now Milton is explaining to the potential lawyer friend what pro bono means? As I alluded to above, they have been floating on a comfortable raft for years without ever learning how to swim. Now they are flailing. I hope (I really do) that they don't drown. And where is Sanger? He should have taken care of this transition before he "exited" as founder, much as you did/are doing/have done/might end up doing. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:29, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
What I've said on this page at least 3 times: Until someone actually owns CZ they can't do a fuckin' thing. As Huw says, (paraphrase) they're sitting in their academic ivory tower not realising that there's a real world out there that doesn't owe them a living. 04:49, 11 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
They've raised $372. We could run RW for a quarter on that. Trent, you should offer to help them get reasonably priced hosting and move their wiki for them for $350. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:11, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Their tech staff is competent in the "tech" department, and have been made well aware of hosting options. So this decision was not made in ignorance. My assumption is that they decided they needed to buy time and get one more month out of the existing hosting arrangement while they figure out options. The problem is that while they might be able to raise enough to buy this time, it risks tapping dry the donation well for minimal return. Basically any sit has limited "good will" in how much they can raise, then when that's tapped it has to return to baseline slowly over time. So if you can raise $700 now it might take 3-5 months till you are in a position to raise that kind of money again. If CZ is overtapping their donations for limited return its a problem. It takes time to get a "feel" for what users can afford to give you, and how often, they are shooting in the dark. I could also be totally off base and they have a brilliant solution that they just haven't shared with any of us plebs. Tmtoulouse (talk) 05:17, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
If they can't get themsevels into shape right now perhaps they should be given a third option.Geni (talk) 08:15, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
I can imagine the folks on citizendium would shoot down that proposal straight away. Don't forget many of the users, not all, but many of the users are "refugees" (for want of a better word) that walked away from wikipedia. FreeThought (talk) 08:24, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Not at all. Some discussion started here [7] (talk) 15:03, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Recent Wikipedia signpost, Sanger has rejected Wikipedia's offer of hosting, referring to them as vipers. Almost all of the reader comments are against helping citizendium. FreeThought (talk) 01:30, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Sanger is such a class act. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:50, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
My reading of the Signpost comments is that people are against helping Sanger. What has become clear over the past few weeks is that CZ isn't going anywhere until they politely, but very firmly and publicly, disassociate themselves from Sanger and assert their own identity. Aside from the crisis resulting from his bad financial decisions he has alienated lots of people (as shown in the Signpost comments). Some of CZ's former authors/editors might return if they know that he is out of the picture. Doctor Dark (talk) 06:02, 17 November 2010 (UTC)


What happened to the $1800 they had in the bank? Was it misreported? Is Tides refusing to release it? Tmtoulouse (talk) 05:18, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Milton Beychok says "we need to pay our hosting service directly and very soon."[8] Notice the "directly" there implying that they can't (or won't?) go through Tides. Best guess is that for whatever reason Tides is not releasing the funds, but nobody is saying for sure. They may not even know themselves -- by all appearances their legal and accounting status is in total disarray. Or they could be in the midst of some sort of negotiations with Tides on the future of their relationship. Who knows. Doctor Dark (talk) 05:28, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Odd how the details are not being shared, at all. Oh well, I hope they muddle through and stop getting screwed on their hosting. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:50, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
It's now been revealed on the forum that Citizendium has to pay Tides, else they'll end the connexion at the end of the year. Peter Jackson — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 12:01, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
I thought Tides was a not-for-profit organization. Why should citizendium be forced to pay them when the servers are owned by a seperate company Steadfast? Sounds to me sanger cut a bad deal between citizendium and Tides. FreeThought (talk) 13:06, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
Who knows what the deal was, let alone whether it was good or bad. This is the problem with lack of transparency of formal issues like that -- and one of the reasons that Citizens are demanding a lot (maybe too much) transparency concerning the activities of the current administration. (talk) 14:13, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
Peter, was that on an open forum? And if so, can you link to it for us, please? Also, the deal is probably (this is just a guess on my part) that Tides "handles" CZ's money - collects the donations to make them tax-deductible, and then pays the bills. And now the bills coming due (soon) are gonna be more than the account balance, so Tides wants/needs "someone" to add some cash to the account. What a mess. ħumanUser talk:Human 15:43, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
It's here, Huw. http://forum.citizendium.org/index.php/topic,3600.msg36877.html#msg36877 (talk) 15:50, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
Sanger sure did leave these guys in terrible shape. Did anyone know the extent of these financial obligations (servers, Tides, etc) before he withdrew? He effectively left the project over a year ago and it would have been unconscionable for him not to lay all this stuff out in the open during the transition period. Doctor Dark (talk) 19:13, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

(undent) As far as I am aware, he shared the detailed contract and finances with no one. The technical staff obviously has been aware of the number of servers, but I don't think anything of the financials.

Since Sanger faded out, technical staff, Dan Nessett in the lead, has also been refactoring the CZ code so it's far less out of the Wikimedia mainstream. At this point, I think he's got the CZ extensions in one place, so the CZ server(s) can move to the more common version -- attractive, perhaps, if there's any shared hosting. Sanger also made technical suggestions very unwelcome. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 20:22, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Yeah learning the lesson that any hack you make to the software must be doable in an extension, css, or javascript external of the main code was one I learned a little late. Luckily I wasn't the one that had to suffer through fixing it as nx did the re-factoring for us. Tmtoulouse (talk) 20:28, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

(undent) Apparently citizendium was also receiving affiliate money from Amazon and Barnes & Noble but nobody knows who owns the account or how much money was raised. I suspect Sanger pocketed the lot but given the low numbers of people visiting the project, the money raised was probably not a lot. FreeThought (talk) 08:34, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Hosting suggestions[edit]

  • ibiblio.org - how to contribute a collection (i.e., get hosted), contributor FAQ. ibiblio hosts quite popular sites, like Groklaw, without breaking a sweat. They'd be a natural.
  • Wikimedia Foundation - geni has proposed that WMF offer CZ twelve months' hosting while it gets itself together. I think that if interpersonal conflicts can be put aside (i.e., it's not Larry vs Jimbo any more), this would be 100% within WMF's mission and goals, and will strongly support such a proposal.

- David Gerard (talk) 09:00, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

There is a mix of views on CZ about WP. I think the majority (like me) just despaired with getting any common sense to prevail on WP in utilizing world class expertise when idiots outnumbered the experts. Very few (if any) CZ people are banned from WP, and some continue to contribute there. I do think that there is good reason to see the CZ/WP relationship as symbiotic rather than competitive, and it would be wise for us to consider any hosting offers. I am not on the MC, though... (talk) 11:53, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Why not let citizendium become part of Wikia? With Wikia's for-profit set-up, Citizendium can also earn money for 12 months as they decide what to do with themselves. FreeThought (talk) 13:09, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't think CZ deserves such a horrible punishment. If you've seen Wikia's new look, you probably understand why a horde of wikis are leaving the site. They refuse to delete the many sites that have left, I've seen them block sysops who post links to discussions about moving. They suck. --Oniontalk/edits 13:34, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
What about RW hosting them? I don't mean for free but if they paid their way would it be possible? I know that the two sites have not always had the best relationship but it would keep them at arm's-length from WP and presumably it could be set up as arm's length from RW.--False Flag (talk) 18:24, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Neither site really gains anything since our traffic is likely comparable. So if we are hosting on a machine that can support our traffic load we would have to double that to support us and CZ which means doubling our cost, and hence charging them. So they could get their own server for the same cost as if they partnered with us. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:34, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
That's a silly idea anyway. Why would we want to host this site, we are not a hosting company for off mission wikipedia wannabes like CZ. --Oniontalk/edits 15:49, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
You have to love the juxtaposition in signpost:
First article: [...]Despite being labeled as mere "technical testing" (see also this week's Tech report) before the official launch on November 15, the initial days of the Wikimedia fundraiser since November 12 have already seen a new record for the most revenue on a single day, with $517,938.57 coming in from 18,246 donations on Saturday 13th.[...]
Second article: [...]In the meantime, Citizendium gained some breathing space through an internal fundraising drive that was started on November 10 ("We are in urgent and serious need of funds to pay for hosting our servers"). The drive, though hampered by the lack of an incorporated entity (donations have to be collected on the private account of a member of the Management Council and are not tax-deductible), collected $1,882 from 22 donors by November 14, among them Sanger with $250.[...]
Dear Larry, you are THAT desperate (pluralis maiestatis much?)
larronsicut fur in nocte 06:48, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Take a look at...[edit]

... this debacle. (talk) 00:54, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Oh there were hints of this coming from the Josef Mengele stuff I will have to sit down and review more carefully when I have time. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:24, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
We have a "word" for that... HCM. My favorite weird quote: "I am a History and Military Editor but Martin is not" - what does that even mean? Cripes, we do better at resolving differences between editors than that mess, without resorting to who EDITs what, and the fucking constabulary, whatever that is. Oh, and someone said "why people don't want to contribute to CZ". Yeah, nailed it. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:42, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
OK, Human, answer me this, understanding that RW isn't an encyclopedia. Person A writes something. Person B, who isn't all that familiar with the subject, announces it is full of shit, but without details. Person A tries to provide an additional article giving context and reasoning, with sources, for what he wrote. Person B calls it crap -- no sources -- and blanks the page.
Seriously, what do you do?
Now, to answer "I am an editor and you are not", I'll point out that is a very rare thing for me to say. Nevertheless, one of the roles of the editor function is to bring a temporary end to otherwise unending, repetitive, arguments. An editor is empowered to ask for sources or say a source is not valid.
We're going to have to see how this dispute gets handled. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 04:09, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Quick answer for Howard: check the history of our Gaia hypothesis article (hope I got the title right). We have any number of other articles where content was hammered out between highly disagreeing editors. But as Trent says below, those situations never seem to spiral out of control, it's meta-stuff that tends to get us worked up. ħumanUser talk:Human 20:49, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
See the thing is no user has any authority to argue a dispute just because of who they are on here. That means the side not providing sources, facts and argument loses. At CZ there is defacto authority built into the user because of who they are regardless of their argument or content. Which means that wheel wars have the potential to turn into a pissing match of whose authority supersedes whose in a given situation. Instilling authority may ease content disputes when there is a clear structure on who is the higher authority. Ala an editor versus an author. But it has potential to make it much, much worse when both individuals have invested authority. As you said we shall see. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:17, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the comment, TMToulouse. In this case, I invite anyone to look at the edit history. My opponent is not providing sources. When I've returned with sources, he ignores or deletes them. He yanks words that he considers politically incorrect out of the middle of sourced quotes.
I would add that within the Editor system, he has no Editor authority because, rightly or wrongly, he's not credentialed in the workgroups to which the article is assigned. Now, elsewhere, this is not a problem. In the Health Sciences area (please, not Healing Arts), I often rewrite or add to physicians' articles, and there's rarely dispute -- we might quote studies at each other but never with any personal animosity.
In this case, there's a bad personality conflict between the participants, and, while I don't want to get into internal discussions, there are some that prefer "being nice" to "being fair". Blanking pages, revert wars, renaming articles, and personal insults are clearly outside the rules -- but some like to see it as he and I "not being willing to get along." Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 04:29, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
I got lost from the start, the whole concept of a defense of Josef Mengele seems dadaesque. So I am in your camp, about labeling him what he is. I mean RW is all about calling things what they are. And personality conflicts of prominent users whether RW or CZ are difficult to resolve. Our HCMs though are usually about community management not so much article content. Though this argument you guys are having seems to be rooted in community management as well. — Unsigned, by: Tmtoulouse / talk / contribs 05:00, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Howard, given the volume of articles you write for cz, and the amount of conflicts you've had on their fora, if I was you I would quit and set-up my own website. You would probably overtake cz in article numbers alone within months. No-one deserves to be hassled personally over their own work. FreeThought (talk) 05:09, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
FT, that has occurred to me, but it's not a one-person project, and I like focused collaboration. While I could certainly learn Wikimedia and such, my software experience is generally lower layer -- router and network design most recently. Now, hypothetically, I would not attempt to be fringe-neutral, but Snopes does well enough as a debunker. I'd rather be very good in a few areas that I know well rather than try to cover all knowledge. Is that, I wonder, viable?
I don't think it's unfair to say I'm invoking all sorts of new dispute resolution procedures. Nevetheless, I've got enough personal involvement in CZ not to give up on it. If it folds, maybe I can have a backup plan. I don't want it to fail, and I certainly don't want to be driven out.
I am no web designer; I do have a very primitive site on fishing electronics, an area in which I consult -- much better to do at a commercial fishing port than in the desert.
Apropos of Mengele, the first argument is somewhat bizarre--the protester agrees he was a monster, but doesn't want the words "war criminal" to appear if he wasn't convicted by a court. By a reductio ad absurdum, that also means Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler can't be war criminals -- except he will allow that. Actually, there is historical reason to use "war criminal", but, in part, that's what he is blanking in war crimes and arguing about in International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg). No sources other than his view of "international law." So, he deleted the words "war criminal" from a direct quote of Robert Jay Lifton, generally considered the world authority on the psychology of genocide and medical atrocities. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 05:23, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Agreed Howard, but you wouldn't have to go it alone. Invite people on your site to help out with editing or technical work when required. FreeThought (talk) 05:38, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Feel free to set up your own site, Howard. Nobody will stop you. You can also write your own weird interpretations of international law and whatever else, without more competent people questioning some of the bizarre judgements that you think are correct. (talk) 12:28, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Pussy02.gif Miaow! 12:58, 15 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Gee, thank you for the good wishes, BON. I'm sure you are very competent at something. Thank you also for the hypocrisy of leaving this comment, and then reporting me to "authorities" at Citizendium. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 13:05, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Just for the record users here aren't suppose to "out" other users though there is some serious fudging of that rule now and then. Since our IP seems to have all but outed himself I am not going to pull a revision delete or anything unless our IP demands it. Tmtoulouse (talk) 13:34, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. i would prefer for professional reasons that my full name not appear. As you can see just from this exchange, Berkowitz has no sense of how to behave. Nobody on CZ can work with him. (talk) 23:56, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Fascinating, really. Let's look at some history of 85 -- I suppose a first octet is equivalent to the CZ-required first name. I'd really prefer Mr. 120, so I don't suggest affection or respect that do not exist in either direction.
As a start about my ability to work with people, I'd first suggest checking the number of articles I've contributed, often with productive collaboration. Literally, I don't know the number, but I'm fairly sure that it's in excess of 3,000. When asked about contributions, 85 has often suggested that he is more pure as an editor because he doesn't author content.
I've also sponsored a number of articles for Approval and helped refine them. I believe that at least one CZ person posting here authored a number of them.
In recent and not-so-recent Forum posts, 85 boasts of having set up Citizendium with Sanger. He's dissed me (the right word) for not knowing the facts, although I have been there since May 2008, was elected to the old Editorial Council and Charter Committee, obviously, by his logic, by voting early and often. So...you set up the basic principles with Sanger? I wonder if there was a shipwright that put RMS Titanic on his resume.
He's also resigned from CZ as a whole, in a huff at least twice. One of the dumbest things I ever did was to coax him back to run for the Charter Committee, where I considered him incredibly disruptive. The Charter started moving when he resigned (a 3rd time to quit, better than Sarah Palin), and the remaining 5 people worked together. Unfortunately, he insists on permanent privacy for the email communications within the Committee, which safeguards the record of his behavior from public view. I've repeatedly asked for the mailing list to be made public.
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.
Except, of course, I know rather well. Hypothetically, of course, and speaking from my own experience, I have never found it necessary to give an email reply of JUST FUCK OFF. Others may not be as flexible in Engish, or perhaps their command of the language is used to lead it into suicidal charges of condescension, superiority, and abuse. "Just canter down to those guns at Balaclava, boys." Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 00:38, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Just for the record, I have never claimed to have set up CZ with Sanger. I was an early arrival and collaborated with him in the first Editorial Council and in devising some policy. We fell out over the CZ article on the global financial crisis... (talk) 01:39, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

"See the thing is no user has any authority to argue a dispute just because of who they are on here. That means the side not providing sources, facts and argument loses." Er. Hadn't you ever noticed how often people aren't convinced by rational argument if they don't want to be? At least, you must have noticed it with people who disagree with you, even if you haven't noticed it with those who agree with you. RW is run by a group of people with similar views. People with different views will find they don't get very far. (Sound familiar?) So it's probably reasonably stable. Wikipedia runs on anarchy tempered by arbitration. You seem to have imported just the former half, and I dare say it works OK for the reasons stated. But even the WP system doesn't work properly there. No doubt lots of WP is fine, but parts aren't and there's no system for dealing with that.

The CZ principle of editorial authority is intended to do what WP is supposed to be doing and actually enforcing it. That is, WP is supposed to be based on "reliable sources", i.e. sources written by "experts", the very people who're supposed to be editors on CZ. It just goes straight to the horse's mouth. Of course it doesn't work because there are far too few editors. The new Editorial Council is supposed to deal with that. I await developments.

At the moment, is there any multi-POV wiki other than Wikinfo that actually works? Peter Jackson — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 16:34, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

I think the issue is that there has to be a standard for deciding conflicts, and some are better than others in certain situations, but not other situations. If the standard involves individual authority and the right to make editorial decisions invested in a small number of people than it works great as long as the conflict is between people without that authority, or at most only one person with that authority. When the conflict is between people who both (or all) have that authority then there is no conflict resolution. Wikipedia's is suppose to be about sourcing and NPOV, but it turns out that defining these criteria is really difficult and while the conflict can not be extended indefinitely merely because of personal authority, the bureaucracy and instruction creep and serve as fuel for extended conflicts. The other approach is the RW approach where we have a very specific criteria for deciding content. We embrace the standard scientific consensus and determine it through sources with credentials in the scientific fields. This works without the need to instill individual authority and is simple enough that the instruction creep is kept under control. But it starts to fall apart when there is a conflict over something that does not or can not have a scientific consensus view, such as politics, some aspects of religion, and community management. And low and behold that is what our HCMs are usually built around. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:42, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Not trying to go over the particular incident, but a few general points might help understanding. A number of protest mechanisms are being invoked by both sides. Unfortunately, not all the relevant article policy, or dispute resolution processes, are in place.
  1. Editors are accredited in specific fields, although we will be reviewing the entire process. Nevertheless, no Editor has authority outside his or her accreditation. In this case, we have an article in History & Military (war crime) and History, Health Sciences, and Military. I am an Editor for History, Computers, Military, Politics, and Engineering. My opponent is an Editor in Sociology, Politics and Economics, so he has no special jurisdiction over the article.
  2. Other than for cases of blatant vandalism, no Editor or Author has the authority to blank or delete a mainspace page. Without getting into details, the check-and-balance procedure calls for inserting a template asking a Constable to take the appropriate action.
  3. That both are on the Editorial Council is irrelevant. The EC is a policy and advisory group, and does not have executive powers.
  4. (more specific) I agree that politics and law are not as precise as the sciences, but it may be possible to cite a specific base, such as treaties, legislation, and case law. When the objection to "war criminal" was first raised with immediate deletion of the term, I consulted with others and proposed to put a text box in the start of the Mengele article, explaining briefly how the term was being used in an appropriate way for the time, and link to a more detailed discussion in war crimes. My opponent blanked the latter, so I couldn't do anything when I could only link to a blank page.
The true problem here, however, comes back to personality conflict. Reasonable people could work on something without blanking, revert wars, namecalling, and threats. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 20:06, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Minor point: why do you keep referring to your collaborator as your "opponent"? ħumanUser talk:Human 20:53, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
It's actually a major point. You see, the problem with people with kooky ideas is that they are convinced of their own superiority and correctness. Anyone who challenges their idiosyncratic views is an opponent. Berkowitz has never collaborated with anyone, and never will. (talk) 22:00, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
What I find interesting is Berkowitz's backflip regarding homeopathy. As I pointed out with an earlier link now in the thread archive, Berkowitz supported the article, after Sanger voted for it. It's hard to believe Berkowitz's stance on anything given a look at his history. It's like editing is just a political game, the use of the word "opponent" a Freudian slip if ever there was one. FreeThought (talk) 00:42, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
When he first used it, it made me wonder, and then Mr. 120 turned up and I thought "oh well". But when Mr. Berkowitz used it twice in a later post, that's not a "slip", that is how he characterizes his fellow author/editor/citizen. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:51, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
That is correct. It was not a slip. I would prefer other words, but I won't stoop to them.
As far as the support of homeopathy, I'm honestly puzzled. Since I'm not an Editor in any of the relevant workgroups, I would have had no opportunity to vote for or against it. My guess is that you might be reading a version where Sanger went in and set some ground rules to limit some of the worst homeopath abuses, and I supported those as the best I could get.
Someone here described me as chasing Ullman with a pitchfork, and I think that's much more accurate. I have consistently called, for at least a year, for freezing or deleting the article. It's an embarrassment and a distraction. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 01:53, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Bullshit. You voted it for Article of the Week way back in January 2009, when the state of that article was far more pro-homeopathy than today's version. [9]. FreeThought (talk) 02:38, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Bullshit in return. I may have voted as part of a compromise for freezing, or because there had been enforcement--I don't remember. but I have been among the strongest opponents of homeopathy, for one hell of a lot more than one vote. If you can't balance one ceremonial vote against thousands of words against it, something is wrong with your picture. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 03:06, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Um, Howie, that difflink is pretty ironclad. Whatever you held behind your back when voting is not public, so doesn't count. How does one determine on CZ if a vote is "ceremonial"? ħumanUser talk:Human 03:13, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
I have no doubt Howie criticized it when it suited him politically, but the fact is he still voted for it, and voting is not compulsory on citizendium. FreeThought (talk) 03:32, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

(undent) Article of the Week has no effect other than a front-page display. Nevertheless, I suggest you go through the incredible number of talk pages on homeopathy, and if you find me supporting it in any meaningful way, I'll eat the damn packets. Don't cherry pick; check the full record. Everyone does stupid things; I encouraged My Opponent to return. Life is a balance of stupidity and inspiration. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 04:00, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Another stupid thing you did was coming to rw and expecting people to support/sympathise with you in your crusade against your "opponent". Bad move there *LOL*. It makes you look like a backstabber to your fellow editors back on citizendium, knowing there is some hostility from a few editors there to rw. FreeThought (talk) 04:11, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

EZ edit boutonniere[edit]

Hey Howie (can I call you Howie?) and Four Score and V (can I call you Four Score and V?), I am sorry that this thread has resulted in both of you appearing in a less-than-positive light. Those of us who don't know either of you are just seeing the nasty part of a squabble being acted out off-site, and none of us have the benefit of respecting either of you for your better moments. You might want to stop dragging your current squabble around and just let us do our commentary thing. We self-correct pretty well when we are off-base, but when the antagonists bring the conflict into our discussion, it can warp our sense of what fine Gentlemen and Ladies you really are.

It saddens me a bit that this thread is how I am getting to know some of my potential fellow collaborators at CZ (as in, I joined, and will potentially be a collaborator with you), since this is surely not the face either of you wants to present to the outside world.

I have been involved in some many thousands of personal conflict bitch-fests here on RW, but never went to, say, RWW (yes, there is a site that reports on asininity & c. on RW!) to whitewash the unvarnished truth about said conflicts. Lumps fall as they may is fair game.

Now, the two of you, go back to CZ and kiss and make up. You're on the same side. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:08, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Clarification: I'm not saying you and your comments aren't welcome here! Just in case it sounded like that. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:11, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. I agree in principle. I have until now merely provided correcting or additional info to RW. (talk) 01:42, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
There's a lot of history, and Opponent was very deliberate as a reasonably polite term. No, we aren't on the same side and will never be. Forgetting our particular dispute, in any community, there are going to be people who won't agree. RW seems a little more willing to accept that, where the very idea is censored at CZ.
I limited myself until there was a direct attack at (talk) 22:00, 15 November 2010 (UTC). If RW has ways to avoid direct personal characterization, great. Otherwise, I'll respond when I see mischaracterizations, mischaracterizations that can be documented. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 01:53, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
You were on this thread first, Howie. Now, seriously, you two, work it out somehow. On RW we work it out by calling each other "fucker", "asshole", "incompetent jerk", "idiot", and "goat thief". It works for us but is probably not transferable past its expiration date. Defending yourselves here for looking jerks there by looking like jerks here probably isn't helping anyone anywhere anywhen. Oh, and hey, Four Score and V, you could get an anonymous account here if you want, they're still free and at least 20-30 user names are not yet taken. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:02, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Ummm...not asshole. The anus has at least one useful purpose. For that matter, getting fucked is a rather nice thing, most of the time.
OK, I'll avoid the topic. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 02:32, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Huw: that is how I also tend to deal with people -- to tell them directly what I think. Some people cannot cope with that, and try to pull rank or claim superior ability in some ways. On CZ, formal politeness rules prohibit free expression: they emerge mainly in private. i have done this a few times, so Berkowitz wants to publish all emails to prove that a few times I was rather rude to him in an email... What can I say? (talk) 03:05, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Stop sign.svg

This conversation is about to go badly downhill, inevitably ending in comparisons to Hitler, and hurt feelings all around.
Stop now. Step away from the keyboard.
Go pet a jerboa, or milk a goat.

AnarchoGoon Swatting Assflys is how I earn my living 11:23, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Just a thought on something mentioned earlier, the possibility that Howard might have his own site. What would it be called? Berkopedia would be rather unfortunate on Martin's and my side of the Atlantic. Peter Jackson — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 11:43, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Let me tell you something: to those of us (myself included) who are outside observers to the conflicts from CZ that seem to have found their way here, Citizendium does not seem like to professional Wiki that it pretends to be if one considers all the pot-shots and name calling which has occurred on this here talkpage. The fact that the conflict alone has found itself on the talkpage of a site which is critical of citizendium alone is symbolic of just how degenerative this nonsense has become. The Goonie Punk Can't sleep, clowns will eat me! 11:55, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
As I am sure you are aware, every site has some people who sometimes act in a way that does not represent the way the community as a whole acts. Please do not judge the entire community based on the off-site posts by a couple of people. --Chris Key (talk) 12:46, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
A couple of people whom that community has just elected to senior posts. At least the resignation threats have not been carried out. Yet. Peter Jackson — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 16:40, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Let me re-phrase my position here a little: you folks (like it or not) are a reflection on Citizendium. Thus, if you act childish and whiny towards each other here, it reflects poorly on the "citizens" of citizendium at large. I sure there are fine folks at Citizendium, and that the website has some uses. But, from what I'm seeing here, it looks like some of the most active members are also some of the most immature. Again, that may not be the case. But the behavior of you all here reflects poorly on that. Lord Goonie Hooray! I'm helping! 17:19, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. It looks really bad. (talk) 19:58, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Hint: the only way to win a game like this is to stop playing. Doctor Dark (talk) 21:39, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
I'd suggest that disputes are a normal thing. What's important is to have a way of resolving them. Wikinfo has one. So has WikiSynergy (the same one). CZ is trying to develop one. At present it works sometimes, as does WP, and as does, from what Trent said above, RW. Peter Jackson 11:47, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
PS Oh, and of course CP has one: the PTB decide The Truth™ and all other views are banned. OK I suppose if you like that sort of thing. Peter Jackson — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 11:49, 17 November 2010 (UTC)