RationalWiki talk:Nothing is going on at Citizendium/Archive6

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Freedom of speech[edit]

The folks at Citizendium write endlessly about their Constitution; they are fond to reflect on the similarities in the administration of the US and Citizendium, and on their respective election procedures. Thus, it is not far-fetched to put the following two statements in contrast.

The American constitution says:

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

A recent official missive from Citizendium's Head Constable says:

Just be careful not to post any links to wikileaks from here, even on the talk page. We might consider ways to warn people where they are going in case they don't want to (or aren't allowed to) go there. For now, let's not give any direct links ourselves. D. Matt Innis 03:01, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

--P. Wormer (talk) 07:58, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

The sobering reality behind Editorial Council Resolution 0012[edit]

Resolution 0012 of 2008 states:

That a Citizendium editor may count himself an active Citizendium Editor if he or she has either edited CZ in the previous three months, or performed more than 500 edits in the previous year.

Luckily for Citizendium, the (in)activity of Citizendium Editor is determined manually:

If those conditions are not met, then any Citizen may change your various "CZ Editor" categories to "Inactive CZ Editor" categories, subject to correction by the Editor-in-Chief.

The citizens aren't that eager to mark their betters as inactive.

active editors at Citizendium de jure
According to Citizendium, there are seven workgroups without an Active Editor as a supervisor.
active editors at Citizendium de facto
But if you take the definition and apply it to the editors, you'll find that there are only 20 active editors left* - and though 8 of them are active in more than one workgroup, more than half of the workgroups are without editorial input.

larronsicut fur in nocte 10:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

* Aleta Curry, Alexander Wiebel, Anthony.Sebastian, Boris Tsirelson, Daniel Mietchen, Dmitrii Kouznetsov, Gareth Leng, Harald Helfgott, Maria Cuervo, Milton Beychok, Nancy Sabatier, Nick Gardner, Pat Palmer, Peter Schmitt, Robert Badgett, Russell D. Jones, Sandy Harris, Sekhar Talluri, Stanley Rao, Thomas Simmons

Election time[edit]

I just got an e-mail inviting me to vote in the Editorial Council elections. I have just done so, as is my duty as a citizen (right?). But I simply wanted to set the record straight about something...

In Hayford's Editorial Council statement, he states the following:

For nearly six months the Council also was belabored by the disruptive presence of Howard C. Berkowitz, who tried in vain to have the Council run the same way that he had delayed and impeded the workings of the Charter-writing committee.

Note the vagueness here.

During the time that the Council was considering, in a formal way mandated by the Charter, the credentials for Howard's editorships, the Council, and I in particular, were frequently accused by his partisans as conducting a witch hunt.

Yes, and I made that charge. Here's why: the charge was that Howard was being disruptive to the running of the Editorial Council. And the solution was to go after his editorial process. This was dirty politics and a waste of time: if Howard was actually disruptive, then deal with the disruption issue rather than go after his qualifications.

It is instructive, however, to note that as each of his editorships and his qualifications for them were considered, that no one, and I repeat NO ONE, of his partisans every jumped in a single time to defend what purported to be his credentials.

I defended Howard because the editorial council were using his qualifications as a way to go after his actions on the editorial council. I objected at the beginning of the process. I was told that I would have my chance to say what I wanted and would be contacted privately by e-mail. I was contacted some weeks later to submit evidence to a subcommittee that had been set up. I participated fully in that process out of loyalty to Howard.

What Hayford doesn't seem to understand isn't whether it is right or wrong to strip Howard's editorships. That's besides the point: the point is simply that they used the power of the Editorial Council to go after someone for political convenience.

I wish that the Council could have spent the time that we devoted to Howard on other matters, but that was independent of our will.

One word: bollocks.

I have made my views known through the ballot. Now, back to Wikipedia to actually do something useful. —Tom Morris (talk) 01:27, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I must admit I never understood that one at all. Berkowitz was one seventh of the editorial council, right? So he was already marginalized by virtue of having access to only one vote. It seems like this vendetta against him tied the council up in knots for 6 months when they could have just outvoted him and stopped with the whining. Have you seen the panic over there at the moment? Sounds like if they don't like who gets elected they are prepared to throw their "charter" out the window in order to keep themselves in office. I think someone already called it a game of musical chairs, played amongst ever fewer and more bitter children. And in the midst of it the encyclopedia part of the venture stalled ages ago. What an overwhelmingly shit website. M.B.E (talk) 03:37, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I haven't kept track of what the latest in drama is. I've been a bit busy with (a) contributing to a successful encyclopedia and (b) having a life. —Tom Morris (talk) 08:49, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Also, the only problem with the musical chairs analogy is that in a game of musical chairs, they reduce the number of available chairs each round, while at Citizendium, they reduce the number of people willing to play the game each round. —Tom Morris (talk) 12:39, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
"successful"? Depends what you mean. Quantity, very much so. Quality, much more questionable. Peter Jackson 15:11, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Also questionable is if being a Wikipedia admin and having a life aren't mutually exclusive. Person Six (talk) 17:00, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Quality. Yes. Let's start with homeopathy, where Citizendium's expert oversight has produced a much, much better article than Wikipedia. —Tom Morris (talk) 18:45, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Actually their new, locked down version is not bad. I would say it's better that WP's article in some senses (and worse in others). What's more telling in terms of success, or quality, or whatever you want to call it is that the CZ Homeopathy article doesn't show up until around the 620th hit of a Google search. Think about that: after all the controversy, back-and-forth, and even media attention given to their article, it doesn't even score in the first 500 hits. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:56, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Re the elections, there's an interesting little sub-thread here. The RW thread that they're referring to ("Teh Eleckshunz", see above) doesn't say "let's get together and destroy Citizendium from the inside!" or anything remotely similar. Instead, it's some people who are thinking it might be possible to elect a slate of sensible candidates who would help cut back the absurd level of bureaucracy, political intrigue and minutiae down to a rational (heh) level. Apparently, former Citizens rejoining the project and working from the inside to effect reform is considered a Very Bad Thing. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:56, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it certainly appears that Aleta "I can be an doggie editor without a Ph.D. but Howard can't be a battleship editor BECAUSE OUR LORD GOD HAYFORD SAYS SO" Curry seems to be quite worried that somebody might actually vote against her; so she is recommending that any suspicious patterns -- uh, like people voting against her -- be taken out with strategic nukes.
In other words, the bullies are frightened and are trying to intimidate the Kops. And as far as I can tell, the Kops are upholding ethics and honesty in the face of this bullying, as I never doubted that they would. Heh heh, bullies, you're pwned. Woof woof. SirRagingPooterTheWizardDog (talk) 01:43, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

PC rules OK?[edit]

People might like to read [1]img (before it disappears, if I haven't got this capture bit right). Three of the seven current members of the Editoral Council, all of them currently standing for reelection, want that article removed because it is, or might be considered to be, racist. Doesn't look it to me, but what do I know? The only basis they give is Peter's Argumentum ad Hitlerum. They also cite procedural grounds. Note also that, in replying to Pablo's explanation, which gives links to versions on Wikipedia and Wikinfo, Peter says it's been accepted only on Metapedia. The same three EC members have already proposed this on the EC wiki, so the talk page might disappear any time a 4th joins them.

Peter Jackson 14:31, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

It is not racist per se to describe someone as white or brown or whatever. It is politically incorrect in most Anglophone countries to use such terminology or even to mention skin colour. The main problem is that the term in English does not appear on the internet other than on WP; this seems to be because the usual term is "European Argentine". There is nothing in the CZ Charter allowing the EC to remove articles or rename them for reasons of political correctness: the only real issue is whether this terminology is (or has been) commonly used in Argentina. If not, then the article and its title are factually incorrect and can be deleted on those grounds. (talk) 16:07, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. I'm torn. There is obviously politicking going on at election time, but keeping the site from being taken over by the Metapedia lowlifes is one important way of ensuring that Citizendium's slow and lingering death is at least marginally dignified. Citizendium: fighting Nazi invasion through bureaucracy. —Tom Morris (talk) 20:12, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
"It is politically incorrect in most Anglophone countries to use such terminology or even to mention skin colour." But in the UK black and white are official terms used in the census. Peter Jackson 10:20, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
True, but there are two issues here. First, the Census is absolutely confidential at a personal level, so there is only the abstract social concept of black, white and all the other skin colours that are allowed as personal self-identification. Secondly, at the personal level (in social interactions) again, it is the self-identification that matters: in other words, you have to ask the other person what they want to be described as. This is a personal negotiation, which is very different from someone talking about "kicking the blacks out" or some such horrors. The same applies with gay identities: the persons affected may be happy to be called "queer" but it is originally a term of abuse. So, these words are not banned, but they cannot be used freely either. For an encyclopedia, the criterion must be formal legal usage, which means that black and white can be used as descriptions in a generic sense: you would not use them in your social discussions though. (talk) 08:02, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
True, the census asks self-identification. However, use of these terms is also SOP when the police issue a description of someone they "urgently wish to speak with in connexion with the incident". Peter Jackson 11:36, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I see your redirect from AaH is to something quite different from what I was referring to. (I seem to remember confusion in the WP article between different meanings.) The meaning here is the argument that anything Hitler liked must be a bad thing (guilt by association): Wagner, Orff, vegetarianism ... Peter Jackson 10:24, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Teh Eleckshunz ist zu Ende[edit]

Results. Note "28 people took part in this election." Compared with previous CZ elections we have:

  • Vote for Charter drafting committee (October 2009): 43 ballots.
  • Vote for Charter approval (September 2010): 72 ballots.
  • Council election of October 2010: 45 ballots. (At the time there was debate as to whether this figure should be released at all.)
  • June 2011 election: 40 ballots.
  • October 2011 by-election: 14 ballots.

Initial impressions: (i) The number of participants is down, given that this was a regular election and not a by-election. (ii) The total number of ballots cast was less than 2x the number of governance and administrative positions, forcefully demonstrating the absurd level of bureaucracy and administration for such a small project. (iii) They have a lot of elections. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:14, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Note that some of those standing for reelection lost. Peter Jackson 10:33, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Adding to Peter Jackson's comment, I would expect different policies from some of the newly elected people. Congratulations. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 01:50, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Financial Report[edit]

So, the current financial report is from Oct 15, 2011. Perhaps L. Sanger can be persuaded to make an update at least once every three months? No, you are right, I doubt it, too.

And there is no need for haste, as they have at least money to go on for another month. And didn't L. Sanger promise some new plans for generating cash?

Personally I'd need a little bit more to be encouraged to cough up some bucks proto-drachmes. But perhaps the Citizendiens are more generous... larronsicut fur in nocte 22:43, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Does he take Ameros? -- Seth Peck (talk) 22:49, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Looks like the Wikipedia blackout is going ahead Wednesday ... Citizendium should clean up - David Gerard (talk) 00:29, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Why is keeping up their financial report such a huge burden? It's not like they're balancing the books for ExxonMobil or JP Morgan. They have one entry on the expense side (hosting) and maybe 5-10 donations per month on the income side. I can't see how it could possibly take more than a couple minutes to tot up the numbers and enter them on the web page. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:14, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Simple book-keeping can be more demanding than preparing the accounts of multinationals: there is no easy way to "cook the books"! (talk) 23:12, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Financial history as of October 15, 2011
Month Donations
during month, $
Total donations
at month end, $
hosting cost, $
Paid by Funds on hand
at month end, $
November 2010 2,776.09 2,776.09 709.85 Tides Foundation(a) 2,776.09
December 2010   934.33 3,710.42   559.85(b) Donation funds 3,150.57
January 2011   101.55 3,811.97   611.45(c) Donation funds 2,640.67
February 2011    48.41 3,860.38   319.90(d) Donation funds 2,369.18
March 2011    42.89 3,903.27 319.90 Donation funds 2,092.17
April 2011    134.88 4,038.15 319.90 Donation funds 1,907.15
May 2011    72.22 4,110.37 319.90 Donation funds 1,659.47
June 2011    33.68 4,144.05 319.90 Donation funds 1,373.25
July 2011    216.57 4,360.02 319.90 Donation funds 1,269.92
August 2011    143.55 4,503.57 319.90 Donation funds 1,093.57
September 2011    282.74 4,786.31 319.90 Donation funds 1,056.41
October 2011 (to date)    296.00 5,082.31 0 (319.90 to be paid) Donation funds 1,352.41*
(a) The Tides Foundation paid all costs while Larry Sanger retained control of Citizendium.
(b) Lower cost negotiated by Dan Nessett.
(c) Includes $51.60 additional cost for time spent moving Citizendium to new 3-server configuration.
(d) Further cost lowering for 3-server configuration negotiated by Dan Nessett.
* Amount, if no donations are made before end of October, will be $1,032.51.

The whole thing is downright tragic:

  • The Tides Foundation paid all costs while Larry Sanger retained control of Citizendium is very flatteringly phrased! Larry Sanger left Citizendium when the funds run out would be an alternative...
  • Isn't Larry Sanger a psychologist? He should know that a donor need (semi-)instantaneous reward: that's why there are all the thermometer-type graphs at charity events.
  • On average, they get 210$ a month and have to pay 320$ - this way they can go on until Aug 2012. But they haven't tried very hard to get some money over the last months, so I think the funds will run out much earlier.
  • I get the impression that the whole mundane money thing is beneath Larry Sanger - but perhaps if they put on a jimbolike banner on Citizendium, promising a personal address by Larry Sanger?

larronsicut fur in nocte 23:26, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

A philosopher, not a psychologist. So obviously, people need clever and intricate argumentation - David Gerard (talk) 10:09, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I like it how the MC has a new take on the old if a tree falls in the wood and nobody is there... problem: if there is a financial report which we can't see than we don't have any problems - peons, stop asking tedious questions! larronsicut fur in nocte 10:17, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Dan Nessett: I must say, I am getting a bit tired of hearing people complaining about the treasurer. So, no one besides Sanger is willing to do the job. But Sanger isn't doing the job. Shouldn't the MC step in and make the whole money-thing top-priority and do the bookkeeping itself? Shouldn't be that complicated: I would be quite surprised if there were considerable donations for the last months... larronsicut fur in nocte 10:21, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Some movement: The Management Council, with the understanding that Larry Sanger wishes to leave the position of CZ treasurer, relieves him of this duty and thanks him for his service. Effective immediately, the Management Council appoints Hayford Peirce as CZ treasurer. The Management Council also requests Larry to work with Hayford to transfer the project's funds to a PayPal account accessible by Hayford, so he may pay CZ's bills.

... and lots of whining:

It is refreshing to deal with someone who is willing to solve problems, not just litter our communication channels with platitudes about the necessity that someone else must solve them.

21:20, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

And more. (talk) 07:56, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
This should work out well for them. By all appearances Hayford has been conscientious about any task he has taken on. I'm still in a state of disbelief that they ever appointed Larry as treasurer, given his track record. ("Congratulations on the charter. Oh, and by the way you'll be bankrupt in six weeks.") It would have been better to have left the position vacant. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:57, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree and I hope that Hayford gets to work quickly: though he said that he doesn't want to campaign for donations actively, presenting the current numbers should give some incentive for possible donors. I'm interested how long it will take Larry to mail the ledger to Hayford - and whether he was able to nearly ruin CZ for a second time ;-) larronsicut fur in nocte 15:47, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Also sprach Dr. Dark: "By all appearances Hayford has been conscientious about any task he has taken on." Boy howdy, you can say that again! And presumably the first order of business of the new treasurer will be a months-long investigation culminating in a report blaming CZ's financial crisis on Howard C. Berkowitz and sentencing him to Double Secret Bannination. SirRagingPooterTheWizardDog (talk) 18:06, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Larry Sanger and the finances[edit]

It ĩt very amusing to read Sanger's notes on the Financial report. In short, he didn't do anything and that costs him :-)

I start to think that Larry Sanger is just a synonym for missed opportunities. larronsicut fur in nocte 07:07, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Or an anagram for "Larger Yarns" :-) (talk) 12:34, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually, what Larry was saying is: as the treasurer he paid all CZ's bills, did not make any effort to raise funds, did not make any effort to report the finances, and now CZ has zero money. What a visionary.--Inherit the Cheese (talk) 16:58, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
No question Sanger did a less than stellar job as treasurer, but to be fair he did donate $1000 out of his own pocket in the past few months. They also have a balance of around $2000, not "zero money." I think they can manage to hobble on more or less indefinitely in terms of finances. There seem to be enough people willing to donate to keep the servers running. Doctor Dark (talk) 19:12, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
2 grand is around 8 months of hosting and backup for us. Larry could learn something from how well Trent's gotten us set up with inexpensive high quality scalable service. Nutty Rouxnever mind 19:53, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Quite a tranquil January 2012[edit]

When Larry Sanger said "I'm not sure we're entirely out of the woods", he was addressing only the financial situation of Citizendium. But the general outlook of the project isn't that fantastic, neither:

  • The number of editors in January 2012 is down to 55 - not much better than the 43-57 editors per month from May 2011 until Sep 2011. The eduzendium-kids haven't stayed around, it seems.
  • Even worse, the editors aren't that eloquent :-) There were less than 1,600 edits in Jan 2012 - the worst count since going public in Mar 2007!

larronsicut fur in nocte 13:15, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

In December the average number of words added per day was 300. That's a decrease of 98.8% from its peak in May 2008. Compared with December 2010 it's a decrease of "only" 88%. It will be interesting to see if the January figure is any better. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:22, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Featured article[edit]

I note that the Editorial Council does seem to be doing the Featured Article, which had fallen through the cracks in the past. That's a good thing.

It's a bit ironic, however, that the current featured article is one of mine. I'll leave it to others, given my conflict of interest, if that should go into the list of poll items (subcategory: irony). Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 05:09, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

You give them too much credit. The councils have nothing to do with the featured articles. That is all down to Chunarse Park, and changing the featured articles is the only editing he does. If it were the councils job you can bet it would be static, same as the rest of the site. Citizendium is deader than all the other times everyone said it was dead in the water and no amount of featured articles can change that. It only still exists because Sanger got a guilty conscience and bailed them out financially. I don't even see why we maintain a WIGO on them. M.B.E (talk) 16:36, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Yah, there is nothing going on. You know what they should do? Go back to embracing the cranks! Just accept their crank magnet label and let "experts" in pseudoscience and quackery control articles on their pet theories. The dark side never seems to be short of funding and would certainly invigorate the editing. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:45, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Something about the meticulous and bureaucratic reorganizing of the deckchairs still fascinates me... Occasionaluse (talk) 21:23, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the conduct of most people there is offensively fascinating. At the same time as putting a featured article that I approved (as economics editor) as being co-authored by me, I see myself being slandered by that piece of excrement Finn as having "behavioural problems". Those problems, of course, consisted of demanding that people follow the rules of the Charter, instead of doing as they liked in a fascist style. At least we can say this is the way all of Europe is going, as the eurozone collapses there is no rule of law for those in power and no interest in making things work properly. The Titanic experience looks likely to be extended to an entire continent, so CZ fits in well. (talk) 01:01, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Is that Martin Baldwin-Edwards hiding behind an ip address? I thought the story went more like, you spent a year telling everyone you wrote all the rules and were the only one qualified to interpret them, threatened them with legal action if they didn't follow your interpretation, got your lazy whining ass permabanned for being such a complete loser, and everybody (every single person) at citizendium ended up hating you so much that they rejoiced the day you left. And from the looks of Finns statement they are still rejoicing. It seems that you were hated at wikipedia, sidestepped to being hated at citizendium, are hated here, and are probably hated at every other wiki thats heard of you. I bet you get a lot of hatred in real life also? And you still think you haven't a personality disorder? Person Six (talk) 17:37, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Actually, it's the people with personality disorders who have problems with me, along with the crypto-fascists. I see that you (possibly another id that Finn uses) happily mischaracterise how I tried to stop the MC from screwing up CZ, and then extend your crappy analysis to real life and every other insult you can think of. Now, that's just great -- especially from an anonymous troll. Exactly the worst of the internet, and what we sought to escape from with realnames policy. (talk) 21:40, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I love the phrase "offensively fascinating"! Abusing various CZ players here strikes me as an utter waste of time, though.
As for "embracing the cranks", perhaps we could register "wikiquack.org" ... Pashley (talk) 08:22, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

A new approved article![edit]

To be fair, we haven't had a new gold article in a while either. (I believe the last was ... Citizendium!) Any hot prospects? - David Gerard (talk) 23:28, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

It's not a new approved article, it's a new approved version of an old approved article. Peter Jackson 10:24, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Featured article[edit]

To my great surprise CZ now carries a featured article that I wrote in August 2007. (An appendix was added by Dan Nessett at the end of 2009. Soon after I found two non-essential algebraic errors in his contribution that I fixed and I also cleaned up his layout somewhat). Anyway, all of this is ancient history. But my surprise was not so much the age of the article, but more that my name was on the frontpage of Citizendium. Since featured articles carry name(s) of contributing author(s), it was an obvious thing to do for the person in charge of the featured articles. But, apparently he did not know the revengefulness of Hayford Peirce and the things I said about Hayford on RW. And indeed, Hayford's reaction was predictable:[6]

If there had been any [discussion], I would have certainly objected to putting in a article attributed to Paul Wormer, a former Citizen who has gone on to make very rude comments about CZ and its Citizens on another wiki site.

(Those of you who don't remember how I became the subject of Hayford's wrath, see the end of this section: [7] for my very rude comments). --P. Wormer (talk) 01:20, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

How ironic. Along with myself and Finn, Peirce ranks as one of the most deliberately offensive fellows I ever met at Citizendium. He's not above venting his anger here either. M.B.E (talk) 08:40, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
This comment is offensive and fraudulent, with its author pretending to be a former member of the Editorial Council. (talk) 21:13, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Good to see an encyclopaedia basing its content on petty rivalries, instead of actual content. Reminds me of something. --PsyGremlinПоговорите! 12:39, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Jobs for the boys?[edit]

And girls? Peter Jackson 10:19, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Although the main WIGO CZ page calls this a "created position," it has actually existed for some time. A couple of years ago, for example, David Volk was an Editorial Personnel Administrator; I think Beychock was, too. People who want to become editors send the EPA a list of their credentials and the EPA decides whether they meet the criteria.
Curry at least has plenty of experience deciding who can not be an editor.... SirRagingPooterTheWizardDog (talk) 17:15, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

March 2012[edit]

some pics --larronsicut fur in nocte 18:48, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

April 2012[edit]

larronsicut fur in nocte 15:14, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Teh Great Ritual-O-Democracy[edit]

Lots of nominees but it seems everybody's pulling a General Sherman act. Even the incumbents. As Dalton Trumbo or somebody said, "what if they held a war and, after slaughtering the scapegoat and beating his dead body to a pulp for months, nobody came?" SirRagingPooterTheWizardDog (talk) 15:35, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

How many seats do they need to fill? Surely of the couple dozen regulars they can find a few who are willing to sign up for their spell of bikeshedding. Doctor Dark (talk) 17:01, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
I think there are two management council seats to fill. Ten nominations so far, five declined, and no-one has accepted. One person nominated has not been active in some time.[8]
They need one managing editor. Eight nominations, but two are invalid since you must already be an editor to be nominated, so six left. So far, two have declined, one accepted and two not commented. Pashley (talk) 23:21, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Fortunately, the one person who has accepted is well-qualified to save CZ if anybody can. I can understand why the incumbent (who is also a very qualified person) isn't interested in continuing, but I will certainly vote for the nominee. SirRagingPooterTheWizardDog (talk) 01:46, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Apparently, I haven't been banned from receiving their mailing lists. "Citizendium is currently seeking candidates for the Managing Editor role and two seats on the Management Council. All incumbent officers have declined further terms of office. Citizens are also putting forward proposals for referenda on community rules and the Charter (6 supporters required)."
Who is the competent candidate? That's not meant sarcastically. I do wish them well, if only that they might cooperate in cloning content.
I haven't been following the discussions there. Is there any indication that people are interested in fixing any of the fundamental problems? If I were to look at a core issue, it's the focus of a key group on behavior and popularity, rather than content creation/improvement. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 18:01, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Anthony Sebastian is the only ME candidate who has accepted the nomination. His policy statement is herePashley (talk) 06:40, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Isn't the ME mostly a figurehead? I don't often check up on CZ any more but it seems the ME has little authority versus the councils, who have been effective at preventing constructive change. I had thought Daniel Mietchen might be able to turn things around. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:28, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Daniel tried, but was actively resisted by Hayford when requesting anything of the Editorial Council. Quite to my surprise, I found Gareth, as Ombudsman, essentially usurping functions that, when I was on the Charter Committee, either were in the province of the ME, or not defined at all. (The Ombudsman was never conceived as having executive authority, but being limited to an honest broker. It certainly was not intended to be the interpreter of the Charter). Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 16:30, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
The whole thing, including the interpretation of the Charter, is a big mess because power was dispersed in a highly bureaucratic and dysfunctional way. It was clear from the outset that a lot of power should reside with the EiC, who could however be removed or voted out. This did not happen because of you, Howard, in your role as pain-in-the-ass on the Charter committee. Almost everything else managerial follows logically from this one major error. (talk) 16:52, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
The MC put through a referendum proposal giving the ombudsman power to make interim decisions. Under the Charter this should only apply to decisions within the MC's sphere. Within that sphere Gareth isn't actually "usurping" power. Rather, the MC seemed to be trying to undermine Daniel, so no wonder he isn't interested in reelection. They didn't specify what should happen if the ME also made an interim decision on the same issue. Interpreting the Charter wasn't specified as a power of the ombudsman in the Charter, but for that matter the US Constitution doesn't say that's the Supreme Court's role either. Peter Jackson 10:28, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Exactly, Peter. Well, I warned everyone that the MC was out of control and assuming powers that it had no right to. Nobody listened to my advice, and as far as I am concerned the demise of CZ is the explicit fault of all those who did nothing to stop it. RW was no help either -- just snide and offensive comments about people. (talk) 12:30, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Nobody listened to your advice Marty because you're a shrill, excruciating bore. --MtDPrematurely Indeterminate 01:51, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
And you're an ignorant anonymous fuckhead, whose opinion counts for zero. (talk) 02:51, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
And you are an ignorant quasi-anonymous wanker, whose opinion and general demeanour we have all come to despise. (talk) 09:01, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
It's such a delight to converse with decent educated people; what a pity that RW has a very serious shortage of them. (talk) 12:04, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
You might consider that you'd have more credibility if you hold yourself to the same standards that you expect of others. You aren't doing that when you berate people for being "snide and offensive" and then in your next post call them "ignorant anonymous fuckhead(s)." I don't endorse some of the more strident comments here but it's better to lead by example. My experience is that upping the ante or responding in kind never works in your favor. Doctor Dark (talk) 12:24, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Even then, Martin would be faced with the essential core of his problems, i.e. that he is himself and it's incurable. But hearing him pontificate on how everyone else fucked up Citizendium remains hilarious - David Gerard (talk) 14:35, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
My position on all of these things is 100% consistent and on the record. And I do not initiate offensive remarks, I merely return in like currency. This is even commended in the Talmud and Old Testament, so I will not accept any lectures from you about that. And David Gerard has the distinct problem of being David Gerard: you see, anyone can insult anyone. This is just puerile nonsense. I was making a serious point about how power was distributed in the Charter discussions, and why it didn;t work. But feel free to make childish personal insults, and I shall feel free to return them. (talk) 21:51, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
David has hit the nail on the head. Martin seems to be in the same class as that Mary Ash, two complete idiots with no alternative but to ignore all evidence of their own idiocy in order to maintain their highly inflated opinions of their own worth. And this despite the continual barrage of complaint by, it would seem, everyone who happens across them and their quite obvious idiocy. Still, who would be without the comedy that is watching Martin Baldwin-Edwards trying to convince the world that they are so very unreasonable for despising him and his foul-mouthed self-obsessed ways. One can so easily imagine him turning rather red before firing out some childish insult, usually to someone whose name/identity/personality he has no concept of. Martin will forever be trying to attack his often anonymous detractors with personal insults that may or may not apply to them in real life, lumping every detractor together, when their only common factor is that they have spotted he is an idiot. (talk) 10:37, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Yet another nasty and anonymous personal attack from the UK. Doutbless it is someone who once crossed swords, but lacks the balls to say anything with his/her own name attached. I ask the RW personnel to delete this anonymous attack on a named individual. (talk) 14:16, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Hmm... no. rpeh •TCE 14:25, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

With the changes in regulation of the internet that are likely to happen in the UK, such disgusting anonymous attacks will be open to legal action, and RW will also be liable. This vicious publication of lies and pure nastiness may end, and perhaps internet freedoms will also end. You assholes here will be responsible for that as much as anyone, with your toleration of personal and professional attacks on these pages. (talk) 16:35, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Yes, yes Marty. You keep waving your tiny fist in impotent rage. One day you'll show all of us, won't you? --MtDPrematurely Indeterminate 20:39, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Morons who abuse anonymity and the little power that comes with it, usually run away in real life. I assume that you are of that type -- pathetic in reality, but trying to show off on the web. Never mind the law, or how to behave: your ego is all that matters. (talk) 21:42, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Rest assured Marty I am as unpleasant in real life as I am on the interporns. --MtDPrematurely Indeterminate 21:58, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I would welcome criminal charges for calling Martin Baldwin-Edwards an uncouth self-obsessed idiot, would afford the opportunity to present the piles of evidence of that fact to the court. (talk) 10:45, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
typical internet troll asshole speak. I presume that you are David Finn, both from your semi-literate language and your attacks on individuals here. Since RW refuses to protect individuals from libellous attacks from anonymous trolls (in accordance with their juvenile approach to law) let me state clearly, Finn was one of the most obnoxious and unpleasant pieces of excrement that all of us on CZ ever had to deal with. His refusal to accept expert guidance, his immediate immersion in CZ politics, showed him to be a rather nasty little asshole. He never did anything, never contributed anything to the development of CZ. So, when I politely tried to negotiate some arrangements over article titles, it is no surprise that this human excrement poured shit over everyone. Nor it is it a surprise that he tries now to anonymously damage my professional reputation. Shame on RW for encouraging these sociopaths on the internet. 19:27, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
If you genuinely believe you have been the victim of slander, sue. Otherwise, STFU and GTFO. rpeh •TCE 20:42, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Marty, are you this much of a minge-flap In Real Life or do you save this particularly charming aspect of your personality for the internet? --MtDPrematurely Indeterminate 20:53, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Go fuck yourselves, you pathetic little nerds. (talk) 22:15, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I love it when you soar the Wildean heights of the language Marty. Frankly, you border on the Parkeresque. --MtDPrematurely Indeterminate 22:40, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Is it fair to say that there is more activity on this RW discussion page than on the entire Citizendium right now? Might I also ask why anyone cares? (I'm not being snarky here, I'm genuinely asking). VOXHUMANA 10:44, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that is fair. It may not be entirely accurate, but at the very least it is close enough for discusion purposes.
As for why anyone cares, I see CZ as an interesting experiment with basically worthwhile goals. It does not seem to be succeeding, despite some wildly optimistic claims earlier, but it has not entirely failed yet either. Pashley (talk) 00:41, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
I think there is some value to be had in documenting the decline of a project like CZ. --MtDPrematurely Indeterminate 20:36, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
It's failure was obvious from day 1. Larry emailed me very early on and asked me to join but I didn't, because he was simply trying to recreate NuPedia. Wikipedia was only ever created to be a scratchpad and "feeder" for the Nupedia project, which was really Larry's (and Jimbo's) baby. Even by the end of 2001 when WP had 10,000 articles and Nupedia only has 20 he was still encouraging us to move back to Nupedia. But of course you all know what happened, and Larry always hated it, with the anarchy and "lack of central leadership". Wikipedia is proof of the Churchill quote about "the worst system, except for all the others". I'm not dissing Larry, a lot of what Wikipedia is today is because of his work, but why he couldn't see how doomed CZ was from the outset will always baffle me. VOXHUMANA 12:22, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Sounds like he's a classic control freak to me. -- (talk) 20:38, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Maybe so. His massive contributions to Wikipedia will always command a level of respect from me, which is probably why I am not overly harsh in my comments. VOXHUMANA 01:35, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Martin, it's already generally a crime to insult people in England. I'm not sure what prospective change you're referring to.
VH, that's a false analogy. Government is a necessary evil, and democracy is the lesser evil in those circumstances where you can get it to work. There's no necessity for a monopolistic wiki. Peter Jackson 09:07, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
It is a shame that Mr. Finn is being slandered by Martin Baldwin-Edwards in response to his being allegedly slandered by me, but what you gonna do. Nice display of total hypocricy there Martin. (talk) 11:06, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
More lies from the anonymous troll? [There is no slander in what I wrote, since everything is true and can be verified by others.] Is there nothing that RW finds to be out of order? I guess when your mental development has frozen at a teenage level, you think that foolish comments about sueing anonymous and viciously slandering trolls is quite sufficient. (talk) 21:36, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Is there nothing that RW finds to be out of order? - Have you considered the possibility that most of us don't even know what the hell you are talking about, and (much more importantly) none of us actually give a damn? Two anonymous people are accusing each other of slander and hypocrisy and kiddie-porn and whatever. Meanwhile I'm the only named user who even appears to be following the discussion, and I assure you that I don't care. VOXHUMANA 05:16, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more, VOX. I was actually participating in the discussion, until the troll came along. RW should have censored the crap of personal attacks. (talk) 21:15, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Participation requires that other people be participating with you, which they weren't. And they won't, because they think you are a prick. Not just a prick but one who is jealous of his anonymity yet lambasts anyone else with similar pretensions. That's why they won't participate. Every word out of your mouth is bitterness and self-obsession. You really are quite a cunt. (talk) 09:17, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
And this nasty little troll continues with his obscenities, personal attacks and lies! Even after being asked to stop by others. (talk) 10:20, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
Nobody's asked him to stop, Martin, but everybody wishes you would. The easiest way not to be trolled is not to post here. So go on - off you fuck. rpeh •TCE 10:56, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
Eh, I've blocked him for 24 hours. Not just because he's a toe-rag, but mainly because I can. ^_^ --MtDPrematurely Indeterminate 14:36, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Citizendium's licence condition makes it go to the dogs[edit]

Onion the dog, quite possibly a non-notable subject if ever there was one, illustrates how citizendium's licence condition is working against the project. Any improvements made by citizendium were simply absorbed by wikipedia, meanwhile the citizendium article itself hardly registers on the search engine results, thus anyone wanting to find out about this topic will doubtless always find the wikipedia article first, and not bother about citizendium. The project has become simply a feeder for wikipedia, neutralizing any original or unique content citizendium could possibly offer to users. Anyone who has been to business school knows that unless you have a product that is unique, stands out, and is marketable, no-one is going to invest. TorontoKid (talk) 02:48, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

On the plus side, it means that whenever they finally pull the plug, the good content need not disappear with the project. --Benod (talk) 03:42, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
What "good" content? Even wikipedia's own CZ porting project rejects more than they import. Citizendium ceased being a quality encyclopedia sometime ago when their best editors left. Many article have been left untouched for years. A bad sign. The licence condition is simply a nail in its coffin. TorontoKid (talk) 08:11, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Actually the thought of wikipedia monopolising everything is not a very pleasant picture either. A website that keeps articles on vampiric vegetables and endless reams of lists on fictional characters, controlled by one-eyed fanbois that play childish turf wars, means the public is the big loser out of all of this. TorontoKid (talk) 04:38, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Which is the point behind CZ, if they hadn't fucked up by rejecting everything WP did just because WP did it. There are alternatives, though. And even then, for the most part if you're not searching for them you're not going to be subjected to Wikipedia's less useful list of fictional things - for fiction, the dedicated fan wikis hosted on Wikia are slowly becoming top dog. Wikipedia holding a monopoly on things is bad, but I don't think it ever will hold a one in such a way that it's a Bad Thing. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 11:57, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Not necessarily. Citizendium simply failed to grasp the concept that if you're not unique/different, people just aren't going to bother. There is nothing unique being a second-rate wikipedia clone without the level of quality or the editors. What's the point of wholesale importation of wikipedia articles if you don't have the editors who can improve on them? People are not going to bother when wikipedia is featured so high up in search results - citizendium in return is penalized by search engines for duplicating content. Importation of articles is fine if you have the resources to improve on them, for which citizendium does not anymore. Existing articles there now are rarely improved upon, some not edited or updated for years now, so wholesale importation of wikipedia content is search engine suicide. A far better approach is to focus on a particular area - import articles if need be from eg. computing on wikipedia, set it aside to be worked on, then publish it when it is *better* than the wikipedia original. If you don't have the manpower to get everything done, focus your energy on an area of expertise which you do have editors for, and build on from there. Sadly, I think the damage has already been done and the project will likely fail anyway. Addressing the problems should have been done back when Sanger was still active there. TorontoKid (talk) 10:34, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
But like so many other Citizendium articles that have been copied over there, "Onion the dog" on Wikipedia has been nominated for deletion.--Spud (talk) 14:30, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
The same drive-by animal advocate created both the WP and the original CZ article. It was nominated for deletion at WP, rewritten at CZ. One version of the rewrite was then copied to WP. Pashley (talk) 00:22, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
The WP article has now been deleted. It was mostly CZ folk arguing to keep it (in particular Mary Ash - I won't give her WP username, though it's very obvious). See here.. Doctor Dark (talk) 18:09, 24 June 2012 (UTC)


There were only 20 edits made yesterday, and that isn't even their worst day this week. Someone had to update the list of personnel after giving said personnel over a month to do so themselves. The last contribution made by Larry Sanger was over half a year ago, and he is on their management team, which even has rules about how much participation is required! This project is a total shambles and the few longtermers left ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. I want my donation back. (talk) 11:22, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Still, with less than 3 months fees left in the Peirce taxdodging account this ship of fools may at last be broken up soon. Who in their right mind would donate to such a failure now? (talk) 08:47, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Is there a database dump available? CZ should at least be preserved as a warning to future generations. The Internet Archive would likely be happy to preserve a dump - David Gerard (talk) 11:50, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Given that wikipedia has sucked all the worthwhile content from citizendium, I don't think there is any point of archiving or data dumping. TorontoKid (talk) 02:38, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
It's not clear what "inactivity" means. If it means CZ itself, then Sanger is way over 90 days of "inactivity." It could also mean deliberations of the MC itself, or forum posts, or something else. Maybe someone could find the specific definition of "inactivity" buried in Management Council Resolution 2011.12.A.3.(ii)///j(6)(b) or some such, but... cba. Doctor Dark (talk) 20:03, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
The Internet Archive might keep the articles, but what really needs keeping is the talk pages and even more, the forums. rpeh •TCE 20:19, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
I note that the deckchairs are still being arranged on the Titanicimg. Scream!! (talk) 21:36, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Peirce the Ignoble[edit]

For someone who rants about hating RationalWiki so much, and who frequently protests about how worthless everyones opinions here are, he sure pounced on the latest WIGO. He even managed it without calling anyone names, though not without dishonestly altering the WIGO along the way. What a guy! (talk) 12:54, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

  • My way or the highway stuff. He doesn't like people disagreeing or even communicating with him[2]img which makes you wonder what is he doing on a collaborative project, where you are expected to reach agreement and communicate. TorontoKid (talk) 04:38, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Typical example - Peirce took on the role of "treasurer" so long as he could have nothing at all to do with raising money, yet whose name appears on their latest begging letter? Co-signer Peirce, that's who. He doesn't want the responsibility, he won't write the begging letters, but is oh-so-quick to claim some of the credit. What a guy. (talk) 12:00, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Interesting that he now rues that the people driven off (i.e., not just faded away) did participate, but few do today. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 20:32, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
The stable doors were closed long after the horses had bolted. Only rats left behind now. TorontoKid (talk) 04:53, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Servers and costs redux[edit]

Larry is noob obviously and his suggestion of shared hosting is ridiculous. Demonstrates his lack of skill set and understanding and more proof of his mismanagement. That aside, I still don't understand why they are wedded to the two server model?

RW's traffic is now probably 15-20x that of CZ, we hit about 200gb of outbound bandwidth a month and broke 350k unique users and 600k visits month (a record). There is no way that CZ's "taxing" forums and "bug" software is approaching the CPU/memory requirements of the average daily RW traffic. Yet we are working fine on a single server at half the costs of CZ. In fact, we just managed to knock another $30 a month off our monthly bill.

I just don't get it. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:27, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Hi, could you give us the stats for unique users/visits? Thanks! larronsicut fur in nocte 14:46, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
According to a recent forum post their outbound traffic is down to 4 GB/month so RW actually is about 50x their traffic. This is consistent with their Alexa ranking which has declined markedly over the past year and now hovers in the 200,000 range. Alexa numbers that low don't have any quantitative meaning (to the extent Alexa is accurate at all) but it's consistent with the impression that CZ is fading away. The site is now part of the net's microwave background noise. Doctor Dark (talk) 19:38, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Nice metaphor, DD. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:21, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
If they delete their forum, and move all discussions to their under-utilized mailing lists and blog, which is negligible to host, they could make a significant saving in running costs. I believe others have mentioned this over the last few years. Since less than a dozen on citizendium actually discuss matters, it makes no financial sense to maintain it, when free mailing lists work just as well. TorontoKid (talk) 10:51, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Or they could keep their forum and move it to the same server as the mailing lists and blog (and bug reporter, and everything else that isn't the wiki or database), and maybe move the resulting server to a VPS. I can't imagine them getting enough traffic on all three combined to stress even (say) a Linode 512 VPS. -- (talk) 20:35, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Or dump everything else and move all discussion to the wiki. The forums are unnecessary, and the blog and mailing lists moribund. Pashley (talk) 01:43, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

RW's drivel[edit]

What an amazingly ignorant post. First of all there is a whole lot more going on with our server setup than just one instance of Mediawiki, second of all our image database and MW database are comparable to CZ if not bigger. And 3.5 gb? Let's see, our images require just over 4 gbs, but the database requires now, over 30 gbs. In the past CZ has claimed to require over 300 gbs for its database so no idea where these numbers are coming from. But weirdest of all is this idea that you have to have your forums, your e-mail list serve, your mail server, and your wiki all on separate machines? This, of course, is ridiculous. Most of those other applications take no resources at all, forums being the potential exception and we regularly ran a forums+wiki+everything else on a much smaller server than we have now and both were more active than CZ has been in years even back then.

They can ignore what we say all they I want, they can be as stubborn as they want, but facts are facts. They are running out of money more sooner than later. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:51, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

If anyone doesn't know what Tim is talking about: here it Citizendium's discussion.
Isnt't RWW hosted on our servers, too? And a moribund message-board can't take that much resource, neither...
Citizendium's main problem is its delusions de grandeur
larron (talk) 22:12, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I do not know if this is why CZ does it, but often there are security reasons to put each app on a different machine. You do not want a bug in mail software which allows an attack on the mail server to also give an enemy control of your website, or vice versa. Pashley (talk) 01:03, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
The larger question is why CZ runs their own blog and mail server when there are lots of places that will do it for free. And given what you say, it would not only be free but more secure as well, because those things would then be segregated from the main website.
I don't regularly keep up with CZ any more but from browsing the forums it's not clear that CZ has a sense of its identity. Officially they're still competing head-to-head with Wikipedia as a general information resource. Yet they've got only around 15 reasonably active users in a typical month. That's kinda like the Albanian Navy making a daylight surface assault against the U.S. Sixth Fleet. Not only are very few people writing, but (aside from the authors) almost nobody is reading -- according to a forum post their outbound web traffic is down to 4 GB per month. I know people who use more data than that on their mobile phones.
There are a few die-hards but it appears most CZ members admit that the grand ambition is no longer realistic. What seems to be evolving is that CZ is settling in as a quiet little corner of the internet for a few people who enjoy writing for the sake of writing. There's nothing at all wrong with that; it's not like they're torturing animals or handing out black tar heroin at a nursery school. But they can't continue unless they get their costs under control. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:25, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Did you ever see the old film The Mouse That Roared? Peter Jackson 09:47, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
I can't imagine citizendium coming into possession of an ultimate weapon - it would have been copied by wikipedia ages ago *lol*. TorontoKid (talk) 11:10, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
But I can imagine Citizendium having a weapon which doesn't work... larron (talk) 11:33, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
So, want to buy out CZ just to make a point? Scarlet A.pngbominationModerator 12:04, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Dan's finally explained why they need three servers: in addition to the 3.5GB of database and the 3.5GB of images, they've got another 650GB of storage in use, apparently for low-value data like log files. -- (talk) 21:09, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
That's a lot of porn. Scarlet A.pngbominationModerator 14:32, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Let's not only rearrange the desk-chairs, but rename the ship![edit]

editors per month
edits per month
active editors

That seems to be the motto of this current discussion. Meanwhile the costs for hosting their site are more than 10$/editor. If the number of active editors is further decreasing, they could try to find a cheaper hosting solution and pay each of the contributors a couple of bucks just for editing...

But perhaps there are so many visitors at Citizendium - who just can't be bothered to become authors - that it is a wise idea to keep it up us a public service. A new name will change all this. How do you like Titanicum? --larron (talk) 12:30, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Actually, I agree they need a name change. Citizendium is, for all intents and purposes, a damaged brand name. The site needs a massive overhaul. Its needs to cut down server costs - move all essentials to just one server. It needs to change its licence - stop sites like wikipedia raping its content. Change the default stylesheet - new makeover with a new logo. Apply for non-profit status. Approach universities in setting up a partnership so the funding situation can be solved once and for all. Announce these changes with a press release - simply updating a blog is not enough. TorontoKid (talk) 13:05, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
It's difficult to understand why they keep bothering. I can only assume they're still getting a lot of page views, but otherwise it's just sending good money after bad at this stage. Nice graphs, as usual. rpeh •TCE 13:07, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
There doesn't seem to be any meaningful data on page views. CZ articles have a note at the bottom that says how many times the page has been viewed, just as RW articles do. Picking a random example, the article on Homo sapiens says "This page has been accessed 4,379 times." But is that in the past month? The past year? Since the inception of the project? They don't say (neither does RW, for that matter). But from other data we can infer that very few people are reading: a forum post said their outbound traffic is about 4 GB per month, and their Alexa rank is 259,917. By comparison our little corner of the internet at RationalWiki has outbound traffic around 200 GB per month according to Trent, and Alexa rank of 51,910. Doctor Dark (talk) 14:04, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

The numbers at the bottom show the page views sine the inception of the project - as does cz:Special:Statistics. Using the number of total views (32,600,000 on Sep 4, 2012) we get 15,300 views per day since the beginning of the project in Dec 2006. However, if we use the data provided by the wayback-machine, we can calculate the view per day over the last year: 8,900 views per day. Is this much? RationalWiki has 43,300 views per day (average over the whole existance), Conservapedia 213,500 views per day. More telling would be the number of unique visitors per month... larron (talk) 14:24, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

The 40 views per edit statistic (compared to 78 for RationalWiki) is quite telling. There must be hardly any non-editors viewing the site. (Although, using Wayback, it seems to have been 125 over the last year and a bit - perhaps editing has been dropping off faster than viewing?) --Tango (talk) 20:42, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
Another way of looking at the page view statistics is that the site has 16,000 regular articles plus several thousand "lemma articles" (basically stubs). Then their 8,900 page views per day means that the average article gets about half a page view per day. I also wonder if the page view statistics include crawlers and the like, in which case there are even fewer "real people" reading. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:45, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Citizendium down[edit]

As reported earlier by Scream, Citizendium site has now been down for over 12 hours. This I believe is the longest outage in the project's history. TorontoKid (talk) 01:35, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

And no mention on the forums! Scream!! (talk) 01:40, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
There is a forum thread (http://forum.citizendium.org/index.php/topic,3425.0.html) that says how to report outages. It gives two email addresses, tech@ and bugs@. I emailed tech@, since I don't know if this is a bug, and got an autoreply telling me I was a non-member posting to a members-only list so my message was held for moderator approval.
That forum thread is locked, so I cannot mention the problem there.
I give up. Pashley (talk) 02:30, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
The site is back up. Pashley (talk) 03:27, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm now getting: "The following error was encountered: Connection to wiki Failed. The system returned: (110) Connection timed out". Still problems there. TorontoKid (talk) 05:11, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I can't get anything at all, and it's not just me. rpeh •TCE 07:43, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
They used to have a lot more outages, even back when they were paying $700+ per month for hosting. But it hardly matters since Wikipedia says their Alexa rank has just fallen to 270,538. (Yeah, I know about Alexa's shortcomings, but still.) If a tree falls in the forest and there's nobody there... Doctor Dark (talk) 15:39, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
It's up-ish - text, no images - David Gerard (talk) 20:14, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
This was announced in advance by email. Peter Jackson 10:54, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
If that's true then it's even worse public relations than many of the other upcocks that the various "councils" have perpetrated. Scream!! (talk) 15:32, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Also on the forum. Peter Jackson 09:13, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Money woes[edit]

Larry Sanger might not have earned much credit for taking an interest in Citizendium these last few years but isn't above seeking his due credit for keeping the project alive when it suits him... One imagines his fat little foot stamping when he wrote that. (talk) 09:31, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

So is this Tides Center that backs CZ any relation to the Tides Foundation that Barbara Streisand donates to? nobsCorporations are people, too 04:14, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
They're "administratively linked" according to Wikipedia; that seems vague enough to be almost anything. SophieWilder 08:44, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
The Foundation provide a sort of incubator for new projects, providing tax-exempt status and some management services. CZ severed connections with them almost immediately after the first Management Council took over from Larry Sanger, late 2010. http://forum.citizendium.org/index.php/topic,3600.0.html Pashley (talk) 08:29, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Professor Brews on experts[edit]

[9] Peter Jackson 09:05, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

November donations $80 short of costs[edit]

(Data taken from CZ:Financial report: just the "Funds on hand at month end" (last column) divided by the "Monthly hosting cost" (fourth column). The result is expressed in days.)

The current situation isn't that bad: the funds last for half a year. The situation was more difficult in Sep 2011 and Jul 2012 when the reserves covered only three months...

--larron (talk) 11:38, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Interesting way to show the data. It appears they will continue to make ends meet financially. However -- there currently are no accepted nominations for any of the council positions in their current elections, despite nominations having closed several days ago. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:25, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
The Almighty Larry didn't chip in for November. --MtDPrematurely Indeterminate 19:33, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

What if I hold an election and no one shows up?[edit]

I can't even find any discussion about what they are going to do, anyone seen anything? Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:12, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

There's a note in the banner saying "No election transpired, for lack of candidates." No word on what they are going to do about it so far. (talk) 04:39, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
There's now a note saying "Charter requires calling for special election." (talk) 19:50, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

As contributors, our concern should be with the numbers of our readers, not the numbers of our fellow-authors.[edit]

Nick Gardner stated:

The fall-off in the number of contributors is a matter for regret, but not of despair. It would be absurdly irrational to allow it to discourage further contributions. As contributors, our concern should be with the numbers of our readers, not the numbers of our fellow-authors. Isn't a statement at the foot of an article that it has been accessed x thousand times justification enough for continuing to contribute?

Judge for yourself: Here are the approved articles which got the most views during the time mid-September to mid-December, compared to the corresponding articles at wikipedia (here I took the the views of November):

Citizendium daily views Wikipedia daily views
cz:Conventional coal-fired power plant 95.38 wp:Thermal power station 1596.23
cz:Compressibility factor (gases) 76.21 wp:Compressibility factor 407.80
cz:DNA 43.65 wp:DNA 12950.33
cz:Scientific method 41.71 wp:Scientific method 4894.90
cz:Gasoline 36.68 wp:Gasoline 3206.63
cz:Metabolism 33.10 wp:Metabolism 3596.77
cz:Petroleum refining processes 32.13 wp:Petroleum refining processes 189.83
cz:History of economic thought 31.57 wp:History of economic thought 651.73
cz:Vacuum distillation 28.57 wp:Vacuum distillation 287.63
cz:Ancient Celtic music 26.83 wp:Ancient Celtic music 36.27

Merry Christmas! --larron (talk) 11:27, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

I wonder what percentage of those views are real humans. For my research group's web site the logs show most of our hits are from web crawlers and the like (sadly, it does not seem that the average person is too excited by relationships of population dynamics to ecosystem energy and mass fluxes). Is there any way to get an idea of how many of the views are by actual people?
Related to this I checked the Google rank of the pages you listed. I set Google to show 100 results per page and searched for the exact title, and in a few cases also searched for related terms, to see if the article appeared in the top 200. The results are:
Article Google rank
cz:Conventional coal-fired power plant 1
cz:Compressibility factor (gases) 67
but note "Compressibility factor" 2
cz:Scientific method >200
cz:Gasoline >200
cz:Metabolism >200
cz:Petroleum refining processes >200
cz:History of economic thought >200
cz:Vacuum distillation >200
cz:Ancient Celtic music >200
Some comments and opinionations:
  • Putting the Google results together with your statistics I suspect that around 40 or so view per day or less is just noise.
  • A couple articles rank very high. This shows Google isn't biased against Citizendium as some have suggested.
  • Few people will bother to sift through 200 results, so an article that doesn't rank that high may as well be invisible.
  • One of the arguments made against importing articles is the supposition that mirrored articles will get penalized in search engine rankings. But most original CZ articles are nearly invisible to a Google search anyway. So what could it hurt?
Doctor Dark (talk) 20:01, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
I think you've overlooked one major point with importation - why would anyone visit a "mirror" site, when that same information is likely to be found at a higher ranking with wikipedia? What would be the point of mass importation in that context? Why would historians/researchers use citizendium when the original source of that information is from wikipedia? TorontoKid (talk) 22:25, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
At least some articles move the other way, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Citizendium_Porting However, I see no activity there for the last year or so. Perhaps WP folk have decided CZ has no more to offer? Some articles move both ways. I took a fairly awful WP article on cypherpunks, copied it to CZ, re-ordered it, rewrote nearly all of it & extended it a bunch. It got approved, the porting project noticed it, and nearly all the text got copied to WP. Great!
The irony is that, although most of the current WP article is stiil text I wrote at CZ, that WP article is much better than CZ's current article. They have this radical concept called collaboration; several people have contributed and most contributions have been positive. At CZ, only a few other people even tried to collaborate on it. The most active of those was Howard, but CZ rules prevented him writing any text in it since then he could not act as Editor for approval, and since then he's been booted off the project. Pashley (talk) 03:12, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
And there's the rub.. You import all those articles and there is virtually no-one there at citizendium to improve upon them. So you end up with an inferior wikipedia copy over time! Who wants to use that? According to the forum discussions, Howard made war with Martin Baldwin-Edwards and back stabbed a number of admins by publishing private emails, which didn't go down too well. Doesn't sound like a good basis for "collaboration". TorontoKid (talk) 08:43, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Berkowitz published an (singular) email as an example of how Citizendium officialdom was using "private" emails to avoid having a permanent record of official discussions. That despite said officialdom whining until they had an entire wiki for themselves to hold these discussions. It was only after the publication of said email that the rest of Citizendium realized their masters were regularly conspiring behind the scenes to circumvent both the letter and the spirit of the Citizendium charter. (talk) 12:50, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Well as I said in an earlier post, the "cabal" there needs to be removed if citizendium is to go forward. I still believe citizendium can be saved, but not with its present administration. The idea behind citizendium is sound, it was the overseeing and implementation that was flawed. Having said that, I note wikipedia is also going into decline. TorontoKid (talk) 13:41, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
What particular idea of Citizendium, and on what basis do you consider it "sound"? There has only ever been evidence of failure - David Gerard (talk) 15:31, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
While I hesitate to leap into this mess, I'll observe that unless one could see a consistent archive of Forum posts, it's very hard to determine what happened, as there was a good deal of Orwellian historical correction. I think my article contributions are some evidence that I was more interested in content than in politics, but political games kep allowing poor-quality content, ranging from Homeopathy to UFO (Mary Ash) to assorted battles over Satanic Ritual Abuse, etc. The Chief Constable is a genuinely nice guy who doesn't like friction. There were times when MBE was helpful (e.g., Myanmar/Burma, and general policy on national names), but he and I have both personality and policy conflicts. The latter centered around my belief that only active contributors of content, in the existing CZ environment, really could judge what could be done with an article -- there really wasn't a place for editor-only critics, just as I've never had peer review by other than peers. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 02:29, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Howard, you never hesitated to leap into any mess! I agree with most of your post above, other than that there was any personal conflict. You are I are too much alike to agree, unless we genuinely agree. The fundamental problem was that other Citizens did not see disputes as policy disputes, and attributed them to personality differences. My opinion was, and remains, that on CZ Editors should be qualified experts who should advise and try to solve problems (while also making some written contributions) and authors should author. Mr Berkowitz had a very different view, which was his right, that only prolific authors should be allowed to be editors. It was up to Citizens to choose an approach, and we did make our different views very clear indeed. The fact is that most Citizens were too politically inept to grasp what voting should be about, and failed to make a choice. From this perspective, CZ failed because it was an immature polity with competing visions that could not be resolved. (talk) 18:48, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Continuing discussion[edit]

Anyone get the feeling that Citizendium was made not to be a rival to wikipedia, but to be a place where megalomaniacs could play political games in a place with almost no real life consequences? --Revolverman (talk) 08:46, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

I do. I've been reading over all the old WIGO entries, forum posts and the talk page archives the last few days. It does look like it was more of a Sim-Bureaucracy game rather then an honest attempt at an encyclopedia. I mean Elections, Counsels, Charter, Citizens, Constabulary, Rights. It sounds more like running a country rather then a wiki. (talk) 14:49, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately, it turned into that. But such was never the intention of most participants. The explanation I would suggest (as one of the principal actors) is by analogy with economic management. Think of WP as something like a relatively free market economy, with a minimalist State, and what really matters is what the majority think and do. In contrast, we at CZ were trying to construct a more regulated system that identified real people (the Citizens), gave a semblance of democracy and judicial order (somewhat rudimentary) and in so doing would make a more attractive environment for contributors than WP. In order to get to that situation, we had to agree on what rules, what structures, what...etc. Without a high degree of internal consensus, the goal was not attainable. This is why CZ has collapsed: the partisan politics distracted attention completely away from writing an encyclopedia, as a short term goal. But the short term goal was never achieved, and the long-term goal was permanently damaged. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
Larry had a detailed plan early on for how it would all work, and followed it right into the ground, shaking off or kicking out those who didn't go along with his plans and leaving only those who regard rules as a set of playground equipment. His detailed plan was intended to solve the problems of success, but completely failed to address the actual problem, obscurity - David Gerard (talk) 18:04, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, I don't think it's fair to blame it on Larry. The fact is that he quit as Editor in Chief and handed over power as soon as the Charter was ratified; I can assure you that he had no control over anything from that point onward. He thought that the establishment of institutions for CZ was a better way to manage it than one person controlling everything. The problem was that there was no consensus on actually how CZ should be run, and so people argued (and acted) continuously over governance issues. It was a bit like Afghanistan, you might say -- whereas most of the US contributors suffered from the grand delusion that it was a small (but developing) version of the USA! — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
It was already moribund long before Larry left. He has no bloody clue how to run a community, and delusions that he is an expert. I blame Larry because he not only wrote the inviolable plan, but did the actual work of killing off enthusiasm and driving out competence - David Gerard (talk) 12:13, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
In my opinion the major problem with CZ was that for most of the participants it was a social medium, not an encyclopedia. Citizens with a very noticeable presence like Baldwin-Edwards, Peirce, Schmidt, and others, filled the forum and the talk pages with their (belligerent) opinions and hardly wrote articles for main space. The idea of a Constitution and Parliament was a Godsend for them, they wasted millions of words on that.
In any case, they drove me off with their nagging and moaning (after I had written about 350 articles for them). Check on their forum how they attacked me after I had an article removed that was positive about Ormus. This was the straw that broke my back. When I wrote, after all the attacking had subsided, that the Ormus article was still available as backup and could be restored, nobody showed any interest to actually go ahead and restore it. This proves without doubt that it is polemics that most Citizens were after and that they didn't give a damn about the quality of the Ormus article or of the encyclopedia itself for that matter.--P. Wormer (talk) 07:24, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Incidentally, as an interesting point of comparison, I checked the front page of Latin Wikipedia the other day. It has 84,153 articles. I propose a new rule: no English-language competitor to Wikipedia ought to be taken seriously until it is bigger than Latin Wikipedia... —Tom Morris (talk) 14:26, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Ormus? Wow! Really, wow! I didn't read the whole threads, only a few comments: loads of people complaining how their valuable time is wasted, in thousands of words... --larron (talk) 14:51, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, ok. What some people fail to comprehend is that those debates were not about one article. They were about how to deal with all pseudoscience articles, what our policy should be... There was a consistent pattern from some people with an engineering type science background that there should be no policy and everything should be up to specialist editors. Essentially, they were arguing for control of CZ by themselves; others were arguing for rules so that people knew where they were in making contributions. Wormer left in a hissy fit because he didn't get his own way -- which in fact nobody ever did. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
I did not leave because I did not get "my own way". Please,, tell me what "my own way" was (or is), I don't know. During my time at CZ I never had any quarrel with anybody (except a secret one with dr. Sanger). My first and only wrong-doing was that after my opinion was asked about the Ormus article, I entered a "Caveat" to the top of the article pointing out that Ormus belonged to pseudoscience. When the Head Constable screwed up this caveat I suggested that we could better discard the whole article altogether, which he did. Then the blaming and shaming started during which, funnily enough, nobody offered to write a new article about Ormus (even nobody suggested restoring the old one). The unspoken suggestion was that I had to write one. So yes, if you mean by getting my own way that I refused to write an article about Ormus, you are right. But at the end of the day I got my "own way" because as far as I know CZ does not have an article about Ormus.--P. Wormer (talk) 18:07, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
So basically, you left for no reason? Or you left because other people were arguing about how to deal with articles like Ormus and you didn't like the fact that they were discussing it? Your position appears to be ridiculous! And the very idea that anyone expected you to write an article is preposterous. I was one of the participants in the Forum discussion, and I also re-read the debates now, out of curiosity. All I see is your insults above and my attempts in those discussions to retain your participation in CZ. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
Dear mr. or mrs., your razorblade sharp logic and subtle arguing style remind of a brilliant fellow I used to know over at Citizendium. His name was Martin Baldwin-Edwards. Did you and he go to the same grammar school by any chance, where you two learned this?--P. Wormer (talk) 10:42, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
I am surprised to hear that logic is not taught in Holland: that would explain some of your reactions, of course. I would guess, from your style, that instead Sarcasm was a major course of study in your scholastic career. (talk) 12:05, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Seems there is a quite a bit of tension pertaining to Citizendium. As said above numerous times nothing will ever rival Wikipedia as a general encyclopedia. It is even starting to encroach on some of the specialty wiki's scope (although I suspect a lot of that is just writers porting their content to WP). Given it is basically dead, wouldn't it be more useful to just shut it down, port the useful stuff to wikipedia and donate the remaining stash to somewhere like unicef or the red cross ? Although if the mission of CZ was changed from a WP rival to more of a WP watchdog it would probably be more useful. Naca (talk) 11:39, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia monopolizing encyclopedias is not a good idea, remember wikipedia itself is also going into decline, albeit not as dramatic as citizendium. At the moment, the loser is the general public. There is merit in citizendium continuing but not with its current cabal. As Paul Wormer has correctly pointed out above, there are editors there that spend more time on forum pages targeting authors who actually contribute to mainspace, than actually improving citizendium themselves. TorontoKid (talk) 23:44, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Wormer did not correctly point out anything; he gave his hysterical opinion as a reason for quitting. There was no targeting of people for writing on the wiki, but there was a lot of policy debate. He didn't like it, because he thought that his opinion was all that mattered. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Can we please stop rehashing old CZ battles here? In particular, 89.whatever, can you please stop making personal attacks? Pashley (talk) 02:03, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

I suggest that you direct your comments to Wormer, who chose to do both of those things. Nor is it rehashing, from my point of view: it is an illustration of why CZ collapsed. A large number of CZers were living in their own little universe, and resented the idea of public discussion on how to make CZ work properly. Wormer was one of them. (talk) 02:17, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Dear Martin Baldwin-Edwards, let us not forget the facts. Your idea of public discussion involved shouting and cursing at anyone who disagreed with you until the rest of Citizendium found you so abhorrent that they permanently banned you. Your idea of discussion while at Wikipedia was similarly unwelcome and you were thoroughly ostracized from that project also. And to cap it all your idea of discussion here on RationalWiki was so despicable that you were temporarily banned from this project as well. If ever there was anyone to identify the failings of Citizendium it wouldn't be you, for you were universally hailed as one of the foremost of those failings. (talk) 12:44, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
No, you are a liar. I was banned from CZ for demanding that the Management Council obeyed the Charter, instead of manipulating it to suit themselves. As far as shouting is concerned, people can go to the Forum and read the discussions for themselves. On WP, I did not tolerate Greek nationalistic propaganda, and also objected to being told that I was not competent to interpret the meaning of my own published research. Sadly, the conduct of a large proportion of people on the Internet is just disgusting -- and you are one of those. Although you do not sign your name, I have good idea of who you are -- namely, one of the most obnoxious and uneducated individuals I had the misfortune of dealing with when I was Editor on CZ. This view was shared by the entire Editorial Council. (talk)
Incorrect. Those of us still active at Citizendium who were also active during your stint (and there are not many) all agree that you were the most unwelcome participant we ever had and that removing you from the project was essential, whatever excuse we had to use. (talk) 11:49, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
This is so precious. Not content with rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic, ex-CZers are now arguing over their arrangement even after the ship has sunk. rpeh •TCE 13:30, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed; it gives a clear picture of why the ship sank. And to be called "unwelcome" by an anonymous goon is so ridiculous, that it does not merit a reply. (talk) 07:00, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
That's right, sailor. You are required to wear proper uniform as you move the chairs, and to give officers a correct salute. Pashley (talk) 11:55, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
No Martin, you don't have to take my word for it - you were called unwelcome by all of Citizendium, that's why you were permanently banned and why we all heaved a collective sigh of relief at your departure. (talk) 19:19, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
As you are the same IP that has made highly offensive comments here about Hayford Pierce, Ro Thorpe and Chris Keys, I am not even in the slightest interested in your ignorant opinions. Presumably you are Finn. I respond merely to invite others to check out your malicious contributions to this site. (talk) 22:35, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Poor persistently incorrect Martin Baldwin-Edwards. As I recall we banished Finn not long after you, although as his mouthing off was, in contrast to your own, tempered with some actual editing on the encyclopedia he will, again in contrast to you, be welcome back one day. (talk) 12:30, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Another anonymous troll who claims to speak for everyone? My my, how the internet manages to breed self-righteous scum. (talk) 17:29, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
On the other hand you were self-righteous scum long before you made it as far as the internet, so what's your excuse? (talk) 16:41, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
No, my dear little troll, you have no idea of what I was like before (or after) the internet. You are just vermin that makes snide little remarks about everyone on CZ: as I stated before, anyone who checks your IP contributions can see (or smell) what you are like. (talk) 22:14, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
"welcome back one day"... given the current state citizendium is in, that day may never come. MBE would be the least of their worries. The admins have in essence swept the charter under the carpet and are now making up rules on the fly, this would be more of a cause of concern. The current crop of admins there are possibly the most incompetent in the history of the project, so I wouldn't hold my breath on citizendium rising again. TorontoKid (talk) 03:58, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

If IPs are giving their opinion? I blame Sanger. In between him stating that intelligent design should be put on the same level as evolution, and other manufactroversies, driving off Women's Studies professors and others by denying such fields of study existed, creating a culture of sinister niceness, where disagreement was grounds for a ban, personally inviting Dana Ullman to the project to take over alternative medicine, and generally being fundamentally incompetent, Citizendium was doomed. Sanger was good at promotion, and had he done promotion while leaving the actual governance of the site to people who knew what they were doing, he might have succeeded. As it stood, he drove off the academia he sought to acquire, squandered the initial good will, and killed all momentum, leaving a project that will never again get the publicity and enthusiam of academia it needed to fulfil its goals. Citizendium was a good idea that, through mismanagement, killed off any chance of the good idea taking root. (talk) 13:52, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Sanger's new encyclopedia project?[edit]

Rumours have been recently circulating that Larry Sanger is launching a new encyclopedia project, that doesn't use Wikimedia software. Has he given up on Citizendium for good? DailyDot is now reporting he is seeking a developer for an as yet unnamed crowd sourced project. TorontoKid (talk) 12:57, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Better link: [3]img - David Gerard (talk) 13:53, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I see he's calling is his "first for-profit company." I wonder if he's planning to wash his hands of CZ for once and for all then, so he can run another project into the ground? --PsyGremlin話しなさい 14:55, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Anyone want to take bets on how long until they get to 100,000 entries...? —Tom Morris (talk) 16:10, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't see a new encyclopedia project in this. It would be foolish to try to make another encyclopedia (yes, I'm calling CZ foolish) and worse than foolish to try to figure out how to do so on a for-profit basis. Lots of other crowd-sourcing opportunities exist that aren't anything like an encyclopedia or a wiki. Two examples: Stack Overflow and OpenStreetMap. This is still a huge risk, though. As a general rule "paid in options" jobs of this sort are bad news. The "paid in options" CTO job he hints at is OK, because that's a big job where the stock could be proportionate, also most likely CTOs are at a place in their career where they can take a risk - but if you're just "some programmer" this is an opportunity to get paid nothing and then even if it all works and is a huge success to which Wikipedia is latterly seen as a footnote, you get very little out of it. Larry may say he wants to do OK by you, but he has no money and thus no leverage, investors get to make the decisions because they have the money and they will say some programmer doesn't deserve a real share of the company, offer him a pittance and if he won't accept it then fire him and wash out his options. Tialaramex (talk) 17:31, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Oh, sure. You'd have to be mad as a hatter to go anywhere near such an opportunity. —Tom Morris (talk) 11:02, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia needs competitors. A monopoly of a market whether it be knowledge or breakfast cereal, is bad for consumers. CZ was an opportunity, not a foolish idea. It had experienced contributors to make it happen and a model to try and work with. It failed because of mismanagement. TorontoKid (talk) 03:58, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
You have mischaracterised Wikipedia, understandably, but in a way that's fatal to your argument. Wikipedia is not a monopoly on knowledge it's an encyclopedia. That is no more the sum of "knowledge" than the trailer is the movie, or the precis is the novel. Encyclopedias are like dictionaries, they do not make the territory (much as journalists enjoy pretending that they do) they just map territory which already exists. Everyone remains free to find new territory with or without the encyclopedia, and an encyclopedia which becomes a poor guide to the territory will shrivel and fade (as has Britannica, publishing decades-old summaries of obscure towns for so long that people pass down the inaccuracies as folklore from father to son). A publicly editable encyclopedia is a natural monopoly.
Natural monopolies are often so very much more efficient than a "market" that it's futile to waste resources trying to "break up" the monopoly. The correct thing to do with a natural monopoly is put it in public hands, but no suitable hands exist for Wikipedia, the existing non-profit is the best solution we have.
Actually natural monopolies are very common, but they're often so small that their unique public character can be disguised and kept out of sight. You're vaguely aware of the (inevitably a natural monopoly) last mile utilities, and perhaps the permanent way, local roads, that sort of thing, but there are far more of them. For example the real world's name and number resources. Your telephone number, credit card number, product numbers on things you buy, they're all unique numbers, issued by a natural monopoly. A competitive market for unique telephone numberings would be worse than useless because of the network effect. The people actually getting stuff done recognise that these natural monopolies need to exist, and fortunately (unlike the last mile utilities) they're cheap and so the budget can be squirreled away where it won't be pounced on by idiot market capitalists as an "inefficiency". Tialaramex (talk) 11:06, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia still needs competitors, though - David Gerard (talk) 12:38, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
Sure, sure, whatever you say crazy person. May I suggest beginning with the fundamentals though, Wikipedia is on the Internet, get two or three competing Internets going and maybe start your competing Wikipedia on one of the other ones. I expect that'll keep you too busy to post around here, so, bye. Tialaramex (talk) 09:26, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia's edit rate reached a plateau in 2007 & hasn't grown since. Implications?
  1. As the number of articles continues to increase, the editing work gets spread thinner & thinner, making such quality as there was in the 1st place more & more unmaintainable.
  2. As the number of people on the internet continues to grow, there's presumably an ever-increasing number of people interested in doing this sort of work. Where are they? I assume they're trying WP, deciding they don't like the way it works & leaving. Many must be available for alternative projects if they could find one they liked.
Peter Jackson 10:09, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
I didn't say it'd be easy to get one. Your reasoning is accurate. I take credit for saying in 2005[10][11] that in ten years (2015), the encyclopedia would be Wikipedia or a fork of Wikipedia. We still need something, though, even if a general encyclopedia competitor is unlikely - David Gerard (talk) 10:46, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
But Wikipedia isn't subject to a single point of failure, it's just a pile of freely-redistributable documents and in the rather unlikely event that the foundation went bankrupt or decides to shut it down anybody can just put another copy online and it's back to business as usual. You don't really address this at all in your blog post. Instead you seem to lurch onto the idea that it'd be cool if everything was free-as-in-speech, and it would but that hardly has anything to do with whether there should be a competitor to the perfectly nice free encyclopedia.
To address Peter's point, the new people arrive and think "Oh, I could write an article about clowns, I know much more about clowns than anybody I've met... oh, there's actually a pretty good article on clowns already. Huh. Cool". The process that gets you here was more obvious for OSM, where I also had the excitement of being a relatively early contributor. At first you could sign up, notice that your entire town wasn't mapped and start putting up data like the location and names of major streets. But streets don't get built that often or that quickly, so the second person from your town doesn't get to do that work. Maybe they contribute some clean-up, add a favourite restaurant, that sort of thing. Or they add a further layer of detail, outlines of houses instead of just the street, the phone number of every public telephone - little things. But there's only so much to be done, and unless you're a true zealot you aren't going to take holidays in unmapped areas just to contribute more data, so soon most people joining are left with a perfectly nice map and a vague inclination to contribute but no obvious opportunity. Maybe one day their favourite restaurant closes and they remove it from the map. Probably not. That's fine. Anyway, twice as many potential contributors does not equate to twice as many contributions if the work to be done is finite in scope, as building an encyclopedia clearly is. If for some insane reason you want uploads to scale with number of users, create a site with a pro-vanity policy, where everybody can write about how awesome they are (or their band is, or their political movement, WoW guild, or knitting club) with zero audience. But that's not an encyclopedia.
I get what you're saying about innovation David, but the freely-redistributable nature of the existing site makes that moot. I've been involved in crowd-sourced datasets which weren't freely-redistributable and one thing that happens is the technology supporting the original dataset rusts, and somebody comes along with new technology that's so compelling it is quickly obvious that it will become superior to the original but it can take a long time for that to translate into reality. With freely-redistributable data the new technology just imports the old data and the rusty stuff can be abandoned almost immediately. In twenty years my guess is that the world's encyclopedia is still Wikipedia (an evolution of today's WP dataset), but it is running on a different platform not an evolution of the current wiki software. Tialaramex (talk) 12:26, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Hadn't thought of your explanation. There must be a lot of truth in it. Nevertheless, there manifestly are disaffected ex-Wikipedians working on alternatives, so it seems reasonable to assume there are others who'd do so if they knew of something suited to them. How many is anyone's guess. Peter Jackson 10:32, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I think if I encountered someone who is a disaffected ex-Wikipedian I would strongly advise them to work on something other than an encyclopedia. Answer some questions on one of the Stackoverflow spin-offs, find some local areas that need work in OSM, explain lyrics on Rap Genius, help categorise My Little Pony fan-fiction, there are so many opportunities to contribute. Just like if someone doesn't like halloumi, I wouldn't suggest they next try that goat cheese from Yunnan that's very similar to halloumi. Try some red leicster, or a blue cheese, or something actually different and see if you actually like cheese at all. Tialaramex (talk) 21:36, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Excellent points, here. More specialised websites (that do provide information) by their very nature tend to be more respectful of expertise. Encyclopedias were always dependent on the selection of acknowledged authorities by a distinguished EiC. WP broke that model, and the result is rather odd: it is not clear that you can tweak it, as we originally thought with CZ. (talk) 15:49, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Often there will be specialized sites people can contribute to, but even that's not always straightforward. A lot of specialized political and religious sites provide "information" that's really propaganda. You people of course spend a lot of time dealing with one such. Someone like me who wants to provide actual information has a harder job finding something that works. If it's open access, like WP, then the propagandists can join in. A lot of them are thoroughly dishonest & use every trick in the book to bias WP, which isn't all that good at dealing with them. CZ in theory has "experts" to override them. Wikinfo simply lets everyone present their own POV in their own articles, with hatlinks to rival POVs. Again, that's the theory, but in practice those who can get their own POVs into somewhere with higher access like WP do so, leaving WI mainly populated by cranks. Wikisage hybridizes all 3:
  1. from CZ: if an expert is available, they control the main article;
  2. from WP: otherwise it's decided democratically;
  3. from WI: anyone can attach their own POV as a subpage.

There may be others I don't know about. Peter Jackson 10:02, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, but Wikisage is an abject failure. As of 24/3/2013, their last new article was created back on 5th October 2012. That site is more dead than citizendium by any stretch of the imagination. TorontoKid (talk) 09:58, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Maybe it would be more accurate to say it's in suspended animation. Guido got so fed up spending all his time closing spam accounts that he disabled account creation. As to new articles, what you say may be so for English, but new articles are still being created in the original Dutch WS.
Certainly nobody's yet found the solution. Maybe it has to wait for WP to degrade much further. Peter Jackson 15:42, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

English spellings / Catalogs[edit]

I see someone's added this as a WIGO, but I've been meaning to ask about it for a while; What IS the point of of these pages? What do they mean? It seem to be to be some kind of pet project of Ro Thorpe. (talk) 18:23, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

If you are interested in linguistics, and language, Ro's catalog would be of interest. We all have our place in the sun. LittleRedWriter (talk) 23:25, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
English spellings and English phonemes are my pet project, yes, but the Common misspellings list was added by someone else. Ro Thorpe (talk) 15:08, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
The "common" misspellings list doesn't seem to cite any sources for why these errors are "common" and others are not, or how you'd decide whether to add or remove entries in the future. Maybe that's CZ policy, the list is to be edited by experts who'll just magically know? If instead the reality is that it's one person's list then (a) that's not encyclopedic and (b) it should be labelled as e.g. Joe Monkey's list of Misspellings to establish what the criterion is for being listed.
The general page that Ro calls "my pet project" seems like a strange little potpourri. Is it trying to explain why English orthography is this way? It doesn't do a very good job. Or is it just poking fun? But then why is in the mainspace? Tialaramex (talk) 10:40, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Neither. It's an introduction to a whole cluster of pages. I've tried to make that a little more obvious. Ro Thorpe (talk) 00:57, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Thorpe is displaying a classic sign of obsessive compulsive disorder. TorontoKid (talk) 07:37, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

The site is DEAD[edit]

The people on CZ must realize that the dream is over at this stage right?

I mean, we've had almost no edits on CZ for a whole day (except for a single hyphen), no updates to the blog all year, two whole weeks without any discussion on the forums, no regular or special election for the CZ bureaucracy (the MC, EC or whatever last years election was for), February donations failed to match hosting costs, people (all 9? of them) seem to be getting sick of the monthly panic about hosting costs and the founder (Larry) is busy on some other project. The dream is over right? Time to stop throwing bad money and edits after good? Note: I'm not trying to argue that a site like CZ could not be made to succeed, or that WP doesn't need competition or anything, only that CZ as it stands has failed. Discuss :) BunchO'Numbers (talk) 01:24, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

As we see above, they still argue over the arrangement of the deckchairs on the Titanic when it's on the bottom of the fucking ocean. CZ is not dead as long as two Citizens exist to argue over it! Or two ex-Citizens. Or one ex-Citizen, in a corner, drooling and incontinent, muttering about thoshe bashtardsh - David Gerard (talk) 07:20, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
It's been dead for years... --Tango (talk) 19:55, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
For a bit of twitching before rigor mortis sets in, look at [12]. No live wiki would need an "honor roll" for editors just being somewhat active, nor another for donors.
I stopped active editing on CZ quite a while back, have not done any real writing there in about a year. I still drop in, though; if I notice something elsewhere online that seems important for a CZ article, then I drop it into the article or mention it on the talk page. That is all I do, and not that often. The scary thing is that I rank anywhere from 6th to 12th on the "honor roll" for most months just doing that. Pashley (talk) 14:42, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
But even the people who rank high on the honer rolls probably have a lot of inflated stats. For example, today I saw 24 edits on CZ, all by the same person, to the same article, in the space of 30 mins. On most wikis you'd be encouraged to make all those changes in a single edit, but not on CZ it seems. And this is a regular occurrence, I see it all the time over there. It also seems that the CZ bureaucracy requires people to fill out some kind of form to create new pages. It results in something like six entries to Recent Changes every time it happens.
And even with all these ways to inflate usage stats, 3 edits or less a day is starting to become regular. (talk) 01:00, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

March financial report[edit]

The CZ March financial report is out. Almost $600 was raised, with no panic. Who the hell is donating that kind of cash? (talk) 20:30, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Someone should start up a kickstarter to make a Sim-Bureaucracy game. That'd kill CZ. --Revolverman (talk) 20:32, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Spelling in the compendium[edit]

Comments noted. I don't think Citizendium was intended to be exactly the same kind of thing as Wikipedia. "Compendium" allows for a greater variety of material: definitions, subpages, more didactic stuff. Thus far the articles on the letters of the alphabet contain little more than the Use in English sections, which I'm revising. We need more writers. Ro Thorpe (talk) 00:13, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Sorta like Wiktionary? Smiley.gifTom Morris (talk) 11:31, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
Wiktionary is a dictionary, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, Citizendium is a weird nomic being played using a wiki for no readily discernible reason. Tialaramex (talk) 21:37, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm a little puzzled at the objections to articles like this. They're a little unusual but there's nothing wrong with that (Wikipedia has pages upon page on things like obscure disused railway stations). Wikis are written by whoever shows up, according to their own interests. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:53, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
The point is that "Golant railway station" is an encyclopedia article about Golant railway station. If that article was called just "railway station" you'd be entitled to be puzzled as to our double standard. But it isn't, it's called "Golant railway station" and that's about right. It could be better, it doesn't need some of the stuff that isn't specifically about Golant, but it's basically fine. In contrast these weird Citizendium articles are a pot pourri of material that's loosely inspired by the title. Personally Ro's weird pseudo-phonetics jump out at me anyway, I don't think something like that would last five seconds in a wiki with a larger editor population. But even after that it feels "off", the articles drift away from their supposed topic and so don't function as parts of a larger reference work but more like a bunch of essays. Contrast Thompson's "Reflections on trusting trust" speech with a good encyclopedia article about computer backdoors, or Simon Pegg's "Why zombies shouldn't run" with a good encyclopedia article about Zombies in fiction. Tialaramex (talk) 13:06, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Might be better if every time someone looks at them closely, some appalling error of fact or suggested grammar wasn't found.

Things that annoy[edit]

Re the expertly written encyclopædia, spot the deliberate mistake (here): "… with a prizm, using just another similar prism, …" and while we're on that paragraph: what's the "uppest" figure.
Wouldn't it be a reasonable idea to let the reader know just what is wrong with the image while at it. Scream!! (talk) 18:40, 13 May 2013 (UTC)


Since when did rationalwiki become a part of the inane and pointless bureaucracy that is CZ ? Naca (talk) 12:19, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

CZ exists only to fuel this page, at this point. We're at least half the page-views. Hipocrite (talk) 12:58, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
CZ managed to have such stupid, irrational rules that any dissent wasn't allowed on their site, nor do they allow people to comment without going through their ridiculous registration procedure (now broken for 3 months, no progress, dead website walking), so started using a page dedicated to poking fun at them as the unofficial, and, more recently, official way to comment on problems there.
Noone understands it. I think Sanger's just so awful at running a site that anyone actually trying to follow his rules will engage in desperate measures, even long after he left. (talk) 16:25, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
This is probably the only place on the internet where people can comment on CZ and expect the few people remaining at CZ to read it. The sign up process on CZ is too long and intrusive to bother with, and it hasn't worked at all in the past few months. (talk) 18:11, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

What the hell is going on with this WIGO?[edit]

It seems to be one IP editor pretty much running the show, WIGOing weirdly pedantic shit about grammar, & other comments that don't even contain a link to CZ at all. Very few WIGOs that relate meaningfully to RW missions, & many are getting negative votes. Couldn't we maybe just curtail the WIGO & leave it as a talk page only deal? WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:18, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree. Many of the entries are on really trivial stuff. Also some of the criticism verges on mean-spiritedness, and I think we should try to keep it constructive (though I'm aware others disagree).
The basic problem is that the answer to "What is going on at Citizendium?" is "Not much". I rarely keep up with it any more. It's just a quiet little corner of the internet for people who like to write for the sake of writing, and I'm not convinced we need a WIGO for a site like that. Doctor Dark (talk) 14:47, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm one of the few still somewhat active at CZ, and even so I think the good(?) doctor has hit the nail squarely on the head. Pashley (talk) 16:00, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
I've boldly attempted to rectify the situation... Hipocrite (talk) 17:51, 29 May 2013 (UTC)


Should we delete this page?

  • Delete - it was awesome, but it's run it's course. The main page is no longer really maintained, except by one disgruntled IP. No one even visits Citizendium any more. We should move the ongoing discussion of Citizendium to a talk page or forum page and stop paying this much attention to a dead website. WIGO:MYSPACE, anyone? Hipocrite (talk) 21:04, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I meant archive. Hipocrite (talk) 11:48, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep Archival/Retirement of the page is a different subject, but deletion would be completely inappropriate. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:08, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
On second though I vote to delete any namespace that has a vowel in its name. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:46, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Keep - we don't just delete shit. Acei9 22:08, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Delete Ace McWicked too Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 00:34, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep for the same reason as Trent. If we were going to delete it, we'd better delete WIGO:Skinheads and WIGO:ASK, which are both marked as dead but archived. I see no reason to treat WIGO:CZ differently. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 01:20, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Archive as Trent suggested. Can the archived page be locked from editing? Doctor Dark (talk) 03:33, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Delete Along with all WIGO pages about specific websites. Do we really need to give people another reason to think we're obsessive stalker-trolls then we already do?--Token Conservative (talk) 04:02, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep The whole request is just trolling. It's active, the site's not dead yet, and the only reason to put an end to it given is that a couple people don't find it fun, and want to ruin everyone else's. (talk) 04:21, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep as per Ochotona princeps rationale. TorontoKid (talk) 05:32, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep. It's the page that brought me to RationalWiki, it's still maintained, and it will be good to look back at for those who wish to learn how Citizendium failed. Just archive it when Citizendium officially bites the dust. The Moose (talk) 07:49, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep Why on earth should it be deleted? Yes, CZ was a project that was dead on arrival, but this page has intrinsic value to the Wiki. Hell, I remember when we made this page and all the good citizens flocked here to duke it out. If we want to mothball it (like we did WIGO:ASK), OK whatever. But outright deletion would be nonsensical. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 07:52, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep We don't delete WIGOs, the request is stupidly inappropriate - David Gerard (talk) 09:41, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Archive I'm assuming that the request was poorly worded and actually meant archive. By the way I've quite enjoyed the BON's posts on grammar; whoever you are you magnificent pedant you. Tielec01 (talk) 10:14, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep but archive Like many others are saying, there's no point in deleting it, but this WIGO is dead and should be mothballed (unless we want the next dozen entries added to be exceedingly low quality). Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 17:01, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Fuse with other wiki-wigos: Create a place where we can talk about wikipedia, Conservapedia, Citizendium, etc. --larron (talk) 21:52, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Not a bad idea....but I am worried about the fact that the talk pages are the primary draw for the WIGOS and the communities that follow each wiki's WIGO don't really overlap. Tmtoulouse (talk) 22:04, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
The communities may not overlap, but the experiences: everyone has to deal with HCM :-) --larron (talk) 22:10, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Disagree with this idea. What makes Conservapedia stupid is very different from what makes Citizendium stupid. —Tom Morris (talk) 14:56, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep One of the reasons I come back to RW these days. Let's WIGO Citizendium till the (near?) end. Editor at CPmały książe 08:35, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

testing something[edit]

[4]img. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:13, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Ruby Closures[edit]

In the thread we link to on WIGO, Pat Palmer claims the closures section of the Ruby article is significantly better than the Wikipedia article.

But look at it:

A full discussion of closures deserves an article of its own but cannot be avoided in any serious discussion of Ruby, which encourages their widespread use.

This is true, but it's also completely empty verbiage. Okay, you want a full discussion of closures, just link to an article on closures rather than saying that the topic deserves an article of its own. It is a wiki, gosh darn it, make the article.

The definition and importance of closures has been widely debated with all the politeness for which the computer industry is known.

Why do I care if the debate around the use of closures has been contentious and impolite? I either am going to use closures because they satisfy my technical needs or I'm going to say "ooh, that's a bit too complicated and scary, I'll stay away".

The learning curve for closures appears to be steep enough to cause some dissonance with the common claim that "Ruby makes programming easier".

Is there a source for that...?

The section doesn't actually provide an example of the syntax or use of a closure. It says this though:

The often-cited example of closure use in Ruby is the .each procedure, which provides a more convenient way of iterating through collections than conventional looping. But sceptics counter that even Java now provides its own very simple syntax for iterating through collections (i.e., the "enhanced for loop").

If you don't know Ruby, saying there is a ".each procedure" (method, technically, but let's not quibble) but not showing how that works in practice doesn't really illustrate what makes .each different from a Java-style for loop. And saying that the benefits of a Ruby .each method have been matched in Java because of the enhanced for loop is a conflation of syntax and semantics. The semantics of closure-based iteration are different. The syntax isn't the interesting bit.

The point is that you need closures in order to have higher-order functions, in order to do chained array processing with things like map, filter (called 'select' in Ruby, much to my daily annoyance), and fold functions.

Ruby advocates often struggle to illustrate the potential power of closures, which formerly were not required learning for a majority of programmers (to whom they were usually not available anyway).

That last clause is weird. Closures have always been available to programmers if said programmers choose to use languages that support closures.

Elsewhere in the Citizendium article:

The power of Ruby's networking libraries, and its support for SOAP-based web services, equals or surpasses those in Java or C#.

That seems like a ridiculously bold claim to make without any sources.

Like Visual Basic's default behavior, Ruby tries to infer the type of variables from the context, freeing the programmer (in many cases) from needing to declare the type explicitly upon first use. This is the opposite of what Java and C# do (they use so-called strong typing, which requires every variable's type to be known before the variable can be used).

There's some fuzzy thinking about type going on here: it is true that Java and C# use strong typing. It's not true that in C# you have declare the type before using a variable (since the introduction of the 'var' keyword in C# 3.0). Strong typing is not the same as static typing and static typing is not the same as required declarative type annotations. Ruby is strongly typed, and so is Java.

In Ruby, you never have to "declare the type explicitly upon first use", so it's not the case that you are freed "in many cases", which would sort of imply that there are some cases where you aren't freed from the requirement to explicitly declare types.

Like most people, the author of the Citizendium article isn't thinking very clearly about type systems and confuses static/dynamic with strong/weak with declarative/inferred type.

But I'm no expert. I'm just some guy who writes code. —Tom Morris (talk) 10:57, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Tom, did you leave CZ? Last time I checked, you were (sporadically) contributing to CZ. If you're indeed formally still a CZ editor, your—very valid—criticism would have been better placed on the CZ talk page of Ruby. (As retired Fortran/C programmer I too found the concept of closure difficult, it took me a while to get a mental hold on it. I encountered closure for the first time in JavaScript). --P. Wormer (talk) 15:30, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
I replied in the CZ forum thread, pointing to Tom's comments above. I wonder if Pat will respond, either here or there. Pashley (talk) 17:35, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
I haven't "left". I don't believe in grand drama queen style exits and "ragequits" from wikis (Editorial Councils are fair game though): I'll fade away quietly rather than storm out. I'll keep my Citizendium account working in case I ever want to use it. But I feel no desire to use it for many reasons I have already expressed.
I've reposted it on the talk page on Citizendium. It'll be worth seeing whether anyone acts on my suggestions. —Tom Morris (talk) 17:48, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
As an almost-retired scientist who programs in some of those old-fashioned languages I did not find either the WP or CZ articles on Ruby to be very helpful. They go into a lot of technical detail but I'd rather have basic information that will help me decide if the language will be useful for my work. In contrast the lead to the WP article on Fortran tells me that Fortran is well suited to numerical computations and gives some specific examples of fields where it is widely used. (The rest of the Fortran article is less good.) The only useful things that the lead to CZ's article on Ruby tells me is that it's an interpreted language, which probably means it's not well suited for number crunching although that isn't stated explicitly. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:19, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
Well, there's a bit of a confusion there about interpreted/compiled. The WP/CZ articles are correct if they mean that the main implementation is interpreted. But there are Ruby compilers: there's a JVM compiler for Ruby that compiles Ruby to JVM bytecode, produced as part of the JRuby implementation. And a language being interpreted is not necessarily a barrier to it being useful for numerical work: far more important is whether there are good numerical programming/stats libraries. Python is interpreted but there's NumPy for stats work. Performance isn't the only tradeoff. In addition, Ruby has an "inline C" library that makes it very easy to mix C functions into Ruby code, so you can optimize the performance-sensitive code in C.
That said, Ruby's Smalltalk and Perl heritage doesn't immediately lead me to think "number crunching" - I mostly use it for web stuff, hacky scripts, text processing and lightweight data management stuff where Java would be OTT. —Tom Morris (talk) 05:55, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Collected editions of Shakespeare[edit]

If we're critiquing the articles mentioned by Citizendium as their best, I did notice a glaring omission in this one.

A lot of time is spent talking about the 7 plays added in 1664, of which 6 were later decided to likely not be Shakespeare's. The problem is that they avoid mentioning key facts:

  • These were added in the Third Quarto's second edition. The actual provenance is never mentioned in the Citizendium article
  • The six other plays were Locrine, The London Prodigal, The Puritan, Sir John Oldcastle, Thomas Lord Cromwell, and A Yorkshire Tragedy.

The details are a lot clearer in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_texts_of_Shakespeare%27s_works and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare%27s_Editors - Wikipedia's equivalents. (talk) 18:37, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Nick Gardner[edit]

Nick Gardner has died. He was a prolific contributor to Citizendium who made more than 24,000 edits. I don't know much about him, but I wanted to put up this little memento of his work: Alledits-nick-gardner.png --larron (talk) 20:26, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Nick Gardner was the author responsible for leaving out any mention of the Labour party on a timeline of the history of the United Kingdom (http://en.citizendium.org/wiki?title=Britain%2C_history/Timelines&diff=next&oldid=100463509). Yes he was prolific, but let's not forget he was there editing on Citizendium with a right-wing agenda, and in the process damaged the credibility of the project. TorontoKid (talk) 23:45, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

As I said, I didn't know him, and I don't remember any contributions. He is in the TOP 10 of most active contributors of all time, and - for better or worse - those are the editors who shaped Citizendium... --larron (talk) 20:57, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

I don't place much faith with such lists. Multiple minor edits in a few articles can greatly boost those editing figures (eg. http://en.citizendium.org/wiki?title=Eurozone_crisis&limit=500&action=history) without contributing substantially to a project. Even Howard Berkowitz's editing figures are grossly inflated with his liberal use of Lemma stubs. TorontoKid (talk) 02:18, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Scanned photos of driving licenses[edit]

To quote Jackie Chan: WTF is this shit?

Scanned photo IDs? I remember when I signed up for Citizendium, I just provided a link to a few social media sites like Flickr to verify my identity. And whoever handled those things back then was sensible enough to work out that I was who I said I was. Obviously, that was before the big decline.

The insistence on sticking to the letter of procedure even as the site fades ever further into obscurity reminds me of the musicians playing to the very end on the Titanic. Bureaucracy: Citizendium's immortal requiem. —Tom Morris (talk) 10:07, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Thought I had seen some ridiculous things at CZ but this sets a new bar for ridiculosity. It's only a wiki, not a bioweapons development lab. If someone gets an account and messes things up their edits can be rolled back.
Besides which, in the U.S. a driver's license is an important piece of personally identifying information and is a prime target for identity thieves. You do not want to scan it and send it to someone on the internet whom you've never met. I'm not questioning their honesty, but even so their email could be compromised by hacking or other ways. Maybe it's a tricky qualifying test: "if you have such poor judgment as to send someone a scan of your driver's license by email, we don't want you editing here." But somehow I doubt it. :-) Doctor Dark (talk) 03:57, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
One comment above is an unjustified slur on the musicians on the Titanic. They were doing something useful (helping prevent panic), taking large personal risks, and probably obeying orders from an actual authority like the Captain. None of those apply to the CZ situation. Pashley (talk) 17:31, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Check this out before it's deleted[edit]

A response to "What happened to Wikipedia?"img The Moose (talk) 07:31, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Nobody seems to have noticed over there. —Tom Morris (talk) 11:09, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Entertainment value[edit]

I must say that watching Cz's decline has been one of the more entertaining things on t' web. The pomposity of some and the bureaucratic drivellings of others has made the forums really worth reading.
Suggestion to those still at Cz: Shut everything down, re-organise with considerably less bureaucracy and re-open with lighter editor/author/whatever requirements. You're gonna get nowhere trying to work with what you've got. Oh yes, give what's his name (Larry?) the bum's rush while you're at it.
In the meantime, carry on being so funny to read, please!
Scream!! (talk) 16:55, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

The sudden flurry of reform activity is amazing. I can't remember who said "Sim-Bureaucracy", but it's hilariously apposite. The idea that they can fix Citizendium by reconfiguring the council structure for the nth time is quite amusing.
It's probably far, far too late, but the best way to fix Citizendium is to shut down the bureaucracy completely until it is required. Basically, you set a trigger for reactivating the bureaucracy. Currently, there's 25-30 active users. Shut down the bureaucracy until there are 200 active users. At that point, losing the four or five people needed to run the council stops being such a big deal.
Of course, that's predicated on the perhaps questionable idea that the people currently serving on councils want to get their hands dirty actually editing the wiki. Having been subjected to crippling bureaucracy for so long, the environment may now be selecting for bureaucrats rather than contributors. —Tom Morris (talk) 21:45, 14 July 2013 (UTC)