RationalWiki talk:Nothing is going on at Citizendium/Archive4

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You know, I'm rather amazed that a supposedly expert-written article on biology could make so many mistakes, particularly one of Citizendium's rare "approved" articles.

Here's the only paragraph in the whole thing that deals with evolution, with my comments in bold, just to set it off.

In England, Charles Darwin built on the idea of natural selection as a way to explain how diverse creatures might have common patterns of form.

Darwin came up with the idea of natural selection. The article seems to think Darwin came up with common descent instead, when that's what predated Darwin. We're off to a good start

His observations of the variations of animal life on remote islands made him realize that individual birds, mammals and reptiles might thrive, or die, according to how well their characteristics 'fitted' their immediate habitat.

Odd use of the word "fitted" there, especially in quotes. I presume it's supposed to be a reference to "survival of the fittest", except that's not Darwin's phrase.

He realized that individual members of any species were also different from each other in ways that made some more successful than others in producing offspring. If these kinds of differences were passed on to the offspring, then the features that made some individuals successful would become more common in each generation.

This is almost a discussion of natural selection. Not a very good one, missing key steps in the logic, but the article... oh, wait, it fails to go into any further depth. In the page for biology.

From this insight, he made the bold leap in understanding to realize that perhaps, in enough time, entirely new species might arise. His theories became incorporated into the theory of evolution which suggests that all present living things descended from past living things.

That last bit, "suggests that all present living things descended from past living things" is a muddled mess. As written, it's more a refutation of the theory of spontaneous generation than anything else. What it MEANS to say is that present-day species evolved through gradual changes from different ancestral species, but all it actually says is that living things have children.

The existence of common ancestors would account for similar body forms among descendants,

While true, this article fails to mention the splitting of populations into multiple species, the key logical step that makes that thought comprehensible.

and provided a plausible basis for the wide-spread existence of patterns of very similar features among groups of plants and animals: the very patterns that Linnaeus had used to formulate his categories in classification. This idea was not entirely new, but previous proponents had found it hard to understand how such incredibly diverse life forms might come about in the few thousand years that the world was thought to have existed. By Darwin's time, advances in Earth Science had found evidence that the earth was millions of years older than had been previously suspected,

This is an entirely muddled mess, more like a C-grade high school student's essay than an expertly-written explanation of the history of evolutionary thought. First off, before Darwin was Lamarckism and other evolutionary theories that were not natural selection. There were no proponents of natural selection to be confused by the few thousand years. So what on earth does "this idea" refer to?

and this made the idea that organisms had evolved by many small, incremental changes over thousands of generations much more plausible.

Also, Darwin came up with a good explanation as to how on earth that could work. Do the authors of this even understand how world-shaking Darwin's ideas were? There's no evidence of it.

Evolutionary change from ancient life was accepted by biologists as a theory that explained both the diversity of life forms and the existence of patterns of common features.

And we get another woolly, non-timescaled assertion.

This is a terrible article, and yet it's evidently amongst the best of Citizendium's work, given it's one of the very few approved articles. If that's what expert guidance gets you, give me amateurs. Aconite (talk) 03:46, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Originally written by Larry Sanger. It all makes sense now. Evidently he's so good that he doesn't need expertise in the subject.
This is quite sad. I was only just reading AOL's news article on Wikipedia's 10th anniversary and Larry Sanger said this: "Larry Sanger, who co-founded the site but resigned in 2002, told AOL News that errors and abuse will continue so long as Wikipedia entirely relies on the crowd to create and review entries. 'Wikipedia could benefit from having experts on board to approve or endorse articles as more or less mistake-free, and address content disputes, which can go on and on,' he said." Why didn't their experts spot the errors? There has been a system failure at Citizendium. FreeThought (talk) 08:04, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Almost everything Sanger wrote back in 2005 remains in the article; I think the key mistake was Sanger writing it - had he not tried to show how clever he was, someone who knew the topic would have done it. But Citizendium, from my limited experience, has a tendency to be really, really against major changes to articles, unless you discuss the changes for weeks beforehand. So if a fundamentally flawed article is written at the start, good luck fixing it. Aconite (talk) 08:25, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Sanger reminds me of Schlafly sometimes, in that he's quick to cast aspersions left, right and centre, whilst happily ignoring the problems going on right under his nose. For the Biology article to be so flawed after going through whatever process it does to become a published page, speaks volumes. True, the 100s of editors on WP might insert false/incorrect info, but there's an equally large number of editors who can correct those mistakes. Having a limited number of editors controlling content on CZ, automatically infers that the article will suffer from their own biases and lack of knowledge in certain areas. That said, reading the article, how can an open-editing page (referring to the mention of wp:Blood libel) be "hacked?" --Ψ GremlinSpeak! 09:09, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Suggestions for improvement[edit]

I just noticed (while trying to figure out what went wrong) that this was linked from CZ, so I'm going to try and be helpful with a full review.

Okay, first off, I think that the article often loses focus of its audience. The audience for an article giving a basic overview of a field is going to be those people who know very little about it. However, this article uses unexplained jargon constantly. My favourite bit is when the word "cytogenetic" is thrown in as if it's a word everyone uses all the time. However, the most important mistake in this line is not ever explaining what chromosomes are, when it discusses aspects of them at length.

More importantly, I suspect almost all biologists would agree that an overview of biology should:

A. Explain evolution
B. Explain genetics
C. Explain taxonomy, and give an overview of the scope of life
D. Explain the basic aspects of a cell.

This article fails on every count. Here's what I'd do to improve that:

A. I've discussed the section on evolution already; if you fixed that section, and added a bit about fossils, genetic drift, and speciation, you'd have a somewhat decent start, but as it is it's far too much of a mess to be any use. Plus, it really is the defining organising principle of biology, so it's not worth skimping on the detail here.
B. There's like three sentences on genetics, mostly listing terms. It does no good to say "dominant and recessive genes" without saying what they are, and especially when the articles linked don't exist.
C. Not even dealt with, really. A couple of terms are defined, that's it.
D. Names of parts of the cell are mentioned, but not explained. The whole section is incomprehensible to anyone who doesn't understand biology already. Sample paragraph:
Towards the mid-20th century, with the development of the electron microscope, ultra-high power examination of cells was possible and the field of cell biology began to unravel the inner structure of cells, discovering discrete organelles that could only be seen well at such high magnification. Closer examination of the structure of the cell was combined with the ability to physically separate out the components of the cells in bulk by density and chemical properties and analyze each fraction using methods from biochemistry and biophysics. The important techniques that allowed this analysis include ultracentrifugation and gel electrophoresis. Advances in this new field of cell biology confirmed that living things were composed of cell units and extended the understanding of just how cells carried out life processes.

All the bolded terms are going to be incomprehensible to the intended reader. Further, the paragraph reads like a laundry list, not like an attempt to explain biology.

Right. There's the problems. Here's how I'd fix it:

Structural changes

I'd suggest that much of this is off-topic for a basic article, and would be better handled in a history of biology article, freeing up space to cover basic biological concepts in more detail. In particular, the section on Leeuwenhoek and the homunculus in the sperm cells is given a ridiculous amount of space, when it's a disproven theory only brought up to make a point about the philosophy of science. Saying that science changes with evidence is a valid point; but surely the point is better made elsewhere, or at less lenght.

Instead, I'd suggest organising it by basic concepts of biology. Something like:

1. Genetics

a. Mendelian genetics (Dominant and recessive genes; then expand out to explain things like multi-gene traits such as height)
b. DNA, genes, and inheritance (sexual and asexual)

2. Evolution

a. Natural selection
b. Genetic drift
c. Population genetics and speciation (perhaps cover arms races and such briefly?)
d. Evidence (fossils, genetic, cladistics)
e. Therefore, universal common descent

3. Taxonomy

a.Overview of life: eukaryote v. prokaryote, basic anatomy of the cell (prokaryote and eukaryote), Margulis' endosymbiotic theory for the evolution of eukaryotes from prokaryotes.
b.Eukaryotic life: Protists, and the evolution into Plants, Animals, and Fungi (e.g. the evolution of multicellularity). Developmental biology could be mentioned here, but keep it simple

Try to keep to the basic aspects of the subject, explaining terms as you go. The article as it is tends to really skimp on the basic fundamental concepts, but leaps readily into really advanced ones.

This can be rearranged depending on how you decide to cover it - if you'd like to ease into it with a discussion of life as a whole, do Taxonomy first, and then discuss how the pattern shown in that section shows universal common descent later, when you do evolution. If you'd rather do evolution first, you can cover universal common descent very briefly there, then expaand on it hen you get to taxonomy. A brief summary of history could be added in at the start, at the end, briefly in each section, whatever works.

As an aside: mitosis and meiosis could be covered, but I'd probably save it for a lower-level article. You don't want to get into too much depth with something that doesn't link up to the other parts quite so well. See how things loook with space.

Aconite (talk) 08:16, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Aconite, you can write at Knowino (either without registering, or pseudonymously) about evolution theory, biology, etc. --P. Wormer (talk) 13:20, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
I see steps are being taken to improve the CZ article. Ro Thorpe (talk) 18:00, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
@Worms - sounds like he has already had enough of pie-in-the-sky Wikipedia offshoots started by egomaniacs with more computer skills than sense or social ability. D.T.F. (talk) 07:02, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

One last thing[edit]

It's been a day since I reported this, and... well, not much response, nor, I think, a full understanding of the issues.

The opening image is a clear copyright violatuion.

This image is used as part of the opening montage, however, nowhere on Citizendium is the author, Mike Murphy, credited - as is required under the terms of the image's licence. Not even on http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Mariposa_Grove_Squoias.JPG

http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Kleiner_Fuchs_%28Nymphalis_urticae%29.jpg (also used in the montage) is likewise a straight-out copyvio due to not crediting the author.

That's a copyright violation, pure and simple. The terms of the image's licence require the author to be attributed; he is attributed nowhere on Citizendium, and Citizendium has been violating his generosity for at least four years.

Secondly, http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Daphnia_pulex.png http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Salmonella_typhimurium.png and http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Krilleyekils.jpg are in the same montage; the author is credited on the main image page, but the montage's page does not give the authors, nor does it link to the images used (though that last is apparently because they don't know the difference between #REDIRECT [[Biology/gallery]] and the correct code, {{Biology/gallery}} which transcludes). It's a Creative Commons-licenced picture, and thus also requires attributon in the derivative work. Having to click three links to find the information isn't good enough, IMO; it needs to be on the montage's image description page.

http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Plagiomnium_affine_laminazellen.jpeg http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Tigergebiss.jpg and http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:MEF_microfilaments.jpg aresimilar to the above, but the license isn't linked, which I believe is a violation of the license, and thus another copyright violation. Oops!

Several other images in that montage were released into the Public Domain by their authors. While that removes Citizendium's legal requirement to credit the authors, it does seem that there should be a moral requirement to credit them. To whit:

http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image_talk:KildLaughing.jpg - after three years of putting it off, it's still in violation of Citizendium's policy, which just goes to show you how careful they are about followup. I think that it's time to decide it's not going t be brought into line with Citizendium's rather ridiculous "people we want to use the work of have to follow our real name policy too" policy. I think I once heard that was to prevent copyvio. *looks up this thread* Well, maybe you have more pressing issues, Citizendium? I mean, if you're violating copyright on images where the authors did release it under their real names, then I don't see how that rule helps at all.

Wikipedia, of course, gets all of these right.

This was the result of checking a single montage. One has to wonder how much of Citizendium's images are as bad or worse. Aconite (talk) 21:58, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

A bit too old news for WIGO, probably...[edit]

But I just noticed that, apparently, RationalWiki wasn't aware of wp:Wikipedia:WikiProject_Citizendium_Porting - or at least it doesn't appear in Citizendium.

I've added a section to Citizendium about it, but, long story short, Wikipedia checks (or, at least, checked) Citizendium, compared Citizendium's articles to its own, and, where the Citizendium article was better, in whole or in part, used the Citizendium article to make Wikipedia's as good or better. Citizendium is absolutely forbidden from doing the same to Wikipedia.

I actually vaguely recall that one of the reasons that Wikipedia changed from a GFPL license to a CC-licence was to allow such importation; though I don't have a reference for that, so haven't added it to Citizendium.

I'm sure that you can see how that's a problem for any competitor to Wikipedia. Aconite (talk) 06:20, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

The Citizendium Porting wikiproject was discussed at great length in the CZ forums. Mostly a lot of moaning and gnashing of teeth about how terrible it was that WP was taking advantage of CZ's hard work, conveniently overlooking the fact that many of CZ's articles (including some of their "approved" ones) are adaptations of the corresponding WP articles. Doctor Dark (talk) 23:22, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I think it was Citizendium that changed its licence after complaints from users over incompatibility issues. CZ articles were being imported into wikipedia long before the porting project started-up, and vice-versa. FreeThought (talk) 23:33, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
The most recent change was introduced, in part, because people were importing WP articles into CZ and then doing nothing with them to make their formatting, etc., compatible. Some of the WP articles were good and just needed formatting and linking, but some were not good. In some cases, there were imports of tens of articles, with the importer doing nothing to improve them and creating more workload.
On the other hand, I agree with everyone here who says that CZ has to differentiate from WP. It is hopeless for CZ to try to compete in WP's niche. Is there a clear differentiation yet? Of course not. Does the reimportation of CZ-originated articles into WP help CZ? In my opinion, not especially. Anthony Sebastian, in particular, wrote eloquently about the need for originality at CZ vis-a-vis WP topics. One of his suggestions was a special namespace for imports, where people could work on distinct revision.
Actually, you give me an idea -- a criterion for the revision process probably should be that the article, in a positive way, should violate WP policies on original synthesis and expert opinion. CZ doesn't draw enough attention to the good uses of original synthesis. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 00:19, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Better to get down to basics rather than fooling around at the edges. At bottom, CZ's stated niche is supposed to be quality (or as CZ's main page says, "the highest standards of writing, reliability, and comprehensiveness") and the way CZ plans to achieve quality is through expert input. But CZ is not living up to its aspirations of quality.
People have been willing to cut CZ slack on breadth -- I've read plenty of commentary saying that it's ok if CZ doesn't begin to approach WP on coverage because quality content takes more time and effort to produce. Given the stated emphasis on "highest standards" its average articles ought to be pretty darned good and its approved ones should knock my socks off. Instead CZ has a hodgepodge of articles ranging from atrocious to quite good. Arguably the most serious problem is that even the approved articles aren't always so hot (even leaving aside the Homeopathy debacle).
If CZ wants to keep its current focus on quality rather than finding a different niche then bad articles must be shitcanned, mercilessly, without a second thought. Better nothing at all than something bad, because that cuts the legs from under CZ's ambitions toward quality. Notice "bad" doesn't mean incomplete. A really good paragraph or two is fine, but 1000 words of factually incorrect or poorly-written material is just the thing CZ doesn't need. Doctor Dark (talk) 05:48, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
They are making headway towards improving quality by "randomly" examining editors on their qualifications *lol* Meanwhile important issues such as copyright and lack of authors have been sidelined in the aether. Someone should write a book or make a film on this - how not to run a collaborative project. 06:00, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
If I'm being honest, I don't think Citizendium will survive much longer. It may limp on for a couple more years, but what needs to be done in order to save it is probably precisely those things that the current Editorial Council are incapable of doing. Quickly and in bullet points, since I have a rather bad cold today:
  • Citizendium was set up as a direct competitor to Wikipedia, and so has to compete on Wikipedia's terms as a general encyclopedia.
  • Citizendium had widespread good will from the academic community, which Sanger utterly killed.
  • There are fundamental definitional problems with how Citizendium defines "Expert", in particular the pseudoscience, but also the extreme credentialism which requires PhDs or a tenure-track professorship to have any recognition granted in an academic field, while throwing out editorships like candy to people in practical fields such as alternative medicine, where these lofty requirements are waived.
  • Wikipedia has the right to take anything good Citizendium creates
  • The Editorial Council inherited a project which Sanger had run into the ground. Instead of setting out bold new directions, it has fallen into petty bureaucracy and infighting.
  • There is no will whatsoever to fix even a single one of the problems that beset Citizendium.
Hence, Citizendium needs academics to survive, but drove them off, the Editorial Council is more interested in repeated attacks on Howard than doing anything that might make Citizendium viable again, and Citizendium is probably going to wither and die.
Perhaps I'm being pessimistic, but there's been no signs of anything really hopeful for CZ's future as of yet, and lots of problems still coming up, like, well, pretty much everything Hayford Pierce is doing of late. Aconite (talk) 06:51, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't think Citizendium will die anytime soon. As long as those involved consider it an enjoyable hobby it can just rumble on forever with its councils and committees and charters and such. Whether it has any realistic chance of fulfilling its stated ambitions as a reference work is a separate question. Doctor Dark (talk) 18:17, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Since Wikipedia has the ability to import anything Citizendium has done or does, with higher Google search results, as a reference work it's pretty much redundant. FreeThought (talk) 23:00, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Statler and Waldorf[edit]

Why am I always reminded of Statler and Waldorf when I read Hayward and Piercowitz bickering? And is this post another case of denigrating their betters behind their noms de net ? --larronsicut fur in nocte 08:53, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Content / Fly the plane[edit]

One of the things that Wikipedia has been relatively good about is remaining focused on the content. Individuals get distracted by the politics, or use Wikipedia as a proxy in some larger conflict, but the project as a whole keeps coming back to "Hey, we should make this encyclopedia". The result is that, at least most of the time and if you're not too picky on the specifics, it's pretty useful.

Now I don't know a way to make this happen. I'm pretty sure you can't do it by making a rule. Conservapedia's "90/10 rule" looks like a solution, but it's actually part of the problem (even if you ignore the fact that like anything on Conservapedia it's just used as a club to beat those who disagree with you). This issue reminds me of the "first rule" given by flight instructors. "Fly the plane" isn't actually a rule. You can't obey it like a rule, or put it on a checklist. You must do it all the time, doing other things only while also flying the plane. If you "forget", if your attention drifts and you become a mere passenger in a missile hurtling aimlessly through the sky, you may be dead before you even know you did something wrong.

Cz seems to not be very good at this. It has become dominated by the internal politics of committees and other things that are irrelevant in the bigger picture. I have no prescription for this ailment, I have "no dog in this fight" it's just an observation. (talk) 14:22, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree with most of this, but with two reservations. First, if we use the analogy of flying the plane: one of the reasons that people obsessed with the Charter, then with committees and management issues, is that there are a few pilots flying the plane who do a reasonable job. But there are almost no passengers, so the plane is flying empty all the time! The focus on organisational matters is largely inspired by the intention of getting more participants (although failing to achieve it).
My second point of disagreement is that there are internal politics within the two committees. In fact, there is almost none of that. There is only one person who politicks, and started doing it some time ago, and continues doing so. This person writes massive quantities (even on blogs) without effort, but is very difficult to work with in any capacity, and over-estimates his own abilities. This is the near-unanimous opinion of every member of both councils, plus other officials (but few will say it openly). The individual concerned characterises all criticism as being personally motivated, which it is in no case. (talk) 14:55, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I'll certainly agree with the part about overestimating his own abilities. But the way to respond to politicking and rudeness is not more politicking and rudeness; that's how you prolong disputes, not end them. And anyway, why is one person a problem? Do all decisions have to be made unanimously? Every organization is a mix of personalities, some good in different ways, some difficult, and many that are a mixture of the two. You either learn to deal with that in a constructive, functional way or accept that failure is inevitable. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:00, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, I probably agree with all of that, too. For my own part, I would never recommend myself as suitable for dispute resolution. I expect people to behave reasonably and I respond very negatively to those who do not. (talk) 18:04, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Review: Citizendium and copyright[edit]

After the situation I discovered above (with two copyvio images in a single montage, and most of the other images used in it of dubious status and/or denying the creator credit for their work), I thought I'd do a survey; basically hitting the random page button a few times and checking images that came up.

Well, first of all, Citizendium is very poorly illustrated. In some cases, the article simply lacks images; in other cases, there's spaces for images which weren't uploaded to Citizendium - for example Jet engine, Judaism, W. S. Gilbert, California, history since 1846, Intelligence cycle management and many others are pretty clearly uncompleted copyovers from Wikipedia.

Note to Citizendium users: http://en.citizendium.org/wiki?title=Special%3APrefixIndex&from=&namespace=6 is a list of every single image. There's about a thousand; but most of the problems I found could be identified in a few seconds per image, by just checking that the page contains a real name, a license, and so on. It'd take about a week to get the obvious problems if enough people worked at it and divied it up, and I suspect most remaining problems would be in the flickr-uploads, which could be checked separately to make sure they're indeed CC-licenced. (search for "flickr" in the image namespace)

So, on to the images I did find:

Article Image Copyright status Notes
Influenza http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Labsummary06-07.GIF Fine
Influenza http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Flu-virus2.jpg Undetermined There's no actual indication on the source page as to who made it, so it may not be by NIAMS.
Influenza http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:N95.jpg Undetermined No actual indication on the source page as to image creator.
Fibromyalgia http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Forest_plot_of_drugs_for_fibromyalgia.jpg Fine CZ-created.
[Asphalt] http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Petroleum_Asphalt_Flow_Diagram.png Fine CZ-created
[Asphalt] http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Asphalt_Paving.png Copyrighted, but Citizendium-only permission granted This sort of very specific permission forms a trap that rather ruins any chances of Citizendium's text ever being as widely used as Wikipedia's.
Scarborough, North Yorkshire http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Scarborough-southbay.jpg Fine CZ-Created
Scarborough, North Yorkshire http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Scarborough-castle.jpg COPYVIO Source says "All Rights Reserved", Citizendium falsely claims a Creative Commons License.
Scarborough, North Yorkshire http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Scarborough-towncentre.jpg Fine CZ-created
Scarborough, North Yorkshire http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Stephenjosephtheatre.jpg Fine CZ-created
Scarborough, North Yorkshire http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Grandhotel-scarborough.jpg Fine CZ-created
Scarborough, North Yorkshire http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Hispaniola-scarborough-southbay-harbour.jpg Fine CZ-created
Michael Faraday http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Faraday.jpg Incomplete/inaccurate info Article calls it a "photograph", is clearly an engraving. Article names John Watkins as the creator, image page doesn't
Michael Faraday http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Faraday20PoundNote.jpg COPYVIO Designs for British money are copyrighted. American designs (as Federal Gvmnt. works) aren't. Could probably be used under fair use, but if CZ wants to do that, 'twould be best to identify it as such.
Michael Faraday http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Faraday_electromagnetic_rotation.jpg Fine CZ-Created
Michael Faraday http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Faraday_ring.jpg Fine
Precision-guided munition http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:MassiveOrdnanceBlastBomb.jpg Copyright fine, but may violate CZ's real name policy Department of Defense work not credited to a specific person
Infant growth and development http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:800px-HumanNewborn.JPG.jpg Copyright fine, but may violate CZ's real name policy Creator name looks like a pseudonym.
Infant growth and development http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Journalpmed.gif Fine
Infant growth and development http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Crawl.jpg Fine CZ-created
Infant growth and development http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Walk.jpg Fine CZ-created
Information retrieval http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:600px-Survival-curve.png Fine CZ-created
Information retrieval http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:600px-Logistic-curve.svg.png Fine CZ-created
Bread http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Basic_White_Bread.jpg Fine CZ-created
Bread http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Bread_08_Removed_from_Pan.jpg Fine CZ-created
25th United States Congress http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:USCapitol1827A.gif Misdocumented Not stated to be public domain, though it clearly is if the date in the filename is correct. This date does not appear in the given source, and at least one Bartlett lived into the era where his works could be copyrighted.

Addendum To keep this all in one place, here's the Biology article montage's problems summarised.

Image Status Status in Biology montage Comments
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Mariposa_Grove_Squoias.JPG COPYVIO COPYVIO Not credited to Mike Murphy, as required by the licence.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Kleiner_Fuchs_%28Nymphalis_urticae%29.jpg COPYVIO COPYVIO Not credited to "Darkone at Wikimedia Commons" as required by the licence.[*]
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Daphnia_pulex.png Fine COPYVIO Must credit author in derivative works. Montage lacks credits
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Salmonella_typhimurium.png Fine COPYVIO Must credit author in derivative works. Montage lacks credits
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Krilleyekils.jpg Fine COPYVIO Must credit author in derivative works. Montage lacks credits
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Plagiomnium_affine_laminazellen.jpeg Probable Copyvio COPYVIO Licence isn't linked in the image description, as I believe the licence requires; Must credit author in derivative works but montage lacks credits.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Tigergebiss.jpg Probable Copyvio COPYVIO Licence isn't linked in the image description, as I believe the licence requires; Must credit author in derivative works but montage lacks credits.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:MEF_microfilaments.jpg Probable Copyvio COPYVIO Licence isn't linked in the image description, as I believe the licence requires; Must credit author in derivative works but montage lacks credits.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Amanita_muscaria_tyndrum.jpg Unethical (Failure to credit creator) Unethical (Failure to credit creator) "Tim Bekaert" not credited. While he was nice enough to release it into the Public Domain, making Citizendium alright legally, it's still unethical to rob him of credit.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Morning_Glory_Pool2.jpg Unethical (Failure to credit creator)[**] Unethical (Failure to credit creator) "Jon Sullivan" not credited. While he was nice enough to release it into the Public Domain, making Citizendium alright legally, it's still unethical to rob him of credit.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:A_single_white_feather_closeup.jpg Unethical (Failure to credit creator) Unethical (Failure to credit creator) "Joao Estevao Andrade de Freitas" not credited. While he was nice enough to release it into the Public Domain, making Citizendium alright legally, it's still unethical to rob him of credit.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Misc_pollen.jpg Unethical (Failure to credit creator) Unethical (Failure to credit creator) "Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility, Dartmouth College" not credited. While they were nice enough to release it into the Public Domain, making Citizendium alright legally, it's still unethical to rob them of credit
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:LightRefractsOf_comb-rows_of_ctenophore_Mertensia_ovum.jpg Should be better (Failure to credit specific creator) Unethical (Failure to credit creator) "Kevin Raskoff" not credited, though the NOAA, who he works for, is. He really should be credited. No credit at all in the montage.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:As08-16-2593.jpg Poorly documented Credit should be given This is a NASA photo. The creator isn't certain, but the launch and probable creator are known and could be named. Wikipedia gets it right.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:KildLaughing.jpg Violates Real Names Policy - And this was pointed out in 2007; Citizendium-only image which makes everything using it unusable elsewhere. COPYVIO; Also a particularly nasty trap. Way to drop the ball, there. Also, uncredited in montage, and the montage doesn't warn that it may not be used outside Citizendium.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Bottlenose_Dolphin_KSC04pd0178.jpg Fine-ish (Image description page full of broken templates, but all the information's there.) Should really be credited to NASA. -
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Montage.jpg COPYVIO N/A Montage using copyvios, sources undocumented
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Montage2.jpg COPYVIO N/A Montage using copyvios, sources undocumented.
http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Montage2a.jpg COPYVIO N/A Montage using copyvios, sources undocumented.

[*] Obviously, it also violates Citizendium's real name policy, but, really, the real-names-for-images rule, ironically, seems to be meant to protect Citizendium from Copyvio, and it's pretty clear Citizendium is failing at that at a much more fundamental level than that.

[**] Just to note, while failing to give credit is unethical, I believe the person who actually failed to give credit was merely in ignorance of what one should do to properly document.

Conclusion One wonders if anyone has ever attempted to check images on Citizendium before me. I found enough problems that someone should be; I suppose that I could check only approved articles for comparison. Aconite (talk) 23:05, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

It is puzzling, given also a member of Citizendium User:Drew R. Smith was busted for numerous copyright violations on Wikipedia with his alter ego Jack Napier sometime ago. It appears no-one audited his images and articles on Citizendium. FreeThought (talk) 05:02, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
A substantial number of images uploaded by Smith, such as thisimg are undocumented. There is no attribution or credit PD or otherwise mentioned anywhere on the source of the image. Why did no editor ask questions over it? FreeThought (talk) 05:25, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
The Citizendium experts look down their noses on chores as checking credits, they rather take part in Forum discussions.--P. Wormer (talk) 17:51, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it does seem the place is dominated by B-Ark types endlessly discussing the finer points of bureaucracy. But we should also remember that there are some good and sensible people there as well. Doctor Dark (talk) 18:16, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
It's being discussed here, but it doesn't look like anyone's stepped in to actually fix the problems. Some of these should be quite easy to fix, if anyone cared to do so (Since in several cases, all you'd have to do is add a name, so that you're not denying someone credit for their work).
As for the long-term problem, Citizendium doesn't have that many images so it wouldn't be that hard to check them all if there was any will to do so. I don't see why I, a non-member, should be the one to do it, though. Well, I've added a note at the top linking Citizendium to the tools they need to move forwards, and they now know about the problems I found. Let's see if they do anything. Aconite (talk) 20:25, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
But they've been occupied with important things, having just passed Proposed Resolution PR-2010-023 which supersedes in part Editorial Council Decision EC-D-2010-005, regarding such critical matters as the numbering of proposals and resolutions. No point diverting attention to piddling issues like copyright. :-P Doctor Dark (talk) 22:37, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
As mentioned previously here, on Citizendium there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians, but that is a tepid excuse given this is something important that could and should be done, easily rectified within an afternoon of work. FreeThought (talk) 01:13, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
I can only speak to things I've done. To me, a government agency credit is adequate, especially when there is no mention of the photographer in the original source. The U.S. Department of Defense rarely gives photographer credit, although the uniformed services do, at least to their own people. Indeed, I have an Army photographer friend that bitterly complains when her public domain images are credited to her, not the military, when some site with which she disagrees politically uses them with her name.
Thanks for pointing out the problems in intelligence cycle management. Since I created the images at WP, I certainly can upload them to CZ, or perhaps redraw them. I thought they had been uploaded.
There are sensitivities in people going around fixing things, and, since I'm not an image licensing expert, I'm going to concentrate on other things. Paul, I doubt you meant me with respect to the Forum; I always make a point of delivering more content than speeches. Are there priority questions in the EC? Sure. It's something that I hope to see improve.
As far as renumbering/redesignating EC material, Tom Morris, who also made a suggestion that was rejected, might want to comment -- as a current EC member, I'd hesitate to comment on the wisdom of the solution first accepted. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 02:48, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Indirectly, you've pointed out what is a partial source of problems, by no means all. Some of the microbiology articles with copyright problems started out in Eduzendium, the academic project area, which are barred from editing while the course is ongoing. It's my continuing belief that Eduzendium belongs in its own namespace, with articles pulled into mainspace after review by someone outside the course -- most authors, with a few exceptions, never comment again after they've done the course.
The exceptions, incidentally, seem to be most likely to be for articles written by teams rather than individuals. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 02:51, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
It is, of course, amusing that someone who claims expertise in law (as well as everything else under the sun) now states that he cannot understand the basic principles of copyright law -- and therefore will not bother to fix image copyright problems on CZ. If you don't know how to use images legally, then you should educate yourself. Ignorance of the law is no defence.
Hey you two, your sniping is no longer amusing to the rest of us. Take it outside lads. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:09, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
The unsigned sniper is not welcome anywhere. I appreciate the Doctor's comment, and trust that I can stay silent. I prefer to concentrate on actual topics, not invective. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 03:48, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Getting this back on topic, I'd like to respond to Howard's points:
I agree that an agency credit is sufficient where no name appears in the source, but several of the links did give credit, and I think Citizendium should follow that - and my main point is that in several cases, they did not. How genuinely anonymous works credited to agencies interact with the real name policy at Citizendium probably needs decided.
However, you're focusing on the least important issues, Howard. Many of the problems I pointed out are situations where no credit was given to anyone, often in violation of a licence. Citizendium is acting illegally in those cases, and could reasonably be sued over it, since - to use http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Image:Mariposa_Grove_Squoias.JPG as an example - you have denied Mike Murphy any credit for his work, licenced under a licence which requires this credit, for four years. And it's used as part of a montage in an approved article, which does seem to indicate that maybe your approval process needs to include a checklist as part of the approval, with items such as "Images have been checked and are all appropriately licensed", and anything else Citizendium feels are important. People approving it could sign off on one or more of the items, and once all were signed off on, it could be approved. Aconite (talk) 04:59, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I agree they aren't that important; I'm simply responding to the ones where I had some role and can unquestionably go fix things. There are good people at CZ that are trying to fix problems that they consider most important. While I'm reasonably proficient at herding cats of the four-legged variety, in fixing some of the crud that's accumulated, it isn't easy to get several people working on the same problem. As far as I know, the images in the articles I nominated for approval have been clean, although the areas in which I recommend approval tend not to be graphics-heavy. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 06:04, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Er, Howard, I don't really see why you couldn't simply add he needed credit for the ones where that's the only thing needed to bring it into line with copyright, which is most of the Biology images. It's just a matter of typing the names in on the image's description page.
I certainly accept that it'll take a while to organise review of the ones I haven't reviewed, but I listed the names that need to be credited in the tables of my research, and am kind of shocked that noone has done anything about the ones that are known problems, with easy-to-correct issues. Aconite (talk) 07:31, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Bluntly, because it's not enough of a priority to me personally to deal with it while trying to fix other problems that I consider much more critical -- and also to spend time doing the content creation that keeps me interested and sane (for some value of sanity -- do remember I have been declared sane by the US Department of Defense, a frightening thought indeed). If I were to do it, in good conscience, I'd have to verify the information myself. I did post the information on the Forum, and hoped that some people, who like to work in this area, would take up the task.
Without getting into sniping, note that my mention of it got a snarky response -- but the snarker exhibited no willingness to fix the problems. I try to be frank about what I will and will not take on. I had no role in the Biology article. There are, however, people working on revising it, and I will make sure they know of the concerns. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 11:03, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
I noticed this morning that John Stephenson, the main author of the Scarborough Castle articles, is making corrections. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 16:53, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, someone who is not an official is doing all the hard work; whereas some others see CZ as an egotrip, where they can pretend to be experts on things that they are not. Since I have quit all of my official roles on CZ, I most certainly will not be correcting things that I tried to educate the CZ citizenry about over the last few years. These errors are partly innocent (as in the case of Scarborough Castle) and partly the result of arrogance and refusal to learn. (talk) 17:21, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Howard, your attitude to the issue is endemic to the problems facing citizendium. Taking the position "it's not my concern" on a collaborative project, is myopic head-in-the sand stuff when in reality it's everyone's concern particularity when you have so few users, and those so few users seem incapable of effective decision making. FreeThought (talk) 02:55, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
FreeThought, I didn't say the matter was not important, but I don't consider it in the top several facing CZ. I do not give it the same priority as other issues, some of which are more, in my opinion, immediate, and I'm not going to drop everything else and fix it because you think it's the most important. Yes, I continue to create content, which I think is a counterexample to some of the squabbling. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 04:11, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
If you believe Adolf Hitler and Nazism is worth more of your time than the sites copyright problem, enjoy the remaining months of Citizendium before it closes down then. FreeThought (talk) 09:15, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
I've had this "discussion" with a CZ editor concerning public domain works after I attempted to upload clearly marked US Government public domain photos. Works done by US Federal employees are considered public domain unless stated otherwise. For example: If a US federal agency contracted a photographer to take some photos the work would not be considered public domain as it was not done by a federal employee. This would also be clearly stated in the photo cutline. All the cutline would need when using a public domain photo is this photo is from xxxx US federal agency and you don't even have to have that. It is professional and courteous to include the photographer's name, if known, and the federal agency's name. I am only writing about about US federal agencies as other countries may have different laws. While I am not an attorney, and can not give legal advice, this is what I was taught while working as a reporter. No matter what it's always smart to include the name, agency, location and copyright status of anything you publish whether it be a photo or something used to source an article.LittleRedWriter (talk) 17:00, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Wise words from Milton Beychok[edit]

I couldn't have put it better myself:

Actually, in my personal opinion, what we need is a hiatus on all new proposals unless they are of the very highest priority. We have enough to keep us all busy for the next few months... yet we keep coming up with ideas and proposals that we simply haven't got the time or the people to really deliberate and investigate thoroughly. I would be willing to bet that our production of new articles has slowed down quite a bit during the past two months because we are too involved with our new toy, namely self-governance. [Ed.: Emphasis mine.]

Let us all slow down, take some deep breaths and get a grip on our current tasks rather than proposing new tasks every day.

—Milton Beychok [1]img

Of course, it remains to be seen whether some of the other folks at Citizendium will listen to him. Thomas Larsen (talk) 00:15, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case. Now, in the case of the Editorial Council, I think it's quite valid to work on known problems, such as consistent style/indexing/etc. The reality is there is a shortage of Editors, and it's hardly a welcoming environment for new ones. Clean up things that are badly broken and give people reasons to want to participate. Others on the EC, however, have priorities different than mine. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 00:38, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, it's pretty clear that the Editorial Council has been focusing more on exacerbating, and only very occasionally actually resolving, interpersonal disputes. Apparently, copyright violations, fringe bias, and a distinct shortage of authors are less important problems. (Basically, I'm restating exactly what you said.) Thomas Larsen (talk) 00:43, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
The councils are more interested in chattering away on disputes than actually fixing the problems themselves. Citizendium deserves to fail. FreeThought (talk) 02:08, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
They already beat you to it - CZ has long failed. Just because there is a website there with the name at the top doesn't mean there is an active encyclopedia going on over there.
The idea behind CZ was to have expert-verified content. What they have ended up with is half a dozen experts and no content for them to verify. They are stuck writing basic articles that you might find in a real encyclopedia because they cannot recruit any regular people to do the work for them.
CZ still recruits, because underneath it all it is a good idea, but quickly they see it is a good idea gone bad. There is a steady influx of new members, but no new contributors. "Editors" were supposed to be approving articles, not writing every one of them themselves, and this means that the amount of approved articles, the core of the CZ and what marks it out as different, is not appreciating.
The Councils have become the plaything of the few contributors left, and these plus the forums are the main focus of CZ "work", leaving no place for actual contributions. If the information being added was of value we would likely see less argument over there, but the facts are that CZ isn't getting the facts straight a lot of the time. Their articles are generally poor - that doesn't mean there aren't good articles there, or good contributors, but there is so much bad that any potential contributor finds themselves in an environment where major changes are needed but the status quo is of hostility to change and the proposers of change.
CZ is no longer an encyclopedia in the making, it is just a playground for a few disaffected types who were mostly banned from WP for being unable to back up their professional opinion with facts, and being unwilling to recognise that they should even have to, being so expert and all. Oh, and Aleta Curry, whose latest effort at article making, Santas Reindeer, ranks right up there with her other articles on Puppies, Kittens, Warm Fuzzies, UFOs and Marian Apparitions.
Actually, the last two may have been from a different underqualified ranting waste of space, but who can tell really. D.T.F. (talk) 03:45, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I started both the UFO and the Marian Apparition articles not Aleta. The UFO article never turned out the way I planned as it was changed and I'll leave it at that. The Marian Apparition article is fairly legit. I actually went out to investigate a Marian Apparition site, was totally skeptical until I witnessed unexplained phenomena. Can not tell you who, what or why but something was happening. And there is absolutely nothing wrong about writing about reindeer or anything else as long as you have the facts to support it.LittleRedWriter (talk) 05:50, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I had a Marian apparition on my morning toast. I thought I might sell it on ebay but it looked more delicious with orange marmalade followed by a cup of Earl Grey. FreeThought (talk) 10:53, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
A good skeptic is willing to consider the possibilities and acknowledge that there could be something extraordinary going on. What that something is we have no idea. And I did not go to the site thinking there was anything going on, and came back believing something happened. I'm not sure what the Los Angeles Times reporters, who also covered an earlier event, thought as I never asked. All I can state is I saw and smelled things that were not normally found at this location. BTW I am not Catholic and this experience is very far outside of my belief system. Being a good skeptic though I do acknowledge the possibilities. Now go enjoy your toast, tea and marmalade. LittleRedWriter (talk) 17:11, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
And then throw away his "good" words with statements like these. That smug condescending attitude is a turn off even if you disagree with Mary. FreeThought (talk) 00:43, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
It's the old conundrum: How far must one's patience and good will be extended toward someone who hasn't the slightest understanding of the topic at hand, or even any aptitude for quantitative thought, yet persists in their arguments? Granted he could have been more tactful but dealing with MA could exhaust anyone's patience. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:56, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually I have a pretty good grounding in the subject as I was tutored by the head of the air quality board (an engineer by-the-way); interviewed numerous environmentalists including folks from the EPA and local water authorities. I actually contributed to the talk page in an effort to stress the need for more technical information about this subject. I can write about this in a non-technical fashion, did so for about two years as an environmental journalist; and I appreciate the fine edits made on such article. I was hoping Milt would contribute an article about PM 10 or include it in the Smog article. Instead the discussion wandered off to Milt mis-reading my statement by believing I was discussing naturally occurring PM 10 causes. I was not. I based my statements on man made causes and how the removal of water from the Owens Valley caused the PM 10 violations. BTW PM 10 violations, at least according to the EPA and Owens Valley authorities toss things like arsenic and cadmium in the air. I feel sorry for the people who have to live with this problem. Finally, you can not compare apples (the naturally occurring events) to oranges (the man made events). Milt for whatever reason thought we were discussing natural events. I was not. LittleRedWriter (talk) 21:52, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
One can say what one will about CZ politics, but among the better contributors, there tends to be an assumption that to start an article, one should be able to write about it in technical terms. Having a nontechnical intro doesn't really help when one tries to write at a more advanced level. Natural vs. man-made? We were talking about particulate matter in air. Particles don't know their origin. Milt, incidentally, is a specialist in certain aspects of air pollution and has written a multi-edition textbook in the field -- and is very nervous about PhD's without practical chemical engineering experience.
Sorry, I don't find that nontechnical journalistic experience shows the ability to write at the basic college undergraduate college level. Most news journalism aims at a junior high school to early high school reading level. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 22:46, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, Howard journalism is written for fourth or fifth grade level readers. Broadcast journalism is even more basic I am sure it reaches for the first and second grade level as radio listeners have very short attention spans. That's why good journalists, ones who pay attention like I did, can write for the masses. We are able to distill the most important facts and then write about them. Also, you have never, ever read some of the articles I have written on the subject either. I used to write between 20 and 40 column inches on this subject. It was not a brief but a full blown article. In fact, it was a series of articles that were published over two years. I came very close to receiving a journalism award for those articles as they were so well thought of. Yes, there is a difference between man made and naturally occurring PM 10 air pollution. Milt mentioned all kinds of naturally occurring events that could cause this. I wrote about the Owens Valley which now suffers from one of the highest PM 10 air pollution indexes as Los Angeles removed water from Owens Lake. At one time the area had ferries crossing the lake and established farms. All disappeared after the water left. The only thing left was the dust which pollutes the air with PM 10 air pollution. This was and is a man made event as man took the water from the lake. So please get your facts straight before discussing this issue.LittleRedWriter (talk) 23:09, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Very close counts in horseshoes and nuclear weapons. Correlation does not prove causality. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:12, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Well here's the article I have started concerning the Owens Lake air pollution. As you can see the PM 10 is caused by man made events as the water was removed by Los Angeles to provide water for their residents. As best that I can determine the area has not reached compliance either, although the LADWP is working to mitigate the PM 10 air pollution. See: http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Owens_Lake if you wish to read the article. Thanks! LittleRedWriter (talk) 04:29, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Hayford Peirce and his eternal witch-hunt[edit]

Just how many times can one person initiate the same motion to have a fellow editor sacked?! It is quite shameful and has long passed the level of witch-hunt. Hasn't anyone over there noticed that Peirce has almost no qualifications, and no experience in any area of use to CZ? His role, much like Aleta Curry, and Martin before them, is nothing more than a socially inept antagonist. Advice to Howard - now the precedent has been set for anonymous motions there is nothing to stop you challenging the "qualifications" of Aleta and Hayford for editorship. It shouldn't be hard to get them de-editored and then you might have a council of experts rather than mouthpieces. D.T.F. (talk) 07:03, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Ooh, surely you didn't say that! For Becathly (talk) 10:57, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I assume that D.T.F. is David Finn, who has been banned from Citizendium for rude and disputatious language but has filed a lengthy appeal pleading for his return. He's welcome to his opinions about me and my contributions to CZ, but he's not welcome to his own set of facts: my "qualifications" as an Editor can never be challenged, not even by Tom Larsen or Dave Finn or any of the very few other acolytes of their unnamed guru. Why? Because, as even a cursory glance at my User page (or even the article about me at CZ or, gasp! Wikipedia) would show, I am a simple soldier in the trenches, a mere Author -- not a lordly Editor. Since I am not an Editor, then stripping my Editorship from me would be a difficult task indeed. A further glance at the Editorial Council page would tell you that the EC is composed of four Editors, of whom Howard is one, and three Authors, of whom I am one. What then, are my "qualifications" of being on the Editorial Council in the first place? Well, election to it by the Citizens. And how do I come to be Secretary of the Council? Hold onto your hats! Once again, by election to the post -- by a 6-0 vote, as I recall, with Howard's vote being one of them. Well, back to your "facts", gentlemen.... Hayford Peirce (talk) 15:22, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Gosh, how wrong could I have been. Of course, this being a formal registration unrequired site, you might not be the real HP, as far as I know - you could be anyone, some random bitter dried-up old man like what the internet throws up even, I wouldn't know really. Similarly you aren't in a position to put a name on a few random letters you saw in a wikiname so best direct your speculation to something useful. And apologies to the internets random bitter dried-up old men if I confused you with the real Hayford btw.
Note to Howard - change Hayfords motion a bit, he's not even an expert on nothing! And Hayford - hey, I'm just kidding! And if you don't get things just how you want them despite everyone else, well, don't go having a tantrum and abandoning your position like the last function you held, we're all behind you! D.T.F. (talk) 16:44, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure Howie would have regrets over his decision to support some of the motions he voted for given the position he is now in. As they say, give them enough rope and they'll hang themselves. FreeThought (talk) 16:59, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
No, FreeThought, I generally do not regret decisions to vote for things that, I believe, are appropriate tools for a group that acts fairly, without personality issues, and has the best interests of CZ at heart. It is interesting to note, however, that I was elected, as an Editor, to the EC, so there presumably is some sentiment in the community that I am qualified.
It is my personal opinion that some of the proceedings are not in the spirit, if not the letter, of Article 40 and other dispute resolution parts of the Charter. No one will argue that the Charter is pree-fect, but I'll have to say that the Charter Committee never really thought about the process being used as it is being used.
Believe it or not, there are things I still admire about Hayford. When he is good, he is very good, and when he is bad, he is horrid. :-) (well, no. He doesn't reach the horrid level of another). I would be delighted to be able to discuss some article flow aspects with him. Nevertheless, he was elected and as a matter of conscience, I'm not planning to use the process against him. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 17:15, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Wrong as usual, Dave. I registered here under my real name, as apparently only Howard and a few other brave souls have done, and set up an account with my real email address and a password, etc. It would be very easy for the people who run this wiki to verify that I am the true and authentic Hayford Peirce and not a cheap imitation. The reason I did so, rather than to participate in your juvenile name-calling, was to preclude other people from hijacking my name here in your friendly confines, as they have, apparently, done to other innocent Citizens, then writing malicious messages ascribed to that Citizen. Hayford Peirce (talk) 18:25, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Remarkable. You read just like another bitter internet griefer we're familiar with on this website. How long is it taking you to peck out these hatescreeds? Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svgUser:Nutty Roux/sigtalk
Looks like you are still hung up on those identity assumptions Hayford - you should know that this is not permitted on this site. Not that you have ever been one to let mere rules get in your way. I just find it slightly amusing that in the same breath as outlining the pitfalls of accepting anonymous registrations as the people they claim to be, you still go out of your way, both here and on the CZ forums, to try and present a case for an anonymously registered user being someone they don't even claim to be. Now that is avoiding the message by attacking the messenger if ever I saw it. The fact that you are too stupid to see the hypocrisy in this is the only reason you get any leeway - everyone hated that Martin, but he was evil. You are just dense. I think people feel sorry for you. Now, every -endium and -edia needs a jester, just not one in a position to table "anonymous motions" that oddly resemble the kind of motion that jester has been harping on about, before during and after the elections. It cheapens the comedy element. Unfortunately for you, you aren't as clever (and that's saying something) or as evil as Martin, and your efforts just end up making you look pathetic. Problem is, that also makes CZ look pathetic. For the good of all you might want to tone that down. D.T.F. (talk) 09:57, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
You really are a nasty little piece of work, aren't you, Finn. I recall when I wrote polite emails to you as an editor that you responded arrogantly, as if you thought your opinion trumped mine. Hayford has assessed you correctly: I made the mistake initially of being polite to you. You deserve only contempt. (talk) 12:07, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Gosh, are you talking to me? Having just explained the identity thing to the monkey, I shan't repeat it to the organ grinder. Suffice to say that every comment that comes out of your ugly greasy-haired mug marks you out as the cunt that you have been portrayed. You are your own negative publicity, so my work is done. Now that you have announced with great fanfare (yet again) your leaving the project, and returning (yet again) to do nothing but disrupt, even your former apostles are noticing that the gold was just plating. Do keep talking though, we all need a laugh sometimes. D.T.F. (talk) 06:07, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
You are the monkey, Finn. (talk) 15:14, 22 January 2011 (UTC)


I don't particularly like where this discussion is heading, so I'll change the subject. Hayford, you're the Secretary of the Editorial Council. A number of prominent Citizens, not mere dissenters like myself, have expressed concerns over the priorities of the Editorial Council. The average academic, I suspect, will be far more concerned over fringe treatment of topics like intelligent design and water memory than over the content of one of Howard's history articles. Like Daniel Mietchen, I "request suggest that the EC publicly identify priorities for its action and install procedures that ensure that EC attention is allocated accordingly". Citizendium's own statistics page is not telling a pretty story. Thomas Larsen (talk) 23:39, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Interesting. Let me see if I can get this right. Topics like the Nazi movement in WWII, Adolf Hitler, war crimes, and other mere trivia of the 20th century do not concern people. Equally, nor do contemporary matters like Wikileaks and minor issues related to it, like official secrets, global business corruption, etc etc. Far more important to all of our lives are discussions about water memory and intelligent design! Give me a break: you guys are just pathetic. (talk) 00:41, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid that last has gotten a bit too nuanced for me. Is the concern with the fringe, with the articles named, or with responses to articles named?
Incidentally, with due respect to the Lady, I cannot unfairly accuse Hayford of witch hunts. He is, however, a dauntless crusader against whiches in the wrong place, to say nothing of thats. The closest accusation I'd make is that I'd like to see more tolerance and collaboration, especially when there is advanced notice. While I don't agree with every comment, I should say that I am pleased with the interaction on the Anschluss article. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 01:36, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I am sorry that the irony has gone over your head, Howard. It is written in standard English, of the sort that even Americans can comprehend. (talk) 01:56, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
You asked if you got it right. You did not. If the irony doesn't work so well, perhaps you might go to more basic brassery, silvery, or coppery. Of course, things might be less distracting if a few opportunities for European superiority were put asidel after all, you do seem to emulate the logic of Sarah Palin. Nevertheless, I shall further ignore you, for I am too tempted to taunt you again, and I should really let you go home to North Wainscoting. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 02:06, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I find Howie's obsession with Adolf Hitler and Nazism rather creepy. His removal from the project would be IMO no great loss. FreeThought (talk) 02:10, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Disagree. Whether you consider Hitler and Nazism creepy or not, it is an important topic in history and the repercussions of the Nazi era continue to be felt. As for Howard, granted he can be annoying but he is the foremost content contributor in a project that desperately needs more content. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:44, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
If you regard Lemmas and stubs as articles, then yes he certainly generates a lot of those. FreeThought (talk) 06:51, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I think you are just looking at the last few months of edits. If you look at the history you will find that Howard seems to go through phases of making different types of article - this month may be Naziism, last month was something else, next month perhaps another thing. It isn't in the least surprising that someone there as a military history editor is going to write articles about military history, in fact it is kind of expected. Also, many of the Nazi articles seem to have stemmed from incomplete articles written by a different contributor and could be classed as cleanup. Again, a military history editor writing about military history, and doing so on a particular subject even for a few weeks at a time, is not surprising and in fact is to be expected. As to the abundance of stubs, CZ is still a community venture, even if it is a community of only half a dozen editors. No one person can do it alone, so any one editor will only ever be able to contribute a select number of complete articles, and a bunch of stubs to act as a starting point for others. That their community model has failed is no reason to abandon all ideas of community, and i think you will find that Howards complete article creation figures compare favourably to any from CZ, especially the likes of Hayford, Aleta and Martin, who all are (or were) more concerned with power struggles than encyclopedic content. D.T.F. (talk) 09:57, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Finn was a political supporter of Berkowitz and refused to listen to other editors, which is really why he is banned from CZ. Rudeness, lack of respect for expertise, and politicking... (talk) 13:59, 21 January 2011 (UTC)


Over at CZ they are ranting about [2]

anonymous comments about me [H. Peirce], Aleta, and other respected Citizens, from behind their noms de net, to have the physical courage to make the same comments to me to my face, or to Aleta, or to any of the others of us Real Name People. I really doubt that any of them would. Including you, Sandy Harris.

I find it mildly amusing that takes active part in this discussion. --P. Wormer (talk) 08:23, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

I find your name mildly amusing and apposite, but I don't post about it all over the place. (talk) 13:56, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Dear : I'm glad my name amuses you; maybe you agree with D.T.F. that Worms is even funnier? Why would you post my name "all over the place"? It isn't that hilarious. --P. Wormer (talk) 15:50, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I dare you to move his comments to the non-member section, since he has posted on his userpage that he is no longer associated with the project, and they were quick to move Thomas' comments after he did the same. D.T.F. (talk) 10:09, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Why do you think I have the power to move anything on CZ? I cannot even edit my own user page over there. But I agree that the goodbyes from CZ of become boring. --P. Wormer (talk) 10:16, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
It's weird that you almost have to sign a loyalty oath in order to have any input there, and as soon as you express dissatisfaction you become an unperson. Intolerance of dissent is the hallmark of a dysfunctional community. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:53, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Why do you believe you cannot edit your user page? (talk) 16:25, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
First because Peirce wrote that he blocked the page. Second because I only see the tab "view source" and no "edit" tab. --P. Wormer (talk) 16:31, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Your user page is currently protected from editing, however under the new Charter you are the Editor of your own user page. I'm pretty sure the Constabulary would unprotect it if you asked. --Chris Key (talk) 15:26, 22 January 2011 (UTC)


This page seems to have become almost entirely CZ members and ex-members sniping at each other. Isn't it time to put a stop to it? Him (talk) 15:56, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

I think there are some useful comments being made here (foremost being mine, of course). If it degenerates into the usual bickering between you-know-who and you-know-who-else there are several ways to intervene. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:47, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
My point was that, while it's interesting watching a fight, it's nothing to do with RW and there don't appear to be any long term RW members involved - it's purely CZ & their disaffected who are involved. Him (talk) 16:55, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
That BON is noxious. I hope his behavior here negatively affects his career at CZ. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svgUser:Nutty Roux/sigtalk 17:12, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I would be absolutely delighted to see pointless sniping end. If I don't respond to you-know-who -- this is a serious question as I don't know RW culture well enough -- is there anything to discourage it? Personally, I'm here to hear useful suggestions from RW folk, and, where appropriate, correct misconceptions. There is little value to just continuing a fight from there. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 18:01, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Meh, at best we could call in the Lost Jellybeans, but it would take some substantial wheel warring or something. "Feisty" (Hi Aleta!) debate is part and parcel to what we do here. In this case people are mostly complaining about the subject matter as being tangential at best. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:26, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
It's to be expected. Most of the interesting drama was being caused by Larry who has now firmly left. So all that is going on now is wikipedia style drama in minature. Really we could do worse than declair game over and move onto other things.Geni (talk) 02:24, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
I was waiting to see if anything really changed after the Charter went into effect before declaring "game over." So far I'm not seeing much cause for hope but it won't hurt to wait a few more months. Doctor Dark (talk) 23:51, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Jan 2011[edit]


And I updated Active users at Citizendium, too :-)

larronsicut fur in nocte 09:35, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

So, after a brief "mini-revival" in October/November 2010, it appears to be going into a slide downward again to its lowest number of edits. It's getting awfully close to "game over". FreeThought (talk) 10:22, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, the election lead to some activity, but since then, it's back to (sub-)normal.
average number of edits over various periods
Look at this diagram: never have there been less edits over a period of 91 days than the last 13 weeks!
larronsicut fur in nocte 10:52, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
The number of new users making their first edit during 12/2010 is so small that I can't read it.[3] Doctor Dark (talk) 16:42, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
The number of debutants in Dec 2010 was the lowest since the start of the wiki: 4 (cz:User:Beirne Konarski, cz:User:Brandon Broussard, cz:User:Jan Hearthstone and cz:User:Vitaly Nagornov). It's up to 10 in Jan 2011. That's hard to see in the diagram, as a maximum of 651 was reached in Feb 2007. --larronsicut fur in nocte 18:37, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
only few month have seen less edits than Jan 2010...
...or less editors
larronsicut fur in nocte 18:46, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Some anecdotal data: my CZ contributions vs. my Wikipedia contributions. —Tom Morris (talk) 19:00, 6 February 2011 (UTC)


"Quote from: David E. Volk on February 07, 2011, 07:00:25 PM ... I do admit, here and now, that some of my votes in the recent election were designed to bring in some ascerbic voices, with the hope that things would be shaken up a little bit. Turns out things are shaking like San Diego during a World Series game about a decade ago! Anyway, I was "one of the bums", so I felt justified. ..."

Well now we know who was votingimg for the pseudoscientists for council election. GooRoo (talk) 10:35, 10 February 2011 (UTC)


CZ is practically dead. Any reason why this still exists?--Colonel Sanders (talk) 14:49, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Strangely, there is still interest in the site. A bunch of the longbrains at LessWrong couldn't quite believe Conservapedia was quite as insane as it actually is, so I just tarted up the Conservapedian mathematics and Conservapedian relativity articles for the house guests - David Gerard (talk) 20:51, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
You do realize the question was about Citizendium and not Conservapedia? Or is there a connection I'm missing? Doctor Dark (talk) 22:05, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I just completely brainfarted - David Gerard (talk) 22:56, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Good! It keeps your mind from getting into a rut, like the Normals do. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:55, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Copied to jump brainfart.

CZ is practically dead. Any reason why this still exists?--Colonel Sanders (talk) 14:49, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Only the interest of watching rigor set in. It'll carry on for years while its half dozen or so morticians tend the body. In short: "No there is no reason this still exists." 03:12, 24 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
There was a flurry of activity in the runup to implementing the charter and voting for their various councils and such. But there's little of interest going on there now. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:29, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Woo, or expertise?[edit]

The following article on gravity was added to CZ by an Editor, hand-picked for his expertise. The lead contains the following gem:

That the premises were not changed long ago testifies to just how completely quantum theory has dominated science, crushing or simply ignoring thought perceived to be inconsistent with its tenets. No one dares challenge this new religion for fear of being ostracized or more importantly admitting that one's own high IQ was insufficient to see its fallacies.

"BIG spheres" also made me smile:

hence the similarity of the gravity mass-formula to the electrostatic charge-formula. In the quantum theory vernacular, the interaction of two neutral electrostatic waves is equivalent to orbital overlap (think BIG spheres) with no net electrostatic repulsion or attraction from the sources.

And how about the "big band" explanation of gravity?

A crowd gathered as the fiddler strummed the strings to set the tone. The trumpet blared to signal the spot and the sax blew a nostalgic note. The base and drums kept the beat, while the piano spewed out a catchy tune. Sound, in through the head -- out through the foot, induced the audience to hum. Some joined the instrumental gig and the band played on with a bit more gain. Unfretted by time or space the band grew unbounded. Few could pass by without being drawn near to check it out. Eventually the entire world heard the sound - a harmonious beat. A musician might deem it "primal urge" -- this scientist, "gravity"! Gravity -- the tuning of the universe.

I would not be surprised if this article turns out to be the final nail in CZ's coffin (because their system of choosing experts has failed so blatantly) --P. Wormer (talk) 10:00, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

...........*STARES* My God, it's... what... I just read the article and... what? --Sid (talk) 12:03, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Best bit of flummery I've seen for a while. Time Cube in its scope. 14:11, 24 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
........That's ah,.... it's..... I mean...... huh? Doctor Dark (talk) 14:44, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Paul, if you look you'll see that Joel is a chemistry editor, not a physics editor. Peter Jackson 18:39, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
He's gone. Very strange. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 03:57, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Deletion reason: Original research - very diplomatic way of putting it. --Sid (talk) 10:39, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
The banning notice calls it spamming. Peter Jackson 14:52, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh, that notice.img I had only looked at the logs at the time. I'd love to assume good faith, but this whole thing (article and "Oh well, whatever" type reply) strikes me as... well... odd. Maybe it was SEO, maybe it was an attempt at manufacturing authority-by-encyclopedia-article, maybe it was just a harmless misunderstanding about the nature of CZ, I dunno. --Sid (talk) 18:05, 25 February 2011 (UTC)


I'm impressed, CZ is able to react quickly after all! I expected the same sort of mealy-mouthed procedures that are used to strip Howard B. of his editorships. I'm sorry, I was mistaken.

The only disadvantage of the quick procedure, without megabytes of talk pages, is that nobody can learn from it. For somebody who wants to know what went on, the literal text of the CZ article is here. The text contains a very nice specimen of pseudoscience. Take the statement:

Einstein spent much of his later life trying [to understand gravity], while constrained to the quantum box.

Einstein understood gravity as no other, and tried in his later life to unify gravitation with electromagnetism. If there was one 20th century physicist who was not confined to a quantum box, it was Einstein.

Another interesting utterance:

It is doubtful that venerable peers would welcome changes that would make their thinking no better that that of an undergraduate -- their station in life is just too good

The changes (not welcomed by peers because of their station in life) refer to possible rejections of quantum theory. The author makes this claim without a shred of evidence. It has no connection with gravity. It belongs to the sociology of science.

The essential part of the article is the proposition of the "ultimate theory" of gravitation. As is usual for pseudoscience, it is completely unintelligible gibberish. Some sentences, for instance

The "fabric" of a universe is an electrostatically neutral double-weave formed from two like-charged waves.

suggest that gravity has an electric origin. This, of course, is a very old idea that has occurred to many interested laypersons. The main difference between gravitation and electromagnetism is: There is no gravitational cage of Faraday. Inside the cage of Faraday (a cage with conducting walls) electromagnetic fields are quenched; that's why you're relatively safe inside your car in a thunderstorm. Gravitational forces cannot be quenched. Imagine that we could have a room or cage without gravitation, applications are endless.

Above I quoted the metaphor that gives the theory its name. It is a matter of taste whether you like it or not. When I drop my glass on the kitchen floor and it shatters, it is not my first thought that the earth played a "catchy tune" to which my glass listened.

The article finishes with the question "Have you exercised your noodle lately?" I did not understand this at all, I had to google to find out that noodle is colloquial for brain. But, admittedly, that's my problem.--P. Wormer (talk) 09:13, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Two minute noodle *lol*. GooRoo (talk) 10:13, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
The swiftness and lack of bureaucracy was a pleasant surprise. Would they have acted so quickly if the article wasn't called out here? There's no indication that anyone on-site had been aware of it: not enough eyeballs, so dodgy stuff can get through. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:30, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't know the answer, but somebody else does: [4].--P. Wormer (talk) 17:41, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
A glance at his personal webshite (Time Cube, anyone) leads one to question his initial acceptance as author/editor. 18:18, 25 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
If I interpret the wording correctly, he tried his luck on Wikipedia a few weeks ago (just days before trying his luck on CZ, apparently), only to run into a wall, too. To be fair, I think CZ would have caught an effective redefinition of Avogadro's number faster than this oddball article. --Sid (talk) 18:41, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
As far as I can tell from the logs, the weirdness of the article was caught by a Citizen, initially due to strange formatting -- things were pink. Daniel seemed to lead the action, and, in my experience, he's quite efficient. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 19:53, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Please not tempt me about the constants; I keep wanting to contribute something about Avocado's Number. Unfortunately, that probably would be their calories, as I love avocadoes. AFAIK, there are no edible derivatives of Loschmidts.
What, incidentally, is courtship called among devotees of woo? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 19:53, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Apropos "noodle", has anyone read the hysterical experimental report, from the book version of The Darwin Awards, about how the interaction of noodles proves either Intelligent Design, or, if one can generalize from rigatoni and penne to spaghetti, the Flying Speaghetti Monster?
I was not at all involved in this BIG BAND matter. I was not involved in his selection as a Chemistry editor, although I had actually looked forward to having a materials scientist improve an article I had started on nanoparticles. Could this have been prevented? I don't know. There have been suggestions for mentoring first articles--a "buddy" system/
There are other battles, which I won't discuss here, about author, quality, editor and behavior issues. Not all are public. I hope to see resolution -- although I'm generally not hopeful about hoping, as opposed to doing. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 21:14, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
The Citizen who alerted folks to the article strangeness was me. The article just didn't have a ring of truth about it, especially concerning Einstein, and removing the hot pink bold text with comments was a polite way to alert the appropriate science folks to the potential errors. Of course they saw my comments and took decisive action. LittleRedWriter (talk) 22:18, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Whatever the exact sequence of events it was reassuring to see the situation handled decisively without endless bureaucratic wrangling. Keep doing that. Doctor Dark (talk) 22:58, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Very basic question[edit]

For the poll, does a thumbs-up refer to approval of the question itself, or of the action being questioned? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 20:44, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

That's like asking if Zebra's are white with black stripes or black with white stripes. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:31, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
For the record: they're black.  :) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 17:36, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh! I thought that they were pink underneath all the black and white... (talk) 23:04, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Feb 2011[edit]

Never in the history of Citizendium have so few done so little... at least not since Oct 2006

editors per month
edits per month

Here some details:

editors by group in Feb 2011
editors by account creation in Feb 2011

larronsicut fur in nocte 14:11, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Main article has been updated. Thanks for assembling these stats. The core group doubtless will continue plugging away, but it really does look like "game over" in terms of a broad-scale project. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:49, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

New CZ author to watch[edit]

Joshua Zambrano—born-again Christian. Believes in the complete reliability of the Bible in its original manuscripts. Blocked indefinitely on WP: [5]. Ed Poor II ? -- (talk) 16:37, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Noticed that. Interesting claim about adding popular articles from a wikipedia index. I believe Thomas Wright Sulcer did the same thing, which in the end didn't change Citizendium's rankings so it was a pointless exercise. Wikipedia is the king of pop culture articles and there is no way you'll overtake them. GooRoo (talk) 17:26, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
Improving their overall coverage would be a good thing. Interested in the recent political upheavals in the Arab world? You won't find an article about Tunisia on Citizendium.
They have a hodgepodge of articles on various topics but lack the breadth of basic coverage essential for an "encyclopedia." Doctor Dark (talk) 18:00, 11 March 2011 (UTC)
I am a born again Christian, baptized over 40 years ago, and I do believe in both evolution and creationism. How is that? God created the Earth and life upon it. Of course it took 6 days to do so and the 7th day He rested. As I wrote on a CZ page how long is a day? A day is as long as God wants it to be. If I were to write about evolution, it would be a science article, if I were to write about creationism then it would be a religion or anthropological article. You can have both. LittleRedWriter (talk) 05:58, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Test wiki[edit]

So reading here, the size of the CZ database is huge, as per previous conversations and intel. And the test wiki is using a complete copy of the database? Tmtoulouse (talk) 19:41, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

A tremendous waste of resources. Revan (talk) 01:50, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

The Guardian and Citizendium[edit]

"Academics won't contribute to WP because, among other reasons, it's not CZ." I would suggest the recent efforts by Wikipedia to engage various universities into editing articles would show that statement on the cz forum not to be true. OTOH Academic recruitment by cz has hardly been a glowing success story. Revan (talk) 10:44, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

"Citizendium is also mentioned." Yes, but only because Daniel Mietchen is involved on the Wikipedia side. That thread is delusional - David Gerard (talk) 11:44, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
I took "it's not CZ" to be metaphorical; i.e., WP isn't a place that values expertise as does (in theory) CZ. Anyway there were a couple of perceptive comments there. One was "academics do participate to improve the public image and understanding of their respective fields" and another, closely related, was "academics won't contribute to CZ because, among other reasons, it's not widely read." Doctor Dark (talk) 03:18, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh, come on. Most academics are busy teaching, writing papers, and reading up on their field. Writing an encyclopedia is not high on their priority list. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:22, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
You're perhaps right for the majority, but a substantial number of profs and other academics, e.g., published researchers, do contribute to WP and other formal or informal means of "public outreach" (for lack of a better term). I can count at least a half dozen in my small circle of WP acquaintances. Some also write blogs, give talks to the public, and so on. For many of us there's more to life than reading, writing, and teaching. Doctor Dark (talk) 05:08, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
There are a few legitimate professors contributing to the areas I watch on WP. For the most part, I'd characterize their efforts there as routine elimination of inanity, without fuss or bother. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 12:46, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

My first visit to Citizendium[edit]

Possibly more useless than Conservapedia for the topics I was looking up -- Black Power, Caribbean lit, Caribbean history, Black Canadian history and literature. Close to nada. P-Foster (talk) 04:57, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

At least they got rid of the global warming denialism since the last time I was there. Still quite a bit of pseudoscience though. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:03, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Why not contribute?[edit]

Yes, there are whole areas of knowledge where CZ has nothing of any use, but that's an opportunity for anyone who knows those areas and feels like writing. And yes, there are some serious problems with both the structure and some of the people, but mostly you can ignore those and just get on with writing. And yes, CZ gets various cranks, including several who've been booted off WP, but there's at least some hope they are being dealt with.

I suggest various people here consider contributing rather than carping. Of course, criticism also helps, but could you do more? Pashley (talk) 05:35, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

That's exactly right. Most people are too lazy or ignorant or both to sign up to CZ, whereas it is easy to add to WP, for better or worse. The founder was overoptimistic: CZ is a slow business and still relatively young. More chalk and cheese than at first appears. Ro Thorpe (talk) 18:06, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
That is easy to say, but it's been pointed out that the structural problems put people off doing so. It's far easier, more effective and less problematic to work on improving Wikipedia than it would be to contribute meaningfully to Citizendium. The main constraint is time (which is a limiting factor for most people), and it would be highly time consuming to work around Citizendium's flaws and build content for it. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 18:11, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
That's a nonsense statement Thorpe. "CZ is relatively young" - 5 years in internet history is considered old, very old. Revan (talk) 01:15, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
What structural problems? What time-consuming flaws? You have to take the trouble to sign up, yes, but after that, you just edit away as on any other wiki. What nonsense have you been reading? Ro Thorpe (talk) 19:09, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Some of us also lack the proper credentials. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:15, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
And what are they? You obviously have literacy, and I expect you have a surname. Ro Thorpe (talk) 19:28, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
And you have to demonstrate that that surname is effectively yours. Editor at CPmały książe 21:17, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I was under the impression that you needed a graduate-level degree of some kind to become an editor and that the editors, at least for many pages, have very tight control over what goes in. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:39, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Ah, but most of us are Authors (i.e. normal editors). And the Editors don't control what goes in; they can ask for things to be taken out. They are obliged to identify nonsense, and of course we're all on the lookout for pseudoscientists these days. Ro Thorpe (talk) 20:14, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
You mean until RationalWiki pointed it out to you that is. If it wasn't for RW publicly pointing them out I doubt there would have been change. Revan (talk) 01:15, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
The main reason not to get involved is that you can no longer call Martin Baldwin-Edwards an asshole, which would make any discussion of CZ impossible. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 19:49, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
If you need to call people names it's not much of a discussion. Ro Thorpe (talk) 20:14, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I didn't say I wanted to hold a discussion with him: I want to call him an asshole, because it's pretty clear that he's an asshole. Sorry - I'll try to be clearer next time. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:24, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
You were perfectly clear: '...which would make any discussion of CZ impossible', you said. Ro Thorpe (talk) 20:32, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
The discussion I want to have is how much of an asshole he is, but I'm not allowed to do that. And learn how indentation works, please. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 21:16, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Incidentally, learning to spot when you're being trolled is a great defense mechanism on teh Innertubez. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 22:28, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

I used to contribute to CZ but gradually faded away after a while. Larry's heavy-handedness and some of the other things mentioned in our article played roles but more important was the feeling that contributing was ineffective.

The main WP article on my field is one of the top Google hits and gets over a quarter million page views per month. The CZ article doesn't even appear in the top 100 Google hits despite having been on the site in fairly respectable form since mid 2007. It has had only a few thousand page views. The CZ stats don't say whether this was in the past month, or the past year, or forever, but whatever the case it's clearly orders of magnitude lower than the corresponding WP article. For a new article that would be understandable but not for one that has been around for four years.

So if my contributions to CZ aren't making an impact in terms of public outreach I have trouble justifying time spent there. CZ would have to offer me something that WP doesn't -- a fun atmosphere (like RW), opportunity to interact with others interested in my field, freedom from the kind of bureaucratic hoo-hah that I have to put up with in my "real" academic job, or whatever. And it doesn't deliver on any of those things. In fact very much the opposite in terms of bureaucracy.

As I've mentioned before I'd love to see a viable competitor to WP. But CZ in its current state isn't it. The way I see it the basic problem has simply been failure to thrive, albeit helped along by some of the things discussed in the RW article. Doctor Dark (talk) 20:06, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

What bureaucracy? Ro Thorpe (talk) 20:45, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

When a wiki gets the attention of RW, we usually just compare how it is described by its protagonists and how we perceive it (purely subjectively). If there is no big difference, it's boring. But have a look at CP: they say they are open-minded and abhor censorship, so of course, it gets interesting. The same is true for CZ: it's not about the claim to be the next and better wikipedia - that's just the typical huffing-and-puffing in the wikiverse. But stating that you are hyper-sciency - and then some of your experts turn out to be homöopaths, well, that's amusing. There are quite a few of such inconsistencies left at CZ, so it will stay interesting for a while... And as there a too many of these inconsistencies, I'm not interested in joining CZ. larronsicut fur in nocte 21:19, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Mar 2011[edit]

  • I just up-dated Active_users_at_Citizendium
  • While there were more editors in March than in the three months before, the number of edits was the smallest since Nov 2006...
edits per month
editors per month

larronsicut fur in nocte 12:39, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

On present trends Knowino will be overtaking Citizendium on edits per month, within the next three months. Knowino for March 2011 exceeded 5500 edits. Citizendium has dropped to 6000 edits, and is declining. Revan (talk) 17:39, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
edits per month: knowino
Apples and oranges: knowino has 5500 edits in toto, while Citizendium has 6000 edits in a single bad month...
larronsicut fur in nocte 20:28, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
This site is collapsing rapidly! –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:32, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't say "rapidly," just a continuation of the long-term slide. That could change soon though. Berkowitz is their most prolific content contributor by far and they're trying to run him out of town on a rail. It's all very disappointing really. I had hoped that a viable competitor to Wikipedia would spring up, perhaps taking over the "serious scientific" niche and leaving Pokemon and the likes to WP. But alas. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:37, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
"Serious science"? Shit, WP has thousands of articles I can;t even understand, they are so good. Luckily, most of those link to "this science for dummies laypeople" articles. So they also cover Pokemon and Star Trek? No problem. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:54, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

User talk page comments[edit]

There has been a Managing Editor ruling that states that User pages are different from User Talk pages. Users have complete control of their User Pages, but not their User Talk Pages. The user himself is not to delete comments; only the Constabulary has the right to do that.

Since it seems impossible to have a discussion on the User Talk page without bickering, I invited people to email me; I am not cutting off contact with everyone. There are 3 or 4 individuals whose comments I'm not interested in reading; most of CZ is made up of good people. Indeed, there are people who strongly disagree with me, but whose comments I will read: Dan Nessett, for example. I really would like to mend fences with him, as I believe he's seriously committed. Ro Thorpe often votes against me in the EC, but I have the sense of there being nothing personal -- and he has been helpful on articles. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 18:17, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

I suspect that odious turd will try to think of a way to hold this post against you. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svgUser:Nutty Roux/sigtalk 22:56, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Odious turd? You mean the asshole? –SuspectedReplicant retire me 23:04, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Depends on who you have in mind. I observe that the human anus has at least one useful function, so it would be incorrect to use it as a metaphor for certain individuals. For one of its wealth-generating functions, see [6] Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:09, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I have to apologise: you're completely correct and my analogy is faulty. The asshole is designed to stop shit dribbling out everywhere, whereas Martin Baldwin-Edwards causes little else. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 23:24, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I suppose you think it's mighty clever to drag my name around in the mud while you remain anonymous, whoever you are ASSHOLE_replicant. It's your kind that we have tried to keep out of CZ. Try dealing with facts, as opposed to your shitty instincts and vulgar tongue. (talk) 00:22, 4 April 2011 (UTC)


Oooooh! You struck a tender point SR. --Scream!! (talk) 00:32, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
You drag your own name through the mud whenever you open your mouth to pop off like a nasty child. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svgUser:Nutty Roux/sigtalk 00:44, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

85.whatever to SR above: "It's your kind that we have tried to keep out of CZ." I'm not certain if "we" there merely assumes facts not in evidence (that anyone, let alone everyone, at CZ would agree) or is intended as a Royal "we". Unfortunately, this nonsense — assuming your personal opinion is policy — is moderately common on CZ, and 85 is far from the only offender.

Whichever it is, it is wrong. I've looked at SR's contributions here and I for one would welcome him or her at CZ. Pashley (talk)

Your attitude is incompatible with the values of CZ, User. If you think that the language and conduct used here are acceptable, then it shows what level you youself operate at. I find your above statement offensive. (talk) 10:49, 4 April 2011 (UTC)


You really are a pompous tit, aren't you? –SuspectedReplicant retire me 10:51, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
No, it's actually that you are scum. (talk) 11:27, 4 April 2011 (UTC)


Oh noez! I've been called "scum" by a pompous asshole with all the innate charm and loveability of a genital wart! I'm wounded! Incidentally, I missed your comment about me posting anonymously because I was reading other, less tedious posts elsewhere. Leaving aside for a moment the irony of a BoN calling someone else's posts anonymous, I would point out that anybody with more nous than a stunned vole can get my full name incredibly easily. Since it seems you don't reach that level of ability, here's the answer from the back of the book: "Robert Peter Edward Herbert" - I give you the full name to differentiate myself from the other couple of Rob Herberts out there on the Internet. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 11:46, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
From the back of what book? It doesn;t seem that you have ever done anything, let alone write books. Regardless, your abusive language is not ameliorated by emerging from anonymity: you are still just an offensive loudmouth. (talk) 13:34, 4 April 2011 (UTC)


From the back of the metaphorical book, idiot. I'd rather be an offensive loudmouth than a pompous cretin who enjoys being an average sized fish in a tiny pond whose actions do far more harm than good to his own pet project. Now run along back to your stagnant little backwater and enjoy the last couple of months before the money runs out and you have to face up to what a pointless nonentity you are. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 13:40, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Somehow, I doubt that you are competent to judge either IQ or contributions to academic work. You are most certainly not welcome on CZ. (talk) 14:16, 4 April 2011 (UTC)


That's not really your decision, is it? Not that I'm interested anyway. Apart from anything else it won't exist in a few months so it's hardly worth the bother of getting approved. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 14:23, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

EXCELLENT! I love when someone calls someone "scum" and then mentions their "abusive language". ħumanUser talk:Human 03:43, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

State of emergency[edit]

Gareth declares the Charter suspended and asks Daniel to assume power: [7]. Peter Jackson 09:58, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

WIGOed. Sounds like a mass of fun! –SuspectedReplicant retire me 10:39, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Mietchen is a solid and sensible guy. The site is much better off in his hands than being run by the Councils, which are unnecessary and unworkable in such a small community. Doctor Dark (talk) 13:29, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
This shows the intellectual quality of some of the people at CZ, those who then share their thoughts with RW -- Gareth has not declared the Charter suspended (he has absolutely no power to do so), but suggested that as a possibility. Is this too subtle a distinction for you Rationalists to understand? Hayford Peirce (talk) 22:15, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Maybe I no speak english, but the bit that says "The Charter [...] is now [...] suspended" seems somewhat definate and final, especially from the ombudsman who is (according to TOW's definition) a trusted intermediatary in negotiation, and should therefore be both well informed and reliable. NoodleDickSissyPantsTalk! 22:26, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
the Ombudsman gave his opinion and advice to the ME. Actually to suspend the Charter will require a request from the ME and agreement from the EC, what remains of the MC and the Ombudsman himself. Suspending a constitution is not done lightly. (talk) 22:44, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
whoah, steady on the acronyms there; I am not a cz member, and so haven't the faintest clue what you are saying; I'm just saying what seems apparant after a quick look at the reference. NoodleDickSissyPantsTalk! 23:13, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
It shows nothing of the sort Hayford. Doctor Dark pointed out that Dan Mietchen running the site alone would be a huge improvement over it being run by the EC and MC. Whether that fits with the Charter is irrelevant. Stick to the charter and watch the site sink without trace, or actually solve the problems and there's still a chance Citizendium won't end up in the dustbin of history. —Tom Morris (talk) 00:27, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Abbreviations for pieces of the CZ structure are: ME = managing editor, MC = management council, EC = editorial council, CC = chief constable. Pashley (talk) 01:33, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Have you forgotten how to read, Tom? Peter Jackson, in the first line of this thread, says, "Gareth declares the Charter suspended" and the other Rationalists took it from there. I repeat, Gareth did NOT declare the Charter suspended, because he cannot do such a thing. And the abilities of Daniel M. have nothing to do with what I said. Can't anyone here read, and understand, English? Surely that is a Rational question to ask? (Or even spell -- I find some of the *weirdest* spelling here....) Hayford Peirce (talk) 02:00, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Argument from spelling. It's a great way to make your case, that and accusing Tom of being unable to read. QED, bitches! ATP (talk) 03:28, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
He's not "making a case": he's telling you that you are idiots. It's quite a difference... (talk) 04:15, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
You're an important part of CZ's delightful community. Keep it up 85. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svgUser:Nutty Roux/sigtalk 04:20, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
"The Charter, in my view, is now, de facto, suspended". Who is it that can't read? –SuspectedReplicant retire me 07:52, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Well, "declare" is rather a strange word. Linguists talk about "declaratives", things like "I now pronounce you man and wife" which, if said by someone with the right authority in the right context, are not just utterances but actions with consequences beyond the mere words. America once declared its independence; that too had consequences.

Gareth certainly did not declare the Charter suspended with "declare" used in that sense. As Hayford correctly points out; he did not do that and he does not have the authority to do it.

What Gareth actually wrote (link above) was "The Charter, in my view, is now, de facto, suspended, and all authority rests with the ME". That is a very different thing.

Personally, I'd say it is also quite debatable. The management council has five members, needs three for a quorum, and last I heard there'd been one official resignation, one saying he was about to, and one who's been inactive for a while, so there's certainly a problem and one big piece of the charter-mandated mechanism appears broken. That is not quite the same as saying the charter is suspended, though, and there may be solutions less radical that Gareth's suggestion. See the thread linked above for discussion of some. Pashley (talk) 08:06, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

What's really funny is that with people resigning all over the place, the massive, top-heavy bureaucracy in chaos, and the money running out, there are so many of you over here quibbling about a WIGO and its discussion thread. Priorities, guys. Priorities. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 08:16, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that is a bit absurd but I think all the CZ folk who are active here are also saying things on CZ forums. Pashley (talk) 09:59, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Daniel responded to the suggestion by opening a forum thread, giving a link to a CZ community input page. He said he'd stay away from the forum for a week and await responses. Since then nobody seems to have responded on the page he asked, while the forum discussion is now on page 5. Peter Jackson 10:46, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Has anyone noticed that only ONE person has resigned and that the project is running normally? You Rationalists may have your own opinions as to what "normally" entails, but from the Citizens' point of view there is no crisis. An overblown fear of one for a while, but that's all. Hayford Peirce (talk) 18:22, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Personally, I'll admit I was following the impression given rather than the actual facts. It's incredible to see the degree of infighting that takes place, though. Before you point out the degree of infighting that takes place on RW, I would preemptively reply that after a (usually) brief bout of HCM everything settles down again. It's difficult to escape the impression that some people are more interested in bureaucratic infighting than in improving The Citizendium. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 21:37, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree that the situation with the Management Council was in no way a crisis. If there is a crisis on CZ it does not rest in the workings of CZ's apparatus of governance, but in the fact that last month saw the smallest number of edits to the project and nearly the smallest number of participants since the first full month of its pilot phase, and that there is no apparent plan to reverse this trend. The continuation of an ongoing trend isn't usually considered a "crisis," however.Doctor Dark (talk) 02:57, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Anybody interested in working on a Hayquote generator? To get started, we wouldn't even need to go over to CZ. Burndall (talk) 22:30, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

It's not a state of emergency, it is just a true Headless Chicken situation. Their head's been cut off and now all of them consider that they're the only main one qualified to lead. It's what you get when a self elected elite (before the screams of denial, that's what the registration process creates) tries to organise democratically. Total bloody anarchy. Let the Managing Editor manage, under advisement from the rest. At this stage (infancy) of any project, the important thing is that someone has a clear lead. Bring in the committees when they are needed - in another five or ten years. --Scream!! (talk) 22:42, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
The registration process, my dear Scream!!, is designed to keep people like you out, not to let you in -- and, as you can see, it has worked admirably. Which is why you rail against it.... Hayford Peirce (talk) 02:30, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Hayford, to paraphrase Graucho: "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me you as members."Beer.gif --Scream!! (talk) 07:32, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Graucho Morx? Ro Thorpe (talk) 12:54, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Gawd, Hayford, you are an asshole. Has anyone ever pointed this out to you in your real life? ħumanUser talk:Human 03:38, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Bold words from a 12-year-old hiding behind a pseudonym. I'll give you my address: come on by and I'll give you a spanking, then wash your mouth out with soap. Geez, the level of discourse at this site never fails to astonish me! Hayford Peirce (talk) 04:35, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Wow, you're not just a worse asshole than I thought, you are also a moron. I may use a handle, but I am not anonymous. Better idea: why not "spank" me on CZ, where I am a member. Connect...the...dots... idiot. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:15, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Haha, I got constabled! Is there a RW barnstar for that? Hayford, your poor soft ass got protected from me "taunting" you! Awesome! After you called me a 12 year-old here without even checking my user page to inform yourself. Sweet. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:02, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
And it's creating such a vibrant community, isn't Hayford? Your ability to man almost half a dozen editors that sometimes write content for your "encyclopedia" is a vindication for your approach! You will surpass wikipedia any day now, any day. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:38, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

"In times of crisis, the ancient Romans picked a so-called dictator, for a limited term, often six months, with pretty much absolute rule to manage the crisis. In times of crisis...

I know, that opens up a can of worms."[8] I love it. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:56, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Interesting statement from the Chief Constable: [9]: the constabulary regard Gareth as the Supreme Court, so they'd back Daniel if he agrees to take over (because Gareth has already said Daniel can do so: see link at head of this thread). Peter Jackson 09:58, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Gareth and Daniel are sensible people who largely avoid all the backbiting. If they could take over and bypass the Councils, where most of the "difficult personalities" reside, Citizendium could have a chance of turning itself around. Doctor Dark (talk) 13:27, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Image Category[edit]

I have created the category "Citizendium screencaps" for your screencaps. I'll go and categorise all existing ones! If they get very numerous, we can sort them by date like the CP ones. DalekEXTERMINATE 00:14, 9 April 2011 (UTC)


has been misunderstood in the latest WIGO listing. He's not saying it should be revealed who voted for whom. He's saying it should be revealed how many people voted for whom, which is normal democratic procedure. Peter Jackson 10:00, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

"stinging racist attack..."?[edit]

For the life of me I can't see the racism in MB-E's response linked from the WIGO. Can somebody help me here? I don't think we should make accusations of racism lightly. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:39, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

The pot calling the kettle black is "racist". Get it? Burndall (talk) 03:27, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Oh dear, that's a weak attempt even by my undiscriminating standard of humor... My concerns are withdrawn because this was not a serious accusation of racism. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:46, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
LOL. Heaven forbid anyone use the term niggardly in a sentence. Revan (talk) 04:06, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Seriously, Doctor, if you can't understand that joke, you should try to find a new sense of humour in the sales. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 07:06, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Today's paper has a 30% off coupon from JC Penney so I'll check it out. Doctor Dark (talk) 14:03, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually, both parties concerned appear to be (pale) white... (talk) 10:57, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

John Dalton, and backing the site up[edit]

I'm just backing up Citizendium (in case the donors decide not to keep it going after September or whatever) using the WikiTeam script. I just noticed something: the most popular article on CZ is John Dalton. It's classic CZ: check the ropey graphics in the Early Life section, the weirdly styled text including Comic Sans and so on.

An interesting point here though - this is the most popular article on Citizendium. It has had 38,363 views. The article on L. Ron Hubbard on Wikipedia got featured on the homepage last month (on Hubbard's birthday). It had 91,867 views on that day.

The article on John Dalton on WP has had 175,867 since January 1, 2011. —Tom Morris (talk) 13:35, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

What's also interesting, and ties in with your stats above, is I googled "John Dalton" - still no mention of CZ by the 4th results page, and it's rare that anybody searching for a term would get that far down the Google results. On top of everything else, it seems as if CZ need to do some SEOing. --PsyGremlinTala! 13:46, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
To be fair, it describes itself as a "draft article, under development and not meant to be cited" although the "More to come.... " shouldn't really be there whatever state it's in. But yeah, that's pretty poor stuff. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 14:21, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
The article was started two years ago and has lain dormant in its current condition for almost a year (since July 2010). If they are serious about being known for "the highest standards of writing, reliability, and comprehensiveness" as stated on their main page, they need to periodically go through their articles and cull ones that don't satisfy those standards. That could involve either deleting them or moving them to a holding area where they can be cleaned up. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:29, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
No, that doesn't follow. How does deleting unfinished articles increase comprehensiveness? Better to have an unfinished article than no article. You know, like there's no article on "Bristol" (as in the city in England). Heh. —Tom Morris (talk) 15:45, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
Is its draft nature the reason why it doesn't show up on a certain search engine beginning with G? It's not difficult to exclude things from the robot searches. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 16:06, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
There's no systematic exclusion of draft versions. The problem is that their ranking is so low that you need to explicitly add "citizendium" to your search entry to get a hit for the CZ article. Google for "gene" and you won't find the CZ article (at least in the first 100 hits, which is as far as I looked) but if you google for "gene citizendium" the CZ article pops up. So it's not being hidden from search engines.

Tom brings up an interesting point. Could there be some tension between striving for the "highest standards of writing and reliability" on the one hand and "comprehensiveness" on the other? If compromises have to be made I would argue that it's more important for CZ to ensure high standards of writing and reliability. Otherwise all you have is a less complete version of Wikipedia without the quality differentiator. On the subject of comprehensiveness, of Sanger's many missteps one I think among the worst was the Great Unforking. It left CZ with too little coverage to attract readers, and without readers you don't build your pool of writers. Doctor Dark (talk) 17:29, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Doctor Dark, I think you are touching on what are the two competing visions of Citizendium. I don't completely disagree when he called the one he likes as "inclusionist", although I don't tend to think of mine as "exclusionist" but quality controlled. Speaking for myself, and certainly some others, I don't believe, at its present size, CZ has any ability to compete directly with WP. I would rather see it pick niches, have expert review early in those niches, and have extensive navigation/contextualization/lack of orphan articles.

On the EC Wiki, there is a discussion about what to do about articles that, for want of a better term, are "substandard". This is not well-defined, but the EC trying to get a handle on it is one of the most productive to date. Hayford did say that there was some similarity to Justice Stewart's definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it."

Finding the niches, and people for them, of course, is a challenge. I'm rather proud of the Wars of Vietnam series, which started with a rewrite of Jensen and which I wrote a good deal. In the absence of additional military or history editors, things are not moving toward Approval -- and I would welcome feedback there, and for a number of other articles/sets of articles that I consider decent, but never perfect with one set of eyes. We do have a couple of people for information security. There's no good wiki for Internet routing. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 19:42, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Come on, CZ is a joke that most people have never heard of. The best route to improving human knowlizeiapedics is to improve WP, which is already amazingly good. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:36, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Writing on CZ is one way to do that. WP checks CZ approved articles and sometimes imports large chunks of them [10]. 06:54, 15 April 2011 (UTC) — Unsigned, by: Pashley / talk / contribs
Lol, yeah, every day they port the two or three passable CZ articles. Meantime, they have hundreds of thousands of incredible, accurate, sourced articles. Or haven't you been there lately? ħumanUser talk:Human 06:59, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Correction, the seven people involved in the project port an article or two a month. Reality check. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:32, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Certainly there are lots of excellent articles on WP. But there are also lots of inaccurate or biased ones. The problem is that the reader has absolutely no way of telling which is which. Even if
  • a source is cited
  • it's "reliable"
  • it actually supports the statement
each of which often fails to hold, that doesn't prove anything. "Reliable sources" are often wrong, indeed often contradict each other. Wikipedia's statements satisfying the above conditions are often wrong or contested, usully through ignorance, but sometimes because people have suppressed views they dislike. And nobody can verify the non-existence of contradictory sources. "Verifiability" is a fraud. The small number of CZ articles approved by Editors have a higher degree of credibility.
As to improving Wikipedia, my own view is that the fact that its activity level stopped growing in 2007, combined with its complacency about its problems, makes it impossible for it to reach an adequate standard till competition forces it to do so. Whether that competition comes from Citizendium, Wikinfo, Knowino, something I haven't heard of or something that doesn't exist yet, the free market will eventually produce it. Peter Jackson 09:12, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia isn't complacent about its problems, and there have been several recent attempts (such as Pending Changes) to help move things along. Your concern about sources is misplaced. There's a whole policy on what is and isn't a reliable source, and while you'll occasionally come across someone adding a blog as a source, almost all of these are removed within a very short time. This attitude, which essentially amounts to "Wikipedia can't be very good because we aren't in charge of it" is why I despise CZ. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 09:27, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Anyone who thinks that WP has reliable articles (even just as a starting point) clearly has no area of expert knowledge to test that claim. WP is very good at collecting large amounts of contradictory data and views, usually completely hopeless at making a decent analysis of them,and is therefore a repository of information as opposed to knowledge. That is where CZ is supposed to be a superior model of organisation, although in practice this has not exactly happened. (talk) 11:50, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
So you're saying that although CZ doesn't do what it set out to do, it's better than WP, which does exactly what it was set up for? You're a strange man, Martin. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 12:06, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
That is not what I said. I am saying that WP has irremediable faults and the ideas behind CZ aimed to remedy those on CZ. Without enough contributors, obviously this cannot happen. That is where CZ is now... (talk) 13:27, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not disagreeing that WP has faults: I'm disagreeing that what you've called a fault ("[WP is] therefore a repository of information as opposed to knowledge") is necessarily a fault. It's true that in an effort to keep the crowds at bay, several articles end up in a bit of a no man's land where nobody is happy, and it's also true that the focus of WP's editors (and I have to include myself a little on this one) on pop culture is a bit embarrassing at times. On the other hand, you have to spend a lot of time trying to find actual mistakes that aren't "jokes" inserted by wandals. WP is never going to be a traditional encyclopedia, but I think it does a good job of being a twenty first century version of such.
On the other hand we have CZ. It's a nice idea in theory, but in practice you created a crank magnet - see the "Citizendium's greatest pseudoscientific hits" section on the Citizendium article, and still got errors (see further down).
In theory, it could have been a battle between WP's Hitch-hiker's Guide and CZ's Encyclopedia Glactica, but it'll be over after just a few seconds of the first round, I'm afraid. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 16:17, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
SR: "you have to spend a lot of time trying to find actual mistakes that aren't "jokes" inserted by wandals". Martin has already answered that: "Anyone who thinks that WP has reliable articles (even just as a starting point) clearly has no area of expert knowledge to test that claim" Peter Jackson 10:16, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
[citation NOT needed]SuspectedReplicant retire me 10:23, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
These silly complaints are just moronic. I have read probably 2,000 or so WP articles in depth - long ones - and becoem much more informed due to this. I doubt CZ even has 200 decent in-depth articles, if even 20. Face it, Wikipedia is an incredible resource, if flawed in places (name them!) and CZ is useless and an intellectual embarrassment. ħumanUser talk:Human 11:14, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Example: there is a loving devotion to Napoleon on CZ. But "Waterloo" is not linked - and not article on the battle even exists. Such gaping holes make not an encyclopedia. Now go read about them on WP and tell me CZ is in any way "better" or a "solution". ħumanUser talk:Human 11:19, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

(undent) Human, one of the current concepts of ideas at CZ is whether there should be a completely open choice among authors to contribute on anything they want, or if there should at least be areas of effort suggested. Now, I know more about Napoleon than the average bear, and probably could write intelligently about certain aspects of his military career. As a Military Editor, however, my detailed knowledge is much more in military technology, unconventional warfare, and modern military history. If new contributors -- and yes, there are a few, wanted to write, say on Waterloo, I could help. I could direct someone to "Le Mot de Cambronne", but someone who reads French could do a better job of working out the stories.

CZ must clarify that it can't be all things to all people, at its present stage. It needs to recruit and I'm personally doing that cautiously, warning people there are politics and that the site may be fragile. It needs to get clear about unproductive arguments and focusing on content, or infrastructure needed to build content. For the moment, I'm cautiously doing that, although there may be some politics that defeat me --I hope not. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 13:30, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Why would people sign-up if you're telling them the site has politics and is fragile? Not many good points for CZ? :) Whatever you do for your next job howie, I hope its not advertising. Revan (talk) 16:22, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Revan -- and only my mother called me Howie -- full disclosure is not at all bad advertising. In some prior jobs, I occasionally was the person that went with sales to answer technical questions. More often than not, I gave a technical description, and always made it a point to mention something where we had room to improve, and something the competition did well.
This drove the salespeople nuts, until they realized that they closed more sales, when I did this, than when it was not done. You see, it made the rest of my presentation extremely credible.
In this specific case, I also have the ethical responsibility to disclose to friends and colleagues. Now, among them, quite a few like a challenge -- but want to know about it. For example, the soldiers among them knew, when they swore the oath, that they were signing up for relatively low pay, but with the added benefit of a real chance to be maimed or killed. Others among them are medical people, who knew that their training would be long and arduous before they got to the goal.
Here, the process of getting CZ on track could well be long and arduous, and could fail. Nevertheless, some people share visions of what could be, and are willing to risk for that goal. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 20:22, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Howard, most of your comments on WP are based on apparent misconceptions about the way WP works. Martin is even more guilty of this, but he's so incapable of even considering his own fallibility that there's no purpose in pointing it out to him. This comment of his, for instance. If he had any clue whatsoever about WP, he'd already know the answer.
To go back to Human's comment about Napoleon, I happen to be pretty knowledgeable on the Napoleonic wars and several other conflicts as military history has been a strong interest of mine for about 20 years. CZ's second sentence: "He was the greatest general of his age--perhaps any age" is speculative, debatable, and pointless. I see it repeats the inaccurate statement that he was short. The section on the 100 days is just... wrong. Napoleon believed the Prussians to be beaten and wasn't worried about them joining up with the Allied army at all! It also makes it sound like his surrender took place immediately after thee battle. That's just a couple of things that jump out while flicking through - I imagine there are many more errors.
Thanks, but I'll take WP with all its problems, because it's a shit load more accurate than CZ. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 21:00, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Wow, that Napoleon article is abysmal. Editor at CPmały książe 11:21, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Blimey, your Approved article on Jet Set Willy doesn't even mention where the phrase "We must perform a Quirkafleeg!" came from! Very poor. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 21:28, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Suspected, I'm honestly willing to hear comments, but I'm a little puzzled about your saying that I was making comments on WP, at least in this thread. Let me try to be clear about what I have in mind, and I'll put that in terms of what I want as a contributor. Much of this comes from my experience in how the Internet Engineering Task Force works, where I've participated for a long time. The IETF shares some culture with open source, although it's document, not code focused. It doesn't use wiki software.
Again speaking of what I'd like to see as a contributor, from peers, is non-anonymity, which might take the form of validated pseudonyms (e.g., digitally signed with PGP). I want the ability to offer at least original synthesis and not have to footnote things back to secondary (especially) sources, or primary sources. I certainly don't want to be told, which is what made me stop contributing to computer networking on WP, long before CZ, that I was misinterpreting a peer-reviewed document (it happened to be RFC 4098) of which I was a coauthor.
I do want a culture where people try first to make things accurate, and secondly try to be reasonably pleasant with one another. You'll note that I don't find RW excessively unpleasant, so I am reasonably tolerant of some things that the Constabulary of CZ might not accept. Perhaps due to small population, peer pressure hasn't been a factor at CZ for quite a while, although it was when I joined in mid-2008.
I'll also note that there are flaws in the CZ Editor system, but it remains extremely difficult to revise that system. Yes, I was immediately granted, among other things, Military Editor status on joining, and later History and Politics. I'd be perfectly willing to make those more specific titles, such as Politicomilitary and US Politics, but even there, I'd still restrict getting involved in things where I have no special competence -- such as Waterloo. Yes, I'm the only active Military Editor, but I don't see that as equivalent to head of the Military Workgroup and responsible for the quality of everything.
At WP, I definitely liked the approach in the Military History Project. With peer help there, I worked out a compromise structure, for articles concerning the Central Intelligence Agency, that people on all sides of the issue seemed to consider fair. I left WP, in frustration, when I found that one individual, most energetically, restructured all the articles involved overnight. I didn't have the energy to put it all back.
Now, if WP is actually able to meet my "needs", maybe it is the place for me. I have some thoughts about other ways to support the sorts of things I like to do, but I'd rather not discuss them in a public forum. I'm willing to discuss by email: hcb at netcases period (the domain usually associated with networks). Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 00:05, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
SR: my comments about WP are based on actual experiences in articles where I have recognised expertise (and the articles even cite my publications) and articles where I have competence. I can tell you that WP's concept of approved sources is academically weak (appropriate for undergraduates in lesser universities) and consistently manipulated to reflect certain agendas. People without expertise in certain topics may be fooled by WP, but those of us with that are not; commensense arguments just do not cut it for an encyclopedia. Obviously CZ has failed to reach a higher level so far: has anyone claimed that it has? (talk) 01:08, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Okay. I, a total amateur, several problems with your Napoleon article and a glaring omission in one of your featured articles. Instead of "certain agendas", "certain topics" and general comments about "articles", please name some names. Let's have an example of some factual errors or important omissions on one Wikipedia article. I'm sure you won't have trouble finding one, but at the moment you're handwaving like a creationist trying to persuade anybody that "lots of scientists" support YEC. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 07:13, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
No, it's just too personal and unpleasant. Please take my word for it: even when my own publications are cited as primary reference points, WP does not allow me to interpret my own research for the WP article. Instead, mass opinion of idiots is the mechanism that prevails. WP is anti-expertise in its structural organisation, and cannot do otherwise. (talk) 09:13, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Pics, or it didn't happen. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 09:21, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Howie, ask not what wikipedia can do to meet your "needs", ask what you can do to meet theirs. WP is not there to meet the "needs" of writers, but of readers. And I find the results to be stunning. CZ is there to meet the needs of certain kinds of writers, and the results are, well, less so. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:23, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

No, Huey, that's not what I ask as a volunteer for a model I don't really think works. There are other venues in which I focus on the needs of readers. Bluntly, I gave up on WP, and am not likely to volunteer effort for it. I'm willing to hear if I have misperceived the environment, but your snark doesn't inform. It is extremely unlikely, for example, I'm ever again going to write for a forum offering substantive information that is largely anonymous. RW is different because the interactions discussed are principally social.
CZ, in its present form, isn't doing a lot to meet anyone's needs. I hope that can change, and I am taking efforts, not all in public, to help make that happen. Nevertheless, I continue to look for even more win-win collaborations between readers and writers. Funny thing about volunteers -- they tend not to have ironclad contracts. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 04:44, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Not sure where I was being snarky, but you agree that CZ is a failing effort. I see nothing that will rescue it in the battle of egos. Not sure why you don't like WP (you never list articles you consider to be of low quality or high bias), but the odds of another on-line free encyclopedia ever surpassing their effort are, IMO, very low. CZ certainly has failed at it, with the biggest leg up any could get. CZ is dead on the vine, if it weren't for the relative financial comfort of its vetted editors. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:28, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
You people keep asking for an example of a faulty WP article. Are you seriously suggesting there aren't any? Anyway, you might like to read [11]. And isn't there something called Wikipedia Review specializing in such things? Peter Jackson 10:00, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
No, neither of us is suggesting that as you'd realise if you read through our comnments. I'm asking for an example of a substantial WP article in which Martin can point out specific flaws. He has yet to do so.
I read your link. I agree that "Not Found The requested URL /wiki/Criticism_of_Wikipedia_article_on_Buddhism was not found on this server." isn't very relevant to Buddhism. WP could really do better. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 10:04, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, should be [12]. Peter Jackson 10:06, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Better yet, can one of you two answer the question directly, using a wikipedia article rather than a pile of text on another wiki, which may or may not be out of date? Ideally, link to a wp article section, quote what is wrong, and link us to the "real facts". Not that hard, considering how passionate your issues with wp seem to be, I would think. ħumanUser talk:Human 10:25, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Well I just used your link to "fix" the locations for Tibetan Buddhism, so thanks for that. I note that much of your link is full of statements without citations yet you criticise WP for not providing citations for all its statements. I have absolutely no idea whether either article is accurate, but it strikes me as odd that you prefer to write lengthy screeds detailing what's wrong with a WP article instead of fixing it. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 10:38, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
If you feel like spending several hours going through the talk archives there, you'll see I put in a lot of effort arguing with propagandists. I stopped bothering when it became clear that, not only has WP got no generally effective process for dealing with them (it works sometimes), but it doesn't even recognize it' got a problem.
"Out of date"? Depends what you mean. I keep the page updated to shadow changes in the WP article (e.g. I've already dealt with the one you just made). Whether I've taken account of all recent scholarship is another question. Given that there are hundreds of Buddhologists, the majority Japanese (which I don't know), it's obviously impossible for me, or even all the editors working on the WP article, to tell. I strongly suspect it's even impossible for the Buddhologists themselves to tell. Certainly there are a number of cases where I'm fairly sure some experts are simply unaware of each other's work. WP hasn't got an answer to this; nor has CZ. Wikinfo in principle has, but only if people take part.
As regards citations, I'm not sure what sorts of statements you're thinking of. Sometimes all I've had to go on is the impression I get from the comparatively small number of sources I've found. Drawing conclusions from that would count as original research on WP or CZ. On WI, OR is allowed. I've generally phrased things carefully: "most scholars seem to think" or the like.
Now, to return to your challenge to Martin. I wonder whether what you're asking is for him to prove to your satisfaction that he knows best as an expert. If so I suspect he'll be unwilling to play that game. Peter Jakson 17:01, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

(undent) Human, no, I don't make a point of criticizing WP. I contributed there for a while, but several bad experiences, and a referral to CZ, made me move. There are people I might criticize, but, on reflection, what would that accomplish>

For various reasons, I'd be unlikely to go back to WP. Some of the reasons need be no more than personal preference. I've worked in collaborative networked efforts since the seventies, and have a rather low opinion, for objective work, of venues that use anonymity. USENET once was a decent working environment, but, when the AOL anonymous gateway opened in 1987 (IIRC) it was the beginning of the end.

What I'll call respect for expertise is another: that includes allowing for at least original synthesis, and for not having to source things well-known to people experienced in a field. This certainly comes from my IETF and IRTF experience, with the caveat they go well into original research. I'd like to see, however, a way to handle original research. Also, the IETF judges on content, not credentialism. The latter, unfortunately, may still be a fetish at CZ.

I have a lot of personal effort invested in CZ and would prefer it didn't fail, but, if I were to do it all over again, I wouldn't try to participate in an all-encompassing encyclopedia. I'd prefer to work in several knowledge projects that are somewhat specialized, especially if they start out small.

While I wasn't at CZ for the Great Fork, I suspect that an ideal might have been not as top-down directed as Nupedia, but some agreement to concentrate in a few areas. Hindsight is wonderful. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 05:41, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for trying to answer, Howard. I appreciate the effort, and your struggles. I find myself at WP every damn day, and almost always make small edits, but I have yet to find an article I "know more than", which was a bit freaky at first. Though I suppose certain more sensitive topics might have issues. I'd still love to see a difflink and a clear critique, but it's not that important, really. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:50, 23 April 2011 (UTC)