RationalWiki talk:Nothing is going on at Citizendium/Archive2

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And the parasites show up[edit]

Oh look, Greg Kohs is offering his valuable services. I don't see how Citizendium could possibly set a foot wrong following the sage advice of Wikipedia Review - David Gerard (talk) 10:41, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

From wp:Gregory_Kohs:In October 2006 Wales again banned Kohs from Wikipedia, and cautioned any business from using its services, which, according to Kohs, caused MyWikiBiz to go into "hibernation".
Wow, Sanger will love this guy
larronsicut fur in nocte 10:57, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Kohs is doing what any businessman is doing - seeing an opportunity to make money out of someone else's problem. He threatened to sue ED over this article on MyWikiBiz. FreeThought (talk) 11:27, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
...is this Ken? Typical SEO promises out of nowhere, and in the "Message to the Citizendium Community" thread, he hints that he has connections to "a certain Fortune 100 media company". SEO promises and hints of having powerful friends without giving enough details to verify anything? My Ken sense is certainly tingling. (I just remembered that posting because it also contained the interesting statement "storage is cheap, and bandwidth is cheap" in a thread where the tech staff announced their 360+GB issues.) --Sid (talk) 12:08, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
He actually spends his time trolling newspaper story comment sections about Wikipedia, though they've started deleting his comments (a circumstance he ascribes to a possible conspiracy between WMF and Rupert Murdoch) and bitching on WR. Apparently he has only had one business idea in his life, and Wales slapped him down so hard his head is still spinning. He also has a blog at examiner.com which he keeps calling a "major media outlet." So yeah, parasite who's spotted an opportunity. I've dealt with him way too much myself and no, I don't think highly of him. Can CZ replicate Kohs' success? - David Gerard (talk) 13:40, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
With the combined talents of Sanger, Ullman, and Kohs what could possibly go wrong? Doctor Dark (talk) 14:21, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Is Larry Sanger delusional, a spin doctor, or a pollyanna?[edit]

He is crowing about CZ being a rising star based on alexa data. I guess this is in improvement from insulting all of WP. It was such a Ken moment though I wanted to bring it up. Alexa is of course prone to some substantial issues and using it as a metric for success is silly. But even that said, looking at the Alexa data particularly over a longer length of time shows no real change at all. What is he even crowing about? Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:52, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

  • Using the alexa-data, CZ is just a little bit less successful than Conservapedia. Kudos!
  • And we know that he is quite an unreliable prophet.
  • Annoying those who want to help is such a class-act!
So, I would go with delusional. --larronsicut fur in nocte 23:11, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
There is some great little nuggets on that twitter account. Calling out Matt Lauer over some educational baby scam he is pushing, and the adamant "I am not a Jew!" Though apparently CZ takes alexa very seriously even that voodoo crap they do about site demographics. The world needs a thorough debunking of alexa and similar sites, too many people take them too seriously. Tmtoulouse (talk) 23:16, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Or CZ could make alexa & co. part of its healing arts work group... larronsicut fur in nocte 23:25, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Alexa is unreliable. It uses the amazonaws.com web servers which many sites block due to the presence of hackbots and scrapers. FreeThought (talk) 01:42, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
I look at Alexa from time to time, my preferred metric is pageviews. RW has been gaining on and is nowadays often above CP. CZ is a few horizontal bars above us both (fits on same graph without changing scales). Larry needs to get a grip. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:40, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Also, it might be argued that the only thing CZ has "been up against" is Larry's skillset or lack thereof. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:41, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
CZ (like RW and CP) is so far down in the noise on Alexa that anyone taking it seriously in any way at all has conclusively failed at rationality - David Gerard (talk) 10:43, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Gee, thanks for saying that nicely. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:40, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
"Alexa's for them nobs, it's got nuthin' for the humble likes of us" - David Gerard (talk) 10:23, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

McDonald's people[edit]

The commentary writes itself. Tmtoulouse (talk) 00:41, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

At least the person who introduced the idea said they had eaten at both. Everyone else seems to assume that only troglodytes eat at Mickey's. Except MA, who has learned to add grill seasoning at home. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:58, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Its a great manifestation of the elitist mentality. They are the Alphas and we are the Deltas, and if only they could learn to communicate at the Delta level CZ would be a wild success. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:40, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Well you're totally misreading that, or at least what I've said. You'll notice from one of the comments that I actually worked at McD's for four years. --Chris Key (talk) 05:37, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps, for what it is worth though I wouldn't make a habit of referring to your readers as McDonald's people, or classifying users without a certain educational level as such. The "in joke" doesn't translate well. Tmtoulouse (talk) 05:42, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Chris, all you did on that thread was add the McSteak and "soda in the ice bucket" image, so there's no guilt there. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:11, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Oh and props for dealing patiently with a user pitching a fit because you just won't see the value of $10 a month shared server hosting. Tmtoulouse (talk) 06:14, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

So, it's either a lack of people skills - or a lack of communication skills. The effect is the same for someone peaking behind the (first) curtain of Citizendium: not only do the citizens think that they are smart (no problem with that), but they think that everybody else (i.e., non-citizens) isn't (mega problem!)

--larronsicut fur in nocte 07:37, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Typical ivory tower mindset "I didn't mean that, can't you plebs read my mind?". It's hard to see a site that refers, however off handedly, to "the unwashed masses" in so derogatory a fashion ever recruiting a readership among those same masses, not to mention recruiting authors. This seems to me to be a good part of CZ's problem: the Cordon Bleu diners have left the day-to-day of the site to the McDonalds people (Larry & Tides). Unfortunately they've effed it up and left them in the lurch. 08:06, 19 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Citizendium fork underway[edit]

Author Thomas H. Larsen tired of the in-fighting on the project has set up a separate Citizendium fork. FreeThought (talk) 08:40, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Kindergarden! and that's the opinion of an RWian! larronsicut fur in nocte 08:46, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Chicken with golden eggs[edit]

Citizendium editor and former constable Hayford Peirce started an action to ban Howard C. Berkowitz, who by himself contributed easily a factor of fifty more articles than those two high-profile Citizens combined. --P. Wormer (talk) 09:43, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

A link to the proceedings. (Locke? Seriously?) There is also some action on user pages in Citizendium itself. --ZooGuard (talk) 09:50, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I agree Paul, he did contribute a lot of articles but many of them were stubs or "Lemma" articles as you citizens call them. A parallel would be like User:Blofeld on wikipedia. Generated a lot of short articles then got huffy when challenged on the validity of some of them. Ended up getting banned for abusing other users. It's clear from the forum comments that all is not well with citizendium, and IMO it's likely citizendium will not last beyond January 2011. FreeThought (talk) 09:57, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
The situation reminds me of this, though it seems that there is not much Spanish gold left. :) --ZooGuard (talk) 10:06, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't know about Blofeld, but I do know that WP can easily afford to lose a few authors. --P. Wormer (talk) 11:05, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
WP and its editors are irrelevant here, using them as an example is fine if people who the backstory. For instance, I could bring up the "age" template at WP and user #188, but if you aren't familiar, it doesn't help. The point is honors do not come from raw numbers. A young wiki is an easy place to "create" hundreds or even thousands of articles - when everything is a red link, one can start dozens of articles an hour. The humble editors who follow, adding links, categories, references, etc. are then unsung. My edit count here is staggering, amusingly, in October is is roughly the same as Howie's at CZ. No one thinks that makes me more than someone with a lot of spare time on their hands. It takes more information than that to "rank" contributors. If most of my edits are typing "lol" at the SB or WIGO CP, or writing lazy stubs, I'm not helping much. If I have a pattern of starting an article then making hundreds of edits to it, building it into something to be proud of, I have only "contributed" one article, but I have surely done something far more useful than if I had "created" 50 3-line "lemmings".
Not sure where I am going there, but there is one thing I do want to say.
CZ is currently facing a serious tripartite crisis:
  1. Ownership of the entity is undefined
  2. Finances of the entity are collapsing
  3. Hosting of the entity is grossly over-priced and probably over-endowed (too much capacity)
If these issues aren't resolved by the end of the year, CZ will go off-line. In the meantime, as we have been watching more closely since the "leaking" that led to the above observation of crises, we see more and more bickering and bureaucratic red tape instead of a clear and sincere effort to straighten out the mess. As some wit at Harvard (Dershowitz?) once observed, the battles are more acrimonious in inverse proportion to how much they matter. ħumanUser talk:Human 17:50, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

361 GByte[edit]

Files at Citizendium
Files at RationalWiki
Files at Conservapedia
As Sid and Trent wondered, this seems to be an awful lot:
  • There current data-dump (These dumps contain the following namespaces: Main, Talk, Image, Image_Talk, Mediawiki, Mediawiki_Talk, Template, Template_Talk, Help, Help_Talk, Category, Category_talk, CZ, CZ_Talk. This is the current version of each page only, not the histories. These files are updated daily.) takes ~60 MByte in zipped format.
  • They have less than 9000 files and images, taking 1.6 GByte in their current form. Though there are some marvels - have a look at the ten biggest files:
File Size in MByte
cz:Image:Developmental and medusa-specific expression of Hox genes in Clytia hemisphaerica.jpg 13.38
cz:Image:Kangaroo.jpg 12.29
cz:Image:Developmental and medusa-specific expression of Hox genes in Clytia hemisphaerica (part).jpg 9.79
cz:Image:Eyjafjallajökull during 2010 eruption.png 9.39
cz:Image:Open data stickers.png 8.96
cz:Image:STSatland.jpg 6.3
cz:Image:OKCon2010 banner.png 6.21
cz:Image:Lower Manhattan from Staten Island Ferry Corrected Jan 2006.jpg 5.44
cz:Image:CO2-O2-fMRI-all-over-time.png 5.34
cz:Image:Eyjafjallajökull in 2008.png 5.16
(And no article links to the poor kangaroo. Somehow sad.)

So, where do these 361 GByte come from? IMO, there are to possibilities

  • the data is stored in an unsuitable format (i.e., plain text). Wouldn't be much of surprise, as they have always problems with their database.
  • they have a outdated copy of wikipedia rotting in their cellars as they once intended to fork from the mother of all wikis.
articles at CP, prognosis by L. Sanger
And how much space will be used in the future? There will be a time when no-one remembers Sanger and his prognosis of exponential growth... If they plan to get 1.5 times of the space they currently need, they should be able to go on for two - three years.

larronsicut fur in nocte 08:38, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Heh! Only checked 2 of those pics; think Daniel Mietchen could do with some edumification on image sizes. although a 9 Meg PNG is bloody fantastisch! 08:58, 15 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
CZ: Files by Up-loader
RW: Files by Up-loader
CP: Files by Up-loader
Daniel Mietchen should take your hint: his files are on average bigger than 1 MByte - therefore he is number one in the list of up-loaders by size, but holds only the 11th place by number (164 files). larronsicut fur in nocte 13:34, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Our datadump is 55.8 megs (RationalWiki:Content dumps) so the total amount of text on the site is comparable. Also our heavily edited pages tend to be particularly big and particularly heavily edited (saloon bar, twigo, etc.) so our revision history is can't be that much smaller than theirs. Our database is sitting around 30 gb. Where is the extra 300 gbs coming from?
This is actually a very important question as storage size is the limiting factor in the ability to use a VPS to run your site. At the moment they require too much storage. If they brought that storage requirement under control it could cut their projected hosting costs in half. Tmtoulouse (talk) 13:31, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
It can't be the size of the pictures - though they use twice as much space as Conservapedia for roughly the same number of pictures.
I'm not sure about the way the data is stored, but I get the impression that Citizendium's model is particularly clumsy: an article - and his older revisions - can be very efficiently (in space and time) compressed.
And I don't know anything about Postgres... But until now, they had now incentive to keep their database small, but perhaps they thought larger is always better.
larronsicut fur in nocte 13:47, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Is this a symptom of being run by academics? Even the computer types seem to be a tad rarified from the little I've seen. A Bigger is Better mentality? 14:02, 15 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
larronsicut fur in nocte 14:24, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

There's a reason kangaroo.jpg is orphaned - it's shite. Crappy scan of a poor photo. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:41, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Don't be so harsh: Scanned from a photograph I took sometime between 1974 and 1977 when I lived in Australia Obviously, it's the best shot of a kangaroo D. Nessett took while staying in Australia for over three years. larronsicut fur in nocte 07:59, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Some answers:

Folks. Believe me, we are using 381GB of data. Remember, the CZ wiki isn't the only application we have. We have the forums, we have apache, which produces prodigious log files. We have XML dumps and postgres backup dumps. We have images that take up a large amount of space.

Arguing with the facts isn't really all that helpful. Dan Nesset

  • apache's log-files can be huge
  • afaIk, they back-up daily.

Surely, something can be done about that and

  • no, the images don't take up a large amount of space

larronsicut fur in nocte 07:59, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Hmmm... As my profs would say: "I see some room for improvement." *taps chin* --Sid (talk) 08:14, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Yep, the actual wiki seems to be comparable in size to RationalWiki, the rest is overhead. larronsicut fur in nocte 09:48, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
And they still don't want to get rid of that overhead, and instead want to sucker someone into paying for it. Wake up guys, you don't have the luxury of wasting so much space. Start by getting rid of that wikipedia dump, then that unused, crappy kangaroo photo. -- Nx / talk 09:54, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
If they're keeping all their database dumps in the same place as the database, it doesn't say much about their technical competence. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 10:08, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps that's why they need two separate physical servers: to be able to keep the backup together with what is being backed up. :D --ZooGuard (talk) 10:35, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. Keeping two physical servers in the same building for backup purposes is like buying two items of each piece of furniture for your house and assuming that if it burns down you'll just use the other one. If you don't have an off-site backup, then you don't have a backup. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 11:27, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't have access needed to find out exactly where that disk space is used, but I can confirm that we do indeed have several off-site backups. Also, don't forget to double the database size you are thinking due to http://test.citizendium.org --Chris Key (talk) 12:30, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Don't tell me: They stored their image files twice... larronsicut fur in nocte 12:37, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
No, just the database. --Chris Key (talk) 12:43, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Well if the DB backups are being stored offline, you don't need to include more than the latest one (plus tx logs) in the data you're transferring to a new server. How much does that reduce the total by? –SuspectedReplicant retire me 12:55, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

I don't know - I don't have access to all the servers. I don't actually know how far back any backups/logs are stored on the servers. I am, however, talking to the rest of the tech team to see if there is any way we can reduce our disk space requirement. Whether we even need to depends on the hosting route we take. --Chris Key (talk) 13:02, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

The reason it matters is because VPS is the cheapest cost-per-resource for ram/cpu/bandwidth. However, due to the nature of how VPS works its the most expensive cost-per-resource for storage. VPS is also superior because of the ability to scale your cpu/ram requirements for exactly what you need. If you can't get your storage under control you will likely be forced into the dedicated server route which is non-scalable and you will wind up paying more for resources you don't need. It is a matter of hundreds a month. It is all moot if you find someone to host you for free, but the better your technical stewardship and the more reasonable your requirements the easier that is to find.
P.S. Why do you need a complete copy of the database for a test wiki? We use rationalbeta all the time to test extensions and upgrades without the need of a completely database copy. If you have to have all the content import single page history XML dumps you don't need the user logs, and page histories. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:08, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
This has all the signs of Vanity, trying to be bigger than what you are. Several Dedicated servers, 381Gb, and what have you got to show for it in the end? CZ is still a start up at heart it's obvious that it hasn't grown up as of yet. Part of that process will be going from a "would like" to a "need" mentality. Also, Apache Logs should be deleted once they have been compiled into simple statistical reports, not to do so is a waste of space and a privacy issue. Prom3th3an (talk) 07:19, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Image size isn't that significant. There are individual commons users who've uploaded far more material.[2]Geni (talk) 14:49, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

So lets move the discussion from here[edit]

I have been convinced that there is enough activity here to justify RationalWiki:What is going on at Citizendium?. So lets head over there for the day to day happenings and leave this talk page for the article. Tmtoulouse (talk) 06:43, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

We should probably seed the talk page with a cut and paste of most of this one. Probably back to the post about their finances from the sekrit forum? ħumanUser talk:Human 07:10, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
A lot of that discussion is in the "stale" state but I won't complain. Tmtoulouse (talk) 07:12, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I kinda scrolled up and ended up thinking the same thing, basically. More work than worth, and no big deal not to do it. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:18, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I brought most of it over here. There may be some referential confusion, but not much, really. If anyone thinks any given thread belongs back over at the article talk page, please feel free to cut and paste it back over there. ħumanUser talk:Human 17:00, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

David blocked[edit]

David Gerard is blocked from CZ because of "Extremely offensive insults or personal attacks; direct and harsh attacks on the moral character, or personal or professional credibility of a project member". I tried to find these insults, where did you publish them, David? --P. Wormer (talk) 08:35, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Err ... see here (we've moved) 08:42, 20 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Yes, by D. Matt Innis. I can't tell you how upset I am not to be able to use the account at Citizendium I edited twice with three years ago. Gosh, it's good that Martin has such recourse to being called the gold-plated cunt he is on another site. Which is still language less foul than the actions it describes - David Gerard (talk) 11:07, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

  • Now all of David Finn's posts protesting about being banned have been removed from the forums. FreeThought (talk) 13:26, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Why haven't I been blocked? David gets the boot for calling Martin naughty words, but my constant insinuation that the founder of CZ was incompetent, at best grossly negligent in his duties, and walked off with $15k or more in cash from CZ's start up funds before quickly exiting stage left, that is okay right? It seems like the "off-site" policy is in effect, but only for people that insult Martin? Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:31, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

You were mean to Matt too, and he's been the banhammer wielder of late. You must be living a charmed life. Just imagine the horror if you weren't allowed to edit CZ any more - David Gerard (talk) 21:45, 20 November 2010 (UTC)


Perhaps Capturebot should be set to monitor this page, too? If Citizendium goes the way of the dinosaurs, we'll need some documentation for posterity, or at least to demonstrate "how not to do it". --ZooGuard (talk) 06:49, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, will have to manually ad the capture tags I think. Tmtoulouse (talk) 06:59, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I think we can put this page on CB2's list, can't we? Since it seems CZ plays fast and loose with oversight (the dreaded constables?), it might be a good idea. PS, how long til "they" find this page? ħumanUser talk:Human 07:15, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
The "they" is hard to define, the spectrum of interaction for established CZers runs the gambit from likely very sympathetic to our critique, to just a tad under Karajou in their hatred of us. The extremes will get here first. Tmtoulouse (talk) 07:17, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Martin is clearly happy to destroy the village in order to take control of it - David Gerard (talk) 11:23, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
On the subject of caps, I've put this together. Somebody with stronger wiki-fu needs to add it to the file dropdown menu. --Ψ GremlinZungumza! 14:13, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Ahahaha. The CZ wiki is CC by-sa. Is there such a label on the forums? I just looked and couldn't see one - David Gerard (talk) 14:20, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
The forum has just been notifiedimg. Wonder how long that post will last - David Gerard (talk) 14:43, 20 November 2010 (UTC)


As far as I can tell, they're all "infinite. How loverly. 06:56, 20 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

This civility policy is right up there with the 90/10 rule. Tmtoulouse (talk) 06:59, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
(EC) I think that their software does not support shorter blocks. Remember the case with the turkeys where the user was indef-blocked and the admin unblocked her manually 24 hours later? Or was that just admin incompetence?--ZooGuard (talk) 07:02, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
There block log is full of shorter blocks in the hour/day range and their version of MW supports blocks of different lengths, now I know they have done a hack job on the software so maybe its broken but seems an odd thing to break. Tmtoulouse (talk) 07:06, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I've always suspected the infinite to 24hr ban reduction was only because the original injustice was publicly mentioned on RW. Maybe that's just me but it did look suspicious at the time. FreeThought (talk) 11:49, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Martin likes the ideaimg of a ratio rule. That said, CZ arguably needs at least a guideline to suggest Citizens do some actual writing and editing and not just bitching on the forum and engaging in bureaucratic battles to the death for insanely low stakes. (Those are Martin's job.) - David Gerard (talk) 14:50, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I do sometimes speculate if one of the advantages that wikipedia has is that mediawiki is natualry unfrendly in terms of allowing debates that it pushes people towards giving up and writing articles.Geni (talk) 14:54, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
You missed your chance to convince Werdna and Danese to cripple LiquidThreads then ;-p - David Gerard (talk) 14:57, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Also, RW shows that if people really want to spend all day talking rubbish they'll use any Massively Multiplayer Online Notepad - David Gerard (talk) 14:58, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Eh? a mixture of wikipedia's community conservatism and use if messy wikimarkup on talk pages should take care of that. I expect LiquidThreads to work on new projects but on existing ones it could get messy. Throw in the fact that the leading general disscussion areas (WP:VP WP:AN WP:AN/I etc) are not even talk pages (WT:RFA is the exception) and there is a lot of scope for rendering it unusable.Geni (talk) 15:01, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Capturebot2 not doing its stuff on talk page[edit]

Captures here weren't being captured. So I added this page to the list explicitly. Anything else I need to do? - David Gerard (talk) 14:55, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Ah, there it goes - so adding a page doesn't add its talk page. Carry on! - David Gerard (talk) 14:57, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Don't forget to add the capture tags manually, though. ħumanUser talk:Human 16:59, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Forking = Treason[edit]

When an open source project regards forking as treason, rather than anyone's right, that's a sign that it's a dead project walking.

The last big example I can think of was XFree86 versus Xorg. XFree86 was all but stalled, with vendors having to maintain huge patches themselves because the main project was so slow to accept changes. When Keith Packard, who's personally driven X for twenty years, said "enough", they expelled him.

Compare the present situation with Wayland, the new display manager to replace X in Ubuntu and Fedora. Xorg has always treated Wayland as an interesting new possibility. And the three people pushing for Wayland to replace X in Fedora? All Xorg lead developers. "Traitors"? No, people who have the actual aim in mind: making good open source display software.

Xorg remains alive and well even as several lead devs work on its replacement. XFree86 appears to have been abandoned, with no release in two years and no commits since Feb 2009.

Wikipedia has had any number of forks. Fred Bauder has been with Wikimedia since it was wikipedia.com - his Wikinfo fork has not led to him being regarded as a "traitor" in any way, he's as highly respected as ever. Wikipedians have always had great interest in the forks and wished them well, including Citizendium.

You can't keep your project together with paranoia. There is no Iron Curtain around an open source project - David Gerard (talk) 15:14, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

The thread is getting more hilariousimg every minute. --Sid (talk) 15:46, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Wow... Meanwhile, the meter is still running at a dollar an hour. ħumanUser talk:Human 17:20, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Now a blog post - David Gerard (talk) 17:34, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
At least we know whose been asking for the forum posts to be deleted, - our good friend Martin. I note on the forking issue he has accused Thomas H. Larsen of being a "Johny-come-lately"img taking away content, until others pointed out to Martin anyone can take away content. Thomas has been on citizendium since 2008. FreeThought (talk) 17:57, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
USE CAPTURE TAGS! One WIGO has already been deleted before we could wrap it in capture tags - David Gerard (talk) 18:10, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Thomas H. Larsen hasn't contributed much - mostly, it was talk talk talk :-)
I'm not so familiar with the major players at CZ - and I assume that I'm not alone. So here pics for the edits from Jan 2010 - Oct 2010. I'll update these at the end of the year - if this is necessary.
editors by group in 2010 at CZ
editors by account creation in 2010 at CZ
larronsicut fur in nocte 20:31, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

The allegory[edit]

You know what I like? The whole analogy system used at CZ (citizen, councils, constables, treason!) provides the perfect structure for the police state allegory starting to emerge from all of this. I am getting flashbacks to 8th grade and Animal Farm, off with one evil dictator, a new democracy, new leadership, a new dictatorship. Soon the whole charter can be replaced with "All citizens are equal, but some are more equal than others." Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:01, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Nonsense, it's just a division of powers: sysop = constable (behaviour) + editor (content). Agreed, though, the terminology is unfortunate. Ro Thorpe (talk) 18:44, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Oh come on there are files now!img. Its either East Germany or highschool. Tmtoulouse (talk) 19:09, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
lol That talk of "files" is being repeatedimg in another thread. *sigh* I had hopes for Citizendium when it started.--Xyr (talk) 21:23, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
High school? Kindergarten, surely! 19:23, 20 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Ah, but surely they won't get fooled again? ħumanUser talk:Human 17:28, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Never really looked much at this stuff until now, but that Martin chap takes himself awfully seriously, don't he? --Kels (talk) 21:02, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

He's got his head so far up his arse that he's looking out past his tonsils. How did such a total tosser get elected to anything ? 21:48, 20 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Governance mystery: Citizendium Foundation[edit]

There was apparently an entity of this name being set up in 2006. It was to have a bank account, actual money and everything. Do any of the present elected members of the CZ governance structure have the keys to this organisation or this account? Has a peep been heard from it? CZ:We aren't Wikipediaimg currently says "the Citizendium Foundation, a project of the Tides Center" which is breathtakingly unclear. Is anyone aware of corporate papers for a "Citizendium Foundation"? - David Gerard (talk) 21:40, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

I will try and find the post but I remember reading that Sanger let the registration lapse on the CZ foundation and it died. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:48, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Here we goimg. For an interesting trail down delusional path go to the mailing list here download the archive and just do a search for citizendium foundation and see how the way its talked about progresses over time. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:54, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Right. So it really is just the Tides Center, with Larry owning citizendium.org ... If there was a legal fight about who owned it (we've had all the other battle-to-the-death-for-insanely-low-stakes behaviour, so that one's highly plausible with the fucked-up egos manifesting at present), it could go in all sorts of directions - Larry may have the domain name, but he's expressly said that the Charter-determined and elected community governing organs are running the show, which would bite him if he decided they weren't fit to hold the name any more. There's only so far you can go in actually doing stuff (securing new hosting and sponsors) in a state of dicey quantum superposition, where everything stays in the air so long as no-one actually observes it. Interesting times - David Gerard (talk) 22:24, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Oh man. I should know better than to say stuff like that. Tom Morris's blog post notes that intimations of legal action have already been made. YOUR DONATIONS AT WORK - David Gerard (talk) 23:32, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
David: the legal threats were not about Tides/Larry/CZ Foundation. If only they were. It was on a far more trivial matter than that... –Tom Morris (talk) 23:54, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I understood that from the context. However, the fact of reaching that level of nuclear threat is the important aspect - David Gerard (talk) 02:32, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Sanger has made claims in the past that he had the paperwork ready to turn Citizendium into a legal entity, but for reasons known only to himself decided against filing them. It's interesting because in past public statements he has said Citzendium is a Tides project. If Larry was to let go of ownership of the servers, would he have to seek permission first from Tides given there may have been some legal agreement over the use of the name Citizendium? FreeThought (talk) 05:46, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

"Live" articles[edit]

So I went to the page that describes what they are. Can anyone sane explain to me what it means? ħumanUser talk:Human 06:33, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Any article that they are actually working on or have been working on? --ZooGuard (talk) 06:52, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
As opposed to...? Thanks for trying, though. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:09, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Quite simple: articles that aren't being worked on, back in the old days when the initial import happened. –Tom Morris (talk) 11:27, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Simpler: a live article is one that's not simply copied from WP? Peter Jackson 11:50, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

First rule of forum post removal:[edit]

This thread has now been removed. TK would be so proud.

You don't discuss forum post removal.

I just opened the forum's "Recent Posts" page, left it open for a while (CURSE YOU, SETTLERS OF CATAN DS!) and then saw a thread called "Illigitimate suppression of free speech by the Chief Constable". I clicked it... and it had been removed already. I didn't catch the entire thread, but the the last few posts since I still had the Recent Posts tab open.

I'm no expert on CZ, and I'm not going to say "X is right and Y is wrong" in most of the current debates, but one thing I learned from watching CP is that you don't build trust by quietly erasing posts left, right and center. Especially not the posts where people are protesting the removal of posts... --Sid (talk) 13:30, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

I noted on the CZ talk page that all of David Finn's posts protesting his ban from CZ have been removed from the forums. There are probably others removed that I haven't checked yet. FreeThought (talk) 13:51, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't really know much about CZ (or copyright law), but from what you guys have said about them, it sounds like they have a pretty nasty few senior editors who really dislike RW. While all of Conservapedia is fair game under their Creative Commons licence, could they kick up a shit storm about us posting full screenshots of their forums? I know our usual approach is, "Meh, if people want stuff removed, they can just ask." but with all the confusion about who has what account, and who hates who... it doesn't seem impossible for somebody to try to sue RW. Are we legally allowed to upload forum discussions? Is it clear fair use? DalekEXTERMINATE 13:55, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
(I realise it probably isn't an issue. Just bringing it up in case. BLAH)DalekEXTERMINATE 13:56, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
They could kick up a fuss, and they'd lose. It's blatantly fair use for news reporting and commentary - this is a news page. Under copyright law, "fair use" can include up to 100% of the quoted work. If they're deliberately disappearing stuff, then preserving it is also the morally correct thing to do. If they tried to get the screencaps removed from RW, I'd put them up myself and say "come on if you think you're hard enough" - David Gerard (talk) 13:58, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
So how long before the CZ forums are locked from public viewing entirely? - David Gerard (talk) 13:58, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Wow, I've never really followed CZ much, but the recent stuff that's going on (bannings, deletions, affiliate money debacle, Sanger seeming to go more anti-WP every day) and it looks to the uninformed outsider that they're a pretty sick community. --Ψ GremlinPrata! 14:02, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Given that CZ was launched with much public fanfare, you'd think the MSM might be interested in knowing about the financial irregularities being alleged. DalekEXTERMINATE 14:05, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Times Educational Supplement could run a third story - David Gerard (talk) 14:07, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
And to the informed outsider, it looks like ... ? - David Gerard (talk) 14:07, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
To this very uninformed outsider it looks surprisingly like Conservapedia.--BobSpring is sprung! 14:44, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Ditto.--Xyr (talk) 18:24, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
What is "the MSM" in this context? THe first few Google hits were unhelpful. Pashley (talk) 11:30, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
MSM -- Nx / talk 11:31, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
EC) Usually Main Stream Media. 11:33, 22 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

"Vipers nest"[edit]

I've never really followed the CZ drama but it appears that Sanger might be getting unhinged enough to be interesting. Wikimedia must have one of the largest server banks on the internet and are offering help. Those are pretty serious delusions of grandeur if he thinks CZ is above that. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 20:02, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Do they actually offer help? I thought that some non-Wikimedian was just floating the idea. --ZooGuard (talk) 20:18, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Some well-known volunteers, including me, floated and supported the idea. There haven't been a lot of opinions from WMF staff. I still think it'd be a nice idea, if the legal governance can be untangled before CZ runs out of money - David Gerard (talk) 21:42, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Sanger's latest tweet is about iguana farts. *facepalm* --ZooGuard (talk) 20:22, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, it seemed a clear rejection before it was an even formalised offer... not good at all. At best the response should have been "thanks for the concern, but we'd rather not be supported by another charity as there would be legal issues" (which is true). Scarlet A.pnggnostic 09:35, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
In practice they've now got enough cash on hand to buy themselves enough time that if they can't fix things a year's hosting by the WMF won't help.Geni (talk) 04:39, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Is that an iceberg?[edit]

Quick! Get those deckchairs sortedimg 21:18, 22 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

An awful lot of discussion for a no-brainer decision... They really do enjoy being bureaucrats, don't they? Occasionaluse (talk) 21:27, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
The best bit: 'I'm also ready to vote yes once all agree that we can vote.' Why do they feel the need for so many rules? Broccoli (talk) 22:14, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
In theory, the rules would simplify things by removing ambiguity and establishing protocol. In practice, there are too many fucking rules. Occasionaluse (talk) 22:17, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
I also noticed the odd "Vote on whether we should vote" mechanism when I idly checked EC-2010-014 (Which is about some undisclosed reform of how they label stuff in the EC... I think...? Yet another highly important thing that requires official and formal discussion and two voting processes). I'd epically facepalm if CZ goes offline during "Formal discussion before we vote on whether we should vote on whether we should switch hosting to company X"... which I'm seriously afraid is going to happen. --Sid (talk) 22:33, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
I started to read that. Then the blood started obscuring my vision, and my elbows exploded. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:50, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm slightly shocked CZ thinks Google Analytics is a good idea. Wikimedia has always refused it, and adding Google Analytics to site JavaScript is a good way to immediately lose your admin bit, because it would utterly destroy the protection of our readers' privacy. Which we take very seriously indeed. We do not hand your data to anyone.
It probably helps that WMF has always been aggressively disinterested in popularity numbers, except insofar as they make people expect more of us and cost more in servers and bandwidth to serve
If CZ wants numbers at least as good as WMF's, then the logging by Domas, the collation by stats.grok.se and Erik Zachte's analysis scripts are theirs for the asking. (Indeed, I think something like them should be a downloadable bundle to attach to a MediaWiki installation.) - David Gerard (talk) 22:37, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
You make a very good point, particularly because they're discussing data security and privacy in the hosting thread (though on a more national level, admittedly). In any case, their own logs should be the most reliable and customizable stats source they can get (though the trick is to find/write a tool that parses all the data and shows you what they want to know - I didn't check if the ones you mentioned do what they need). Do you readily know what Google Analytics tracks again (within one site and across sites)? I'm not in any condition to research right now (yay, sleep deficit x.x), and I only recall opting out of this "service" a good while ago, along with various other "services" like it, but it would be interesting to know. --Sid (talk) 23:56, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
There are some fairly interesting things you can do if you have enough information about your readers. Indeed I strongly suspect that there are elements of the WMF that would like to do them. It's just that they know that there are people who would oppose it who either have inconvenient shell acess or know where rather a lot of bodies are burried.Geni (talk) 01:03, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, approximately everyone around WMF thinks it's an appalling idea. I'm pretty sure Erik wouldn't stand for it and would ever so politely slap down anyone who thought it was a good idea, so I think there's no imminent danger.
I think the CZ folk need to think this one through. "Wikipedia will never give your data to Google, we respect our readers' privacy. However, Citizendium just gave their readers' data to Google." - David Gerard (talk) 01:34, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Would they need to make any sort of disclosure to their users? Or is it just assumed that such things are part of the price one pays for using the internet? Doctor Dark (talk) 01:44, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Traditionaly such things get mentioned in the terms of use no one reads. In practice if you move much outside large sites that do their own internal tracking google analytics is watching you. Mind you so are about 20 different advertising companies. Wikipedia is unusual in that it doesn't allow third parties to track you (well other than smaller projects that localy add google analytics without anyone centeraly noticing).Geni (talk) 04:36, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the worse this idea is. I've WIGOed it - David Gerard (talk) 01:40, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

There are some really nice folks there[edit]

I registered here so I could write there are some really professional, nice folks at Citizendium. I also believe in supporting the under dog hence Citizendium. Finally, I do believe in trying to create positive change and working to change things that could be changed. It's always easier to criticize someone or something rather than work to improve it. As this is my first post here feel free to edit any style mistakes. MA LittleRedWriter (talk) 21:34, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

We have offered many, many suggestions for proactive change, both practical and more ephemeral. The problem seems to be that some of the biggest obstacles in project growth are ingrained in the zeitgeist of the site. And two, the leadership structure is intractable and inflexible and doesn't seem to have the ability respond rapidly to suggestions from either the outside or the inside. The bureaucracy has created an extremely conservative (little c) governing system. But the policies being conserved haven't worked. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:39, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
CZ is an interesting concept, and I'm sure it draws its fair share of well-intentioned editors. It's just funny how that doesn't work out. Occasionaluse (talk) 21:41, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
EC) Doubtless there are some nice folks there but the image displayed, particularly in the forums, is of an intolerant, elitist mob. 21:42, 22 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
There are some nice people there and I've worked cooperatively with some of them. As with any group it's the more strident ones that draw the attention of outsiders. Doctor Dark (talk) 21:57, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Makes one think of the old saying: "Wanting to be elected should be a disqualification for nomination". There's one or two "officials" who are giving a very bad impression of CZ. 22:49, 22 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Analogy to 1984 is cliche, but...[edit]

Wow, a user is being put on trial to be stripped of all rights and banned from CZ. Users come to the primary instigator to ask him to give evidence for why this is being considered and should be allowed. The Ombudsman shows up and says that evidence can not be posted because it would violate the civility clause of CZ by saying something bad about another user.

The mobius strip school of thought on community management. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:18, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

At least they know they can come here to ask what the fuck is going on. Even though they won't get any answers - David Gerard (talk) 18:53, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
WTF, seriously WTF? This is actually insane, this is in poe's law territory of absurdity. This is a Dilbert cartoon level of management. A user is being accused of wrong doing and put on trial to be voted off the island, they setup a trial with judge and jury to review the evidence, but no evidence can be posted because outlining where said user apparently violated policy is a violation of policy. Holy crap. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:33, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
It's not even fun to watch, it's just pathetic. larronsicut fur in nocte 21:46, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
More like Kafka's The Trial than 1984. DickTurpis (talk) 21:59, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
More like Brazil crossed with Catch 22, IMO. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:44, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I think this video pretty much sums up the current work of the EC... --Sid (talk) 22:14, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I kinda like it. The line between trolling and bureaucracy has vanished. Occasionaluse (talk) 22:17, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Martin Baldwin-Edwards really is a gold-plated cunt, isn't he. Despite having directly stated above that he is the instigator of the action, he is refusing to recuse himself from judging on it. Such immaculate corruption will surely set the new era of Citizendium off on the right path flawlessly - David Gerard (talk) 00:41, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Apart from your foul language, the fact is that the motion to remove Berkowitz as an editor came from the Secretary of the Council (after the first secretary resigned in sheer exhaustion. Try getting your facts rights, before spouting off. (talk) 01:38, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
There is no sense in which my language is fouler than your behaviour in this case - David Gerard (talk) 02:52, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Whatever his other faults, Berkowitz has the integrity to post here under his real name. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:45, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
He is but Berkowitz is no saint either, publishing other citizens personal emails and posting goading comments in the forums doesn't help his cause. FreeThought (talk) 01:04, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Berkowitz could win my whole hearted support by completely gutting the homeopathy article right now +25 Internets if he replaces it with ours. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:12, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
He wouldn't do it. It's all political. I could wait next to a tree all day and still Godot doesnt come. FreeThought (talk) 05:34, 20 November 2010 (UTC)


I watch CZ mostly because of my interest in community management, so I always like to take a step back and see what lessons can be learned.

We have had our fair share (maybe more) of HCMs some of which surpass whats happening on CZ at the moment. Plenty of people leaving and never coming back discussions strewn all over the places, massive policy disputes, etc. But their is a quality to the CZ HCM that seems to make it worse. At first I thought it was just my intrinsic bias and outsider vs. insider perspective on the comparison but I am starting wonder if there might be something to it. I would like to propose a few major areas that separate RW conflict resolution and CZ that make us more stable/resilient.

The first big one is that 99 percent of conflict between wiki users took place publicly and openingly on the wiki on RW while it seems most conflict at CZ gets buried in private e-mails and discussion hidden from view and leaks get deleted. On the surface this is suppose to create a more cordial and professional environment on the wiki itself, but in practice it confuses people not involved, and makes those involved look silly.

Another big one is that every user on RW could say whatever they want, propose solutions, participate in discussions and decision making during conflict. CZ however has translated their idea of expert guidance of article content into their committee style management of the site. While expert guidance of content creation may work, no user is going to put up with being told they need to shut up and let the experts decide in private community management issues. That is going to make everyone feel disenfranchised, put down and ignored. It becomes particularly bad when the conflict is between the experts because they have no perspective.

And lastly, my god do they have policy wonks. RW has always had a distaste for too much policy, and too much reliance on written policy. We have "guidelines" that provide a loose framework to help people have an idea of whats acceptable or not, and then we wing it. Yeah this has caused some problems for us in the past, and some people feel we should have a more established set policy. But the by the book policy thumbing going on at CZ is just at the absurdest level as pointed out above.

Solution: re-enfranchise your total user base, and stop hiding behind narrow interpretations of written policy. Open up and post all the evidence, communications and proceedings in full public view, allow full public feedback and discussion and take strongly into account the will of your total active user base regardless of alleged expertise or title. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:44, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Addendum, I see a lot of analogies to law and practices of various countries popping up on CZ. There is one huge reason this is a dangerous path to follow. Online communities have multiple properties that make them very different. The biggest one by far though is simply the right to leave, and the minimal barriers to exit. In real life if someone lives in a country with rules and leadership that are oppressive, secretive and disenfranchising their are strong barriers and so people are compelled to stay and do the best they can. In an online community, with tons of options for alternatives the external barriers to exit are null, and the only thing you have is internal barriers such as the feeling of being vested in the site and the community. But that vested feeling will only go so far. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:51, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
As an EC member (and, unconnectdly, a minor RW contributor), I'm not doing it because of policy wonkery. Sometimes the only way to fight absurdity is with more absurdity. You guys aren't even only seeing the tip of the iceberg of crazy that the EC often becomes. Some of the stuff sitting in my inbox makes Conservapedia seem like a bastion of sanity and reasonableness. There's plenty of things I disagree with about the RW critique of CZ (the "oh, look, we are correcting errors by proxy" stuff is a bit silly - just sign up for an account and fix it yourself. We don't bite.) but please do keep challenging the bureaucracy and pseudoscience. I'm hoping the bureaucracy will eat itself (and I'm hoping the MC will sort the financial and hosting situation out) into oblivion and we'll be left with productive sensible people to run the site sanely.
If the Titanic does go down, you can be pleased that the homeopathy article is going down with it. ;-) –Tom Morris (talk) 23:18, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah my "punch line" above was going to be "oh yeah and the homeopathy article still sucks." But I forgot. Come on Howard, if your going to push the buttons push the buttons, copy and past our homeopathy article to CZ. Tmtoulouse (talk) 23:22, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
As for homeopathy, my pathetic excuse is only this: I joined the site to write about what I know – philosophy, religion and so on. I didn't join to argue about homeopathy. Healing Arts is an oversight that should have been fixed by now, but hasn't been due to bureaucratic nonsense. –Tom Morris (talk) 23:31, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
"just sign up for an account and fix it yourself" is not an option if there's just one thing that one could "edit" - who's gonna go through that palaver to correct e.g. the correct term for a cat or a misplaced apostrophe? Much easier to sit and laugh at the "experts". The whole (visible) hoo-ha is hysterical. Image is all in this internet world, good luck recruiting new authors. 23:46, 19 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Tom, why don't you and Daniel Meitchen (sp?) and the other sensible folks over there get together and put it on the line? "We've wasted enough time on Councils and the frickin' Charter and other mindless bureaucracy. And while we're at it no more prancing egotism. We're going to cut out the crap and focus on what we're supposed to be about here, which is writing a reference work. If you don't like it the exits are thataway." Doctor Dark (talk) 01:51, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Has it been established who actually owns "Citizendium" as yet? Assuming people would follow, who is able to wield that piece of power? - David Gerard (talk) 02:52, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Sanger owns the domains, as far as the database goes it depends on exactly what the contract was with Tides. I assume the contract stipulated that Sanger owned the rights to the database in order to maintain independence, but if not then the argument seems to be that Tides owns the database since CZ is one of their projects. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:06, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
The database dumps exist and the sysadmins are smart enough to make sure copies of the private information tables are saved; I'm sure it could go up somewhere else tomorrow. However, could they call it Citizendium and gain control of citizendium.org? That's the important question: who owns the name "Citizendium" and can legally tell other people not to use it - David Gerard (talk) 03:32, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
That appears to be Sanger. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:47, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Over time the barriers to leaving an online community have been growing. It's never going to be quite as dramatic as the real world, but then the consequences of NOT leaving will never be so bad either. Online you won't be killed, or starve, or even really be tortured (OK pages full of Flash and jumping flashing GIFs are annoying but they aren't torture). Rather than Wikis, consider MMOs like World of Warcraft. Today (probably) Blizzard Entertainment is going to run a few server side scripts - uploading new data to the live system... but inside the virtual world the consequence is that places people had made their homes for the past several years are destroyed, visibly smashed, burned to the ground or drowned under the sea. Many WoW players have spent literally WEEKS of real time in this environment and today it's changed almost beyond recognition. They _could_ say "We reject this resolution" and just quit like a fan of a series of novels who refuses to read the new one after hearing her favourite character is killed. But they won't. They'll stay because of their existing investment of time, even though Blizzard can devalue it at a moment's notice.
Blizzard knows how important this investment is, that's why if you quit paying them today (assuming you don't call up and insist they delete you) they'll keep everything you did in stasis, awaiting your return not for the paltry few months spelled out in their contract terms, but forever. A WoW character is an unfinished story thread in your life. It's pointless in the end. But then, what isn't? (talk) 16:32, 23 November 2010 (UTC)


I bet this is doing wonders for the fund raising effort. Tmtoulouse (talk) 02:18, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Their fundraising tally slowed down considerably after Sanger's vipers comment. FreeThought (talk) 02:24, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
That maybe just a coincidence, Milton posted that 24 people had donated, the relatively impressive $2k figure is then due to a few people digging very deep. Something that is likely going to be tough to keep doing. That 24 seems to roughly correspond to the core active user base of CZ. I think everyone that cares donated and that's that. Tmtoulouse (talk) 02:29, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I read that and those were my thoughts exactly. They have no idea of how long they might have to "wait" before being able to raise another $2k. Which, by the way, we could run our comparably sized wiki on for a year and a half. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:04, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I have made a point of not donating. Partly because I haven't got any money and also because I am not pissing away good money after bad on expensive hosting we don't need. –Tom Morris (talk) 03:34, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Cz banner.jpg

Don't worry, no need to thank me - David Gerard (talk) 03:57, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

That's way to politic and modest for Sanger. Obvious forgery is obvious. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:59, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

@David Gerard, for what you was blocked at CZ? Giving the block reason, it should be something interesting, but I can't find anything anywhere. Trycatch (talk) 06:22, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Indeed, whatever happened I guess it was memory-holed, since his "last" contrib is now from Jan 2008! ħumanUser talk:Human 06:27, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I find it quite ironic in the citizendium forums they are talking about maintaining free speech, yet they block David indefinitely. FreeThought (talk) 06:29, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Ha, ha I bet it was for his comment here. Tmtoulouse (talk) 06:29, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
This is indeed the case - David Gerard (talk) 11:24, 20 November 2010 (UTC)


Heads shall role!. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:25, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

"Shout out to the RationalWiki kids" - Tom Morris, judging by your photo, many of us, and I certainly, are older than you. Have some respect. Even though we are off-site. Calling us "kids" is disrespectful in a way that shows what a bunch of pompous asshats CZ editors really are. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:41, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Why so serious? –Tom Morris (talk) 11:25, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Dunno. I didn't mind at all. Doctor Dark (talk) 13:53, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Human, you're not 50-something, you're 10-something five times over - David Gerard (talk) 17:21, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Lol, this is srs bzns! ħumanUser talk:Human 17:22, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Tom Morris resigns from the EC[edit]

Tom Morris resigned - and for the best of reasons: he still supports the project of Citizendium, but doesn't want to be part of its byzantine bureaucracy:

No, I am resigning from the Editorial Council simply because I believe the council to be dysfunctional and the current governance model is not sustainable and is also out of step with the needs of the community at this point in time. Tom Morris

Will it help? larronsicut fur in nocte 22:50, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Can I just say here that although I don't care whether or not CZ lives or dies, it has been the best soap opera to be found over the last few days. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 23:05, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Can I just say "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch"? No I can't. But I agree 110% with the possible bladerunner. 23:13, 20 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
(Whoopee... my first RW edit conflict!) Well, I do care, and hope they pull through this mess. I was a fairly active contributor at one time and left for basically the same reasons as Tom Morris. At the time I put the obsession with bureaucracy and rules down to Sanger and hoped that things would loosen up when he left but we have seen just the opposite. Doctor Dark (talk) 23:15, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Doctor Dark: did you see in my resignation that someone (I won't say who) believes that you and me are the same person? I don't know about you but I would like to firmly deny this! Of course, in full conspiracy theory style, my denial will only fuel the conspiracy more. ;-) –Tom Morris (talk) 23:21, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Everybody sing: "I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together..." Doctor Dark (talk) 23:57, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
The problem, as I've noted, is that Sanger created a system that favoured bureaucracy trolls (and cranks) to such a degree that almost everyone else has left, by a process of evaporative cooling - David Gerard (talk) 23:25, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Interesting link there Gerard.--BobSpring is sprung! 11:33, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

I thought his analogy to open source development was inaccurate, but I don't have a lot of experience. Does anyone developing such software give a fuck what your handle is so long as your code is good? Occasionaluse (talk) 21:42, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

It depends what you mean. Pseudonyms (like Alexander Peslyak being credited as "Solar Designer") are almost always fine, but larger projects (being more likely legal targets) will usually forbid contributions that can't be tracked to an individual. The person or people hiding behind the name "PaXTeam" aren't able to contribute to Linux, for example. Some other large projects require copyright assignment or equivalent legal paperwork, and obviously you can sign with a pseudonym or create a front corporation, but if you don't want to be identified at all there's no way a legal contract can be created.
Essentially it's a legal liability thing like WP's "living persons" rules. Sure, you could still end up in court over something and the name you got turns out to be bogus, the IP address is some web cafe in Nigeria, the phone number is a pre-pay cell phone, but at least you can say to the judge "Look, we try, and we're co-operating as much as we can" rather than "Oh, we didn't realise the law applied to us". Judges take a dim view of the latter response. (talk) 17:28, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Forking bad - mass-import good![edit]

Yeah, I see absolutely nothing wrong with taking almost a million articles from Wikipedia and then just slapping your own name onto them after improving them a little bit.img And this from the same crowd who went apeshit over the suggestion that somebody might take CZ articles and *gasp* do their own thing with them. --Sid (talk) 01:21, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

They'd be the laughing stock of the internet. It would take them YEARS to work through that many articles. DalekEXTERMINATE 01:25, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
The biggest issue is could they even support the bloat in the database? The 381 GB figure they listed above is makes no sense with their current article count, it seems to be a by product of how they store the database, backups, format, version who knows. But a million more articles would likely just be impossible to support. Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:27, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Even if they (somehow) manage the technical side (which, yeah, sounds unlikely, given that even their current space requirements are off the charts), they try to replace one problem with another one of the same kind: If they don't have the people/time to write drafts, do they have the people/time to select and improve imported articles? I figure it's non-trivial and time-consuming to go through a featured/high-quality-rated article and find meaningful things to improve than it... --Sid (talk) 01:40, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, the Citizendium has become just one big role playing game. FreeThought (talk) 03:55, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. It's almost exactly like the other Citizendium (except for the stuff about the Jews). Not quite an example of Poe's Law but you can see it from here. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:04, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
The new fork has been given the name "Tendrl" (I immediately thought of the krynoid in Doctor Who's Seeds of Doom, when I saw the name). j/k. Two users at present. FreeThought (talk) 09:50, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
It's a pretty random name, right? Any other suggestions are welcome. ;-) And, of course, I'd love to hear what you folks think of the ideas there at present—although the site is rather a mess. Thomas Larsen (talk) 10:07, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Most sites start out quite messy. I'd like to see, pardon the pun, Tendrl grow. I think you have potential. You should run a logo competition. FreeThought (talk) 10:57, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia article is a mess[edit]

Wikipedia:Citizendium is a mishmash of stuff current as of various dates between 2006 and the present. Apparently no-one can be bothered going through and at least making it coherent, let alone up to date. Anyone reading this interested? - David Gerard (talk) 01:46, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

I think you just broke one of WP's rules... ħumanUser talk:Human 04:37, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Ah, no I didn't, not even a bit - saying "This article could do with attention" is always good. Particularly as I really do mean "make it an excellent NPOV article to the best of Wikipedia standards" rather than suggesting anyone push a viewpoint - David Gerard (talk) 09:42, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
I was just kidding. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:22, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
"Sanger announced on the CZ mailing list that only articles marked "CZ Live", those which have been or will soon be worked on by Citizendium contributors, would remain on the site, and all other articles forked from Wikipedia would be deleted." There's the extra 3 billion bytes. I bet they "deleted" them wiki-style, not on the back end. So they are all still there in the database... ħumanUser talk:Human 05:08, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Obvious candidate, yes - David Gerard (talk) 09:42, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
And, yes, I know it's been mentioned ("the rotting corpse of an out of date copy of WP in the cellar" was the description, IIRC), but knowing they started off with a full copy leads one to wonder what happened to it. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:22, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
I just visited the wikipedia page and noticed a User:QuackGuru has reverted back a number of changes made to the article. I know who QuackGuru is, they have an active account here on RW as well as CZ, but I know Trent will get upset if I identify them by name. FreeThought (talk) 09:05, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Forum viewing[edit]

At least 2 users have complained that the constables have blocked their IPs from even seeing the forum. I didn't know that was possible. I thought it was entirely public. Peter Jackson 11:53, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Well, from what I know, it's entirely possible from a technical POV since you can just blacklist IPs through the server config. However, this strikes me as absolutely petty and overkill. Especially since you likely could just use a proxy to view the content just fine. Are you/they sure it's not just some glitch maybe? --Sid (talk) 12:26, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Actually its a standard feature of the SMF forum. They can see the forum itself, but all they see is a message telling them they have been blocked. They cannot read posts. --Chris Key (talk) 22:45, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
What is the reason for doing such a thing? I can see preventing someone from posting if they were spamming or otherwise being abusive, but why would you prevent someone from reading the forums? I'm genuinely curious. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:20, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
Same reason you make a point of banning someone from a site they haven't been on in three years: when authoritarianism turns into farce - David Gerard (talk) 09:11, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm not a constable so I'm not sure why it was done in these specific cases, but I can tell a possible reason. It gives people a cooling off period. If you block somebody from posting but allow them to continue reading then they will keep reading and not take a break to think about their behaviour and cool down. When they are once again allowed to post they will then vent all that built up frustration all at once. However, if they cannot read, then they have to do something else. This gives them chance to cool down and when they come back they will hopefully be in a better frame of mind.
As for banning somebody who hasn't been there in years, I have two comments. Again, I have no knowledge of the specific circumstances so this is just speculation. First comment - if a Citizen complained that another Citizen had been making comments that was against the rules of CZ then the Constable dealing with this complaint would probably look at two things - the comments being complained about, and the fact that the user is a Citizen. In making their judgement about what action to take, they would not need to look at that users history. Therefore it is quite possible that the ban was put in place without knowing if the user was active or not. Second comment - if a Citizen (even an inactive one) is allowed to break rules without the appropriate action being taken, then this gives other Citizens who break the same rules a reason to say that they are being treated in an inconsistant manner with previous similar offences. --Chris Key (talk) 22:00, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
As I said: "when authoritarianism turns into farce." Its only conceivable value was internal signaling: "behave, Citizen!" 'Cos it's not like Citizens can just get up and leave. Oh, wait - David Gerard (talk) 00:04, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Banning someone from viewing content that is open to the public to view seems to say "we value you less than random people from google that will never sign up for our site." You are right that it is more likely to prevent people from coming back and venting, just probably not in the way you are hoping for. Banning people for things that they say on other, completely non-affiliated sites is petty at best, and highlights that gnawing, gangrenous infection of authoritarianism that will drive a wedge through your community. But I bet the homeopaths have a cure for gangrene. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:17, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I thought that CZ didn't believe in educational blocks, but relied on its real name policy and the feeling that we are all academics, so WE ARE NOT SHOUTING, WE ARE PARTICIPATING IN A DISCOURSE...
Therefore, the only block-period is infinite for those who come to CZ under false pretense: all others are behaving well - by definition .... larronsicut fur in nocte 22:25, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I have not complained anywhere (other than here) about RW or any of its participants. I agree with you that there is the need for serious and open debate about issues like banning. (talk) 23:19, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
This claim is frankly unbelievable. You're claiming Matt Innis decided himself with no input from you? - David Gerard (talk) 00:04, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
The Constabulary do not seek input normally: there was certainly none from me in this case. On the other hand, I can see that many might ask for a response to gratuitous foul language... (talk) 00:31, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Wait, so you fuckknuckles can't call each other fuckknuckles or spermwits???? How on earth do you get anything done if you have to bottle all that up and pretend you're not angry or frustrated with the fuckwits and spermknuckles you are "collaborating" with? No wonder the site is a disaster about to sink. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:14, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Matt Innes is a bit of a loose cannon. He seems to be making decisions with disregard to policy, including editing article content in which as a constable he shouldn't. FreeThought (talk) 14:43, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Which content do you think he shouldn't have edited? He is free to do any editing that he wishes, he just can't act on a constable on articles he has significantly contributed to. --Chris Key (talk) 16:56, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

God descends from his throne[edit]

[1]img To offer them the treasure map. 07:44, 24 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Great! Outstanding competence! Larry Sanger really stands above all this mundane crap involving money... larronsicut fur in nocte 10:35, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
"I don't think we have collected from these accounts, well, ever. I'm sure I have the login info, if anyone wants to check it out." The problem is in their "real life" most of them have desperate grad students to do things like add, subtract, log in, do laundry, etc. So when it comes to actually doing a competent job of a "real world" exercise, the clues, they are less than zero. What pisses me off personally is that these arrogant fuckwits all probably get paid $80k a year to be useless. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:10, 26 November 2010 (UTC)


Shouldn't this page be: What is going on at the Citizendium? They seem to have a bit of a hang up on that. 08:30, 24 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Which is exactly why we shouldn't give a shit. Keep it as is. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:28, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
The definite article formulation was Larry's: not so many are keen on it these days. It sounds sort of Victorian English, and a bit pedantic to me. Not really what we want to encourage on CZ :-) (talk) 00:36, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
I would prefer What's going on at Conservapædia?, too. --larronsicut fur in nocte 22:41, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
A quick count of the Charter turns up 24 mentions with "the" & 1 without (Article 46). Peter Jackson 12:02, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Yep. Much to my disapproval. I'm surprised that is there one without: that is their mistake. (talk) 13:57, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
That moronic formulation has been a pet peeve of mine since I first encountered it. Makes sense to find out that it was general fuck-up Sanger's idea. Nobody says "the Rationalwiki" or "the Conservapedia" or "the Wikipedia" (except Colbert, and he's taking the piss). ħumanUser talk:Human 06:02, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Creepy and Bang out of Order[edit]

Seriously, have you no shame? These people edit in good faith, with their own names, aware that the entire world knows what they are doing. This is a major step backwards for RW, and frankly its a complete and utter disgrace. What a disgusting and spineless innovation this has been. MarcusCicero (talk) 23:36, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Flipped back to trolling? Well, you were only fooling yourself. Evil drug Phantom! 23:52, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
MC, have you read any of the silliness these self-appointed experts have been up to lately? Also, I find it amusing that you, an anonymous handle, make such a defense of them. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:22, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Ya, whatever. The difference is that what you are doing is essentially stalking. I don't and never have approved of WIGO:CP just so you know, its all very childish and banal. This is especially insulting because most users of CZ are well intentioned and willing to use their own names. But jesus, do whatever makes you feel good about yourselves, don't bother with things like introspection - or the possibility you may be complete assholes - but while you're at it, accuse your detractors of trolling. I don't think its possible to think any less of you than I do at this moment. Trolling my fucking arse - you lot have some cheek. MarcusCicero (talk) 16:38, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Stalking? By reading an open wiki and its associated forum and discussing what they are going through? ħumanUser talk:Human 17:20, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
People talk about other people, particularly other people whose activities overlap areas of interest. Take a look at any major source for news and information, bet you will find that the huge over whelming majority of it is talking about, well people. What do you talk about on rationalwikiwiki Marcus? Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:24, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
This kind of creepy blow by blow report, exaggerating every minor drama, stalking the edits of every otherwise insignificant person, is simply wrong. By all means criticise the project in an article - and the CZ article is quite good - but this kind of activity is entirely unsavoury and amounts to online bullying frankly.
What I'm getting at is that these are real people, using their real identities, and do not deserve to be subject to such humiliation. If any of you had any decency you would also come to that indisputable conclusion. MarcusCicero (talk) 17:30, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
False premise. We do not have, and do not seek to have, any sense of decency. Doctor Dark (talk) 17:33, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Tune the hyperbole back about 7 notches. There are roughly three categories of interest that get discussion 1) is the state of the community in terms of its technological and financial support which is of general interest to a lot of people 2) the development of the community in terms of its rules, policies and governance, CZ plays itself up as something different and special that will revolutionize online community management, highlighting the flaws and pit falls in their approach is an aid in advancing concepts in this area (which I personally find interesting), 3) the issues with pseudoscience and cranks which is what RW is about.
The discussion here also emerged organically from our general interest in issues at CZ to the issues of what was happening right now. The page is of interest to a small subset of people and merely facilitates the conversation. We are not the NY Times and a WIGO CZ isn't going change the world.
Since WIGO CZ only reports observations any "humiliation" is only due to a disconnect between a persons actions and what they think is right or wrong. Tmtoulouse (talk) 17:39, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
I must say, it is comforting to see Marcus returning to his sole core competency. --Kels (talk) 17:42, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
I am not going to partake any further in this discussion as it has become clear that some posters are unable to look beyond past history or able to critically evaluate their own behaviour in light of commonly accepted standards of human decency. Trent raises a fair point and I do not substantially disagree with him, but I think he willfully overlooks the fact that this is a stalkfest aimed at people using their real identities in good faith. Its unsavoury. It leaves a slimy taste in the mouth. RW loses its moral highground. Everyone loses. This is my last word on the matter as there is no point continuing this if accusations of trollery are going to persist in such a vulgar fashion. MarcusCicero (talk) 18:28, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
"I am not going to partake any further in this discussion..." Promises, promises. --Kels (talk) 18:31, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't consider it stalking. I consider it criticism. Some of it is fair, some of it isn't. Whatever. I think any mature person should welcome criticism and learn from it. –Tom Morris (talk) 20:09, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
MC, my real name is only two clicks away from here, if that. WHAT IS YOURS? Yeah, I thought as much. You love your anonymity while preciously regarding those who post using their real name - like me. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:21, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Tangential side note: Many peoples' "real names" are just an email away, particularly with gmail. Huw, you know mine, and I'll admit, I know MC's. Blue Talk 06:00, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but dear Blue, I would not type it here. You know my name from on-wiki, so that's no big deal. PS, MC is a being a moron. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:31, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, of course, that's why my comment was "tangential." (Facepalm.png) Blue Talk 06:49, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
My feelings are hurt! (Massively) What makes you think that Graham Mc Namara is my real name anyway? That name implies that I am an Ulster Scot/Presbyterian, yet I have at several intervals explained that my background is Northern nationalist/Catholic. Yet another cunning strategem. Lol. MarcusCicero (talk) 23:27, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Actually, my real name is Blue van Meer. Not Miranda. Bizarre, right? Blue Talk 02:06, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Helpful hint[edit]

You (The Citizendium Editors Council) should really categorise or namespace your wiki. ECs & PRs are scattered about like confetti. Once "passed" the're all in one place but really, what a way to run a ship! I suppose suggesting it here ensures that it'll never happen - oops! 09:00, 24 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

There is now a system, but with the relics of the previous non-system that was the result of internal disputes. It looks messy because of this hangover from the immediate past (which was just not worth the effort of rationalising). Be patient. (talk) 11:00, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
It's been four years. When will it be ok to look at the site? ħumanUser talk:Human 06:00, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
H, it's the EC Wiki I mean. 09:30, 26 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Doh, thanks Susan. When I see "EC wiki" I always think "edit conflict wiki", which makes me think of one with a particularly malicious bot running around it... ħumanUser talk:Human 19:21, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

What is the beef with Citizendium?[edit]

I've only heard brief mentions of this site (so I'm not familiar with it), but why does RW have a bone to pick with it? It's not incredibly notable, and seeing as it's at least a serious project (unlike CP), I don't understand why you're going out of your way to critize it.

For that matter, compare the RW articles on Wikipedia and Citizendium. The Wikipedia article is essentially a puff piece disguised as satire, while the Citizendium article is a harsh criticism (about it being filled with "pseudo-science", etc). IMO, Wikipedia is way more needing of criticism - it's had its fair share of scandals, admin abuse, defamation, bias, inaccuraces, etc - plus, it's a much, much more notable site than Citizendium (but as far as I know, there's not even a WIGO for Wikipedia).

Is this site essentially a Wikipedia fan club? If we're going to criticize Citizendium (a site which most people have never heard of) then how the hell can we justify treating Wikipedia like it's God's gift to mankind? It isn't - I used to think it was awesome, until I started to read up on the the pervasive corruption that goes on there. Take a look at wikipediareview DOT and spend a few hours reading the topics there if you think WP is so perfect - there's some pretty good stuff you can find out here (some pretty funny stuff too).-- (talk) 23:13, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Anyone who wants to can go expand our WP article. Our coverage of WP is independent of our coverage of CZ. There is really no Tu quoque argument to be made that we can't criticize CZ for something if we don't also criticize WP for it.
That said CZ has institutionalized wide spread support for pseudoscience and quack medicine as part of its existing policy, something WP certainly has not done. Any site that give Dana Ullman any authority at all is deserving of ridicule. My initial interest in CZ was from their homeopathy article (it is the anchor that has brought a lot of attention for them). From there I learned about the healing arts work group, Ullman's "expertise" and Sanger pushing out the crazy. Pseudoscience and quack medicine are topics of interest for RW and that's how the coverage began.
A lot of us are also interested in community management and governance structures, another RW mission is looking at authoritarian practices. CZ was founded on a certain authoritarian belief system, and its just getting more and more extreme over time. Dialog and exploration of this move, and its consequences is interesting and fits our mission.
WP is the size of a city, its tough to get a handle on the interplay of its governance structure. Smaller sites like CZ serve as easier petri dishes to watch both the good and the bad decisions and how they effect communities. Tmtoulouse (talk) 23:24, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. I'll just post some notable problems and scandals below. I won't accuse anyone on this site of being outright hypocritical, but for a site as big and relevent as Wikipedia, I think that some of these scandals definitely deserve a mention in it's article:


"Wikipedia doesn't release personally identifiable info... yada...". Wikipedia admins once posted a user (who was a vandal albeit)'s personal info on the site, including his real name, date of birth, address, and even his SS number! And even though they admit they may post personal info in order to combat "vandalism", this gets abused by power hungry admins regularily - to the point that users even "suspected" of being sockpuppets have had their info posted publicly by some abusive admin.
Wikipedia has misused donation money regularily, and based on its expense reports, a huge, huge portion of its donation money doesn't go toward basic necessities. For example, CEOs of companies similar in size to Wikipedia make only 1/10th the salary as many Wikipedia executives do. In particular, there was one notable scandal where a charity donated money to Wikimedia for use in a "Wikijunior" project, but the the project was never completed, and the money was never returned. Jimbo also once spent Foundation funds on a fancy dinner with wine and massages at a Russian parlor.
For a time, Wikipedia unknowingly had hired a convicted felon to manage their finances. + :A lot of us are also interested in community management and governance structures, another RW mission is looking at authoritarian practices. CZ was founded on a certain authoritarian belief system, and its just getting more and more extreme over time. Dialog and exploration of this move, and its consequences is interesting and fits our mission.
Jimbo claims to be the sole founder of Wikipedia, though he and Sanger both founded it. Now that Sanger isn't with the project anymore, Jimbo wants to take sole credit for it. +
Wikipedia does host explicit images (yes, and I have no problem with it "hosting porn"), but the problem is that it's essentially turning into a free porn hosting service (example - there are over 1,000 penis pics hosted on the site, but all but a few are actually used in articles), yet any attempt to have unused images deleted brings cries of "censorship" just because the pics are explicit.
Wikipedia has allowed underage users to be admins and have access to deleted image files (which may include hardcore porn and shock pics which aren't appropriate, or even legal, for people that age), but Wikipedia claims "it's the parents' fault not ours for letting them on the site". Sure...
Several long-term, high-ranking admins have been caught in corruption scandals. Example, an admin and arbcom member "Essjay" (who was also a paid employee of Wikia) claimed to be a 42 year old professor, but turned out to be a fraud (he was a 21 year old man with no degrees). He also was caught using his fake credentials to win content disputes. Another admin "Jossi Fresco" did a major rewrite of Wikipedia's conflict of interest policy, which removed a section which "forbid disciples from editing articles on their gurus." The problem? He was a follower of a controversial guru named Prem Rawat, who is considered to be a cult leader by many, and Jossi had his article whitewashed for a long time, forbidding any mentions of his group being a "cult". Jossi was later banned after it came out he had used sockpuppets to gang up on other users and win arguments.
Another admin "SlimVirgin" was revealed to be a likely MI5 agent who was making edits to articles on behalf of the UK government, which included whitewashing many articles to give them a pro-Israeli or pro-Neocon point of view. "She" is still one of the most powerful admins on the site. She also collaborated with another user Gary Weiss (who is now banned) who was trying to defame a business rival of his by editing his article, when this person complained on Wikipedia about it, SV banned him and forwared private emails and other info on to Gary Weiss. +
Wikipedia often takes content written on Wikipedia, and moves it to it's for-profit site Wikia (thereby descreetly generating revenue from it's supposedly "free" content). There are also 1,000s of links to Wikia systematically placed in Wikipedia by Jimbo or other admins, in order to increase his site hits. +

-- 23:47, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

[citation needed], and not to WR or Greg Kohs - David Gerard (talk) 23:59, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
As I said, anyone who wants to can go to our WP article and edit it. The argument that we can't criticize CZ because we don't criticize WP enough is...fallacious. Most of the "scandals" listed above don't really impress me much. Larry Sanger has demonstrated gross incompetence at CZ and has lied about his role, and over played the significance of the site to the point that I am inclined to believe the party line at WP about Sanger just cause Sanger disagrees. I don't care about pictures of penises, or the exposure of poor defenseless 16 year olds to deleted naked pictures. Also a lot of the problems you listed stem from individuals and don't reflect institutionalized policy. The homeopathy article at CZ wouldn't be nearly as interesting if it wasn't "approved" and pushed on the front page by Sanger himself. If you want WP criticized head to the WP page. Tmtoulouse (talk) 00:09, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Hmm Wikijunior was of course completed in so far as that terms has any meaning with regards to a wiki. Admin's don't have acess to logged in user's IPs. If they are able to work out who an account belongs to they are using third party sources. Jimbo has largely given up on the sole founder thing and thats not in any case really wikipedia's problem. If people have web acess it will take them little effort to find stuff worse than wikipedia's deleted image database. Wikipedia doesn't move stuff any where. People are of course free to copy stuff from wikipedia as long as they follow licenseing terms. Rather a lot do as can be seen at WP:Wikipedia:MIRROR.Geni (talk) 01:23, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
My wiki's breath smells like wiki food - David Gerard (talk) 23:59, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
The header of this section is: "What is the beef with Citizendium?" what's all this irrelevance about Wikipedia? Looks like: when in a tight corner, lash out indiscriminately to me. 00:23, 25 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Why does the above make me think Rob hired a ghost writer? --Kels (talk) 01:20, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Think you mean: "...Citizendium's hired Rob as a ghost writer"; Kels. Very true! Exactly his M.O.: if you cant defend your own p.o.v., attack someone else! 01:28, 25 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Nah, this doesn't wander off onto bizarre tangents about Mao or the Weathermen, and I don't see any smearing of Obama at all. Couldn't be Rob, unless someone's editing his stuff seriously. --Kels (talk) 01:45, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
No, it's a distillation of tropes from the Wikipedia Review/Gregory Kohs shared-universe fantasy world. The process is to assume the worst possible faith, and extrapolate - that any action is evil unless proven otherwise, and that if you can't see the evil then think of something and assume it's true unless you get strong evidence against it, and even then it might as well be true. Obviously I am personally biased, but I nevertheless suggest that before taking on board any of that rant, you get checkable references for each assertion or insinuation that aren't WR/Kohs. To be on-topic, I find myself quite unsurprised that Larry Sanger joined WR a few months ago - David Gerard (talk) 10:31, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
"Jossi had his article whitewashed for a long time, forbidding any mentions of his group being a "cult"." Same thing happened in citizendium regarding Scientology. They had two known members who whitewashed the article on Scientology, removing references to the word "cult". That went on for sometime before, one even got elected to one of the councils before leaving at their own accord. FreeThought (talk) 01:34, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
This one is true - Jossi also lied about being in said group, and got an opponent who was an expert on his group kicked off the wiki. The above rant is a mix of truth and bollocks, and any given assertion needs a good third-party reference before being taken on - David Gerard (talk) 10:33, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
"Also a lot of the problems you listed stem from individuals and don't reflect institutionalized policy.", Trent? Well of course, because WP hasn't got any institutionalized policy. It's anarchy tempered by arbitration. Content policies aren't enforced at all, and behaviour policies are enforced haphazardly at the whims of admin and Arbcom. Peter Jackson 11:56, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
"What is the beef with Citizendium?" "It's not incredibly notable". - I remember the fanfare and reporting in the British newspapers when CZ was first launched. If I recollect its aim was to be a Wikipedia written by experts. As has been documented here, Sanger was projecting some exponential growth which hasn't happened. The fact that CZ is still small and not notable is an indictment of the way it has been run and a disappointment for those of us who thought that it might be a more authorative version of WP. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member 12:42, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Yep. One thing Sanger did really well was get publicity for his new thing, just as Wikipedia was going seriously mainstream. He rode the wave of publicity really well. And then he crashed and burned, and CZ is now "oh, wasn't that that thing where ..." CZ has a WP article because it was really quite the media story for a longish while - David Gerard (talk) 21:03, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Agree with above. I don't really have any strong beef with CZ. But, like Conservapedia they tried to be the next Wikipedia, to unseat them or at least rival them, and they've failed, badly. Like CP they won't admit it, harboring a delusion that every minor problem WP has is an indication that the site is doomed, as if, were that true, they will somehow reap the benefits. A statistical analysis has shown that we here at Rationalwiki have more active contributors than CZ, and we harbor no delusions of grandeur.
The only real area CZ can make a compelling case that their articles are better than WP's is in their approved articles; beyond that they're basically written much the same way WP's are, except with a tiny fraction of the total number, it is much easier to patrol for POV and vandalism (another CP similarity). They have 155 approved articles; only slightly better than Nupedia. Areas such as religion, philosophy, and literature have 1 approved article each, sports has 2, business and music both have 3. Even these articles, as we've seen with Homeopathy and the like, can be questionable. DickTurpis (talk) 13:38, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
You are correct but I will take it a little further. CZ not only has woefully incomplete coverage but they have failed to deliver on quality. Considering their aspirations to quality I would expect for their average article to be pretty darned good, and their approved articles to knock my socks off. But that's not what we see at CZ. Their unapproved articles are all over the place in quality, and even their approved articles tend to be satisfactory rather than stellar (though there are a few gems). In short CZ does not presently have anything content-wise to distinguish themselves from WP. They need to find their ecological niche and fill it. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:35, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

As regards notability, it's interesting to see that WP itself recognizes CZ as notable. Obviously they've got a conflict of interest in anything to do with themsleves & their competition, but they have got an article on CZ, & 1 on CP, but none on RW, WI or WS, I think. Peter Jackson 18:18, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps it has something to do with such things as its criterion for notability (coverage by reliable sources) and its "no original research" policy?
Do you seriously imply that a) Wikipedia is a monolithic entity, and b) it should recuse itself from writing about any website that calls itself its competitor? Oh, and RationalWiki does not see itself as competing with Wikipedia, AFAIK. It doesn't even see itself an encyclopedia.--ZooGuard (talk) 18:48, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
I think Peter Jackson's comments illustrate just how moribund CZ has become. It has fewer active users than RW - a two-bit forum of atheists, nerds, and curmudgeons that isn't even notable enough for a Wikipedia article. DickTurpis (talk) 21:26, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
RationalWiki did have an article, but it was turned into a redirect to Conservapedia, although why is not clear given an AfD result was to "keep". FreeThought (talk) 23:54, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Ironically, I believe a bunch of Rationalwikians believed the site was not notable enough in its own right, and favored a redirect (something I cannot see Conservapedians ever doing). DickTurpis (talk) 00:05, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
"WP itself recognizes CZ as notable" - this shows a complete lack of understanding as to what "notability" means on WP. It doesn't mean "important", it means "we have reliable 3rd party sources to back this." As such, CZ will always be notable, since there are teriary sources to rely on for the article. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:57, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
People seem to be misunderstanding me. I'm perfectly aware what notability means on WP. Does it have some other, objective meaning? And I'm not an active member of CZ. I'm an active member of Wikinfo (an admin in fact). If CZ sorts itself out I'll return. Peter Jackson 11:58, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Maybe you could rephrase, then? And yes, surely you know that on WP "notability" is a term of art with a precise meaning, as opposed to the broader "common" meaning? ħumanUser talk:Human 19:19, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Motion rejected[edit]

"It has now become apparent that the Council will be able to function as planned and that the motion concerning Howard was an unproductive hindrance to our attention to other matters."img --Sid (talk) 11:55, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Just fucking wow. In full:

"After five days of almost continuous consultation among members of the Editorial Council, and after five days of intensive feedback that we have been receiving from many members of the Citizendium, we have decided to withdraw the motion that was made to consider stripping Howard Berkowitz of his Editorships. This is due in part to the changed composition of the Editorial Council, as well as the highly successful implementation of the new organizational structure of the actual workings of the Council so carefully crafted by Martin Baldwin-Edwards. It has now become apparent that the Council will be able to function as planned and that the motion concerning Howard was an unproductive hindrance to our attention to other matters. The original motion has now been officially placed in the Motions rejected link on the Main page of the Editorial Council wiki at http://locke.citizendium.org/cz_ec/Motions_rejected."

I think the deck chairs are finally facing in the correct direction! Or was she being sarcastic? Is that allowed on CZ? I know here we can call each other fucking assholes, but they are limited in their discourse... PS, yes, I had a nice thanksgiving at my neighbors' home. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:31, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Good for you, you fucking asshole. --Kels (talk) 21:35, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Nice link. My favorite was Kim's, dated 4/16. Kels, you are such an unmitigated blowtorch, I don't even know why they let you out of your cage to get near the keyboard attached to the internet. Fucking asshole. I have to say that every other post I read at the CitizBottomIum public toilets Forums. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:12, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Why pick on CZ?[edit]

I've been thinkin' & the conclusion that I come to is that there's little so amusing as watching someone taking themselves seriously. The antics of some of the "officials" are downright amusing, you'd think they were running a Fortune 500 company rather than a tinpot little website. Of course it helps not at all that they don't know each other the misunderstandings self importance and downright huffiness[is word?] as evinced in the Martin v Howard idiocy z.b. are hilarious. From the lofty heights of RW, which began, like CZ as a spin-off of another site, we look at CZ and thank random for our mobocracy.
Loosen up, you guys - it should be FUN. Ditch most of the rules until you're well under way[should that be"weigh"]. 14:46, 25 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

In some ways CZ is a like CP in being a top down hierarchy riddled with self-important egos, in fact it is probably like WP would have turned out if Ed Poor was in charge. RW is more a community of equals, we've so many bureaucrats and none has more say than any other. We've had our crazy moments but when the dust settles we tend to carry on as usual. Like any large organisation WP has its pointy-haired bosses but they are only a minority when you consider WP's size.  Lily Inspirate me. 15:48, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
No, it's how Wikipedia would have turned out if Larry Sanger had been in charge, that being the entire proposition it was created to demonstrate.
(What would have then happened would have been the community getting up and leaving, c.f. Enciclopedia Libre - Wikipedia was actually big enough back then to be worth the effort of doing a content fork.) - David Gerard (talk) 23:11, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Dave's right, of course. CZ's problem is not who edits there now or "runs" it now. The problem is that Sanger has no idea how to build a functioning, growing community. Jimbo had the right idea, and look what it gave us. Trent, our own little inventor brainsy person, also had an idea based on much research, and it also worked well. Suze, CZ can't adopt our model for so many reasons, mostly that it is the exact opposite. Trent stole what works about WP and morphed it into this, this mob rule thing. That would never work for the Citizen's Compendium of Knowledge as Policed by Constables. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:26, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
"a functioning, growing community"? Where can you find one of those? WP functions to a certain extent, but it stopped growing (as a community) in 2007 (see statistics I cited above, or on the other page). Are you growing? CZ isn't, WI isn't. Is CP? ... Peter Jackson 11:53, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
The difference is, WP doesn't need to grow. With 3+ million articles and hundreds of thousands of editors it could probably use a substantial downsize, actually. CZ, with a few dozen editors and 155 approved articles, needs contributors, badly. As does CP, though, since CP editors must agree with Andy 100% of the time, there is probably no one left on earth who qualifies. As for RW, we could stand to grow, but don't need to. It really isn't a good comparison, as the other three try to be encyclopedias, while we're basically a forum. DickTurpis (talk) 13:03, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
I agree. WP could eliminate a lot of their biographies. Many of them not particularly notable individuals, such as from obscure bands or players from minor league baseball teams. WP is full of them. They need to redress their requirements regarding biographies. FreeThought (talk) 14:32, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

The plague of healing arts[edit]

Was this the attempt to do something about the healing arts group? Frankly, this work group, Dana Ullman, and the homeopathy article as a package are a massive condemnation of citizendium. It changes the nature of the site from a goofy WP knock off to a dangerous promoter of quack medicine. A lot of the criticism and commentary has steered off from this direction lately, but I think it needs to be re-emphasized. Citizendium has proudly trumpeted an embarrassing rejection of science and scientific standards.

But I was always under the impression that something was going to be done about it. I was fooled by the "that's the old CZ we are changing things" routine. Ullman is still an editor, attempts to restructure work groups died without discussion and the homeopathy article is still an fringe fluff piece. I would not want my name associated with a cite that even tactically accepts content like that. Tmtoulouse (talk) 00:44, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

No. There has been no attempt made yet to define workgroups or expertise. It will happen. (talk) 04:56, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
That's not where the "t" goes in "tacitly" ħumanUser talk:Human 05:18, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
I suspect that CZ tolerates quackery such as this because they have so few editors that they can't afford to alienate anyone who's productive. Much like Andy allows Ed to promote his Moonie buffoonery and Dean his moronic Mormonism. He doesn't like it, but can't afford to let 2 of his half dozen or so contributors go. DickTurpis (talk) 00:50, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Frankly, I think that the homeopathy article has cost them more editors than it has "kept" and it has prevented many more from signing up. Also they didn't just tolerate it but trumpeted it as a featured article on their front page. I see a lot of "talk" about doing something about it, but nothing ever changes. Tmtoulouse (talk) 00:59, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
What is really odd is that WP correctly banned Ullman [3] for persistent hopelessly biased conflict-of-interest editing. However CZ, despite its claims of respect for expertise and better management than WP, not only accepts him and allows similar shenanigans, it gives him editorial authority. It even grants "approved" status to the current fairly appalling article. To me, this is strong evidence that CZ has yet to get its act together.
I do not think it is hopeless, though. The basic idea of CZ is a good one; there are just some kinks in the initial implementation that need to be worked out. Pashley (talk) 01:51, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Maybe yes, but it is a problem of defining expertise. CZ has defined expertise in such a way (healing arts group) to give editorial power and control to people like Ullman. So in this case the homeopathy article can be put at the foot of the CZ expert policy. If the expert policy were to be reworked to use "groups" based on accepted academic departments, and science and evidence, it might be better. This grey area of defining expertise is the kind of thing that the EC council should be doing. But it looks like the first attempt couldn't even get a second? Really ? Tmtoulouse (talk) 01:59, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm beginning to think the whole "expert" aspect of CZ is a failed idea. You know what experts spend their time on? Yup, furthering the field in which they are experts. Not writing encyclopedia articles. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:21, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
CZ hasn't defined expertise so far. Larry just made it up on an ad hoc basis. Howard's suggestion of an agenda for looking at it failed to attract any support. As far as I can see, Howard wants the Editorial Council to work out general policies, but the remaining councillors want to spend all their time deciding individual cases and then see what pattern emerges.
Experts do occasionally write encyclopaedia articles, though it has to be admitted that many are written by non-experts so that the articles are often unreliable. But the CZ theory was that editors/experts wouldn't write them, they'd just guide and approve what others wrote. Peter Jackson 11:49, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
I thought I saw it defined as having a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in a generally related field and being actively involved in the "latest goings on" in the specific field. I may be wrong, I also may have been reading one person's interpretation. ħumanUser talk:Human 18:54, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

(unindent)You need to have a graduate degree in order to be an expert. My BA in English was not good enough nor was my 10 years professional reporting experience.LittleRedWriter (talk) 23:12, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

You're not trying to join the right workgroup. Dana Ullman is an "expert" in the healing arts with his only qualification being a Masters in Public Health - which is a degree in health-related administration - David Gerard (talk) 23:19, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
This is from the CZ Policy Outline for general editorship: '1) A Master's degree or other post-graduate (in the U.S., graduate) degree; or three or more years in a mostly-research position, post-bachelor's degree. 2) Having published at least three papers in peer-reviewed publications, or having given five presentations at academic conferences, within the past five years, on some specific topic (i.e., the topic of the specialty editorship); or having worked in a "hands-on" way with the topic of specialization for three or more years.' This explains why there are so few to no editors in some areas such as music and sport. But there are unexplained inconsistencies with this policy. Given the requirements, how did a 16 year old become music editor? etc. FreeThought (talk) 23:44, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
That sort of academic elitism is why I haven't bothered to create/edit anything at StuckUpapedia. I have to say, "sorry, Wikipedia/Jimmy got it right". And WP worked and works amazingly well. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:04, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
It's the type of criteria you would expect from a paid or tenured position, which may explain why citizendium hasn't attracted experts as well as it should - it offers no pay or prestige to the editor. FreeThought (talk) 05:48, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Sanger's invitation for Dana Ullman to be an Editor surely comes in near the top of the "What the hell was Sanger thinking?" list. The only thing that makes sense to me is that Sanger wanted to beat Wikipedia at its own game by coming up with a really great Homeopathy article after Wikipedia had gone through an Arbitration Committee trial on homeopathy. Maybe Sanger thought he could keep the reins on Ullman, or maybe he was unaware of Ullman's background, or who knows what. The whole episode is a mystery. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:31, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Sanger was aware of Ullman's background. As I understand it, he regarded Ullman as an "expert" on homeopathy. Ullman has been quoted in the media: "Larry Sanger personally asked me to participate in Citizendium in order to help create a high quality article on homeopathy. Needless to say, this was a real pleasure, as distinct from the 'edit wars' typical of wikipedia." How did they get to know each other? Sanger and Ullman both do a lot of public lecturing and debates, so it's one possibility they met before Citizendium even existed. FreeThought (talk) 18:01, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Ullman has more than a little P.T. Barnum in him so I wouldn't take his account too literally. He wanders the internets to promote homeopathy. So the "asked me to participate in Citizendium" claim is dubious.

He joined CZ on 28 Feb 2008 and made a string of edits to the Homeopathy article, then went quiet at the end of March. Ullman was not promoted to Editor until 11 September[4] and immediately he again began editing actively (very actively). At that time he said on the Homeopathy talk page "Larry Sanger has specifically asked me to become an editor here and to bring the varying points of view together." The lapse from March through September brackets the period of the Homeopathy arbitration trial at WP, which began on 17 April 2008 and closed on 30 June with a one-year ban for Ullman.

It's not clear whether Sanger or Ullman floated the idea of Ullman becoming an Editor. The idea of beating WP at its own game (the arbitration trial having recently ended) obviously would have appealed to Sanger. And after Ullman getting his butt kicked at Wikipedia he needed a new megaphone. I'm slightly inclined to believe that Ullman asked Sanger if he could be an editor but it might have happened the other way. Doctor Dark (talk) 21:20, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Divination or edict?[edit]

"It is probable that the EC will shortly prohibit WP importations, other than in clearly defined circumstances" says King Martin. 02:10, 27 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Why have you got it in for Martin? Just curious, since my hate money is on his rival, and one of these days we are bound to develop a betting pool extension. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:58, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
PS, isn't he on the super-sekrit EC? So he would know? And is leaking this? ħumanUser talk:Human 05:07, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Martin is pretty bad. He appears to be the primary proponent for keeping the governance of the site in secret, and the main instigator in several witch hunts. The constant "don't tell me what's in the charter I wrote it" and the over the top egotism about anything involving voting or governance gets old pretty quickly. And despite his constant claims of wanting to avoid needless bureaucracy he is the biggest policy wonk I have seen online in a long time. Tmtoulouse (talk)
From what I've seen - admittedly only a snapshot - Howard is a special kind of dick, too. Sad that the people who care and are trying to save the place have to deal with these spats. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:43, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Wouldn't give you tuppence for any of the MC or EC members, what Trent says boils it down re Martin though. It's more his air of superiority that riles me. 05:47, 27 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
You're sticking with the clueless ideas and personal attacks, I see. At least you're consistent. (talk) 06:54, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Do something about Ullman, the healing arts, and that travesty of an article on homeopathy and my opinion will change. Till then you rank right up there with the Jenny McCarthys and Kent Hovinds of the world. Tmtoulouse (talk) 07:09, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I'm sticking with observations such as are visible to one not receiving super-sekrit e-mails, much as most of your "authors" are likely to be. Openness is part of the wiki thing. 07:58, 27 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Am I the only one who noticed the intuitively-named PR-2010-003img on the EC Wiki? --Sid (talk) 12:14, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
LOL... the actual pages to check for new things say what they are, as well as the filename..http://locke.citizendium.org/cz_ec/Protocol_numbers and http://locke.citizendium.org/cz_ec/Proposals_submitted (talk) 12:35, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Our errors[edit]

I would love actual detailsimg, so far all we have gotten is vague claims that what we report are wrong, no specifics for us to even respond to. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:18, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Aleta Curry:Well, I remember seeing a chart in which Mary is listed as having contributed for I believe 3 consecutive months before she actually joined CZ.
Mary appears in a couple of places: in this table - which I just checked and updated, and in the following pics:
editors 2010
editors Oct 2010
editors Sep 2010
editors Aug 2010
editors Jul 2010
editors 2010 (without Mary Ash)
Perhaps she is confused that the center of the name marks the time of account creation? It fitted better for the table - and isn't a biggy, I think. larronsicut fur in nocte 22:57, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, if there are errors I would like to fix them just as I have fixed errors in this article before. We've been specific about pointing out errors in CZ and it would be helpful if they could reciprocate. Doctor Dark (talk) 22:57, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Well if Aleta Curry can at the same time as the above statement also claim the United States is the largest democracy, RationalWiki doesn't have much to fear. FreeThought (talk) 23:12, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
At worst she's knowingly making false claims, at best she's Not Even Wrong and literally doesn't understand what she's reading. But I'm sure she'll stop calling LArron a liar one day. Perhaps if LArron created a CZ account, Aleta could be asked to stop claiming the charts are lies - David Gerard (talk) 23:15, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't like their real name policy. So, that won't happen. larronsicut fur in nocte 08:59, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Martin Baldwin-Edwards: It also has Larry as a bot (the pink colour) so I wouldnt pay too much attention to their competence in these things

Umm, wrong? Larry has the color of on bureaucrat - the same color as Dan Nespett or D. Matt Innis. And quite different from the color of the Housekeeping bot, for instance. And neither is colored pink... --larronsicut fur in nocte 06:53, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

You are right but you might want to update your graphs anyway, Sanger is no longer a bureaucrat, see cz log. FreeThought (talk) 07:22, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
You know, I originally thought that DG's comment about Martin Baldwin-Edwards being a "gold-plated cunt" was cruel. Having read a lot of his comments, I now think DG was being polite. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 07:25, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Trouble is, Martin's arch-nemesis, Howie, is a bit of a berk himself. It's hard telling the good guys from the baddies when no one wears obvious white and black hats! ħumanUser talk:Human 07:35, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Very true, but for his sheer arrogance I think Martin win's the gold plating. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 08:08, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps the guy is colour-blind? Or has a really shitty display? :) The shade of the bot colour is close to the bureaucrat colour, so a slight confusion may be excusable. (The tone and the conclusion are not, though.)--ZooGuard (talk) 07:30, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

So they are complaining about the charts againimg, I don't know what he is talking about with Larry being a bot, and Aleta flat out is calling us liars. Strange stuff. Tmtoulouse (talk) 06:22, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Aleta Curry: The people at that site reacted rather nastily to having such errors pointed out, which is an odd reaction from people who are rational.

That's absolute true - if you mean by pointing out such errors just making unsubstantial allegations! Take for instance her last (or probably final) statement:

Aleta Curry:@ Mary - All I will say is that that chart has been changed. - I'm turning my attention back to my duties at CZ, and keeping it there.

  • The chart has changed - and it will change, again. Roughly once a month. It's just kept up-to-date.
  • However, the previous versions aren't lost, you can find them here. Take the entries for Mary Ash:
rev.date Trans H85.gifUser
















21 Nov 2010 Mary Ash 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 310 511 147 663 1631 16.5 14.4 Hyperactive
03 Oct 2010 Mary Ash 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 310 511 152 973 13.7 10.6 Hyperactive
23 Sep 2010 Mary Ash 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 310 511 821 21.1 8.9 Very active

(The next older revision is of July 2010 and doesn't include any data on Mary Ash, as only the twelve month before the month of the revision (titled: m-1 to m-12) are displayed) So, you find that there are 310 edits in the database for July 2010, and 511 for August. In Oct 2010, there were 152 edits in the database made in Sep 2010, but five were lost a month later: this usually happens to comments which were deleted.

Is this all that hard to understand? Or deliberately misleading? Dear Aleta, at the moment I'm not impressed by your analytical skills. But perhaps you show more promise on your articles on cz:puppies!

larronsicut fur in nocte 06:57, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Just published a few hours ago, Boing Boing have done a comparative graph of Wikipedia versus Citizendium: the first four years - Should Wikimedia Foundation host Citizendium? FreeThought (talk) 17:10, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Jim, they're dying[edit]

Maybe for one in the entire movie franchise Kirk was right, we should let them die. Many people on RW have tried to be helpful and suggest ways for CZ to save itself. Everything has been thrown back in our face, repeatedly. Seriously, why bother?

Speaking as someone who has real sympathy for "ivory tower" academics, I feel CZ represents everything that is wrong with serious scholarship, and the collapse of the project would hardly be a tragedy. They clearly don't want RW's help, so beyond abiding by our own mission of studying authoritarian systems of thought (which WIGO CZ does contribute towards), I don't see any benefit in our great and good going out of their way to try and help a community that refuses to admit to the nature and possible root causes of certain issues, and even rejects out of hand possible solutions. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 00:56, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

With so few active citizens remaining there, I'm not sure they are even get close to representing a cross-section of scholarship. FreeThought (talk) 01:50, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
I suspect the "best of CZ" is taking place behind closed doors. Which is a sad thing. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:50, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Edited my original comment to make sense, written late. "Ivory tower" academia has some real value and benefit to research. There's fields of study that wouldn't ever get pursued if it weren't for tenure and freedom from commercial concerns, and whilst that doubtlessly can led to a scene of elitism in a few, it's important nonetheless. CZ manages to combine all the negatives of that elite group, whilst amazingly managing to avoid most of the positives. I guess that's an achievement of sorts... --TheEgyptiansig001.png 07:32, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with elitism when it's rightly placed. Doctors, army commanders and tenured professors all work by that principle. The problem with elitism is when it becomes snobbery and you fail to perform with the right level of sense and humility. When Sanger et. al. rejected help and even outright denied there was a problem, it went wrong. All it would have taken is an admission that the project hit a bump and help is needed - no one would have cared about elitism. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 09:30, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
There's always a subtext when anyone responds to Mary Ash. Dunno why she puts up with it or why they allowed her to join up for that matter. 11:16, 22 November 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
If they didn't have one lady on board, they'd be a gentlemen's club like CP or Less Wrong. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:19, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, without Mary there would be no active ladies left at citizendium. FreeThought (talk) 07:22, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
LessWrong has several active female posters (off the top of my head: Alicorn, who works for SIAI; Nancy Leibovitz; Lucidfox, who's just started writing posts). Where did you get the idea there were no women there? - David Gerard (talk) 09:47, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
CZ does have at least two other active female members I am aware of. 09:58, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
And one of those is on the Edtorial Council. Peter Jackson 11:55, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
That's no way to insult Martin. FreeThought (talk) 00:38, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
"Alicorn" is not even a real name. Neither is "Lucidfox". How did they get past the entry requirements? Are they "experts" at pseudonymy? ħumanUser talk:Human 06:33, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
DG was talking about LW, not CZ. :)--ZooGuard (talk) 06:36, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

David Finn[edit]

So, what is this all about?

larronsicut fur in nocte 09:50, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

...so the "people can't view forum" issue above is at least partially connected to Howard's (now rejected) trial and the TK-style forum wiping? Interesting to say the least... unless this will also be done at the "All evidence and important stuff of this public discussion will be reviewed behind closed doors because the mere mortals don't need to know any details" level. --Sid (talk) 10:26, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Authoritarianism as farce - not just thuggish, but stupid. Have these people heard that they're dealing with volunteers on the Internet? - David Gerard (talk) 11:45, 28 November 2010 (UTC)


So is the official blog pretty much abandoned now? - David Gerard (talk) 11:44, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

It is totally Sanger's mouth piece, he was even using it to trump up his child porn charges against WP. I am sure the next time he is "oh so offended" he will pop back up and write something. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:26, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps he will condemn Wikileaks, in the name of Citizendium (and not just in the name of "co-founder of Wikipedia long ago") - David Gerard (talk) 17:26, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
It is the official blog of CZ, now -- but minor details like CZ's legal status and money have occupied the Management Council up to this point. (talk) 07:58, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, minor details. Major details were an attempt to throw out Howard Berkowitz as editor and question Daniel Mietchen's motives. You sure keep "busy" over there. FreeThought (talk) 00:56, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
Now, now, now. Details matter, and you got your councils mixed up, I think. The EC was doing all this public crap. The MC is doing all their crap fully behind closed doors. ;)
Though regarding Mr. Bunchanumbers' comment, I (honestly) wonder: If it is the "official blog of CZ", who controls it? Last time I checked, there was even confusion who currently owns CZ itself (Did consensus there ever move away from "...nobody?", by the way? I didn't actively follow that one...). Who is entitled to use the "official blog" to make statements in the name of CZ? --Sid (talk) 02:26, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
I thought David earlier clarified that it was the Tides Foundation that actually owns citizendium. FreeThought (talk) 03:08, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
The details are certainly murky, the domain name is owned by Larry Sanger. The project Citizendium is a Tides Foundation project, they have been the ones to collect money and pay the bills. But it appears as if CZ is now trying to pay its own bills. The whole Tides Foundation seems a bit iffy. They charge a premium to projects that want 501 3(c) status, and they just collect the money and take a substantial cut. I doubt they care about CZ or what happens to it all they want is their cut or to cut off ties. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:14, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
Pretty much like that, i agree. All management and legal issues are murky. (talk) 04:02, 2 December 2010 (UTC)