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I'm new here and see that a few statements that can be checked easily by comparing history/fossil records of Citizendium and RationalWiki, respectively, are marked by the template {{fact}}. What sort of evidence is expected here? --P. Wormer (talk) 13:31, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Links to article history might work. But the CZ article no longer exists so maybe the history is gone too. Was the article discussed on a mailing list or a forum that you could link? Doctor Dark (talk) 14:21, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Interwiki links[edit]

Is it possible to "hotlink" to CZ like we can to CP and WP? ħumanUser talk:Human 18:25, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

We added in hotlinks to aSK, so I assume so. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:30, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Hmmmm, cz:hot linking and ask:cold reading test. I tried CZ:this earlier, too. I think it has to be implemented manually by a skilled professional. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:16, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Citizens creating content[edit]

Who creates articles?

I didn't want to plaster the main article with pics, but maybe this one is interesting, too. It shows the 25 citizens who created the most articles at Citizendium. RJJensen is No. 3 with 3.7%!

I really don't know what motivated him to go to CP: CP isn't that much bigger, and frankly, it isn't more visible than Citizendium... larronsicut fur in nocte 15:09, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Richard Jensen moved to Conservapedia because various people at Citizendium rejected his take on various topics related to U.S. and military history. He did make some intelligent contributions and we hope he is enjoying himself at Conservapedia. --Tom Morris (talk) 05:57, 22 December 2009 (UTC)


They seem to have a quite generous article on Acupuncture.--BobNot Jim 18:48, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Problems with API[edit]

I tried to up-date my data on Citizendium. But I run into a problem:

While an inquiry like:

works, the follow-up

leads to this error:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <api>

<error code="internal_api_error_DBUnexpectedError" info="Exception Caught: A database error has occurred&#10;Query: SELECT rev_timestamp,page_namespace,page_title,rev_user_text,rev_page,rev_id,page_latest,rev_comment,rev_minor_edit,page_is_new FROM revision,page WHERE (page_id=rev_page) AND rev_deleted = &#039;0&#039; AND rev_user_text = &#039;Derek Hodges&#039; AND (rev_timestamp<=&#039;20090204020535&#039;) ORDER BY rev_user_text DESC, rev_timestamp DESC LIMIT 11 &#10;Function: ApiQueryContributions::execute&#10;Error: 1 ERROR: invalid input syntax for type timestamp with time zone: "20090204020535"&#10;" />


Can anyone help me - or them? larronsicut fur in nocte 06:45, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

I dunno, Derek, what wre you trying to do, so I can try to replicate it, Mr. Hodges? ħumanUser talk:Human 06:58, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Looks borked to me. Can't Google up anything massively useful, but it looks like it might be a problem with the database version. In theory it looks like you just need the right timestamp syntax, but after some fiddling, I can't get it to accept anything for the 'ucstart' parameter Worm (t | c) 11:06, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I try to get help from their technical forum... larronsicut fur in nocte 12:18, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
No reaction yet - but the post was moved from the technical forum to Non-member discussions. Automatically, I hope, as this would say something about the priorities at CZ otherwise. larronsicut fur in nocte 16:51, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, no matter what you enter, it's always converted by some arcane magic to a certain format, so no amount of guessing on our side will make this work. They have to fix it on their side. Nx (talk) 13:49, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your input! Yep, the timestamp ucstart=2009-02-04T02:05:35Z is converted to "20090204020535" for the SQL query, but that doesn't seem to be sufficient. But I'm afraid that they won't fix it in the near future... larronsicut fur in nocte 13:58, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure that they won't fix it in the near future... larronsicut fur in nocte 21:40, 31 July 2009 (UTC)


I see we have a "References" section in this article. I thought it had been decided (although I didn't agree) that these should be "Footnotes"? Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic? 09:49, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Done. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 12:25, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
OK, I've been doing some MoSish cleanup here, and by the time I get down to the footnotes I see most of them are formatting weirdly - brackets before and after ELs that appear to be formatted correctly in the body above. Any ideas what is wrong? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:57, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
'Twas a <return> in a URL yummy Toast&  honey(or marmalade) 03:03, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, I knew it would be something stupid like that! ħumanUser talk:Human 03:07, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Regarding Healing Arts[edit]

Just for the record, Healing Arts is not "Citizendium's term for alternative medicine". The Healing Arts Workgroup was set up as a way for people interested in native and traditional medical practice from an anthropological perspective. That it has become a way for people with - erm, what's the polite way of saying it? - qualifications given by their fellow alternative medicine practitioners rather than by the usual academic method - that's an unfortunate consequence.

It would be nice if the skeptical community would come and join in and point these things out. There are a few of us at CZ who are trying hard to keep the crank community at bay - a little help would go a long way in preventing the cranks inflicting further idiocy on our wiki. --Tom Morris (talk) 05:54, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Interesting to note that horrific Homeopathy article was approved by Larry Sanger, Howard C. Berkowitz, Gareth Lang, Alexander Wiebel, and D. Matt Innis. Some of the names on the list bar one surprises me. It looks like not much thought went behind the vote or perhaps they are simply twits. FreeThought (talk) 15:21, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

It's dead, Jim[edit]

I thought it worth noting in the actual intro that it's got almost no-one contributing, and is pretty much a failure in every ambition - David Gerard (talk) 12:52, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Yup. Pretty much there. But let us use copious references when we say it? ħumanUser talk:Human 13:25, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Articles v "expert approved" articles[edit]

From the Main Page:

"We currently have 13,559 articles progressing toward editor approval. We do this by garnering the power of global, asynchronous wiki-based collaboration.
"Our 121 expert-approved articles are reliable and of world-class quality, rivaling the best printed encyclopedias." (my emphasis)
Some imbalance there, surely. yummy Toast&  honey(or marmalade) 14:05, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
1% featured is about what Wikipedia runs at too - David Gerard (talk) 14:15, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
But they're supposed to be all by experts, aren't they, unlike WP where "anyone can edit". yummy Toast&  honey(or marmalade) 14:18, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
That's why they only have 121 "approved" articles. Most experts don't work for free, like we do. ħumanUser talk:Human 16:23, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Earlier, I made some pics on Citizendium, have a look here... larronsicut fur in nocte 15:02, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Anyone can edit at Citizendium! But they tend not to bother - David Gerard (talk) 18:45, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Can they? Don't you need to fill out a form in blood first in order to get accepted?
I also came across this quote: We have virtually no vandalism, and very few of the "difficult" sorts who are constantly pushing their own idiosyncratic points of view. Ho ho.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:55, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, just enough to get Homeopathy approved and featured - David Gerard (talk) 22:41, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Documenting how to kill a community[edit]

These links need writing into the community management section, or perhaps the growth and decline section: [1] [2] - David Gerard (talk) 00:40, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Crank magnet[edit]

Many of the links are to old versions. I can't be bothered trawling through. Any specific examples? Ro Thorpe (talk) 21:21, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I think a lot of the egregious stuff has been fixed. Dunno if there's more recent ones. Worth a look, to assess how the current small population is curating the article base - David Gerard (talk) 21:46, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I think the collapse of CZ is terribly sad, and I hope they can get it back to some sort of life, if they can bring themselves to make n00bs welcome. I think the collapse was inevitable with Dr Sanger mismanaging the community, though - David Gerard (talk) 21:47, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, it hasn't collapsed just yet, and you're still free to write there whenever you like. But if there are no precise examples available of CZ recommending the marvels of pseudoscience, I'm inclined to remove those bits. Ro Thorpe (talk) 22:08, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
It most certainly has collapsed - it went from the most hyped thing ever, with lots of people coming to try it out, to driving away most of its contributors and now being populated by a small band of survivors in the ruins. I'd say check through the links first - David Gerard (talk) 22:13, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I skimmed the current version of a few articles mentioned, was not impressed. A better way for you to approach this, Ro, would be to point out, one at a time, any article we mention that you feel is no longer a problem. A diff from our oldid to the current version would be nice, if appropriate. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:29, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I've already checked through the links and I can't find anything pseudoscientific. Can't you point to just one example? Ro Thorpe (talk) 22:28, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
About to go to sleep (ah, sleep), I'll have a look through tomorrow. Glancing through the history, it looks like a lot was added by User:Tmtoulouse, who would therefore be worth pinging - David Gerard (talk) 22:33, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
OK, thanks. Sleep well. Ro Thorpe (talk) 22:52, 20 April 2010 (UTC)


CZ main page takes 3 "Ctrl -" to fit on my netbook screen it's OK on the desktop m/c. I presume it's the strange table in the "Article of the week" (which has been there for a while) Of course when I zoom out that much the text is unreadable. Someone ought to tell 'em. 09:13, 22 April 2010 (UTC) yummy Toast&  honey(or marmalade)

CZ's main page is atrocious. Aside from the problems you point out (and the overall clunky look), a reasonable person might think the buttons for "Natural Sciences" etc. at the top would take you to articles on those topics. Instead they go to workgroup management pages. A whole column is taken up with promotion of the site itself. And on and on. Only the last of the three columns is content oriented. The search box at the top has two buttons, "Go" and "Search" - how does the reader know the difference between them? Poor aesthetics, poor UI implementation. They really need to redesign their front door, because it's not very inviting. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:09, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
To be fair, "go" and "search" are on just about every wiki. Go takes you directly to an article if there is one, Search looks for the text string like a search engine. ħumanUser talk:Human 15:06, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Memory of water (CZ article)[edit]

You write:

This article eventually was revised to acknowledge physical reality after library scientist Walt Crawford criticized it as "deeply disturbing"

Look at the talk page of the CZ article. I was critical from the very beginning of the article and eventually rewrote it. I have never heard of Walt Crawford or his criticism. Dr. Paul Wormer, Physics/Chemistry editor Citizendium.-- (talk) 13:35, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

The article sites a fairly thorough article by Walt Crawford, the fact you "haven't heard of him" isn't really enough to pull it off completely, but if you can get us the diffs you can get some credit too. Scarlet A.pngd hominem
This was the diff, but adding credit for you too should be fine - David Gerard (talk) 13:49, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
My first criticism was on November 7, 2008, see here. Crawford's criticism was in April 2009, when I was already close to rewriting, but hadn't done it yet, because I was abroad at the time.-- (talk) 14:02, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
So the article was awful for at least six months? ħumanUser talk:Human 15:09, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
And the statement in our article is absolutely correct: This article eventually was revised to acknowledge physical reality after library scientist Walt Crawford criticized it as "deeply disturbing" - and not This article eventually was revised to acknowledge physical reality because library scientist Walt Crawford criticized it as "deeply disturbing"? larronsicut fur in nocte 15:13, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Logic-choppingly, yes, but in common conversational usage that grammatical formation implies causation - David Gerard (talk) 18:20, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
So what's the process of de-wooing an encyclopedia article like at CZ, even for a subject area expert? (I know it can be mind-numbingly horrible at Wikipedia, I'm asking about how it feels locally.) - David Gerard (talk) 15:24, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Remember the woo is there because somebody wanted it there. So it depends on the social dynamic between the reality-based person, the one adding the woo, and the rest of the community (much like Wikipedia). In my experience it was actually harder to remove bad content from CZ. I think this is partly because CZ leans over backward to accommodate fringe views in the name of "neutrality," and partly because the CZ community is so small that a few misinformed or ideologically committed people carry more weight. Doctor Dark (talk) 17:39, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
It helps to have more people, but even at Wikipedia it was bloody painful. Then you have the William Connolley case, where the UK's top climate scientist (Dr Connolley) had a pile of faith-based climate change deniers trying to vote him off the island. (Including [for local interest] Ed Poor. Who then nominated WMC for admin, in a demonstration of no hard feelings.) Thankfully things are mostly sane now, and the science-based articles are not in fact made of woo. Pretty much. But essentially, People Are A Problem - David Gerard (talk) 18:19, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Active editors[edit]

See Talk:Citizendium#Table of Active Editors - June 2010

Enjoy! larronsicut fur in nocte 08:12, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Great table, but there is an error. Chris Day is listed twice. Some editors have since resigned since April too. FreeThought (talk) 01:12, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Thanks
  • there is a Chris day and then a Chris Day - the wikisoftware is case-sensitive. I generally don't merge accounts, so when Chris day became Chris Day in April 2007, he was regarded as a new user.
  • The table will be updated once a month (at best :-)
larronsicut fur in nocte 05:43, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
What does the boldface mean, if anything? Doctor Dark (talk) 01:44, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
  • nothing: the editor is a common user
  • bold: the editor belongs to another group but users, i.e., (s)he is a sysop, bureaucrat, Dark knight or whatever.
  • italics: the editor is a bot.
Hope hat helps. larronsicut fur in nocte 02:18, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Then I shouldn't be bolded. Ro Thorpe (talk) 01:28, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
Observing to note the editors who seem to make the most complaints on their forums are the ones who contribute very little to the project (edits < 5000) ie. Aleta Curry, Peter Schmitt. FreeThought (talk) 09:10, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Figures released on citizendium's own website indicates the project has hit an all-time low in active editors and edits per month. The table above probably needs updating. FreeThought (talk) 00:35, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Car crash television[edit]

The comments, not the article: the academics strike back, with ex-contributors viciously analysing just what drove them away from Citizendium. (And Dr Sanger reads like he's writing press releases for North Korea.) I edit this article too much, anyone else interested in redigesting the insights in the comments into this article? - David Gerard (talk) 11:55, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Apropos of nothing, I think one flaw in Sanger's idea is that academics - professional experts - are less inclined to contribute to this sort of project than interested amateurs, for a number of reasons, and I will back this up with conclusive anecdotal evidence first. A friend of mine is an historian - PhD, two books (one was an expansion of her thesis, the other a ride from hell but it actually has paid some royalties), and teaches college. She has no interest in editing WP, and it's not due to lack of web 2.0 savvy or ability to research/write. Really, it's because of the reasons I will now share (this is extrapolation, not quotation). One, it's their day job. Who wants to come home after a long day of teaching, researching, writing, preparing lessons, etc., to do more of the same work for free? Two, the way they work is not exactly the same as what an encyclopedia needs. They tend (in their research and writing) to work from primary and some secondary sources and create original work. Also, in their professional work, they enjoy a wide range of independence - if they are preparing a book or paper, they write what they want, with advice and polishing (perhaps) from an editor, which may not even come until they are finished. I suspect that the wiki environment is ridiculously interfering in that mode of work, and perhaps Sanger's admins were not as conducive to letting people do good work as their normal work environment is. To conclude where I started (and this relates to your comment at the above article), Sanger made no allowance for what academics' life and work is really like, he just expected a version of WP written and vetted by professionals to just spring up as if by magic. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:17, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's quite that hopeless. Academics are nerds too, and you can hardly move on Wikipedia without bumping into a Ph.D or other actual expert who knows a hell of a lot more on the topic than you do. Keeping idiots out of their faces, now that's a trickier one - Wikipedia utterly fails to deliver that, and that's a real problem. CZ promised that, then spectacularly failed to deliver. Note the people named in that article as getting in the academics' faces are (a) Dr Sanger (b) the constables, who follow his lead. I think the last comment sums up just what happened - Sanger has only ever been in academia as a student and has no idea what actual working academics do for a living or how to work with them. So he gave them what they asked for, but that wasn't what would work, and his personality (and the emulation of his worst behaviours by his acolytes) did the rest. And in its dying days, he's gone all Minister for Propaganda as the cargo cult approach fails. He's now joined the stalkers, trolls and sociopaths on Wikipedia Review - David Gerard (talk) 22:30, 24 July 2010 (U
What does cargo cult have to do with this? ħumanUser talk:Human 00:50, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
He puts up lots of trappings of academia and encyclopedias carved out of palm tree wood and wonders when the academics are going to return - David Gerard (talk) 01:00, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
OK,I guess that makes sense... ħumanUser talk:Human 03:26, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Students are the driving force when it comes to entries on science,
Some profs had the brilliant idea to get their students to edit wikipedia on the subject of a seminary - the students got credits, and wikipedia profited hugely.
Of course, such a thing is impossible on Citizendium.
larronsicut fur in nocte 22:54, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
(BTW: David, I enjoy your citezendiumcentric comments :-) larronsicut fur in nocte 22:54, 24 July 2010 (UTC) )
Citizendium has tried this with Eduzendium. Of course Dr Sanger's singular charm still pisses the victims the hell off - David Gerard (talk) 23:18, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
What a crap wiki, I can't even find the link to "user page" on that "user talk page". ħumanUser talk:Human 00:53, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Ummm?? larronsicut fur in nocte 09:39, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Took me a while to spot it too. Citizendium started as "Not Wikipedia dammit!" to a ridiculous extent - they even used PostgreSQL for the database specifically because Wikimedia uses MySQL. (And haven't fed back any changes, leaving MediaWiki's PG support still crappy.) "Not Invented Here" is the reason for the skin as well. And Dr Sanger remaining convinced that WIKIPEDIA IS THE ENEMY and the author of their decline, rather than systemic problems in the way he set it up and a whacking helping of his singular personality. Even Conservapedia attracts parodists - David Gerard (talk) 12:12, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

The Charter will Save us![edit]

I have been poking a bit around CZ discussions, and almost every issue brought up is deferred or reflected with what amounts to "the charter will save us!" Not just site policy, but active users, press, hell even rewriting the help pages. Every conflict such as the cranks in the healing arts group, the monstrosity that is their homeopathy article (I see Dana Ullman is infecting even the supposedly more scientific new draft version, with every criticism being qualified as "skeptics say, skeptics think"), get pushed back waiting on the charter to show them the way.

But when I looked into this magical Charter, it looks like it is something that has been going on for a long time, and I see no indication that it is really that close to even coming about. The charter document itself seems to violate every possible principle of parsimony and practicality it can. They have more positions of authority than they do active editors. I was coming back around to feeling "bad" for CZ but going back through their healing arts articles, and being reminded that Dana Ullman was given a position of authority reminded me why I think the world is better off with CZ's demise. tmtoulouse 15:20, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Someone want to redigest that for the article? - David Gerard (talk) 15:48, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I will try and get some stuff in about the charter and its mythology. The "drafting" committee was elected in October of last year [3], so I assume the idea in concrete form is about a year old now. Addendum: 2007 mention "soon." tmtoulouse 17:13, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I'll copy and paste it and edit to remove first person comments. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:31, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
If ever there was a time when the old cliche "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" applied, this is it. Doctor Dark (talk) 21:01, 28 July 2010 (UTC)


What's between this and silver? It's getting attention from the world ('cos I linked it enough elsewhere that other people started doing so, though it's hardly up there with our prizewinning tumbleweed articles), and I'd love to know what's missing - David Gerard (talk) 00:50, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Merely taking a brief glance at it, I'd say the controversy is whether to stick it on the cover. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 02:42, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
It needs more of my captivating prose and rapier wit. Other than that, it's all right. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:05, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, yeah, other than that. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:57, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Um, yes, this has a long way to go before it's cover ready. I forget, what are the standards for Ag? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:55, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Basically that it's a good length, well illustrated, informative and referenced properly. That there's no needless in-jokes or Conservapedia references. Basically, someone who knows nothing about the subject gets to the end of the article and feels they know a lot about the subject and if they don't, they know where to go for more - with the exception of Wikipedia, because that's practically cheating. If you want to make it more "captivating" I will not stop you, although as it's subjective I have no idea what you mean by it. Ending paragraphs on cliffhangers, perhaps? I'm not sure, I do tentatively agree with that idea, though. Anyway, what we're really discussing is potential and it has potential - it just needs a little more scrubbing. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 11:48, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Yeah. the article fits most of those criteria already. It does need to be better. But it's already the go-to article to answer "wtf happened at CZ?" - David Gerard (talk) 20:19, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
One thing clearly absent from the Larry section: his style of community management while he was still at Wikipedia. There's a lot of it on - David Gerard (talk) 07:46, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

I don't see this ever being a cover story article. It's too off-mission, although still interesting. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:10, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

It would need something convincing to make cover, yeah. No-one's too interested in my hypothesis, which is mine ... but it's as good and comprehensive as any of our good silver articles, and is the go-to link on the question of "what happened?" - David Gerard (talk) 15:34, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
IMO, it's cover worthy - and spot on mission-wise :-)
larronsicut fur in nocte 16:08, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

An illustrated guide to Citizendium[edit]

Here are some current pics of statistics on user editing. To gather the data for the articles will take considerably longer...

Citizendium RationalWiki
Active editors at Citizendium from the very beginning until today. The definition of active editor differs somewhat from the selection of cz:Special:SpecialPages, as only comments still existing in the database are taken into account, and no other actions (as blocks, etc.)
Active editors over the last ninety days: not that many...
currently active editors with the most edits overall
notably absent in June 2010: the editors whose current period of absence is the longest in their editing history, ordered by the number of their overall comments
Editors at Citizendium in June 2010 according to the number of their edits - 10 editors made more than 75% of all comments. Stunning! Right chart...
One of my favourites: number of comments by editor at Citizendium in June 2010, ordered by the date of account creation. Citizendium is dominated by those who came to it in the first two years. The notable exception is cz:User:Howard C. Berkowitz.

Enjoy! larronsicut fur in nocte 07:42, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Table of Active Editors - June 2010[edit]

Trans H85.gif#
Trans H85.gifUser
















Meg Ireland 14272 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 121 136 3027 2025 19581 8.7 56.4 Übermensch
John Stephen… 13553 19 51 29 3 22 0 0 8 295 750 749 467 15946 5.5 21.4 Hyperactive
Robert A. Es… 1087 427 450 397 195 11 2 158 250 756 600 134 5 4472 2.2 8 Very active
Ro Thorpe 22284 129 95 164 45 100 163 355 131 185 121 127 83 23982 10.9 3.6 Very active
Russell D. J… 3819 65 4 1 13 0 1 0 0 59 51 236 5 4254 2 3.2 Very active
John R. Brew… 9426 3 48 32 1 2 3 1 32 265 94 59 73 10039 9.4 2.5 Active
Anthony.Seba… 11573 84 57 84 85 65 86 46 28 96 62 42 36 12344 4.2 1.5 Active
Martin Wyatt 45 69 54 79 51 113 83 88 44 34 59 38 16 773 1.8 1.2 Active
Richard Neve… 434 73 236 172 471 318 181 13 5 21 100 0 0 2024 5.9 1.1 Active
Pat Palmer 5672 5 1 1 3 7 1 2 11 22 85 6 6 5822 2.4 1.1 Active
Peter Jackso… 2175 87 20 142 110 153 169 27 6 35 32 21 35 3012 1.6 1 Semi-active
Robert Badge… 13245 55 41 48 23 13 21 28 3 15 28 17 18 13555 5.3 0.7 Semi-active
Sandy Harris 8470 26 15 10 15 12 4 7 4 14 34 5 5 8621 4 0.5 Semi-active
Chunbum Park 5207 7 15 8 13 12 9 8 16 13 23 12 5 5348 2.4 0.4 Semi-active
Aleksander S… 5568 6 10 11 2 10 5 10 10 9 9 10 10 5670 2.1 0.3 Semi-active
Jonas Nordho… 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 27 0 0 27 27 0.3 Comatose
Gene Shackma… 279 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 18 0 0 297 0.2 0.2 Comatose
Mark Jones 304 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 317 0.1 0.1 Comatose
Milton Beych… 25253 21 12 7 16 9 17 3 0 2 6 5 1 25352 12.1 0.1 Comatose
Henry A. Pad… 371 52 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 433 0.3 0.1 Comatose
Hayford Peir… 15909 79 44 1 2 1 76 10 63 5 3 3 2 16198 6.8 0.1 Dead
Chris Day 25001 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 1 0 0 5 25013 10.3 0.1 Dead
Justin Antho… 143 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 148 0.1 0.1 Dead
D. Matt Inni… 14167 8 11 10 15 0 0 0 2 2 1 0 3 14219 4.9 0 Dead
Rainer Marti… 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 4 4 0 Dead
David Yamaku… 5708 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 5715 2.8 0 Dead
Dmitrii Kouz… 1510 37 0 15 0 14 1 1 0 4 3 0 0 1585 0.8 0 Dead
James Yolkow… 141 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 35 3 0 0 180 0.1 0 Dead
Maria Cuervo 545 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 548 0.6 0 Dead
Matthew O&#0… 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 3 0 Dead
David MacQui… 1098 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 1 1 1106 0.6 0 Dead
Peter Kauffn… 83 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 86 0 0 Dead
Andrey Khaly… 107 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 108 0 0 Dead
Christine Bu… 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 Dead
Dimitri Neyt 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 Dead
Frank Schoot… 108 1 1 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 1 116 0.1 0 Dead
George Swan 3536 9 0 0 6 0 59 28 3 8 1 0 0 3650 1.7 0 Dead
Jennifer G J… 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 Dead
JeromeDelacr… 73 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 6 3 0 1 0 85 0 0 Dead
Leslie Morri… 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 8 0 0 Dead
Paul Wormer 8405 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 8406 3.8 0 Dead
Roger A. Loh… 4195 0 2 0 0 1 69 43 0 2 1 0 0 4313 1.9 0 Dead
Sloan Haywoo… 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 Dead
Stephen Ewen 18957 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 1 0 0 18963 7.3 0 Dead
Sylvain Cath… 116 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 117 0.1 0 Dead
Total 757889 1534 1518 1420 1162 929 1068 881 659 2017 2254 4501 2839 778671

Top fifty contributors at CZ as of June 2010 larronsicut fur in nocte 07:49, 29 July 2010 (UTC)


One of the top 10 listed above, Meg Ireland, has left and started an "anti" site.[4] Doctor Dark (talk) 17:42, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
So this is Citizendium's aSK? Um. What? CC by-nc-nd? You can't even edit a wiki page with an -nd licence! Also: LArron, you might want a little word about how copyright works- David Gerard (talk) 17:55, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Does the main page of Agropedia [that's how I read it:)] remind you of anything? Him (talk) 18:18, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Also she's got RW wikinoded Him (talk) 18:22, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
To late: I am seeing nuffing larronsicut fur in nocte 19:04, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
It appears she's noticed that people have noticed. Hi Meg, we aren't actually evil- David Gerard (talk) 16:42, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
It's back up, but the wikinode page which linked to RW has been deleted
  • 18:27, 30 July 2010 Admin (Talk | contribs) deleted "Argopaedia:Wikinode" ‎
  • 01:45, 9 July 2010 Admin (Talk | contribs) deleted "Argopaedia:Wikinode"
As have a couple of others:
  • 04:14, 1 August 2010 Admin (Talk | contribs) deleted "Wikipedia" ‎
  • 06:42, 31 July 2010 Admin (Talk | contribs) deleted "Main Page"
  • 18:27, 30 July 2010 Admin (Talk | contribs) deleted "Argopaedia:Wikinode"
  • 18:13, 30 July 2010 Admin (Talk | contribs) deleted "File:Editing users.png" ‎
  • 18:12, 30 July 2010 Admin (Talk | contribs) deleted "Citizendium"
—Deletion log 20:58, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
The Main Page has lost a lot of its RWishness. and if you just go to "Argopedia" you get this; quite good, really. There's no a/c creation yet either. Is it likely to be worthy of its own article? Him (talk) 20:58, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

On looking at the source code its obvious where she got the Main page format. Should we feel humble? Him (talk) 21:39, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

That suggests her decision to leave CZ coincides with this page getting active. Is this page damaging Citizendium, or merely pointing out to the dead that they've actually died, to Wile E. Coyote that he's ten feet over the edge of the cliff, etc? - David Gerard (talk) 23:06, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
She clearly is aware of this page, as most of her article about CZ is a paraphrase of material here. But I don't think that's why she left. More attributable to some personal difficulties with other CZers apparently. Anyhow we should not be trying to damage CZ. Mixed in with the fringe fanciers and difficult people are some good folks there who are frustrated with the likes of the homeopathy debacle and want to create a solid reference work. I would be glad to see them rise, phoenix-like and develop a successful project. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:33, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

MEG!! Stop switching it off. We're quite benevolent, you know. We could help, if wanted. (she's set it to give a 403 on all but the entry page) Him (talk) 17:07, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

It might not be Meg. Meg lives in Australia as far as I know. The website appears to be administered from London. FreeThought (talk) 17:39, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, whoever! (there did seem to be a lot of UK placenames [and groups!] etc last time I was able to look @ Rc). Him (talk) 17:42, 2 August 2010 (UTC)


Theres an Argopedia twitter 04:29, 17 September 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Let's get all missiony. What happened here?[edit]

I haven't worked it out well enough, but the on-mission aspect of this article is working out what actually happened here.

My thesis: Citizendium attempted to take on the community-run Wikipedia with:

  1. an authoritarian leader who created
  2. an ill-thought-out thicket of rules
  3. that the remaining editors have bought into to such a degree that they feel helpless to change them even as they see and discuss what an epic disaster the rules have been.

So that thesis would need thorough substantiation. I'm not certain myself. It sounds good, but I want you lot to put your best surly bitch supervisor hats on and point out the holes.

This created the disastrous follow-on effects:

  • a trust in certification over actually knowing one's stuff;
  • the authoritahs pushing the academics around (if you told college professors that the campus security guards would be directing their research, do you think they'd want to work at your university?);
  • the cranks, whose expertise is in mimicking credibility and gaining status rather than the claimed substance of their knowledge, working their way in irremovably;
  • Wikipedia as the demon figure every authoritarian movement needs.

Now, all the above sounds good. But this is off the top of my head.

Is this a plausible backbone for the article?

I'm positing Larry Sanger as the authoritarian leader who craves obseisance. He certainly did at Wikipedia, where he said about editors who wouldn't kowtow to him (e.g. Cunctator) that "he goes or I go!" And defying the Editor In Chief was not a banning offence, so of course they didn't go. I suspect he is insecure about his own authority and credibility, hence his love of credentialism. I like the comment on the recent THE article, which points out that (while accepting his Ph.D is in no way questionable) he throws the title "Doctor" around the way cranks do, not the way actual academics do. And key: he's never been an academic. His only experience of academia is as a student. CZ may have been a way for him to push professors around. Though he seems to have actually been surprised when they didn't put up with this shit, many preferring to go back to dealing with run-of-the-mill idiots on Wikipedia.

Am I onto something here? (I think I am.) Am I full of shit? (I don't think I am, but you might. )

Wikipedia is a huge success being run by the community. (Really really. For the last few years, if Jimbo says the sky is blue, lots of people will immediately rush to prove it yellow with purple stripes.) This results in the sum of human stupidity, but it undeniably actually works. That said, no-one is more keenly aware of its defects than those of us who work on it. There's got to be other ways to do this "free neutral encyclopedia" thing.

You know, the Wikipedians did really really want Citizendium to do well. I strongly advocated giving them any help and encouragement they could do with. More free content is a win for the whole world, and we're here to make the model work. I'm very disappointed and saddened that Citizendium failed so badly, and that Larry Sanger has turned out to be such a raging cock who would rather destroy his own projects than admit failure.

Your thoughts, please. - David Gerard (talk) 20:05, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

You are a wikipedian. That is evidence enough that Wikipedia is a flawed project. Its a pity that citizendium failed but really, so long as you are represented on wikipedia, its proof enough that dorks with no lives are determining the fate of the first stop shop for all knowledge on the internet (talk) 20:32, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Haven't Dorks with no lives always been the first stop for knowledge? --Opcn (talk) 21:51, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Are you calling Denis Diderot a dork with no life? Jean D'alembert? (talk) 22:59, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

All this is speculation. The only thing we can say is that Citizendium never bootstrapped itself into the positive feedback loop where writers create content, content attracts readers, and readers become writers. We can shoot the breeze about possible reasons for that all day, but without organized research such as surveys there's no way to know. Doctor Dark (talk) 23:42, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Given the massive publicity push it started with, attracting many people who weren't happy with Wikipedia and successfully recruiting a lot of the academics it was aiming for, how it then failed to bootstrap is I think a meaningful question to ask. Looking at the surviving members, there in the wreckage, is horrible and fascinating. Read through this forum thread. Though Matt Innis is named in the RW article as the owner of the chiropractic article and enforcer of its pseudoscientific viewpoint, he's the one with the clearest grasp of the problem. Pierce and Berkowitz seem paralysed by fear. Amazing and frightening stuff, and I see no reason it isn't meaningful to study its trajectory from spectacular launch, to sideways off the launching pad and into the ground - David Gerard (talk) 00:10, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
As "fascinating" as teh story might be, it's only ever going to be on the fringe of our mission. It's certainly a story we can and are free to tell, but beyond that... meh, who cares? 1. Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement. - Only in that some cranks gained prominence there. 2. Documenting the full range of crank ideas. - Nah 3. Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism. - Barely, in the sense that a poor dictator produces poor outcomes. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:09, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Pushing ideas (about expertise, what experts want, the meaning of knowledge), with all the status you can muster, that are demonstrably wrong and damaging, entirely fits 3. I don't think you can reasonably say it doesn't - David Gerard (talk) 16:45, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

Amazing analysis, and proof that rationality is a Pretty Good Thing. That's why I haven't given up on you guys, even though a lot of you still just want to sabotage (certain other projects) instead of helping to Build Up.

What is missing in all four projects - WP, CZ, CP, and RW - is toleration and appreciation for alternate points of view. Not one of these projects has really lived up to Jimbo and Larry's original ideal of neutrality. Each, in its own way, has fallen into the quicksand of Rampant Bias.

  • Wikipedia: Anglo-American liberal POV dominates in all important controversies
  • Citizendium: ditto, but not as thoroughly
  • Conservapedia: American conservatism dominates (with rare oases of mention of other viewpoints)
  • Rational Wiki: relentlessly hammering home the point that anything outside Materialism or other RW shibboleths is "irrational" or "anti-science" - with an amusing sauce of nearly maniacal flippancy, served in a reduction of dismissive slander

The world needs accurate descriptions of reality, and it also needs clear summaries of various peoples's attempts to map that reality, whether we agree with them or not. The idea that the reader JUST MIGHT BE smart enough to tell the difference between sincere and honest reporting and all that other stuff (self-serving, corrupt, ideologically motivated, partisan) needs a revival. In fact it needs all our support.

Just a friendly comment from ... --Uncle Ed bug me 15:03, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Don't forget that CP is your one-stop shop for liveblogs of movies about preteen girls. -- (talk) 15:20, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
That's probably not helpful to writing a decent article about Citizendium - David Gerard (talk) 15:25, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
With Howard Berkowitz now dominating editing on Citizendium, it's slowly evolving into "Conservapedia lite" - the majority of articles added to the project now are US military and intelligence articles. FreeThought (talk) 17:23, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

One of the problems of the different wikis is the the rift between the authors and readers they wanted to attract - and their real contributors and followers. Here - cum grano salis - an overview:

wiki intended authors intended readers actual authors actual readers
wikipedia all mankind all mankind all nerdkind all mankind
conservapedia home-schooling conservatives (home-schooled) pupils Andy, friends and parodists parodists
citizendium academics all mankind ten guys and some fringe scientists those very guys
rationalwiki annoyed ex-conservapedians (ex)-conservapedians rational nerds - including annoyed ex-conservapedians cynics (including ex-conservapedians) and sysops at CP

IMO, Conservapedia and Citizendium both failed to keep the authors they wanted to have. IMO, there are a couple of reasons that Conservapedia did so:

  • home-schooling parents monitor the internet-access of their children. Encyclopaedia Britannica looks much saner than Conservapedia (olé, olé, olé).
  • parents want their children to be treated justly, but a new editor at Conservapedia is guaranteed to be wronged for a couple of times - even intentionally so (for the smooth process of gathering an encyclopedia...). It's hard to overestimate the repellent effect of such a treatment.
  • their is not only the devision between common editors and those with extended rights, but also the devision of those who are seen as pupils, and those who regard themselves as teacher. The former group roughly includes those who follow the naming conventions, the other group, well TerryK, AndrewS, EdwardP, and so on. These tend not to listen to the input of the first group - an annoying behaviour...

larronsicut fur in nocte 16:00, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

I beg to disagree with the "intended readers" (and to a lesser extent the "intended authors") of RW. ħumanUser talk:Human 16:07, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Failure to follow naming conventions may be the least of our problems at CP, but if that's where you want to start, I'm all ears. Can you give me some examples, so I can head back over there and fix them? --Uncle Ed bug me 16:13, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
  • It's not the failure to follow naming conventions which is the problem, but it's amusing that it is easier to be taken seriously at CP if you deliberately disregard the convention: all pigs are equal, etc.
  • The injustice I remarked on can be seen in the blog log. Just remember Bugler and HelpJazz... Warnings and blocks are not made as punishments; I'm not interested in justice per se but in helping the project along. ....
  • Have you actively reached-out to the home-schooling community? At least, one can't see any feed-back by them.
  • (please get cp:Center right!)
larronsicut fur in nocte 16:23, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
yep, the description of our authors and readers is abysmal - I was just projecting ....
larronsicut fur in nocte 16:23, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Maybe I'm not rational enough, but I couldn't follow all of that. Anyway, I just now unblocked Bugler. --Uncle Ed bug me 16:38, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Don't even bother! You are so fantastically consistent, using the block log just to make a point, and not in the interest of justice - or the project! Carry on... larronsicut fur in nocte 17:00, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
BTW: there are over 2,000 editors currently blocked at Conservapedia, whose block were made by person[s] who blocked him is no longer in the project. I can provide you with a list if you wish to unblock them - in the spirit of justice and consistency... cp:User:EdBot could do the unblocking! larronsicut fur in nocte 17:20, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm now reading "nerdkind" in terms of baraminology, and how the vast variety of present-day nerds can be derived from the original two (clean? I don't think so) on the Ark - David Gerard (talk) 16:48, 31 July 2010 (UTC)


Larry Sanger jumped ship about a year ago when he saw that CZ wouldn't float much longer. From firm ground he now pretends that he still believes in CZ's safe journey (to where?) and he occasionally encourages the last survivors to hang on. Hardly any of those hanging on contribute substantially to the encyclopedia itself. In my view CZ has degenerated into a social site, where people come to fight and to play the game of "Founding-Fathers-who-have-a-Constitution-to-Create". For instance, one of the loudest Forum participants, Martin Baldwin-Edwards, officially declared that he is not intending to contribute anything to the main space (i.e., to the encyclopedia proper) but only to the Constitution. Edwards appears on the Forum regularly to fight Berkowitz, who opposes Edwards in his efforts to succeed Sanger as editor-in-chief.

When I had the audacity (after three years of uneventful contributing to CZ) to request deletion of an article (about Ormus), I directly became a sitting duck on the Forum. Reactions from constables, and others that see it as their duty to "guard the quality of the encyclopedia", were not pleasant. Edwards suggested that my request of deletion of an article was was connected to the height of my income (which he cannot know) and Constable Peirce called me a crybaby when I expressed my displeasure with the reactions.

In a nutshell, this is what will be the end of CZ: the few people left are so busy with criticizing those who register to write encyclopedic articles, that they don't find the time to write anything themselves and only succeed in scaring off newcomers.--P. Wormer (talk) 17:40, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Yep. So what led to this state of affairs, speaking from your perspective as a participant? - David Gerard (talk) 17:45, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
This illustrates the problem with Citizendium - it's too bureaucratic but the bureaucrats they do have there are ill-suited for the job - there are people there who are not experts yet they are constables, policing academics who are qualified in their field. Sanger surrounded himself with sycophants. The positions on the project administration were never publicly advertised, so you have a situation where Sanger's friends are moved into positions and "tow the line" even if it's not in the best interests of the project. The lessons from Nupedia just don't seem to have been learned. There is no-one there with any power to challenge Sanger and his friends and say "this isn't working, we need to try something radically different". They get shouted down or abused like Dr. Wormer. FreeThought (talk) 17:54, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Matt Innis is actually trying very hard to say "this just isn't working and we need to fix it before even the few regulars give up", to his credit - David Gerard (talk) 18:07, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Matt Innis seems like a good guy overall. The irony is that one of the main things that needs to be fixed -- the "healing arts" disaster and fringe in general -- is precisely the area where MI has objected to reform. Of course it's just a coincidence that he's a chiropractor and actupuncturer. Doctor Dark (talk) 18:21, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Matt Innis supported the pseudo-science articles (as specialist healing arts editor he "rubber stamped" Homeopathy to Feature Article status), so his presence is adding to the problems at CZ not eliminating them. FreeThought (talk) 18:23, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
My word - so much ... umm ... "activity". So when are we going to start WIGO CZ?The preceding comment should not be taken seriously. --BobSpring is sprung! 20:44, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
When you say "supported" pseudoscience articles, do you mean he encouraged writers to describe ideas commonly regarded as pseudoscience, without judging them as being false - because he was supporting Sanger's brand of bias-free writing? Or that he was falsely claiming pseudoscientific ideas to be true? Or what? --Uncle Ed bug me 03:16, 31 July 2010 (UTC)


David asked the very good question: So what led to this state of affairs, speaking from your perspective as a participant?. As with all good questions, the answer is not simple. One reason making it difficult to answer is that many of the quarrels that Sanger fought with his expert contributors were by bilateral e-mail. For instance, when I first joined (August 2007) there was a very active Dutch physical chemist (Dr. Robert Tito), who from one day to the next vanished from CZ. I can only surmise that he had a quarrel with Sanger behind the scene and that Sanger sort of sacked him.

Around the same time CZ lost some enthusiastic professional biologists because of the question of naming of biology articles. This was a case where Sanger sided with the vox populi (the non-experts) and the experts lost out. The biologists (who were quite right in my opinion) pointed out that only scientific names of flora and fauna species are unique and hence they insisted on the use of scientific names as entry names. They proposed to include redirects of all known common names (very often there are many for the same species) and to list these at the very beginning of the article. However, the following type of jolly argumentation got the support of Dr. Sanger and won the day. This decision caused the departure of most professional biologists.

May I humbly suggest that we nip this placing of species under their scientific names thing in the bud right now?
I understand that it is correct, but I also understand Citizendium policy to call for explanation, not a display of erudition.
No one but your learned selves is going to look up Barnardius zonarius when they want to find a ring-necked parrot. They'll probably key in "ringneck parrot".
And how on earth will any schoolchild/university student/casual browser ever find all the millions of plant species?
Canis lupus familiaris is quite sensibly listed at dog. Can we follow suit with all others?
Aleta Curry 19:20, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

Another case where Sanger should have kept his mouth shut in accordance with his philosophy that one should listen to experts was when it was discussed what caused the 2008 financial crisis. Sanger insisted that he knew the answer and that the professional economist who wrote about it was mistaken. This also caused quite some bitterness among experts.

I myself wrote a few college-level articles about some topics in physics. With some disgust Constable Peirce referred to them as "your typical Paul Wormer articles" (with the innuendo that those were not the articles that CZ wanted). Earlier I had written a stub about the thriller writer Raymond Chandler and had asked Peirce (who apparently is a well-known author of thrillers himself, at least, he has a long article at CZ that states this) to take over and write more about Chandler (what Peirce refused). In other words, Peirce knew that Paul Wormer wrote about other topics besides physics (btw I also wrote a piece about 19th century American intellectual Benjamin Peirce and it seems reasonable that this article must have been noticed by Hayford Peirce).

In my view, one of the important causes of the failure of Citizendium is that it, although it pretends to be expert driven, in reality is not. This ambiguity has driven off almost all academics and left behind old-timers as Matt Innis, Hayford Peirce, and Aleta Curry (and, of course, Martin Baldwin-Edwards who came back after the position of editor-in-chief became vacant). --P. Wormer (talk) 08:46, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

Paul, would you be able to write the above up as a section of the article? It'd be most useful documentation of the actual, rather than claimed, interaction with academics - David Gerard (talk) 00:54, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
In an earlier observation I made on this Talk page, there are some users on that project who seem to spend a lot of time in arguments with other users on the forums, but contribute very little to the project itself. Aleta Curry is one of them. Hayford Peirce should never have been made "constable", he appears totally ill-mannered and unsuitable for the job. I'm repeating myself here, but the problem is not the idea of Citizendium itself, it's the admins running that place. FreeThought (talk) 09:32, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
I suspect it's the structure being set up a particular way, with particular organizational implications, and the people to fill such implications staying. Same way it accumulates cranks while driving out actual experts. So the actual individuals aren't the problem - it's having somewhere set up such that they fit right in. c.f. the accumulation of sycophants at CP, and how a parodist or sociopath just has to manage the right sort of sycophancy to gain a position of status. Blamingthe individuals is IMO the wrong track - the problem is emergent behaviour gone wrong - David Gerard (talk) 10:39, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
People might like to have a look at Wikinfo. It has a system that does really allow for alternative points of view. They just come in separate articles with See also at the top. Unfortunately it's very underpopulated and low-profile at present. Peter Jackson 11:12, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I had a look at it. So far, I'm not amused and I find its approach deeply flawed. It's treatment of "fringe" topics is reminiscent of WikiSynergy. By the way, is there an open-access wiki on the Web that has not been infested by Lucho's pet article?--ZooGuard (talk) 15:12, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, WS does sound similar, though WI applies the same approach to everything (politics, religion ...), not just fringe "science". Peter Jackson 10:48, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Citizendium doesn't legally exist[edit]

I'm wondering whether the article should mention that Citizendium doesn't actually legally exist. The "Citizendium Foundation" has never existed, nor is Citizendium a registered charity (the paperwork was never filed, yet it accepts donations), or the name trademarked. It's status is no different from someone setting up a bling website from their backyard shed. It would bring up an interesting issue if Citizendium is ever sued ...— Unsigned, by: FreeThought / talk / contribs

Not really IMO. It's another thing that jars with how big Larry puffed CZ up, but hardly critical to operations in any practical sense. Larry arguably shoulda got his shit together earlier, but taking a few years to set up one's wiki charity is quite normal. If they were sued, it would be Larry getting sued. They would be completely safe from suits over content per CDA section 230, as Wikipedia has already established (they got a suit thrown out immediately on this basis a short while ago). - David Gerard (talk) 08:32, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
Someone on Citizendium has been reading this article and passing on information. This message on their forum appeared within hours of the above comments:,3274.msg31528.html#msg31528 FreeThought (talk) 03:08, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Looks like we (RW) are going to get there before Sanger's esteemed blog. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:54, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
You demean Citizendium by calling it a blog. It's a forum - David Gerard (talk) 08:12, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
You impugn Citizendium by calling it a forum. It's a blog. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:14, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
It really does appear to be primarily something running on a forum, with a sideline in writing wiki articles. Bit like us, really - David Gerard (talk) 14:49, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
BTW, it does have a legal existence, as part of the Tides Center, per [5]: "The Citizendium is a project of the Tides Center, but is operationally independent. We are currently a non-profit in virtue of the fact that we are legally a Tides project." This means it's actually even less urgent to make a separate non-profit. Compare to the many free software projects that manage donations through the SFLC - you could say "they don't have a legal existence!" but it's irrelevant - David Gerard (talk) 17:11, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Reuben sandwich[edit]

Not sure this should be listed as an article failure or, indeed, a CZ failure - this sort of idiocy is, after all, a frequently-observed emergent effect of putting a bunch of nerds on a wiki and telling them to write an encyclopedia. The forum discussion about it, however, is car-crash in all directions. Also, everyone who's left CZ is just a whiner, particularly if they show up here. But it's okay! The charter will cure this sort of thing! - David Gerard (talk) 14:48, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Love this:
This is like 10 years ago when I had a nice girlfriend from Beijing for a while. Every morning she would stand on one side of the bed and I would stand on the other and together we would make it: with nice taut sheets, the blankets pulled neatly into place and smoothed out, the sheet and blanket tucked in, the cover pulled into place and tucked neatly over the four pillows, the edges of the cover just barely touching the floor on each side of the bed, the end-pieces, whatever they're called, of the cover tucked into the end side bars, and the two ornamental pillows with the same material on them as the cover arranged neatly against the other pillows. About once a week Hong would complain that I was making her waste her time by pulling the cover over another inch, or shifting a pillow a inch here or there. "How come we can't just do it 99% right?" she demanded. "Because if we're doing it all, we can take another five seconds and do it 100% right," I'd reply. "Otherwise, why bother in the first place?"
—Hayford Pierce from the forum link above

My GOD! if I met that guy I'd feel very much like smashing his face in. Him (talk) 15:01, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Your comment demonstrates that RW editors are VIOLENT THUGS who are out to DESTROY ENCYCLOPEDIA PROJECTS and also you are DOING MY BIDDING to SABOTAGE CZ for MY MASTERS AT WIKIPEDIA and JIMBO WALES. Deny this and lose all credibility - David Gerard (talk) 15:12, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Ref links[edit]

The links in the references seem borked and not working... but seems to only be in the references, rather than in the body text, where they're fine. We're not using dpl on this page are we? Scarlet A.pngd hominem 22:06, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Tried a couple - the're working for me. Him (talk) 22:18, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
The links work, but the formatting is broken. This is because the MediaWiki parser is a box of pure unadulterated evil - David Gerard (talk) 22:24, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Should be fixed - if we're talking about the same thing. One link was missing a closing "]". --Sid (talk) 22:44, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Well spotted, have a cookie. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 23:10, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
*nom nom nom* :) --Sid (talk) 23:35, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Quality and reference check[edit]

This article is getting outside attention, and claims from the CZ forum that there's "an error on almost every line"[6]. The text looks mostly okay to me. But could you please turn a cynical eye to it, check the refs say what they do and litter with {{fact}} tags as appropriate? And that refs are of usable quality - the Terryeo reference is Encyclopedia Dramatica, and if someone wants to check what this article says then filling their browser with porn may be less than ideal - David Gerard (talk) 20:45, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

As a note, that forum thread is a full year old. Edit to add: I'm all for people doing a critical once-over, but the "error on almost every line" claim likely doesn't apply anymore, I hope. --Sid (talk) 01:23, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Some of the "pseudoscience hits" are borderline. Best to stick with the most glaring examples. The factual information is good overall though I have not gone over everything with a fine tooth comb. But saying there is an error on almost every line is hyperbole.
Apart from this the article does too much editorializing. We don't need to tell the reader that the project is a failure and moribund and so on. Just lay out the facts of declining participation and the reader will see for himself. "Show, don't tell" as all good writers know. If the reader is too dumb to draw the obvious conclusion they're not worth trying to reach. Doctor Dark (talk) 18:52, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Overbroadened expertise[edit]


An editor who is a civil engineer with experience in road building would also have authority over articles on artificial hearts, which fall under biomedical engineering – it's all "engineering" to Citizendium. Likewise, a music editor would have authority over everything from plainchant to hip-hop.

This looks hypothetical. Are there real, referenceable examples? - David Gerard (talk) 14:08, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

The sleep of the Dark Knights[edit]

I don't know much about the user groups at Citizendium, I just made a table of the (former) members of groups with special rights and put it here.

An overview:

group bot bureaucrat Dark Knight EditInt epa Linnaeus sysop wikieditor
members 4 10 4 1 5 1 26 826

The titles are quite fleshy, but the group members don't seem to be interested that much in editing: only two of the ten bureaucrats (none of the dark knights) made an edit over the last three months... larronsicut fur in nocte 17:25, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Can this be correlated with forum participation? - David Gerard (talk) 17:34, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
WTH does all this stuff mean? Wikieditor, bot, and sysop are obvious enough, but "Dark Knight" and "Linnaeus"? Doctor Dark (talk) 06:41, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
Knights are honorable people, the ones at citizendium are not. FreeThought (talk) 09:59, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
Bitter much? Got a story? - David Gerard (talk) 08:05, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Dark Knights had the "nukerevision" power, which was the homegrown version of "oversight" (and has, I believe, been replaced by oversight). Linnaeus is the power to rename users, and nothing else. Chris Key has a plan to make the rights and their names make sense q- David Gerard (talk) 08:05, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Pseudoscience reputation?[edit]

I just removed:

Citizendium has gained a reputation for friendliness not just to alternative medicine but to pseudoscience and fringe theories in general.

I'm not sure it does have a reputation, even if this article demonstrates its clearly visible susceptibility and IMO reasonable theories as to how this happened. Do we have something citable from the outside world? Last I recall was the comments of the THE article, and that's not really sufficient to say this - David Gerard (talk) 19:50, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Well there is quiet a bit of blog buzz that has emerged over time, but its almost all over the homeopathy article and Dana Ullman being and editor with approval rights. tmtoulouse 19:56, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
I think I wrote that. Their forum has plenty of posts bemoaning their reputation for fringe, so I figured if they themselves think they have such a reputation there's likely something to it. There also are some outside mentions such as the HaeB presentation[7] and his Wikipedia Signpost comments.[8] But if you want to soften or omit it that's OK by me. Doctor Dark (talk) 20:37, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not sure their forums or Wikimedians (who have a strong interest in CZ anyway) count as the wider world. Also, I'm trying to slim the intro down by any reasonable means ;-) Mind you, check the refs I just added. - David Gerard (talk) 21:05, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the article is too long. The section under "Sanger's role" could be slimmed down, especially the quotes. Doctor Dark (talk) 13:58, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
The long quote from Slashdot is important - that essay basically sets out precisely how Citizendium would work, a year and a half before it was launched. The quote shows why he stopped listening to anyone else and felt he needed to assert his authoritah - David Gerard (talk) 15:32, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I've reviewed the listed awful pseudoscience articles, per Ro Thorpe's objection above that many aren't that bad now, with the period of awfulness noted. "Global warming" in particular is much better now, but it did attract negative attention from real-life experts, so in it goes. Etc - David Gerard (talk) 16:06, 16 August 2010 (UTC)


I thought there was a lot of, um, controversy about his role in WP and he is the one running around claiming to be the co-founder. I remember several long screeds about why wont people call me this and you all suck. tmtoulouse

Yes, Larry's obnoxious screeching makes it hard to give him credit even if deserved. But there are tons of sources that call him "co-founder," like the NY Times and BBC. My recollection is that when I started on Wikipedia he was acknowledged as co-founder even on-site, and that it's only been in the past couple of years or so that Wales and his followers have tried to airbrush him out of the picture. So even though the guy turns me off as best I can tell he really was co-founder. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:54, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Well its not an article on Larry Sanger so I withdraw my objection if it was Wales white washing that did it. tmtoulouse 04:11, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
It gets better. I did a little digging and found that numerous early press releases from Wikipedia itself described Sanger as co-founder with Wales (early example). Even Wales called himself "co-founder" in the years before Sanger was declared an Unperson. I had thought that it was just a silly tiff between a couple of oversized egos, but it does look like Wales and crew are attempting some serious historical revisionism. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:21, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
I joined WP in early 2004 at which time Larry was officially a respected fading memory and unofficially a dick everyone was glad to see gone, though they didn't go on about it unless provoked. I'd suggest the people glad to see him gone probably wanted to forget his existence too and considered he'd been a net negative to the project.
That said, the generally-accepted factoid is "co-founder" (you can footnote it to "It says so in Wikipedia!") and asserting otherwise would take citations. That Larry is a dick who writes long screeds about "why won't people call me this and you all suck" doesn't make him wrong per se - David Gerard (talk) 08:36, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

never had an actual job in academia[edit]

Apparently Sanger held some sort of position at Ohio State University for a while in the early 2000s. According to MIT Technology Review (cited in his WP bio) as of 2005 he "lectures in the philosophy department at Ohio State University, his alma mater." Presumably this means a "lecturer" position. "Lecturer" in the U.S. generally means a non-tenure eligible position that often (but not always) is part time and/or temporary, and does not carry privileges related to participation in faculty governance. Here the current table of faculty ranks at OSU though it may have been different when Sanger was there. (Note to DG, this differs from the UK system where as I understand it "lecturer" is more of a faculty line rank, with the distinction from "reader" being that it is primarily a teaching position.)

Cutting to the chase, I've changed "never held an actual job in academia" to "never had a position as professor or the equivalent." A couple of sources have called him a "former professor" (e.g., here) but that's highly doutbful. His Citizendium bio makes no mention of it, and it seems likely that he'd let everyone know if he had ever held a tenure-track position.

It's important for the facts to be scrupulously correct in this article. First and most importantly, it's the right and honest thing to do. Second, the article is critical of CZ and Sanger, and any errors will undermine our discussion of the problems with CZ. I've pieced the story together from bits and pieces but if anyone has a clearer picture please say your bit.

I really wish CZ -- or something like it -- had succeeded. Wikipedia sucks in so many ways but at the moment there's no viable alternative. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:19, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Absolutely, this is a sorrowful post-mortem. I don't expect the remaining Citizens to like it, but CZ died some time ago. I do think its failure was intrinsic in its formation; e.g. Shirky wasn't entirely right, and certainly didn't predict the bit where credentialism leading to a infestation of cranks, but he was on the right track. Sanger working out his entire plan for CZ in detail well in advance and then trying to fit human enthusiasm into it was a miserable failure at volunteer herding and Web 2.0 in general, and then at dealing with people who had much greater academic status than he did. Etc - David Gerard (talk) 07:02, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

What law exactly are we expected to presume Citizendium broke?[edit]

The article makes some references to some violations of citizendium copyright policy, and then from that fact presupposes some sort of "law" was broken without telling us what law or how it was broken ( accusing others of a crime or civil wrong/tort in a "hit piece" without evidence can get one sued for libel ) Only major flaw in this article I have found.LogicMaster777 (talk) 17:22, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

The details can be found in the citations: keep in mind this is amateur lawyering on behalf of a third party, which isn't a formula for legal rectitude. I don't think there's any direct assertions of breaking the law in the article, just that they aren't big on maintaining their images properly. Reads like a tempest in a teapot to me, and I could personally do without the whole section. Ikanreed (talk) 18:24, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Agreed, this whole section tends to undermine the credibility of the article more than it does to support its general thrust in my opinion. It uses pretty questionable and subjective sources and is basically an opinion presented as fact a la Alex Jones/Fox News.LogicMaster777 (talk) 18:35, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
It's not quite that bad, either. Citing our own talk page as a source is tacky, though. Ikanreed (talk) 18:39, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Forum links 404[edit]

With the death of the forum, a pile of the links are 404, including un-captured ones. Anything in archives? - David Gerard (talk) 11:48, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

The internet archive has a copy of the forums. Can that be used? (talk) 23:50, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
By all means! - David Gerard (talk) 13:12, 20 April 2015 (UTC)