RationalWiki talk:Nothing is going on at Citizendium/Archive5

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Backup complete[edit]

I've finished downloading Citizendium using the Wikiteam script. Dumps are available from Megaupload and Internet Archive. Enjoy. —Tom Morris (talk) 12:07, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

What's the point? Are you attempting to create a CZ clone from the files? Revan (talk) 12:46, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm preserving free culture created by volunteers. Whether or not you think Citizendium is good, bad or ugly, we should preserve it. —Tom Morris (talk) 15:49, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
While I'm doing all I can to make CZ work, I'm realistic. If things do collapse, I'd like to be able to transfer the things on which I've worked to another venue. In my main area of interest (for pure volunteer writing), I suspect that might be a new wiki associated with a think tank. Hopefully, CZ will get its act together. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 17:53, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Things have collapsed. It's been downhill for the last three years or haven't you viewed the graphs? Revan (talk) 19:10, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
CZ can trundle along indefinitely as long as the regulars are willing to throw in enough $$$ to pay for hosting. It wouldn't surprise me if they were still around 5 years from now, with most of the same people creating a dozen or so articles per day. Doctor Dark (talk) 19:39, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
CZ is the Stalingrad of wikis. "Ja mein fuehrer. Our luftwaffe can continue to supply the 6th Armee by air. No need to panic with Fortress Stalingrad!" Revan (talk) 04:55, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Feldmarschall Paulus won't save us. Maybe a few of us need to become Werewolves, or just have ODESSA take us we can start over and learn from lessons. No Fuehrer though, even if he promises "no more Mr. Nice Guy." Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 20:06, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

What is going on?[edit]

Martin Baldwin-Edwards, an Editor in Politics, realises it is almost Christmas and promises to edit Politics. M.B.E (talk) 00:27, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Lol. Why not add it to the "what is going on at CZ?" page? ħumanUser talk:Human 05:50, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
I was too lazy to figure it out. Seemed funny either way :) M.B.E (talk) 18:16, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Failing to find a receptive audience on that liberal "encyclopedia", Wikipedia, Ed Poor turns to his favourite conservative alternative to rescue the work he slaved over from deletion. M.B.E (talk) 13:10, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

We shall see if anything is salvageable. Several Citizens immediately had concerns that the US-specific DADT was overemphasized in a much more general article, but perhaps the article can be put on track, probably split into several articles. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:16, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

How CZ works[edit]

  1. Someone resigns from something but hasn't corrected their user pages categories to reflect this after more than two weeks.
  2. An ordinary 'Citizen' notes, reasonably, that this makes the user page out-of-date and politely removes the category.
  3. Someone complains that only officials are allowed to do this.
  4. Ordinary citizen points out that category maintenance seems exempt by pointing to a vaguely-worded rule.
  5. 'Chief Constable' announces intention to revert the edit, then remove the category again.
  6. 'Chief Constable' reverts user page edit, making it look like the person didn't resign after all.
  7. 'Chief Constable', as good as his word, does indeed remove the category after about 20 minutes.
  8. 'Chief Constable' corrects user page categories.
  9. The ship drifts on.
...HowCZworks (talk) 15:45, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Howard review[edit]

Notbe that the 3 members of the committee appointed to review Howard's editorships produced 3 different views on what to do about them. Rather suggests editorship is currently too subjective. Peter Jackson 10:22, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Although you are strictly correct, the main problem is that (like previous committees on CZ) they did not accept the principle of majority voting and also did not bring in expert opinion such as the ME or Ombudsman, as had been suggested by the EC. Specifically, one member recommends revocation of 4 editorships, another of 3, and one of none. Notably, the argument made for retention of editorships is not that of expertise in the area but (carefully worded) worries about damage to CZ if any action is taken. So basically, they have reached no common decision and throw the ball back into the EC's court. Clearly, the majority view is that at least 3 editorships should be revoked. (talk) 13:06, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Although one Citizen, so far, literally suggested the discussion be held here, I will not play any personal games. The real policy issue in this credentials argument lies in two areas. One is whether academic credentials alone, as opposed to real-world experience, is qualifying; I believe the Charter explicitly says this. Second, is a body of contributions to CZ evidence of knowledge?
I really do welcome an independent, policy- rather than personality-, discussion of the nature of expertise. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 11:33, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
"Clearly, the majority view is that at least 3 editorships should be revoked." But, equally clearly, the majority view is that at most 3 editorships should be revoked. Peter Jackson 13:56, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, three is the obvious compromise. (talk) 15:30, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
The suggestion of having the discussion here was simply based on the fact that Matt has banned it on the forum. Although the EC will actually decide, you can't in practice stop everyone else discussing it too if they want. But I can see why Matt did it. It's easy to guess what it would start to look like pretty soon. Peter Jackson 13:59, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Based on Citizendium's standards for editorship Howard would probably only qualify as an editor for the computers group. Howard does not have a bachelors degree, nor masters degree nor doctorate. Citizendium requires editors to have a graduate level degree or substantial expertise in a particular field to qualify as an editor. Howard does not have a degree but he has written several books concerning computers. I was denied editorship, for example, as I have a BA in English and no graduate level degrees. I do have approximately 10 years professional writing experience but that did not qualify either. LittleRedWriter (talk) 15:43, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid Little Red Writer, in her continued cycle of complaints, is citing old policy, rather than the Charter. Article 14 states (my emphasis): "Editors are Citizens whose expertise in some field of knowledge is recognized and formally acknowledged by the community. Official recognition of expertise — obtained through education or experience — and its scope shall be based on guidelines established by the Editorial Council.
While the EC has not established full guidelines, I would note that the only active Editorial Personnel Administrator approved by the EC, who actually decides on Editor qualifications, has "only" a bachelor's degree, but rather extensive experience. Little Red Writer rather constantly explains the Charter and rules to people that participated in writing them, and clearly do not understand them without her guidance.
I don't know what I should do here. I really would rather try to get at least a minimal formal case in the EC, rather than the immediate fracas on the Forums, which I do say was inappropriate and part of what I consider bias by Hayford. This isn't the place, though, to fight the matter, if I have any confidence in CZ. It may be foolish, but I do have some. At some point, I may move my main effort somewhere else, but I will neither resign nor stop all participation. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 15:54, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Nobody is opposed to experience as a substitute for formal qualifications, up to a point. However, people without academic training in any discipline will need to demonstrate expertise through research and publications. Furthermore, some disciplines (such as history) are solely academic and REQUIRE research and publication, if not formal training. Simply getting to be older does not qualify one as a historian; evidence of expertise in other areas is also missing. (talk) 16:18, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Sorry but them's the facts and I thought RW prided itself on facts. CZ requires either a graduate level degree or substantial contributions in a field of knowledge. I do not discount Howard's qualifications to be an editor in the computer group but his other qualifications do not merit CZ editorship based on clearly stated CZ criteria for editorship. How he was selected as editor for those other groups I do not know. LittleRedWriter (talk) 17:03, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Nor does anyone else seem to know. The EC tried to find records and discovered vague reasons and zero paperwork... (talk) 18:21, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Specific statements will be presented at the appropriate time, and the Editorial Council did not take action to determine this. Records exist, but perhaps this isn't known to people that quit Councils in pique. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 18:34, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Irrelevant trivia do not make good arguments. And those who quit CZ committees because of your narcissistic behaviour know as well as anyone what has gone on. The fact remains that serious errors of judgement were made in the editorial appointments, and will soon be rectified. (talk) 19:18, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

[undent] This is absurd. I think everyone in this thread is a CZ participant; I am and I recognise the others. Most of this debate is a waste of time on CZ, let alone here.

It is fairly common on wikis to admonish people, usually clueless newbies, that the talk page of an article is for discussing the article and how it might be improved, not for just anything vaguely related to the topic. Would any of the RW regulars care to chime in on that? Pashley (talk) 22:07, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

This is a discussion of WIGO CZ and is perfectly in order. The fact that you are a supporter of Howard is well known and explains your hostility. It is inappropriate. (talk) 22:39, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

As something of a CZ regular (actually I think of myself more as an irregular) I don't mind you using this space. The arguments above reinforce the impression that CZ would be well served to wipe its slate clean of councils and charters and other bureaucratic impedimenta. The problems they are causing (in particular internal strife and diversion of effort from what should be the project's main task) outweigh what little benefit they have provided. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:54, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Ah, but then where would all the little bureaucrat minds get their jollies? They'd have to edit the articles! Horrors! --Scream!! (talk) 01:02, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Howard, didn't the EC pass a motion retaining all existing policies until it got round to changing them? If so, then LRW's perfectly right to be citing them. Peter Jackson 09:44, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
A policy is null and void if it contravenes the Charter. A policy page saying Editor status is granted on academics only contravenes Charter language that says it is granted on experience and education both.
Scream!!'s point is well taken -- I am continuing to create and edit articles, and really have other things to do in my life besides mounting, as I must, an active defense to these charges. For people to say it is not a pseudo-trial, but just a "review", is disingenous. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 10:55, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Considering that the entire review committee has concluded that there is no evidence of qualification either by formal training or experience in three or four areas, the debate is moot. The only question is how much damage Howard will do to CZ in order to retain his illegitimate editorial statuses. I have already suggested that he resign them, for the sake of the project, but he has not responded. Quelle surprise! (talk) 12:37, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
85, etc., either misreads or lies about what the review committee said. If it was so unanimous, why did they file three separate reports?
Do note that I am not going to listen seriously to someone who essentially contributes no content, makes regular personal attacks, expects his expertise to be taken without challenge even in fields where he has no Editor serious, and makes diagnoses of narcissism and other mental disorders. Further, I note that I did not directly interact with the Committee, and thus did not have the opportunity to present evidence of experience in areas that were questioned -- some of which a specialist should have been able to infer from my resume or user page, things that were supplied. Within the provisions of Article 40.3, I am entitled to make a case and to present evidence. Mr. 85's continued prejudging, statements that "democracy has failed" and a suggestion to restore the EiC, etc., make me suggest, to him, that he resign completely from Citizendium, for the good of the project, since he is unwilling to honor the Charter. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 19:26, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
You are completely off your trolley, mate. Try the Funny Farm for vacancies. (talk) 19:41, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

(Undent) I have been declared sane by the United States Department of Defense. Where is that drone controller? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 20:49, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Rolling right along to nowhere and off-track to boot[edit]

Citizendium is happily rolling right along to nowhere and is off-track to boot. Between the discussion of Howard's qualifications (and it seems he is only qualified to be a computer editor), the lack of allowing an elected reserve member (meaning me) be seated on the Management Council; and the Management Council deciding to arbitrarily decide the upcoming election process without community input; it seems CZ is on the way of the dinosaur. I guess the group will end up being a fossil record at RW based the recent events. I am truly sorry to see this happen as CZ showed so much promise and it looks like that will go unfulfilled. LittleRedWriter (talk) 00:38, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps, then, you should leave and avoid further disappointment. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 01:21, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Leaving is always an option for any of us. I know quite a few have done that and others contemplate it from time to time. It may become the only option as the ship sinks. I'd say LRW's "happily rolling right along to nowhere and is off-track to boot" is a fair summary, so leaving is becoming more attractive (to me at least) by the day.
However, it is distinctly rude to suggest that to another contributor. Lighten up! I know you disagree with some of LRW's contributions, and the one time I looked at one of those controversies I thought you were right. However, she does contribute and CZ needs all the contributors it can get.
"I have a little list ..." There are people I'd like to see leave, or resign various positions, or commit seppuku, or some such. Some people are only on my list when I'm feeling a bit peevish: you and Hayford have dropped in briefly during various controversies and Martin is a regular visitor. The permanent members are the various cranks perpetrating the stuff listed at Citizendium#Citizendium.27s_greatest_pseudoscientific_hits. Pashley (talk) 03:03, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
I do find it interesting that RW doesn't seem too interested in CZ's Ivorian attitude to elections (mentioned by LRW above), or indeed in a Citizen's suggestion that the Moonies should solve CZ's financial problems. Could it be that you're just losing interest in CZ? Peter Jackson 10:08, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
The Cote d'Ivoire approach to constitutional reform is now also manifest. The amendments are supposed to come from Citizens, not the Councils. So, the management council just makes up some reforms (to be presented as referenda) and says that they are all citizens on the council so everything is legal... (talk) 20:15, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
After an initial period of fascination, most people lose interest in the activities of a lunatic asylum... (talk) 11:00, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

April 2011 in Numbers[edit]

editors per month
126 citizens made edits in April. 126 citizens made edits over the last three months, 69 of those contributed in April 2011.
edits per month
Not even 4,800 edits were made - that's the average number of comments per hour at wikipedia in Mar 2011... Only in Oct/Nov 2006 was there less activity at Citizendium.
editors in April
Here we find the usual names..
editors by account creation
..but there are some newcomers, too.
active editors over
the last twelve months
active editors

More details here: Active_users_at_Citizendium larronsicut fur in nocte 10:22, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Two tumbleweeds rolling across the screen, from left to right.

- David Gerard (talk) 10:53, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

How do you get "126 citizens made edits in April"? Eyeballing the graph, it looks like about 70. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:59, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
You are absolutely right: I mixed up the number of active editors - 126- (those who made at least one entry during the last 91 days) and the number of individual contributors in April - 69.

Fascism rules OK[edit]

In reply to the idiot SuspectedReplicant, I have been banned from CZ for demanding that the Management Council or MC (which is illegally constituted with 2 missing members) conform to the principles and requirements of the Charter, as voted for by Citizens. The fact is that the 3 remaining peopl on the MC have decided that, since they now manage the finances and tech issues, that they can run the shop as they like, without regard to its Citizens, the rulings of the Ombudsman, the opinion of the Editorial Council, or that of the Managing Editor.

I would not think to remain in such an abusive environment, so the ban is trivial. I strongly advise anyone against participating in CZ unless the three neo-fascists are removed from power. CZ will probably fall apart anyway, but why waste your time on it now? (talk) 17:46, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Oh so now you agree that it's going to fall apart? Bitter, much? Pretty much all you've done over the past few months is bitch and moan from the sidelines. If you had put as much effort into writing articles as you did into being a PITA, people might have been more prepared to listen to you. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:25, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
So you continue with the idiocy? I have made it clear in the past that a handful of people cannot write an encyclopedia, and the problem that needs to be solved is to create an environment where people want to join and contribute. You can argue that I failed to establish that, but quibbling about writing a few articles is just a foolish diversion. The fundamental point is that ordinary Citizens are disrespected while those in positions of power arrogate yet more power to themselves: nobody wants to join such an outfit. (talk) 19:19, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Martin, you really don't get it, do you? You would rather argue the toss about the working of CZ's bureaucracy than actually build the encyclopedia. Of course you aren't going to attract editors when potential members come along and see that sort of crap going on time and again. From what I've seen, you always consider yourself to be some kind of paragon of virtue while at the same time doing exactly what you accuse others of doing. YOU have been the one doing so much of the disrespecting. Are you the only one? No, but time and again you've sniped at people from your high horse, always coming out with something like "I think we should all act appropriately, something that last twat has never done".
It's not just me who thinks this. Every RW editor who has expressed a view has taken the attitude "Well [X - usually Howard] is being a bit of an idiot, but Martin is just acting like a total dickhead". I'm sure you'll use that to tell me that you don't care what we think because we're all morons, or some such comment, but it really doesn't matter what you say: your conduct on CZ has caused a hell of a lot of people to form a very negative opinion of you, and you're unlikely to be able to change that without a radical change of behaviour. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 19:30, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Now you are just lying. I have had protracted arguments on CZ with ONE person; and recent arguments with one committee for its illegitimate activities. The fact that there has been over a year of fighting with Berkowitz about how things should be done on CZ means what, exactly? Do you know? Of course not. You are basically telling me that it's wrong to fight for principles and we should all just mind our own business and write articles. That is not how things get sorted out, unless you live in a totalitarian state or non-democratic monarchy. Jeez: why do we have to explain these basic things to Yankees all the time? (talk) 19:36, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure Martin will be just fine with his ongoing editing at RW. I do believe he's added more words here than at CZ - David Gerard (talk) 19:32, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Clearly your beliefs matter to you more than the reality (which you did not even bother to check). (talk) 19:38, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Alert, sense of humor failure. He was taking the piss you ignorant cunt! M.B.E (talk) 21:00, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Martin, you've basically just admitted that I'm right: you may have had "protracted arguments" with one person, but you've argued with many more people than that - your latest spats with Milt, for instance. I also note that you immediately jump to the allegation that I'm lying instead of considering that I might be mistaken. Again, that's pretty typical for you. Lastly, I'm English, David Gerard is English, Human is Welsh, although he does live States-side these days, so I don't know what "Yankees" you're talking about. And YOU accuse David of not bothering with checking? –SuspectedReplicant retire me 19:43, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm actually Australian, therefore your ENTIRE paragraph falls down and Martin must therefore be, unexpectedly, right about everything - David Gerard (talk) 11:29, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Well... a settler in an English colony then. Fellow subject of Her Majesty. Descendant of English convicts. That kind of thing. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 11:38, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I think the sheer number of positions mentioned in that post kind of point in the direction of the problem. ADK...I'll soak your cardboard box! 19:59, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
You're not wrong there. When you only have a dozen people involved in an organisation, creating four or five different committees to manage them all is pretty damn stupid. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:02, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Indeed given Citizendium's current status leaving the running in the hands of the tech people and the person with the money is about the only rational option. Can only hope they do a good job.Geni (talk) 21:43, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Is there a person with the money? Peter Jackson 17:17, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

The Return of Larry Sanger[edit]

Interesting, I wonder if he will win, and what damage he will do this time. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:56, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

"I perceive a need for more people involved in the management of the project" - Because when you have a small user base and not enough people to write your encyclopedia, the thing that makes everything better is having more people in charge. *nods sagely* --Sid (talk) 22:28, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Isn't he the one who ran off with all the loot? I'm sure he will be a great help with their impending financial crisis. M.B.E (talk) 23:36, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
There is no evidence whatsoever that Sanger absconded with the funds. I am definitely not a fan of Sanger, but there's no evidence of financial malfeasance. Doctor Dark (talk) 23:56, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
He admitted to paying himself from the grants that were raised. The question is how much he paid himself? That information has not been revealed. The amount of money he had from grants, minus the amount we can estimate the costs at, leaves quiet a bit unaccounted for. How much did he take? Accountability, transparency, fiscal responsibility, all of these things are completely lacking. And Sanger was at the center of it. Tmtoulouse (talk) 15:38, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. There's a strong case for lack of transparency and perhaps also for ineptitude (e.g., overpaying for connectivity and infrastructure). But saying he "ran off with all the loot" is too much without further evidence.
As for what happened to the money? That's a very good question. We can speculate on a lot of things. For example, Tides charged them annual fees $2000 or 9% of donations, whichever was greater. So in the first year or two when big donations were coming in they may have been paying Tides a lot more than $2000. It's also likely that Sanger traveled a good deal for fundraising and promotion. And in light of how much they overpaid for internet service they may well have overpaid for all sorts of other goods and services too. But we don't know anything for certain. And that's a problem in itself, as you say. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:59, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't criticise him for running off with CZ's money, the RWF board have already booked a nice long goat safari holiday in Bolivia with the last injection of cash and George Soros is paying bar tab expenses too. ADK...I'll annihilate your windows! 17:21, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
I just want to make it clear to the Fox News table that this is a joke. ADK...I'll castrate your orc! 17:21, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Speaking of the MC, I have just been nominated. Not sure whether to accept. —Tom Morris (talk) 17:07, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

What did you ever do to Peter Schmitt do deserve that? Doctor Dark (talk) 17:40, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Howard Berkowitz blocked from Citizendium[edit]

Consider this an informational post, as unemotional as possible. The Chief Constable emailed me to announce that he was blocking me from the Citizendium wiki, having blocked me from the Forums. He states his reasoning as principally based on the Constabulary Blocking Procedures, a pre-Charter document that makes disclosing a "private and personal" email to be an immediate blocking offense. He also claimed I was attempting to discredit the Editorial Council.

The email in question was one from the Secretary of the EC to all EC members, using his personal account, which announced that he considered there was no requirement for due process in the review of my Editorships, and procedure would be whatever he ruled it to me. Previously, I had strenuously objected to the use of personal email accounts, without a declaration that these were official business and not "private and personal."

Ironically, compromises were evolving in my ongoing "trial" (using a short word).

While I am emailing active Citizens, I thought it would be useful to post this here. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 13:55, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

As usual, Howard misrepresents the actual situation, and, as usual, in his favor. What I said in this now-celebrated email, among other mundane items referring to the stipulated time-frames of Editorial Councils regarding Motions, was that our proceedings would be, and had been, conducted by the Rules of Procedure established by the Editorial Council and by what the Editorial Council considered to be "due process', not by what Howard considered to be "due process". As you may infer, Howard's notions of "due process", especially when it concerns him, is very different from what other people consider it to be. Hayford Peirce (talk) 16:56, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
Hayford, let me acknowledge I have read this, and am giving you all the response you deserve.
I will note one thing. The celebrated email, by your own admission here, dealt with official business. It, therefore, is not private and personal. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 17:00, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
Even a cursory look at Citizendium shows Hayford Peirce to be an ignorant, foul-mouthed coward, the kind who makes up for his many inadequacies by spitting venom in print format, and an outright liar when it suits, and expecting anything more than the behaviour he has already exhibited would be pointless. M.B.E (talk) 17:42, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
You are a delight, sir! Nutty Roux (talk) 17:51, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
I hesitate to speculate about who MBE might be, but I do recall a hero of my youth, a United States Senator from Ohio named Stephen M. Young who was in the habit of sending letters to his nuttier constituents that simply said, "I think you should know that some idiot is sending me nutty letters and signing your name to them." Hayford Peirce (talk) 18:09, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
Do you still have the letter he sent you? M.B.E (talk) 18:18, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
It should be noted that this RW pseudonym of M.B.E. has nothing to do with the real MBE, formerly of the Editorial Council. (talk) 21:08, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
Whoever he/she is, "behaviour" is spelled in the Commonwealth way -- is that a clew, I wonder? Where, I wonder, is Meg Ireland these days? Hayford Peirce (talk) 23:22, 21 May 2011 (UTC)


The last remaining citizens have drifted far away from CZ's original ideal: the creation of a trustworthy encyclopedia. The councils, secret ballots, who wrote what to whom —is it confidential?, the continuous pedantic comparison with US government institutions and elections, does it all improve CZ's content? (Don't answer, it is a rhetoric question). Now this silly game of playing politician has cost the life of the goose with the golden eggs. Probably Howard has annoyed every citizen at some occasion or other, but nobody can deny that he was an extremely energetic and prolific contributor of content. CZ will suffer because one cannot expect that loudmouths like mr. Peirce will fill the gap created by Howard Berkowitz's ban. --P. Wormer (talk) 08:06, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

It's true that Howard's ban will cause a significant decrease in content creation. But that only points to the larger problem: in a healthy project, one guy wouldn't matter that much. Doctor Dark (talk) 23:54, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
I happen to agree with you, Doctor Dark. No one should be essential; anyone could be hit by a truck. I do believe that the remaining members of the Management Council are trying to deal with what they consider the greatest priorities, such as keeping the servers running. Getting more contributors should be an equally high priority. In my view, providing interesting content development opportunities is the best way to do that, and, since content is the responsibility of the Editorial Council, experimentation and improvement should be the priority of the EC.
Citizendium may well be on its way to failure, and I truly regret it. I have ideas about ways the content opportunities could be improved, but I may not have any serious opportunities to present them, other than, perhaps, here. Honestly, I don't think this is about me, and I am not trying to "politic" in a pejorative way. I do observe that it does seem that several people, past and present, who exhibit the pattern of being very active on the Forums and very inactive in creating content, tend to call any attempt to influence "politics" when I do it and noble acts when they attempt to stop the Antichrist. I'm sure there will be some attacks on me here, but I am not going to get into personal shouting matches. To that end, I will simply note, for those that do not follow the Editorial Council wiki, the latest contribution of Inspector Javert to improving content creation: http://ec.citizendium.org/wiki/EC:2011-030/Editorial_Council_membership_status
Actually, I am very interested in looking forward, and getting the thoughts here of how CZ, or future wikis with a non-WP model, could prosper. Far from saying politics are bad, I am increasingly involved in U.S. efforts to try to bring civility and rationality into real political discourse, and incidentally learning a lot about social media and web development in the process. As far as open-source knowledge, my inclination is that Wikipedia has cornered the general encyclopedia model, but that there is a niche for specialized wikis, as is obviously the case with open source software development. I'm exploring several possibilities for specialized open-source knowledge development, as, for example, on grand strategy and military policy. I'm even working on some fiction, for which a closed wiki is useful for a multi-authored development. Does the idea of an article on experimental open knowledge models make sense as a place to exchange ideas, or is this outside RW's scope?
Apropos of something in RW scope, I note that the person who introduced the latest motion had action against fringe, or woo if you will, as a campaign promise. Unfortunately, the politics of the EC have largely stalled any serious effort there, or advancing the informal discussion of "substandard articles". Motions that provided guidance for acceptable sourcing also did not gain traction.
Oh well. No, I won't resign from anything; I'll allow the comedy to play out, as information for future projects. Who knows -- rationality and civility might stick up their heads. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 16:49, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

My two cents for reanimating Citizendium (or, if you prefer, achieving a reliable Wikipedia)[edit]

Hello, I hope the following considerations won't be considered too off topic for this page; I apologize beforehand if my hope won't be fulfilled and am ready to be "oversighted" without mercy.

I would really love to have a reliable Wikipedia, which could be cited without any qualms in any kind of paper.

One way to achieve this aim could be the following (unoriginal) one: the Wikimedia Foundation should hire Britannica-level experts (from, or compatible with, top universities) and add an "expert-reviewed" tab to its articles (the expert-reviewed version could be chosen as the default one by readers). This would be the ideal solution to me, since I think that to ensure the highest reliability, top experts need the financial ease conscientiously to do their work and the incentive to put their name at stake. The (much) higher reliability could attract the (much) higher amount of donations needed.

But since I think that this system would be considered too top-down by Wikipedians, I would like to submit some little proposals to this distinguished and rational audience which are meant to revive Citizendium and bring it closer to the utopian goal of a free reliable huge online encyclopedia (but they could apply to any other project such as Knowino).

1) "Refork", that is include the Wikipedia content as a starting point again. I think that the need for reinventing the wheel deters many people from joining any encyclopedic project: there are already many areas where Britannica pales in comparison with Wikipedia in terms of detail, plurality of viewpoints, number of references, "up-to-dateness".

2a) Adapt the system I imagined for Wikipedia to Citizendium: open the articles to edits from anyone, including IPs, but keep the approval process by the pre-existing, unpaid editors for a parallel expert-reviewed version.

Otherwise, I conceived a much more conservative proposal which I indirectly submitted to the Citizendium forum, where it received little feedback ( http://forum.citizendium.org/index.php/topic,2538.msg19821.html#msg19821img). In making both 2a) and 2b) I also took in consideration the following article: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/whowriteswikipedia .

2b) I think that "flagged revisions" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Flagged_Revisions ) could be adopted at Citizendium in the following way. Anyone (even IPs) could make an edit to a Citizendium article, but the new version would be visible only to Citizens, and not by default (or, in a less strict way, to the casual reader who clicks for the most recent version, as it currently happens at the German Wikipedia). Then, any Citizen might decide to "sight" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sighting ) the last edited-by-a-non-Citizen version, taking the responsibility for the non-Citizen edit (endorsing its content, not only certifying the absence of vandalism); in the edit history, the non-Citizen edit would appear with its author (be it an IP or an anonymous account) and its "sighter", much like at the German Wikipedia. Of course, any Citizen might decide instead to revert the non-Citizen edit, or to modify it so that s/he is willing to endorse it. There might be a (simple and fast) procedure (which might involve a Constable and/or an Editor) to decide about the "oversight" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Oversight ) of improductive edits, so that they don't clutter the edit history. Besides, non-Citizens wouldn't have the right to participate in article discussion, and they could be speedily banned if they engaged in edit wars (or vandalism, of course), the principle being that if you want to state your reasons you have to become a Citizen. I think that this proposal would be consistent with the Citizendium principles, since every edit would still be under the responsibility of a non-anonymous Citizen, and at the same time it would give very little incentives to trolls and vandals. I would apply the "flagged revisions" system to "drafts" only, and leave the approval process of articles unaltered.

3) Exclude "healing artists" and other pseudoscientists from being editors (but ça va sans dire).

A conventional but objective criterion could be the following: the discipline in which a prospective editor claims expertise should be among the subjects taught (by teachers who endorse it) at at least some university among the top 10 (or some other figure) of, say, the THES or Jiao Tong university rankings.

Thank you for your (inconvenienced by now, I am afraid) attention. --Analytikone (talk) 09:59, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Thoughtful comments, Analytikone. I'm doing my own musing about CZ, which I would still like to see prosper, or perhaps new open-source repositories.
Given the existence of Wikipedia, I'm not sure that any other general-coverage encyclopedia, even expert-reviewed, can overcome it head-on. Increasingly, I look at the idea of expert-guided niche sites -- might I call the model "multiple top down"? There will always be overlap, of course but perhaps it's a more viable approach to develop separately in medicine, in politics and international relations, in geography, and in computing. As these reach critical mass, they certainly could join.
Trying to be expert guided in all subject has far too much danger of credentialism being the only way of finding experts. I don't have experience with flagged revisions, but that's one approach. One approach that is not needed is for contributors to personalize any questioning, and either claim their feelings are hurt, or that they must be taken by asserting authority that they do not demonstrate. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 22:56, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
So the point of pending changes (aka. flagged revisions; I don't like to refer to it by the old name) is that it is primarily designed for enabling contribution to happen when an article is subject to vandalism. On Wikipedia, a page is given pending changes protection when it is being vandalised heavily so that others can contribute to that page. It is basically an alternative to the 'editprotected' thing where you leave a note on the talk page saying "hey, could someone change it so that X, Y, Z?" Although the English Wikipedia community don't seem wild about it, that is potentially a useful solution to the competing goals that Wikipedia has: of being an encyclopedia anyone can edit, while also still remaining relatively vandal-free. It's basically an alternative to semi-protection.
Pending changes can also be used as a more lightweight version of the approvals system on CZ. The problem with approvals was that they are seriously labour-intensive and they confuse two different things. On the one hand, you want stability, and you also want expert review. Pending Changes gives you stability and the option of a form of peer review. Knowino have implemented this right, as have English Wikibooks.
So the problem with Citizendium's form of peer review is that it requires experts for everything. But that isn't actually needed. Experienced users who are competent are able to make a lot of content decisions. If, say, the article on London were under some kind of pending changes system, and someone submitted a change saying that London was actually the capital of Belgium, we wouldn't have to wait for someone with a Ph.D in geography to say no to that.
Howard, I'm sorry to hear you've been banned from Citizendium. That's absolutely fucking ridiculous. Do please continue contributing elsewhere: Wikipedia, Knowino, wherever you feel comfortable. Content contributors are far more important than autocratic insanity. —Tom Morris (talk) 08:36, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
I think I'll repeat here a point made by someone else (in the CZ forum) about the wiki software in general. It can be used in a wide variety of ways, to achieve different objectives. WP uses it in a small proportion of articles to deal with vandalism (& maybe BLP violation). The reader sees the approved version by default but can click on a tab to see the current wiki version and on another tab for a generally long & uninformative list of previous versions.
Knowino uses it for a more flexible version of CZ's expert approval. The reader sees the wiki version by default but can click a tab to see the approved version.
Citizendium could use it for its approval system but achieves exactly the same result by other means. Readers see the expert-approved version by default but can click a tab to get the current wiki version.
See the point? You can use the same method to get different results or different methods to get the same result. More examples of different defaults and links:
In Knol there's no default. Type a word in the search engine and you get a list, unstructured and often long, of articles having something to do with the word. Rather like a normal Google search, unsurprisingly, I suppose.
In Wikinfo, the default is an article written from SPOV, which has a different meaning from here: Sympathetic Point Of View. Critical and other articles are linked from the top.
How many other models can you think of for defaults and links? It's the overall effect that counts, not the technology. Peter Jackson 09:01, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

May 2011[edit]

Active users at Citizendium is updated. Some diagrams can be found here, comparing Citizendium with RationalWiki and Conservapedia.

Here two additional diagrams:

Here you find for each day the number of editors who commented at least once over the last three months.
For each day, the average number of edits over the last 91 days is given.

larronsicut fur in nocte 09:24, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

So Howard is Banninated . . .[edit]

Yet he is trying to get back in. Back in to a project which is all but arse fucked and will be dead by October at the latest. And if it isn't thusly fucked, one would have to spend an eternity with pedantic old white women like Hayford Pierce and David Finn.

CZ is a funny beast. I do not understand it, much less people like HC Berkowitz who desire to be where they are so obviously loathed. MtDPinko Scum 16:14, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Loathed, perhaps, by some, but also with some good colleagues. Perhaps you might also put my attitude as not giving some individuals the satisfaction of my resigning.
Doesn't mean that I'm not looking for other venues, or terribly obsessing about it. I don't wish CZ ill, although I'm frankly dubious that it will survive -- but I made some promises when I ran for election. Wikipedia isn't the right environment for me, but I'm exploring others, including some attempts to bring some sanity into American politics. CZ may be a good warmup for that. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 21:43, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Predictions of the death of CZ are premature. They can keep on as long as they can pay the bills. Recently their budget has been averaging a net outflow of around $250 per month, which they can sustain until around November-December 2011 even without a fund raising drive. Assuming they have another fundraiser, and that it's even half as successful as their efforts in late 2010, they can keep going through mid 2012 or longer. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:38, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
There's a risk of its becoming a sort of vanity publisher. Peter Jackson 10:00, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
A better analogy would be "publishing collective" - "vanity publisher" is needlessly negative in connotations. But really, such analogies aren't so useful - small sites funded as needed by moderate contributions from those who enjoy the place are pretty common (e.g. RationalWiki) and not, IMO, an intrinsically unhealthy phenomenon. At that point it's a matter of how long people continue to bother. Projects entirely assured of hosting do die nevertheless, e.g. XFree86, which died of insularity and being crazy assholes - David Gerard (talk) 11:45, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
My hypothesis for the Citizendium endgame is not that they will die for lack of funds or declining participation. They can probably raise funds to continue indefinitely, and there's no evidence that they would call it quits if participation dwindled to the 20 or so core members and no one else. If the project dies I think it will be because their tech guys decide it's not an effective use of their time and drift away, leaving no one to maintain the database and so on. But who knows. Anyway, as David says there's nothing inherently wrong with like-minded people working on a small internet site. There are worse hobbies. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:35, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Useful observation about project death[edit]

David, I agree with much of what you say, especially about the crazy assholes in another project. When I joined Citizendium in May 2008, the thing that attracted me most was my perception of the role of its Editors, and a respect for expertise. Two final straws had led me to stop contributing at Wikipedia, one of them being told that I was misinterpreting a peer-reviewed paper of which I was a coauthor. In some respects, I had a mental analogy to open software development -- at some point, there has to be a team or even individual architect that makes decisions on what goes into a release.

Without obvious use of experts, I begin to fail to understand why Citizendium would exist. Yet there is a continuing pattern of reducing the expert role, sometimes because it is claimed that experts asserting authority will drive off new members. Unfortunately, some new members have refused any guidance, and valuable contributors stopped contributing in frustration. Editors left. I'll certainly say that I found it much more pleasant to be an Editor when there were peers with whom guidance could be worked out. Even in the most notorious recent cases, though, when two Editors observed problems with a contributor's research quality, and the contributor complained, the Constabulary criticized the Editors for incivility. I see at least one Management Council candidate arguing for even more Constabulary authority over Editors -- the Charter puts the Editor role explicitly under the Editorial Council.

Essentially, Citizendium has split into two incompatible camps: one to which quality is the chief concern, and one to which enforced civility is the chief concern. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 16:02, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Your last paragraph sounds a lot like Wikipedia. Maybe it's all a reflection of the diversity of human nature; a fundamental incompatibility between those of a fact- and result-driven orientation versus those of the Oprah-audience, "feelings" orientation. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:24, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
There's much to say for that incompatibility. Even among people of similar ideology, I see that in political circles -- the emotional appeal versus the "policy wonk". I have several conversations in play in the moment, where, for example, I state what a law actually says, or a technical aspect, and people shift their arguments, perhaps to other analogies. I have been cautioned by some political leaders that my going for accurate statements offends people -- this was a criticism at CZ as well. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:25, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
Common sense suggests that there should be separate sites for the different camps. WP is dominated by the behavioural approach. CZ is supposed to follow the other, but there seems to be a tendency towards the WP attitude. Peter Jackson 10:14, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, Peter. The more I see in things such as the MC position statements, actions in the EC, and other sources, the more emphasis I see on the behavio[u]ral. Honestly, I hope that the trend to undercut Editor authority is based on personal distaste for me, rather than rejecting what I see as the fundamental differentiator between WP and CZ. It is interesting that I've made relatively few adverse Editor rulings--this is verifiable. Much of the distaste seems to come from talk page comments, etc., made as an ordinary Citizen. I have made rulings, along with the much-loved and much less controversial Milt Beychok, against Mary Ash. She is now an active candidate for Management Council, and, in my opinion, has engaged in egregious arguments but was consistently supported by the Constabulary. If elected, she will be among those setting policy for the Constabulary.
I make no excuses for my observation that behavior is essentially regulated -- or not -- by the Constabulary, which, in reality, operates under few checks and balances. Maybe it does reflect community opinion -- if the trend is toward the behavioral, perhaps it does. Nevertheless, my impression, when I was on the Charter Committee, is the intent was that the Constabulary would be clearly supervised by the MC, not distantly guided by policy. The term "executor of the policy of the MC" was heard frequently in the Charter Committee.
I fully recognize that the MC has had to deal with major crises, and focused far better than did the EC. Nevertheless, I am under suspension due to a pre-Charter, pre-MC policy that was adopted in a general adoption of pre-MC policies, yet there has been no opportunity for serious discussion of the email privacy issue. Several people have run afoul of it, and I have seen email privacy used to hide quite offensive and unprofessional acts. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 16:40, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Howard, you were an animal![edit]

  • 87,337 of your comments are still in the database - 20,000 more than Human has here at RationalWiki!
  • you stayed there for 1118 days.
  • in this time, there were 10 days you didn't make a comment - you lazy bastard...
  • your longest leave was for three days.

larronsicut fur in nocte 17:13, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

When a project is hurting for content, the logical move is to ban the most productive content contributor. It's simple really. Doctor Dark (talk) 17:32, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I might get restored. One never knows. Either way, it won't shatter me, but I would regret the ban becoming permanent. Unfortunately, the absolute prohibition about mail disclosure appears to go back to Sanger, and really is not based in law. I won't say that EU law might have a provision that way, but it's not much enforced. To say that US common-law copyright gives the sender of unsolicited mail any control over it flies in the face of things such as the CAN-SPAM Act. It's not an obvious thing, but a great deal of abuse has been hidden in mail that I believe was sent in an official capacity and cannot reasonably be considered personal and private. If the mail was sent to me in my official role on the Charter Committee or Editorial Council, I could argue that I have a right to release it, unless I agreed to prior confidentiality. I've spent a lot of years in the ISP community, and the basic assumption is that the receiver decides what is to be done with unsolicited mail, just like I reserve the right to insult unsolicited callers on my personal telephone.
Animal? Meow. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:25, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
Had you ever noticed that American cats tend to say meow while British ones usually say miaow? Peter Jackson 10:15, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps 'enry 'iggins had something to say about that? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 01:21, 7 June 2011 (UTC)


I've been notified, by Dan Nessett, that my appeal has been denied. Actually, I hadn't really submitted an appeal, although it had marginally been my intention to do so. Ex post facto, the management council decreed that it would give a week for appeals, after I had waited months for a hearing. Essentially, there was to be no discussion; everything was being prepared by the Ombudsman. Frankly, it was approaching the absurd, and I did not find the Ombudsman to be objective -- he still made the point that the issue of the legality of sender-controlled mail was not a key aspect. There were never any real ways to consider Charter violations.

As I see it, once one becomes anathema to the Popular Boys and Girls, and one has had the Constabulary sanction, there's little to be done.

So, the best of luck to them all, except Hayford. That's personal.

I do not think any general coverage wiki can displace Wikipedia, for all its faults. At the same time, I have no interest in working on a general coverage wiki. As the US political process ramps up, I may have some interesting opportunities with what may or may not be public access, but certainly will not be open editing -- in other words, the wiki is being used for documentation, I hope of objective research.

CZ has been interesting, but, if anything, this is a relief. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 18:56, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

CZ sounds so egregiously silly. I wish I had the time it takes to appreciate the lols of the bureaucrat-tocracy. Occasionaluse (talk) 19:08, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
See also a thread on CZ forums. Pashley (talk) 01:15, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
"I do not think any general coverage wiki can displace Wikipedia". In the short term I agree, but in the long term I expect the free market to come up with some real competition. Peter Jackson 09:10, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

The return of Sanger - or not?[edit]

As WIGO notes, Sanger is one of the top three vote-getters for Management Council and thus is entitled to a seat. Note that his election statement says "The only reason I am accepting the nomination is that I perceive a need for more people involved in the management of the project, and a potential lack of willing candidates." It turns out there were plenty of "willing candidates," so I wonder if he will accept the position. It's also not the case that there was a resounding mandate, as his margin of victory was one (1) vote over the next highest candidate. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:56, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

It appears that there were only about 29 votes cast (possibly a few more), down from (if I recall correctly) about 45 in the original elections. SirRagingPooterTheWizardDog (talk) 22:13, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
While I am appealing my block, I was deemed not in good status and ineligible to vote. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 22:42, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
@ SRPTWD, the forum announcement says "40 ballots cast." The rundown for previous elections:
  • In the vote for Charter drafting committee (October 2009) there were 43 ballots.
  • In the vote for the Charter itself (September 2010) there were 72 ballots.
  • In the previous council election (October 2010) there were 45 ballots. At the time there was considerable debate as to whether this figure should be released.
Doctor Dark (talk) 02:10, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Sanger could resign the seat immediately, but they have just passed a charter amendment which says there has to be an election. Before they could just have appointed the person who narrowly failed to win. (talk) 10:07, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
He doesn't formally take the position until July 1, so there would be nothing to "resign" in terms of the Charter if he acts before then. He could simply decline and they would move on to next highest vote getter. Doctor Dark (talk) 14:03, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Forty people found time to vote. Server cost is a tad over $300 a month. Assuming anyone seriously interested in the project (except Martin, Howard and perhaps a few others who have been banned) voted, to run on donations they need to extract on average $8 per interested person, or the $17 a month that the donations page asks for from half of them.
My own reaction is "no chance". I think CZ is basically a worthy project, but I'm on a low income and if I could spare some money, EFF would be my first donation and there are any number of others I'd consider ahead of CZ. Pashley (talk) 07:57, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Even on a limited income (although I'm hoping some consulting comes back), I'd have contributed, but I can hardly be expected to do so at the moment. If CZ lets me back, and generally regains some sanity, I'd consider it. If CZ doesn't let me back, there are other interesting possibilities, although I have no interest in working on WP. That's not to say that I think WP is completely wrong, just that I prefer to work in a somewhat more controlled environment. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 18:07, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Sanger has accepted the seat but declined the position of Chair. The discussion exposes the strange hoops a Citizen must jump through: someone proposes a motion to approach a candidate for Chair; someone seconds the motion; the motion is discussed (and Sanger votes in error then because even he assumes that the bureaucracy doesn't go further); everyone has to wait 24 hours; someone calls for a vote; someone seconds the call; then a majority of members must vote in favour. It has been going on for a week. The incoming Chair calls this "simple." (talk) 03:41, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Citizendium has 15 administrative positions (seven members of the Editorial Council, five members of the Management Council, plus Managing Editor, Ombudsman, and Constable). According to their statistics page, on any given day, an average of 10 people edit. Put these two facts together and draw your own conclusions. Doctor Dark (talk) 05:19, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Was it the late Professor Parkinson who pointed out that the Royal Navy had more admirals than ships? Peter Jackson 09:12, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Titanic and deck chairs[edit]

They have massive negative cash flow at the moment, and are running out of time. Is anyone trying to do something about this? Or are they all just waiting for it to fix itself? Their traffic levels are gone down significantly even in the time that we have been following them. If the cut back on their space requirements (I.E. shrink the database) they could at least cut their monthly hosting costs by a half or even two thirds and buy sometime. The issue with donations, beyond not having enough people who want or can donate enough money, is that they just don't seem to be good stewards of what money is given to them. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:59, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

There was already a round of cuts that dropped server costs from $700-odd to $320 or so, and eliminated the substantial fees to the Tides Foundation. Leaving Tides lost the non-profit status for tax purposes and I do not think that has been fixed yet, which makes getting donations harder. The servers could probably be cut further, but I think the current management perception is that the existing system is already well-pared. Pashley (talk) 04:18, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
The $800 a month costs is a classic example of poor stewardship but this has been discussed a lot. Here is what my external assement of the situation is. The database at CZ is monstrously huge. Multiple hundreds of gigabytes. This seems to be the result of using postGRE and likely the remenants of WP rotting in the archives. Our database at RW, with comparable pages and revisions is about 20 gigs.
The reason this is important is that in the virtual server world hard drive space is at a bit of a premium relative to say what you would buy for your home PC. Also hard drive space is allocated linearly with other resources. So to get more HD space you need to by the larger RAM and CPU packages. To be economically efficent you want your limiting resource on your server to be RAM, not harddrive space. By making the limiting resource harddisk space CZ is forced into packages that have way more computational resources (and thus costs) than it can possibly utilize.
The alternative to virtal servers are dedicated servers. Hard disk space is not nearly so much at a premium with dedicated servers, but dedicated servers have minimal costs that exceed what you can find with virtual hosting. I believe CZ has gone the dedicated server route. But regardless, there is not way CZ needs more than a 2gb virtal server package to serve up the website based on its number of views/users. Thats like $80. Except it can't take advantage of that because of its monsterous space requirements.
Which all comes around to my original point, something has to be done because it can not continue as is. Is something being done behind the scenes? Because I see little to no discussion of it anywhere. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:28, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
There are occasional rumblings that solutions are being thought of, but not much in the way of details. Often when these matters have been brought up there were hints that their plans shouldn't be made public because it could jeopardize negotiations for lower costs. (That seems a bit silly -- it's not like they're a big-money contract.) At least they now have monthly financial reports whereas for a long time no one had any idea about the finances. It's ironic that Sanger's most detailed and candid discussion of their financial situation was on Wikipedia Review, not on Citizendium itself.

Anyway they did net something like $4000 in their last fundraiser. There's no assurance they can keep doing annual fundraisers at that level, but if they can, they can go on indefinitely. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:54, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

They refused to base the servers in a very low cost -- high quality deal in Germany because they are afraid of European data protection law. This turned out to be typical of their fascist mentality -- not wanting to accept any legal obligations to Citizens, espeically concerning rights to personal data privacy. Frankly, it deserves to fail for that reason alone: when Yanks don't accept basic principles of law, I refuse to support them. We have all had it up to our ears with the US mentality that has created so much trouble across the globe (and yes, I know that the UK has been almost as bad).
Still a sad, bitter old man then, eh Martin. With a comedy hairstyle. Careful, your xenophobic roots are showing. M.B.E (talk) 06:14, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Ugh. Martin. I never could decide which side of CZ I disliked more. Brittle control freaks like poor old Hayford or shrieking dramah queens like Martin BE. I still don't know how dear Howard tolerated it. MtDPinko Scum 08:30, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Right: you display your rationality by rejecting the principles of both lower costs and respecting people's rights. Anyone criticising the appalling fuckup that the US has made across the globe in terms of the total economy and finance, support of dictatorships in the Middle East (which continues with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia) not to mention the military disasters of Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan... yes, of course we are all bitter drama queens. Grow up you pathetic morons. And learn what the word "rational" actually means.
I am so happy to know that CZ is responsible for all the failings of American foreign policy -- or is it that American foreign policy is responsible for all the failings of Citizendium? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 19:49, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
As usual, Howard, you miss the point -- which is that there is a problem with the decision-making ability of US citizens. For reasons that are too numerous to list, Americans believe that they have a monopoly of knowledge and ability: the evidence suggests that this is far from being correct. As a matter of interest, you might be interested to know that I do not agree with the motion to remove you from the EC because the Constabulary made a first instance decision. This was a foolish, possibly opportunistic, decision that I would not tolerate (despite the fact that you were a pain in the *** on the EC). It is the quality of arguments and analysis that I am complaining about: everything looks and smells like convenience, opportunism and lack of sound principle. May I present the United States of America?
"pain in the ***"? Is the above post really of British authorship? Peter Jackson 09:15, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I love you Martin. You're like a particularly entertaining wind up toy. Couple of turns at the rusty screw in your back and off you go, grinding, flashing and spitting sparks all over the place. MtDPinko Scum 02:40, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Old saying, originally from the IETF about how to implement protocols, but it also applies to interactions between humans: "Be conservative in what you send, and liberal in what you accept". Think of that, and much becomes tolerable; most variations on dictatorial or tatrum behaviour just slide away like water off a duck. Pashley (talk) 10:03, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
At a personal level, ok. But it doesnt excuse bad management decisions: having good personal relations often encourages wrong policies and serious errors of judgement. We can learn to tolerate things that should not be tolerated.
Good saying, as long as nobody exerts TCP flow control, random packet drop (unless sanely for congestion control), or unexpected firewalls. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 11:12, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
It isn't Postgres' fault, Postgres is quite good with reclaiming tablespace (particularly with AUTO VACUUM) - it's because when you "delete" a page in MediaWiki, it's not actually deleted from the database itself. Extension:SpecialDeleteOldRevisions2 may help. Or just going into the database and getting rid of the ghost mirror of Wikipedia - David Gerard (talk) 19:32, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Email secrecy/privacy issue[edit]

As many of you know, there is a belief, especially by some of the founding members of CZ, that the privacy of unsolicited, or even protested, email is absolute. For the record, I am an ISP engineer, and literally never heard a serious assumption of this on any operational list -- filled with operators very sensitive to potential liability. Third-party disclosure is a very different matter than disclosure by the recipient.

If the recipient could not disclose, how could spam enforcement, threats, 409 scams, child porn, etc., possibly be enforced? My first question, though: is there something in EU privacy law that seriously suggests this absolute prohibition, even if the recipient objects to the mail? It has been suggested that there is.

It has also been suggested that the common-law copyright concept also applies, in the US, to email; that to publish email received is a copyright violation. For several reasons, I think this is legally wrong. I have not purchased rights to the material and it was sent to me unsolicited; there is a US concept of "defending one's copyright/trademark", which free distribution can jeopardize. Again, I have never seen this proposed on an ISP list.

Purely on the Citizendium side, I cannot rationalize how the charter principle of maximum transparency can have a glaring exception for email. There are also charter provisions about professional language, yet, while I could produce logs of vulgar email from individuals, I would be subject to sanctions for doing so. Again, it appears that the email is absolute and trumps everything else.

I'd really appreciate non-US opinions here, in case I am missing something. In the specific case where I am charged, the message was between two US citizens in the US, although it also went to people outside the US.

Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 17:48, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

409 scams? Is that the ones about transferring funds from the Ivory Coast? I looked that up on the local constabulary website & their recommendation was to forward it to the sender's provider. Peter Jackson 17:39, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually, it is 419, named after a section of the Nigerian penal code. See http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud Forwarding to the provider only gets the email account killed. To really nail the slime, you need to go far beyond that. See http://www.419eater.com/index.php for some suggestions. Pashley (talk) 04:17, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
But it's interesting that our police don't seem to want to be told (unless you fall for it, presumably). That suggests they don't think it's worth while trying to get anything done through a corrupt African legal system. Peter Jackson 09:13, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Still alive?[edit]

Judge for yourself:

43 editors made some 3,300 edits in June 2011 - that's a record...
... there haven't been fewer editors since going public in Nov 2006
top contributors: Milton Beychock and John R. Brews
but though the few editors left are relatively busy...
...the number of edits is the lowest since Dec 2006.

The list of Active users at Citizendium now includes Ed Poor, who made 8 edits two months ago...

larronsicut fur in nocte 20:06, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Slimy old Ed, eh? MtDPinko Scum 20:16, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I note without comment that they are proposing Sanger be appointed chair of the Management Council.[1] Doctor Dark (talk) 20:33, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Yairs. Fresh from teaching tiny tots to read, Larry has now the time to resume the reins! I imagine they will only go from strength to strength. MtDPinko Scum 20:38, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
BTW, Larry Sanger doesn't appear in the list of the Active users at Citizendium as he made less than seven edits over the last three months (in fact, he made five)... larronsicut fur in nocte 20:40, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Hayford "The Wiki Is a Harsh Mistress" Peirce explains it all to you: "Has the EC contributed to the problem? It's possible, of course, but I don't really see in what major way." No, he doesn't, does he? And he thinks that's a plus?
He also appeals to the last refuge of a scoundrel, the unscientific poll: "Here in the Forums, as I recall, a couple of people complained about Howard losing his Editorships, and then about his being blocked. On the other hand, if I recall correctly, about the same number of people applauded both moves."
Yes, nobody ever voted against Enver Hoxha, either, did they? Not twice, at least. He must have done right in all accounts, then! <patrioticBalkanMusic> Rreth flamurit të për bashkuar.... </pBM>
Hmm, well, your current interlocutor's, Sir Pooter's, CZ forum account has been unaccountably deleted, without even the exquisite due process afforded to HCB, so he can't register his opinion on the EC inquisition in that venue. And we've seen recently from the "spontaneous" demonstrations outside the US embassy in Damascus how the ruling clique can orchestrate pro-overlord shows of adulation. Among those few Peirce-applauders, was there mayhaps a self-appointed, Ph.D.-lacking, and yet never-inquisitioned Editor (with a capital E!) of the down-under dog fancy? ...wonders your obd't canine servant, SirRagingPooterTheWizardDog (talk) 01:05, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Interesting conversation on tech/finances[edit]

Going on in the forums right now here. I am assuming this is precipitated by my analysis pointing out why maybe they can't get their costs much lower. It is amazing how much hostility the tech staff has towards any suggestions. A few points though:

  • I am the operations manager of a wiki that uses the same basic setup as CZ, it is comparable in terms of content amount, exceeds daily traffic by quiet a bit, and has substantially more users and dynamic content/extensions. The costs to serve this is a fraction of even the "reduced" costs of CZ's current hosting.
  • "Space is not an issue," I go into some details about how even if they have plenty of HD space it is an issue because making storage your limiting resource rather than RAM means your stuck with much higher costs for unneeded processing power.
  • 3 servers? 3 servers? What the hell do you need 3 servers for? I don't know the answer because they refuse to divulge much information about their setup or justify it.
  • Continuing from this last point, if CZ was self-supporting then they could be closed mouthed all they want about why things costs what they do and why they have the setup they do. But CZ is asking for people to give them money, and when the same people who are being asked to donate large sums of money ask questions about what that money is being used for they get snipped at. There are serious questions about CZ's technical setup and whether its a reasonable use of donated funds.
  • CZ has a spotted history of wasting literally tens of thousands of dollars. They should be trying very hard to turn that reputation around with full disclosure and fully addressing community concerns and questions.

Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:38, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Here is the forum discussion on how the three servers are set up. Their tech guy says "The new configuration will host the wiki software on 1 server, rather than 2. The database server will run on another server and the non-wiki apps (e.g., the mail lists, the forum, bugzilla) on the third server." My tech guy runs our main web application (a data distribution site that has tens of millions of hits per day) along with mailing lists etc. on a single machine, so I don't see why they need the third server. Admittedly I don't know all the ins and outs of the tech stuff (aside, I have some sympathy for a volunteer tech guy who has to deal with a lot of complaints, not all of which appear to be constructive).
They also have to spread their costs over a dwindling user base. Last month they had only 43 users, so if my arithmetic is right they need to raise $90 per head per year to keep the lights on at their current costs. I had thought that the decline in users would level out as they asymptotically reached the core group but if anything the exodus has sped up over the past few months.
I'm finding it harder and harder to care what goes on over there. The most telling statistic to me was that on an average day they now have only 10 people active. It's a hobby site, nothing more. It's a damn shame that the idea of making a place that was welcoming to experts didn't work out. Doctor Dark (talk) 23:56, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Why is contribution down lately?[edit]

This is a question asked by cz:User:Robert W King.

  • Short answer: the number of contributions is down because the number of contributors is down
editors per month
Citizendium never had such a big user base. But for the first three years, at least 100 unique editors (authors?) contributed to Citizendium each month.
active editors (91 days)
But even when you look at the active editors (those who have contributed at least once during the last 91 days), the number dropped below one hundred during the last month.
productivity per active editor per month
As Citizendium is quite small, the productivity of the active members was impressive. But it seems to be hard to compensate for the loss of contributors. And one gets the impression that the authors are not a merry band of brothers but a bickering murder of crows sometimes.
July 2011
July 2010
Yes, Howard dominated the number of contributions. But even without his comments, there should be 5000 more edits...
July 2011
July 2010
July last year, 100 editors took part in the project, including quite a few newbies. Only four of those edited this July. And many other names are missing, too.
editors per month
So, is it a wonder that the number of edits per month is in free fall?
How very illuminating. thank you. M.B.E (talk) 19:19, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
I miss the good ol' days when Larry Sanger still responded angrily to any article/blog post on the internet containing the words "Citizendium failure" (just Google it) with long diatribes, arguing that CZ was not and has never been about quantity, just quality. Nowadays he doesn't even bother to do this anymore. It's pretty obvious that he's given up as well.--Inherit the Cheese (talk) 20:49, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

First, thanks to LArron to putting these graphs together and keeping them updated. Second, take a look at this one:


If you look closely there's a sharp inflection point for all levels in early November 2010, right at the time when the announcement came out that the project was nearing bankruptcy. (For the 91-day number you have to factor in the phase lag, so the apparent drop shows as early February.) The slide has continued since then but there's good evidence that was the pivotal event that caused people to give up. We don't know what was going through people's heads -- fear of their work disappearing, disillusionment at the project's mismanagement, resentment over having been kept in the dark, or what. Likely a combination of all those things and others. Doctor Dark (talk) 21:13, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

  • I updated the graph (though I've current versions of most graphs, I don't update all of them regularly - if there is an interest, I'll do so, of course)
  • There was a boost due to the charta/election thingy. And then, the big disappointment appeared when reality hit: IMO the mismanagement of the funds is the biggest downer. What we call in Germany Drittmittel (third-party funds) is something every academic has to struggle for, and the use of the funds at Citizendium must be seen as a chance wasted.
larronsicut fur in nocte 21:33, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Those three things that Doctor Dark mentioned above are pretty accurate. Why bother contributing to a project when you know it's going to disappear in less than a year? If you look at the most prolific CZ contributors, it's usually old retired people who have too much time on their hands, and who don't like WP because they think it's just articles about Pokemon. So even if CZ survived in some form, it won't be for long because their contributors will die out soon anyway.--Inherit the Cheese (talk) 22:52, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
That's needlessly harsh. Some of the "old retired people" as you call them are solid contributors, such as Milton Beychok with his articles on engineering. Doctor Dark (talk) 23:28, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
That's not harsh, that's just the facts. People are so afraid to discuss death, as if people will live forever. And yes, the old retired people are solid contributors. That was never in any doubt and is not the topic of this particular discussion.--Inherit the Cheese (talk) 09:05, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Articles and collaboration[edit]

Some diagrams can be found here. larronsicut fur in nocte 12:02, 15 August 2011 (UTC)


Doubtless you are all tired of the citizendium story but I will tell you again anyway as I am like that. Joe Quick says that he "expressed my(his) reasons for resigning from the MC very clearly to the MC" (emphasis his), making clear that he doesn't think the rest of the voting public deserve an explanation for their wasted votes. In case the rest of you plebs (god knows I voted for him) were wondering what those reasons were let me exploit my former life to quote from Joes resignation letter.

"You know, all, the only reason I haven't already resigned is because of the alternate for the MC... I think Howard Berkowitz has largely ruined Citizendium... playground for juvenile obstructionism... do whatever you want with it but don't contact me..."

Nice guy that Joe, man after my own heart. From one quitter to another, don't let the bastards get you down! M.B.E (talk) 19:32, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

I don't know who this, but just to point out that this person has nothing to do with the real MBE, formerly of the Editorial Council. And I think s/he could choose a less misleading moniker for posts here.
Now I realise that this fake M.B.E. is that nasty little troublemaker David Finn, who doesn't have the balls to put his own name to his venom.
Despite that you guessed the wrong name, the sheer irony of you not even signing your anonymous hate-filled posts on this site is rather humorous. You must consider yourself a balls-less cunt, which goes a long way to explain your obvious mental issues. M.B.E (talk) 19:29, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
It's no guess and clearly not the wrong name. I recognise the pure nastiness that that ball of pus called Finn always used to express himself with. I don;t need to sign my name because I am straightforward about who I am. I don't play dirty games like one screwed up Irish businessman in Holland.
You've attained such a lovely state of deranged, Marty. MtDPinko Scum 23:10, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
It's great to know you're still watching a site for which you expressed such hatred, Martin. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 01:02, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
You are a complete asshole. I was one of the earliest contributors to CZ and have never expressed any hatred for it. I oppose completely the way in which some geriatrics have taken over the MC and chosen to abuse the Charter that I and others agonised over. I also opposed Berkowitz's vision of how CZ should operate, in particular with regard to expertise and self-acclamation thereof. That is not hatred: it is actually commitment to making something work properly, unfortunately with little success.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
think SR meant RW as the "hated site" not CZ. Pippa (talk) 20:17, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Even so, I have never hated RW. I have even publicly commended it at one point, as the only place where free and open discussion of CZ can take place, owing to censorship on the Forum there. No, it's simply that this guy has something against me and likes to make snide remarks.
It's reassuring to know that no matter how pissy shit gets over here, CZ will always be able to bend RW over and say "no, this is how you do drama-drama-duck". ADK...I'll insult your Pokémon! 22:26, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Gee, I haven't looked here in a bit. Must have been busy destroying CZ.
Seriously, whenever I tried suggested strategies for recruiting, the core of managers, who seem to do little else, tended to reject the ideas. Did they have any specific ones? Not that I could tell.
For example, I created subgroups for a number of topics. These were not strictly a workaround for categories, because some truly identified interdisciplinary fields for which there were few or no articles, subgroups having been created about fields. The majority were in health sciences, and generally corresponded to medical specialties. My thought was that these could be sent to various specialty mailing lists with some recruiting discussion.
On the Forums at least, this got hostile comments, generally personal rather than directed at the proposal. I made other proposals for recruiting. The RW main page gives Hayford's scathing remarks about colleagues that refused to join because they found the application too intrusive, Hayford implicitly calling me a liar that someone might feel this way. In one case, it was the principal developer of the reference implementation of an important piece of Internet software. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 01:37, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Intercessory prayer[edit]

Lest you take things out of context, the article I found said intercessory prayer MAY work but the studies used were less than stellar. I was providing the selected article in context to the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR). See: http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/experiments.html where real research was done. Go check out the links and then think about what you assumed. LittleRedWriter (talk) 02:47, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

You: The healing power of prayer has been documented in medical journals and is a good example of healing arts outside of the normal route.
Milton: Where, when and in what medical journals has that been documented? Be specific.
You: Here's a Wikipedia link concerning prayer
Milton: Once again, where, when and in what medical journals did you find that prayer has healing power???
You: What I was trying to state there have been studies done concerning the affects of prayer, but those studies even if under a controlled setting, were not considered reliable.
Milton: where, when and in what medical journal did you find that prayer has healing power?
You: As to the prayer study I honestly do not remember when or who did the study. I did read about it though.
Encyclopedia building 101 from the great Mary Ash. What a complete idiot. Even if you didn't realise that you were a complete idiot, surely the fact that everyone at Citizendium treats you like a leper should make you think that something is up? You really aren't one of life's smart folk, and this whole encyclopedia thing is obviously beyond you, so why for goodness sakes do you persevere? M.B.E (talk) 14:36, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
MBE who is the idiot? The one who tries to do what's right and to treat others with courtesy and respect? One who has faith and is willing to accept others? One who is willing to follow the greatest commandments set forth by God? Read Mark 28-34 to see what this means. I am sorry I mis-wrote and I have stated such. My whole point was to use peer reviewed references, and I thought long ago I read there was a peer reviewed study concerning prayer; and I do believe there was. I am not finding the article though. Instead I offered PEAR as a good example of peer reviewed papers as an example on how to prevent woo-woo articles being presented at Citizendium. And since I am such an idiot I wouldn't understand what a peer reviewed or juried paper is...do you? LittleRedWriter (talk) 17:18, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Just because you're offended at being called an idiot doesn't mean it's not true.--Inherit the Cheese (talk) 17:50, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Aren't there administrators in this wiki? I find M.B.E.'s language unacceptable, and have to say that he is not qualified to call anyone an idiot since he doesn't understand that his rudeness is completely out of place and isn't able to express his criticism in a subtler and more civilized way. Or should we assume that he is some kind of troll?--Analytikone (talk) 20:22, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

There are lots, and I dare say we almost all agree with M.B.E. here: Mary Ash is an idiot. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:25, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
We have very light moderation here, intentionally. It's a bit boisterous. But there's this wiki called Citizendium where everyone has to use their real name and academics are given special rights, and all is sweetness and light. Try there for some more civilized conversation. When they aren't rearranging their bureaucratic cliques, they even write encyclopedia articles occasionally. —Tom Morris (talk) 20:41, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
@ANALytikone (strange name - what's an "ytikone"?). Have you looked at this site? Anyone telling RW to read a passage from the bible is likely to get short shrift. Mary's probably a very nice person - indeed she's one of the few on CZ with whom I could imagine having a normal conversation. However she doesn't fit in with the "academic" wankers who run CZ. (I notice she's taken her ball home BTW. I'd suggest that she'd be wise to do the same at CZ) Pippa (talk) 23:36, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
PS I see Mary has left CZ (Over wikileaks!) Pippa (talk) 23:44, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Talk about drama queen. True to her word, as always (it ain't the first time), Mary quit. Only to return the next day to whinge a bit more. And the next. And the next. However today she quit in BIG LETTERS, so maybe she really will just fuck off this time. Meantime I'm gonna try some intercessory prayer to speed things up. M.B.E (talk) 18:07, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
Wait your quoting the completely discredited and shut down PEAR as valid scientific research? Tmtoulouse (talk) 23:40, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Mary Ash is so ashamed of her Christian faith now that she has erased all of her Citizendium Forum posts about intercessory prayer. Thank you Mary Ash, and welcome from a fellow atheist.--Inherit the Cheese (talk) 19:24, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Military affairs reporting the right way...

Deepthroat - I've uncovered a criminal plot with far-reaching consequences. What should I do?
Mary Ash - Being patriotic and loving your country is far more important than freedom. You smell like a traitor... What kind of name is Deepthroat anyway? Someone fetch me my lynchin rope...img M.B.E (talk) 03:01, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

US a Big Brother state?[edit]

David Volk, assistant professor of chemistry at UT Health Science Center Houston, wrote about classified documents obtained from WikiLeaks:

Simply reading classified documents without authorization can cause the loss of many government benefits, such as obtaining NIH grants, which are important for many academics on CZ, so I do not want to read any direct quotes from illegally obtained classified documents, even if they were published in the NYT and Der Speigel(?).

Because subsequently the majority of Citizens did not distance themselves unambiguously from the (possibly indirect) use of info from WikiLeaks, dr. Volk decided to "resign" (i.e., depart) from CZ.

If indeed the danger is real that an American academic loses his NIH grants because he occasionally adds a chemistry article to a site like CZ, then Big Brother is watching, maybe not only the NIH, but possibly the whole American society. How else than from Big Brother would an NIH offical, with dr. Volk's research proposal on his desk, (i) know that dr. Volk sometimes contributes to CZ, (ii) know that some CZ contributors—other than dr. Volk—quote WL material in CZ articles unrelated to chemistry, and (iii) have obtained the authority to refuse a grant application for such a reason? When it is true that Big Brother was instituted because of 9/11, and that America lost indeed its constitutional freedom of speech, as implied by David Volk, then the 9/11 terrorists have won after all. --P. Wormer (talk) 08:57, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

I think someone either is being overly paranoid, or is using this as an excuse for leaving a moribund project. If these contentions were founded we would see waves of reporters being rounded up for prison camps. We haven't. Doctor Dark (talk) 13:09, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
You are of course correct. One only has to look at the sequence.
David - Please ban wikileaks immediately
(3 days later) - Ok I'll do it myself...
(next day) - I can't be bothered waiting, I'm resigning from the management and the wiki...
(next day) - ...but may return to the wiki when everyone has forgotten what a quitter I am
David has done almost nothing at citizendium for years now. He went for a council position on an "open-management" ticket, but it was obvious to all but him that he would continue doing nothing once he got elected. Now that he gotten a glimpse of the work that needs doing he is taking his chance to flee. All the rest is obfuscation. M.B.E (talk) 15:20, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Citizendium IV: A New Hope[edit]

Now they've gotten rid of the last of the troublemakers, maybe they'll have time to write an encyclopedia? And before Mary Ash turns up here claiming that resigning was all her idea... Despite having "resigned" every day for more than a week, resigning in BIG LETTERS, blanking her userpages and claiming to have asked the kops to resign her account for her, she still turned up yesterday to try and undo all that resignation bullshit. The rest of Citizendium had already made their positions clear tho:

"Right, you jingoist bitch, enough's enough. Having trouble finding the door? Well here it is, and quit lying about resigning!"

I am afraid I did the rest of the worlds idiots a disservice by comparing Mary to them - she isn't an idiot, she's a complete and utter moron. M.B.E (talk) 16:14, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Mary Ash leaving over being annoyed with Wikileaks really isn't "A New Hope". Also, the MC has a ruling on how to resign? What the hell is wrong with just not editing any more like normal people on saner wikis do? —Tom Morris (talk) 18:22, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Of course it isn't any kind of hope, however various officials over there (mostly that other idiot, Curry) have consistently complained that having to answer questions on forums was what was preventing them getting down to serious business. Now bereft of excuses we can assume that the inevitable plummet is just down to their general inability I should say. M.B.E (talk) 20:18, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Lock and load[edit]

)-{> I'm glad Dr. Dark followed the correct if irrational sequence, rather than load and lock.

My first thought was, "I wonder if Hayford is a better shot than I am?"

Trying to picture some of the officer approaches here:

  1. Hayford: goes around preparing foxholes and hiding ammunition, then stops all recruit training and unit preparation while pursuing another officer; ambushes the people who actually shoot in the open
  2. Matt: questions anyone shooting at anything, because guns make loud noises and disturb the peace, even when fired at dragons
  3. Larry: seeks foundation money for guns, controls the ammunition locker for a time, leaves but tells people they are almost out of ammunition, returns and is put back in charge of the ammunition locker
  4. Martin: complains about American militarism and that there should be no ammunition
  5. Mary: spends six months repeating how things were at a different rifle range, and explains how she is authoritative on everything because she was a journalist, for the Somewhere, California Weekly Supermarket News, who covered the County BB Gun tournament and rewrote press releases

Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 16:49, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Well Howard I thought you'd be proud as I stood for the conservative values we both believe in. LittleRedWriter (talk) 19:34, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
What makes you think I call myself a conservative? In general, I'm proud to be a moderate, not stuck in a liberal or conservative rut. I despise those conservatives that want to push small government, except when there's an opportunity to use government for social or religious enforcement, but I also expect for liberals to map out how things can be afforded.
In general, however, I consider you part of the beginning of the end of Citizendium, as shown by your UFO article and your complaints that you didn't want to be edited until ready, your refusal to accept any engineering observations, and your constant complaining that Editors were out to get you. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 01:53, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Nah, the "beginning of the end" long preceded her arrival. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:03, 27 August 2011 (UTC)


I'm sorry for messing up the wiki mark-up but I wanted to correct your facts. I resigned from Citzendium, and will return if accepted back, as I do stand by what I believe. Wiki Leaks sources should not be used at Citizendium for many reasons including the inability to vet the facts. As a wiki who respects facts, and wants accuracy, I'm sure you understand the need for facts and this correction. I was not shown the door but I did resign. I hold no animosity towards the Citizendium contributors as most are a dedicated crew of people. See: 03:36, 24 August 2011, D. Matt Innis (Talk | contribs) blocked Mary Ash (Talk | contribs) (infinite, account creation blocked, autoblock disabled) (User request) or [[2]] for the facts. LittleRedWriter (talk) 01:08, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Changing the text of a WIGO after people have already voted on it is at best misleading, since it gives the impression that people were voting on the revised version. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:31, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Yus. I agree and have undone the "correction". MtDPinko Scum 02:01, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
I apologize for not understanding what you mean by "voting" on this. I also do not understand how a wiki that claims to stand by the facts refuses to acknowledge the correction. The information you have provided in the article is wrong. Could you not read and comprehend this statement found in the CZ page history: (User request). I was not shown the door. I quit. Please correct your facts as they are clearly wrong. LittleRedWriter (talk) 03:30, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
If you resigned every day for a week, getting blocked at the end of it is being shown the door. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:08, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Just reset the wigo number and "vote again" Тytalk 03:33, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
It's a WIGO, Mary. Your objection to the way it is worded has been noted here on the talkpage. MtDPinko Scum 04:16, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

I just read the CZ forums a bit, and then looked at this page. It's amazing how closely CZ members follow our commentary on them. Maybe RW should look into really locking down on our status as wiki-commentators.--ADtalkModerator 03:36, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Well other than squabbling over the finer points of parliamentary procedure, holding special elections with more candidates than electors and banning random members, they've probably got fuck all else to do. MtDPinko Scum 04:18, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Berkowitz and I have had our differences but we are agreed on one thing that RationalWiki provides a forum for discussing Citizendium that is not afforded by Citizendium itself. Their own fault that a lack of discussion has stifled a variety of opinion. Not every suggestion is a complaint yet that is exactly how their draconian idea of regulation and censorship works. M.B.E (talk) 06:36, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
The place has a horrid Singaporesque quality to it. MtDPinko Scum 09:12, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't know, um, anyone there, but when I took a look at some threads I saw that one guy disdained to consider a criticism just because it originated from here, which seemed pretty imperious. And apparently their tech guy lacks the time to deign to explain the viability of technical solutions to them, when it seems that such a task is a lot of what a tech guy is supposed to be doing. A pretty poisonous environment, which I think is the result when a lot of strong-willed people are constrained in such tight bounds - like a dozen watchsprings in a thimble, they're under a lot of pressure and they'll slice open your thumb if you poke them.--ADtalkModerator 09:52, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. Bit of a cautionary tale, no? Better to err on the side of freedom and chaos, rather than ever increasing rules, procedures and beauracracy donchathink? MtDPinko Scum 10:05, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
I wish I'd been reading up on CZ for longer... what the fuck is wrong with this Hayford Pierce guy?--ADtalkModerator 10:25, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
If a site wants to have behavioral standards that's OK -- even RW has standards of a sort. But CZ's enforcement has been totally inconsistent and arbitrary. Innocuous comments get hammered (example) while nastier digs go unchallenged. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:15, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Yet another resignation[edit]

Now Milton wants to leave the MC: [3]. Peter Jackson 09:41, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Hayfords priorities[edit]

Typical Peirce is that one - too lazy to do any editing, too ignorant to be an editor, his only means of self-empowerment is to try and manipulate the bureaucracy to do his dirty work for him. M.B.E (talk) 20:29, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Your "too lazy to do any editing" is utterly bogus. I cannot find the statistics just now, and I'm not sure how much editing he's done recently, but over a longer time frame he has contributed quite a lot of text. Pashley (talk) 04:36, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
By RW's statistics (thanks LArron) he's consistently one of the "active" to "very active" users over there. Doctor Dark (talk) 13:37, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
What LArrons statistics do not show (and its about the only thing they don't show, he really is a marvel that LArron) is that Peirce is well past the infamous 90/10 rule. So cock to him. And Matty, its a fair bet that if you take all the people at RW and add up the edits they make to other wikis than this one you will see that they aren't as lazy as you thought. I mean, does anyone really believe that this wiki is much other than a playground? M.B.E (talk) 17:18, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Hayford is a gigantic shirley, no doubt about it. In true CZ style he's utterly obsessed with process but I don't think we can say he's lazy when it comes to editing. Even if he is, we here at RW should not be pointing the bone given our current predicament. MtDPinko Scum 14:56, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

What "predicament"? Doctor Dark (talk) 17:22, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Hayford is such an asshole, I wouldn't be surprised if he turns out to be a scientologist.--Inherit the Cheese (talk) 21:25, 15 September 2011 (UTC)


Milton asks why nobody else is nominating anyone: [4]. Nobody replies. maybe people here have some answers. Peter Jackson 13:15, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

The obvious answer is that when most of your citizenry have either been expelled or voluntarily emigrated, then the only people left to run things are those already in positions of power. In other words, there is no almost no electorate to draw on for candidates; presumably, the few remaining, such as yourself, are deemed personae non gratae and feared by the existing power holders. Thus, we might conclude that CZ has ended.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
By my count, there are fourteen elected positions, while seventeen people have made at least one content edit in the past week. You do the math. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

A year of the Charter[edit]

It came into force on 23 Septmeber last year. Here are a few statistics.

  • 17 people have been elected to various posts; of these,
    • 6 have resigned
    • 1 has been expelled
    • 1 didn't stand for reelection after completing his term of office
    • 9 continue in office
  • 3 people were announced as reserves along with the election results; of these,
    • 2 are now in office
    • 1 was not allowed to take up her post
  • the Management Council has passed 57 resolutions
  • the Editoril Council has passed 53 resolutions
  • the constabulary have imposed 22 blocks that are still in effect (as listed in the block log; expired blocks would require extra searching); of these,
    • 7 were imposed at user request (i.e. someone formally left the project; at least 1 of these had already been blocked for some other reason; in addition to formal departures an unknown number of people have just drifted away)
    • 6 are just Mickey Mouse accounts set up for voting
    • 4 were imposed for misbehaviour (including 1 listed otherwise as a result of change of setting)
    • 4 were duplicate accounts (misspellings of people's names &c)
    • 1 was for inadequate English language skills

Peter Jackson 10:25, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Obviously, the quantity and quality of added content make up for this - David Gerard (talk) 14:18, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
57 resolutions? For a wiki on par with the size and activity of RW? ADK...I'll detect your pile of flaming horse feces! 14:57, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
110 resolutions for the two combined - which is more than five resolutions per weekly contributor. Perhaps their slew of weekly contributors are really so awful as to need that many resolutions each to govern their activities? Or perhaps the hardcore of worthless lazy cunts on the "councils" just like resolutions. They do make one seem rather important do resolutions, something to put on the old CV. M.B.E (talk) 19:12, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

My wording of something above was unclear. The Mickey Mouse accounts were set up by the PTB as part of their strange voting technology. They weren't fake voters as you get in some countries. Peter Jackson 10:21, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Pleasant; grandeur[edit]

From here (about WP:)
CZ has a much more pleasant working environment for the most part. Our record is not unblemished, but the problems appear often to be more about fumbles than about fracas.
Pleasant! Apart from the shenanigins with Howard & Mary, the whole wiki seems to me to be a rather intolerant rule bound bureaucratic environment.
(further down):
CZ cannot compete with the web presence of WP, but it might be able to compete as a more reputable and sane environment for outside experts, and eventually attain some grandeur.
What outside expert is gonna touch it with a bargepole seeing some of the totally powermad bureucratic ignorami that "run" it at the moment. The only grandeur is delusions thereof. Stop re-arranging Titanic deckchairs and run for the lifeboats, leave the incompetent officers to go down with the ship. Scream!! (talk) 00:31, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

The link is just a personal opinion from the forum, not, as one might think, a CZ page. Ro Thorpe (talk) 21:13, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

tipping point[edit]

So is there a name for the phenomenon where the number of people willing to serve an elected position equals the number of positions open to election? Better not have any more resignations! — Unsigned, by: Tmtoulouse / talk / contribs 02:50, 2 October 2011

"Too many cooks spoil the soup." Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 08:25, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
The obvious answer -- strip down the governance and administrative structures to a reasonable level -- somehow goes unmentioned. When there is an average of 10 people contributing on any given day, having 14 elected officers to watch over them is just ridiculous. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:08, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Hey man, we gotta be ready for if/when a bunch of new people show! downscaling could leave us with the pants down!--Mikalosa (talk) 16:09, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, full participation of all citizens in democratic governance is viable -- and a more accurate resemblance of ancient Athenian democracy. However, that is not how they behave, with the MC in particular asserting its doubtful legitimacy and the right to decide for everyone else. In other words, you either have full democratic governance by all, or you have a representative democratic system (as all large cities or states do). The CZers have failed to realise that they need a system for a very small population and carry on as if they are the USA. (talk) 22:15, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
It happens in many students' union elections where most positions go uncontested (except for the President one, strangely enough...) and the smaller committee representatives go completely unfilled despite numerous by-elections. It's either apathy, or a reluctance to take on the workhorse positions - everyone wants to be king of their own project, but no one wants to help at the bottom of one. So when you have an over-inflated bureaucratic structure, the odds of someone wanting to take those positions becomes increasingly diminished. A term for it? "Fucking ridiculous" does come to mind. ADK...I'll exercise your pea soup! 22:24, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Mostly apathy I think. At my own university, back in the day, I took some interest in the mechanics of student politics. At that time the Union held weekly meetings. These meetings were routinely inquorate and one day, after having taken the time to obtain the rules under which the union notionally held meetings, I moved that there be a count. My motion was (in violation of the meeting's own rules) denied by the chair and I was told to sit down or leave. Shortly thereafter the union voted through a change that it would in future meet in committee only, except at AGMs. Most decisions from then on were made by a handful of people in secret, no doubt acting in what they felt were the students' best interests. I've told this story to many students from the university, and it never receives more than passing interest, so long as the union provides cheap booze and somewhere out of the rain they don't care, why should they? (talk) 10:19, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

A silver lining?[edit]

unique editors
Over the last three months, the number of editors has increased - albeit on a very low level.
editors in Sep 2011
It's now at 54 editors for Sep 2011 - with the newbie John R. Brews making the most contributions.
editors in Sep 2011
However, if you charged the active editors for the pleasure to contribute to Citizendium, you would present each one with a bill of 5.90 $ for the last month...
.. or 11.3¢ per edit! But such payments are not in view - for August and September, the financial report doesn't show any donations.

larronsicut fur in nocte 11:06, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

I don't much agree with the deletion & concealment of the previous comment. It was only drawing attention to the activities of one guy at two different wikis where he had been quite open about his identity at both. Not overstepping any boundaries. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:22, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Speaking as the one who suppressed the comment: agreed, if he was open about it that's a different matter. But I did a quick check of his user pages at both sites and didn't see where had he made the connection. If you're satisfied that he is open about linking his identities on each site you can go ahead and un-hide the edit (I assume practically everyone around here has sysop rights). Doctor Dark (talk) 21:01, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Misleading WIGO[edit]

It's misleading to describe Citizendium's financial situation as "noone seems interested in donating anything". Better descriptions would be "black hole" or "fogbank", as the financial report hasn't been updated since August 24, slightly over two and a half hours before Larry reactivated the donation button. -- (talk) 22:17, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

This a thousand times this. I know for a fact that money has been sent in, but there is zero reporting from Sanger. This is the exact same shit we called him out on the last time. No accountability, no financial openness, no information at all. How much money has come in? Where is it going? How much is left? There was no reason to think that Sanger had changed since the last time he mismanaged the finances of CZ (and that was like 20 times the amount of capital that evaporated). I suppose he got the job again because no one else would do it, but the reason CZ is in dire financial straits is Sanger's fault, so why in the world do you hand him the keys again? Fool me once, etc. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:54, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
"Congratulations on the charter. Here are the keys. By the way, did I mention you'll be bankrupt in six weeks?" And a year later they turn around and make him treasurer -- for me that was a true "WTF???" moment. The weirdest thing is that he gave his most forthcoming explanation of Citizendium finances in posts to Wikipedia Review, and not on Citizendium itself. Milton Beychok (sp?) was meticulous about reporting the monthly balances and such, but Larry hasn't made a single notation to their financial report since taking over. (For the record I disagree very strongly with mentioning his "private accounts" in the WIGO. He has clearly stated that CZ donations are separate from his personal accounts. I think we'd be well advised to delete that part of the WIGO.) Doctor Dark (talk) 03:19, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
So, they have donations, but Sanger can't be bothered to report them publicly? larronsicut fur in nocte 07:20, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Dr Dark, we all know you disagree with mentioning that the donations go to Larrys personal account. You've disagreed on this several times in the past and have altered several WIGOs to reflect your objections. There is an obvious problem with your opinion.
A while back you altered a WIGO to remove speculation that Sanger was setting up a private account to accept donations. When I wrote that WIGO I already knew that was the case - this topic had been discussed at length on their forums, their lack of nonprofit status meant that Milton had "no choice" but to accept donations to a personal account in his name that would not prove tax-deductible for the donor. Sanger would have had the same choice, and in the end he produced a private bank-account number to handle the donations. The WIGO didn't say he was misappropriating the funds, it said he was setting up a bank account, which he was.
Now you have doctored the latest WIGO along the same lines, even removing the link to where CZ announces that donations will be going to one of Larrys accounts. What is your problem with this? Nobody is calling Larry a thief in these WIGOs. The latest points out that since donation shave been handled in his name they seem to have stopped - perhaps coincidental, perhaps just poor reporting on Sangers part, but accurate, referenced and humorous, and I don't see how one could ask more of a WIGO. Back off already. M.B.E (talk) 08:14, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

The results are in!![edit]

Shocking no one could have predicted this! So wait isn't the number of votes cast=the number of elected positions now? Tmtoulouse (talk) 23:54, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

That's quite awe inspiring: a whole 13 voters! What an amazing, not to mention huge,organisation Citizendium truly is. Scream!! (talk) 00:00, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
The candidates were running unopposed so it's no surprise that turnout was small. Still, there are 14 elected positions (plus the constables) and only 14 votes were cast. So not even all the leadership could be bothered to vote. That's a poor show. And they were barely able to get enough candidates to fill just three slots -- the final one accepted his nomination just a few hours before nominations closed. They've got to slim down their administration. But it's hard to escape the conclusion that all the Junior General Assembly stuff is an end in itself. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:33, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
And a "Financial Report": September: income: 0:00; expenditure: $319:00; balance: $630.12; Oh dear, less than 2 months to go! Please donate!. Scream!! (talk) 16:23, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
I didn't vote. It only encourages them. —Tom Morris (talk) 07:13, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

The coming explosion of growth[edit]

Remember L. Sanger's prophecies? It's time to bury another milestone:

  • For 2008, Sanger expected Citizendium to grow explosively--say, quadruple the number of its active contributors, or even grow by an order of magnitude. That obviously didn't happen
  • At the end of 2008 it was clear that Citizendium wouldn't triple our article count each year. Sanger expected 100,000 articles by 2010, but in fact at the end of that year there were less than 25,000. So, tripling didn't work out...
  • But suppose we merely double our article count every year. Then we'll still break 100,000 articles by 2011 and one million by 2015. Nope, there will be still less than 25,000 articles at the end of 2011
  • Suppose we merely add 50% more articles every year. We would break 50,000 articles by 2011, 100,000 articles by 2013, and one million by 2019. Even this relatively slow pace would be well worth working toward, considering the other advantages of the Citizendium. Not even quite!
  • Of course, I don't claim to be able to predict what our rate of acceleration will be. It's still possible that the project will, from here until eternity, muddle on creating 14 articles per day. The rate of article creation is declining (it was never exponential...), and in Sep 2011 the number of articles is less as to be expected if the project had muddled on creating 14 articles per day.
  • It's even possible that the project will simply collapse and our rate will go to 0. I just don't think that these latter possibilities are at all likely. Given Sanger's record as a prophet, the unlikeliest scenario becomes reality...

larronsicut fur in nocte 21:38, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

....ouch!--ADtalkModerator 21:56, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
I echo the "ouch" sentiment. Regarding article creation, is there any meaningful comparison that could be made with RW? I mean, it would be impossible for us to "muddle on creating 14 articles per day" because there's just not that much stuff for us to cover. Percentage expansion, perhaps? It's just I can imagine muddling along with 1 new article per day or less would be bigger than CZ's current growth. ADK...I'll crystallize your dystopia! 07:27, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

1000 Citizens. [5] Heh. MtDPinko Scum 00:03, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

See now [6]. Peter Jackson 10:24, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Teh monies[edit]

When not homeskooling his offspring, Larry does his level best to keep CZ afloat. http://forum.citizendium.org/index.php/topic,4156.0.htmlimg Good for him. --MtDPinko Scum 03:50, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Boy oh boy[edit]

Where do we start with this thread? It's like everything disgruntled users like myself, and outside observers at RW, have been saying for ages. Anyone wanna take bets on the likelihood of it happening?

Hayford Peirce: "I never intended to become an executive helping to run the project". Tee hee! —Tom Morris (talk) 19:46, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Not just news coverage, even blog posts are remarkable[edit]

[7] "... like bureaucrats fighting over ownership of an anthill."

(Whatever happened to the Citizendium blog? If the project, like, posted stuff occasionally ...) - David Gerard (talk) 09:54, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

I think it died with Larry. The last post is his announcing leaving the project, although by then he had been a non-entity for some time. Does this Sanger guy make a habit of ditching his projects soon after their inception or what? M.B.E (talk) 16:41, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

we got some nice donations in the last month, enough to keep us going for several months[edit]

LOL! There should be a story The boy who not cried wolf... larronsicut fur in nocte 16:00, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

What isn't going on at Citizendium[edit]

The core of Citizendium, as they will tell us at every opportunity, is encyclopedia articles approved by experts.

It's been six months since an article was last nominated for approval (a new version of Randomized Controlled Trial, on June 2, 2011), and over a year since the number of approved articles increased (Oxytocin, on November 18, 2010). In between, Citizendium has had two elections, and is working on a third. I guess it's obvious what's really important on the site. -- (talk) 23:46, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

They passed a substantial overhaul of the approval process as detailed here. Approval is no longer done by experts but by an Approvals Manager who need not have any disciplinary expertise. Experts can comment on an article proposed for approval but there seems to be no requirement for expert input. But notice their Approval Process instructions still list the old procedure in which editors themselves do approvals. So five months ago they passed a new procedure but nobody has bothered to update the corresponding page on the wiki. The whole thing puts a lot of the site's problems in a nutshell: councils and motions and other bureaucratic machinery as an end in itself, with no one bothering to do the followup. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:08, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Heh, they've been discussing this on the forums. Only, they refer to as "Person 1" and Doctor Dark as "Person 2", and talk about it as being on "another site". Adorable! —Tom Morris (talk) 11:18, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
David Finn should have linked to us - as we link to him, but I've no problem becoming Person 4 in this conversation :-) larronsicut fur in nocte 13:32, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I claim Person 5. - π Moderator 13:43, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Hello there. You may have noticed a certain hostility towards RationalWiki from some of the people at Citizendium, to the point where the merest mention of this site taints all accompanying comments. That doesn't make the views expressed on this page any less relevant, but is every reason to not link to this page when discussing them. Sorry about that. Also I have been warned about expressing views like those above in my own words, regardless of how rational those views may be, so borrowing yours was the next best thing. Thanks! Person Six (talk) 14:38, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I presume, however, I would be unperson 1 or perhaps 2? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 01:00, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Unpersons have imaginary numbers. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:58, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

As UnPerson#1, I thought I should inform you that the CZ management committee are obviously guided by the example of law and policy in Greece, in their refusal to remove a workgroup that has in principle been abolished. To give you two examples of how the Greek do this (and all kudos to Dan Nessett for being so bright as to imitate one of the most successful economies of the world): if you win a court judgement, for someone not paying money that he owes you, then you might expect that to be the end of the matter. Oh no! If he doesn't feel like paying you, you need to start another legal action against him for refusing to obey the court order. Or, another standard example is with Greek parliamentary laws. The Greek ministries (and universities) refuse to accept the validity of Greek laws passed. Every ministry has to prepare detailed "Circulars" to clarify every law. State officials obey only the circulars; unfortunately, many of the circulars contradict the law that they are supposed to interpret, and some are clearly outrageously unlawful.

Never mind, CZ faithful: you can always ask the IMF for a loan to tide you over. The IMF is quite familiar with this sort of incompetent management style :-) (talk) 05:12, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

It's normal everywhere that you need further court action to actually enforce a previous court finding if people refuse to obey the authority of the court. Even in the criminal courts this is how it usually works unless it's a custodial sentence and the convict is right there to be taken to prison. Suppose for example that Bob never paid me for fixing his boiler. I go to court, "This guy Bob didn't pay me!" and Bob doesn't show up. They look at my evidence, and they say "You're right, Bob didn't pay you. Here is a court order". Well, I can show that to Bob, but if he didn't pay me before he probably won't now. But I have to try, and then go back to court, "Bob didn't pay even though you ordered him too". And then, finally, the court will issue more paperwork entitling me to hire thugs (but like, properly licensed thugs) to take Bob's stuff without his permission, or, if Bob's boiler was impressively expensive (maybe it was the boiler for a cruise ship?) paperwork which tells the Land Office that Bob can't sell land without giving me the proceeds. (talk) 12:31, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
That is not correct. In English courts, the bailiffs will enforce the court judgement in a civil case. In a criminal case the state will automatically enforce the decision of the judge. I think the USA is the same. As far as continental European courts are concerned, maybe they are less efficient than the British, but somehow I doubt that they are as incompetent as the Greek system. There is no effective remedy in Greece for many crimes, which is a large part of why the country is in such a mess. One has to enforce the law, otherwise it is meaningless. (talk) 14:08, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Going back to the original topic here, the lack of approved articles, it is actually worse than stated above. Checking the ready for approval page I see articles that have been listed there more-or-less forever without action. They go back at least as far as some I added in 2010 and articles added by both unpersonH and unpersonM before they left. I suspect it goes further than that, but was too discouraged to check. Pashley (talk) 03:46, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

See also CZ forum post. Pashley (talk) 01:52, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

November 2011[edit]

editors per month
The number of editors per month is still rising, the fifth months in a row. OTOH, it is still well under 100 - as for all months in 2011. Whether this is a stable trend - or just a repetition of the pattern of 2009 and 2010 on a lower level has to be seen.
edits per month
Some relief here, too: projecting the trend of the first half of 2011, one would have expected no edits at all :-)
editors in Nov 2011
Some eighty authors/editors/whatevers contributed in Nov 2011
editors in Nov 2010
in Nov 2010, there were ~150 editors: A decrease by 40% in editors resulted in a decrease by 60% in edits. That's not only Howard C. Berkowitz's fault: the number of edits per editor is generally down.

larronsicut fur in nocte 19:33, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks as always for pulling the data together. I have assumed that the rising trend toward the end of each year is due to Eduzendium students (who almost never stay around after their assignments are completed). Is there any way to know whether this is in fact the case? Doctor Dark (talk) 05:22, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
If there is a straight-forward way to identify an author as an Eduzendium student, I can do so. Frankly, I don't know anything about eduzendium, so I'd appreciate if you could provided me with a link.
--larronsicut fur in nocte 09:22, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
BTW: I found this CZ:Category:Eduzendium_Authors. Are these only students, or their tutors, too? larronsicut fur in nocte 09:27, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
I'll look into the workgroups - I can't say how long this will take :-) larronsicut fur in nocte 11:28, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Teh Eleckshunz[edit]

Given that the declining voter turnout in CZ elections pretty much ensures that gathering 5 or 6 votes will guarantee victory, I wonder if those of us who've gotten disgusted with the current Editorial Council and left the project (but still have memberships) might agree upon a slate and vote for it later this month.

David Finn's candidacy statement is a brilliant, withering analysis of the current Editorial Council's failures at policy and its psychotic (my word, not David's) focus on the destruction of a single individual. Compare it with The Secretary's statement, which consists mainly of a, well, we can only call it clinical obsession with a former member who's long gone, almost as if a modern-day Presidential candidate spent most of his stump speeches excoriating Millard Filmore and King Edward IV.

So what do you think? Finn and Long for the author slots, and Cuervo and Cañellas for the editors? I'm wide open to other suggestions of slates as well; I'd just like for a large enough number of people to agree on a slate that will rid us of at least some of the Gang Of Several. SirRagingPooterTheWizardDog (talk) 01:38, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Peter Schmitt has been at CZ a while, is an active editor, and fairly often says sensible things on talk pages or in the forum. I'd say voting for him is obvious. Pashley (talk) 03:29, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Forums vs Articles[edit]

Hi! I've been following Citizendium from the beginning out of morbid curiosity and have been using this page for a while to help that (thank you!). I've seen a lot of interesting statistics here and, since I'm too lazy to gather such things myself, I thought I'd create an account and see if I can get someone else to do the work for me. I was looking at the "Word Count" statistics on Citizendium itself and they averaged 800 words a day during November. I was looking at the forums and there seems to be a lot more than 800 words a day being posted there. Does any have, or wish to gather, some statistics on how much activity there is on the forums vs actually writing articles? If you're feeling particularly extravagant, a breakdown by individual would be fascinating (and probably not very surprising!). Any takers? --Tango (talk) 01:30, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

forum vs. wiki
  • The forum page generate automatic statistics: see here
  • Over the last few months there were only a handful of comments a day, and often the same material was posted on various threads.
  • The quantity of the posts (in number and in length) is negligible if compared with the edits at the wiki (see pic). Only exception: the end of the year 2010
  • Personally I won't do a word count on the forum: to much time and work for a couple of pics which will be viewed only by 5 - 10 users and won't generate any comment.

larronsicut fur in nocte 09:42, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

This page has been accessed 28,460 times. Unless your 5-10 users have checked this page some several thousand times each the number must be higher. Not everyone clicks on the images because they are mostly self-explanatory or were accompanied by explanatory text. That does not lessen their usefulness.
Statistics could only prove what is already obvious in this case. People like Peirce, Curry. Nessett, Innis, Palmer and Sanger only use the forum. No coincidence that they are all CZ officials. People like Thorpe, Sebastian, Gardner and Brews only use the wiki. They are officials too but are obviously uncomfortable being so since they have to deal with the likes of Peirce, Curry, Nessett, Innis, Palmer and Sanger. No Citizendium official has a sustained presence on both forum and wiki. That role falls to those without official function.
The solution? Get rid of the forum or get rid of the lazy cunts that live there. M.B.E (talk) 11:31, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

A little bit on Eduzendium students and workgroups...[edit]

Doctor Dark asked: Thanks as always for pulling the data together. I have assumed that the rising trend toward the end of each year is due to Eduzendium students (who almost never stay around after their assignments are completed). Is there any way to know whether this is in fact the case?

First, the Eduzendium students have to be identified: Luckily, they all belong to the cz:Category:Eduzendium Authors, one of the workgroups at Citizendium. This leads to a closer look at the workgroups: According to cz:CZ:Workgroups, there are 42 workgroups at Citizendium. The 43rd was the now defunct Healing Arts: it is still used by some authors. Not only for sentimental reason, but just for fun, I'll include Healing Arts in all of the following observations ;-)

At cz:CZ:Workgroups, the workgroups are organized in seven classes (I call them super-groups): cz:Category:Eduzendium Authors belongs together with cz:Category:Topic Informant and cz:Category:Technical Team to the super-group Project. Luckily, the latter two groups are empty, so each member of Project is just an Eduzendium author.

There is a color-code for the super-groups, which I will use, too: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Arts, Applied Arts and Sciences and Recreation. Surprisingly, Project has no color, so I use black instead. If I want to highlight something which doesn't belong to any super-group, I'll use grey.

Any author may belong to no group at all, to one or many groups, and even to a couple of super-groups (or to all, without having made any comment: cz:User:Haakon Storm Heen). That's a little bit unfortunate for my graphs: I'd like to link any author to exactly one super-group. So in the case of being a member in various super-groups, I settled with the super-group which has the least number of members. This is of course quite arbitrary: as you may spot, another way would have been to look at the number of workgroups in a super-group in which the author is inscribed. But as Project is such a small super-group (~220 members), it guarantees that any Eduznedium Author is firstly seen as a member of this super-group.

Quite an intro, here come the pics:

Nov 2011
The Eduzendium authors aren't that prolific, only 6% of the edits made in Nov 2011 were done by them.

Edits at CZ grouped by work-groups
This is true in general - only during a few month the contributions of the Eduzendium students are visible.
Unique editors at CZ
But the number of students itself is not negligible at all: they have quite an impact on the number of unique editors. I think I remember a quote of someone saying something along the lines: since Berkowitz is done, the number of editors has gone up: it seems that the influx of students plays a significant role in the recovering of these numbers.
Unique editors at CZ
This becomes more obvious when comparing the number of Eduzendium authors per month with the number of all other authors: Over the last six months, there wasn't a steady increase in non-student authors, the numbers were just fluctuating.
number of edits vs. date of signing-in
I don't know whether an Eduzendium author at some time shuns his or her humble origins by eliminating the category from the user-page. At least the number of editors who keep their category and are still editing today seems to be quite small: there is one from 2009 left in Nov 2011.

workgroups, super-groups, editors in Nov 2011
Here the membership in the various workgroups and super-groups of those who edited in Nov 2011 can be seen (those who don't belong to any group are not on display.)

larronsicut fur in nocte 00:03, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

P.S.: cz:User:Aleksander Stos keeps cz:CZ:Statistics up-to-date. Until recently, this interesting page was linked to via cz:Special:Statistics. larronsicut fur in nocte 00:12, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

a little bit more on workgroups[edit]

authors per workgroup
This pic is nearly identical to the one created by cz:User:Aleksander Stos - my only improvement is the use of the "official" color-code
authors per workgroup ordered by rank
Here the workgroups are ordered by the number of members. Standing out are computers, history, biology and engineering. Computers is particularly interesting, as the number of articles in this workgroup is only the seventh biggest at Citizendium - nerds prefer to write articles on other subjects :-)
editors sharing workgroups
OTOH, only very few of the Computer-editors (Citizendium-talk for bigwigs) are specialists in other subjects, too.
authors sharing workgroups
But there are many plebeian (authors) computer experts with other interests. And while the educators of the Eduzendium project are editors of sociology, psychology, biology, physics, history and politics, the biggest shared interest under the students is Computers.
larronsicut fur in nocte 22:10, 12 December 2011 (UTC)