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I actually want to see how they move forward with this charter. I think it is introducing a host of complexities and faults into the system and could be an interesting experiment in community dos and donts. To me there is a simple law to successful community management that hard caps the complexity and size of any bureaucracy. Basically, that if the size or complexity of a communities bureaucracy exceeds the size or complexity of the community itself, the community will implode. Citizendium has abandoned this idea completely and is pushing ahead with a nightmare. Yet, as much as I would like to watch the petri dish I am beginning to think that the charter will never even be voted on. tmtoulouse 19:37, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

They probably are making the mistake of planning a 'cracy big enough to run Wikipedia right off the bat? ħumanUser talk:Human 20:43, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Ideally there should be one bureaucrat and one enforcer for every 20 people. Thus 10% of the community should be split between admin/decision making and enforcement of rules. Citizendium's ratio is more like 90%. MarcusCicero (talk) 20:45, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
They're building a structure for the Citizendium they dream of. The charter as written sets in stone the structures that already didn't work. Future anthropologists will try to explain the Easter Island statues by analogy with the Citizendium charter - David Gerard (talk) 13:41, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

forum referencing[edit]

Why remove links to specific messages on the forums? tmtoulouse 17:16, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

So as to demonstrate my superior rationality, and not at all because I didn't understand the URL format the forum software uses - David Gerard (talk) 23:58, 31 August 2010 (UTC)


I think we can do better than the "punchline" ending. People coming in from outside could view it as a bit mean-spirited, and they'd have a case. How about instead ending with a brief paragraph that summarizes the body and ties it back to the last sentence of the lead about a "cautionary tale"? The sentence about Sanger's consultancy for online communities could be kept but moved to a more appropriate location such as the "Sanger's Role" section.

If others agree I can try drafting an alternate ending. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:22, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

I like it 'cos I wrote it. I think the one-sentence paragraph, just the bald statement with a reference, works. A better heading than "The punchline" would be good though. But not "How can I achieve this level of success?", that would be worse - David Gerard (talk) 00:44, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I dunno, I like the line, don't like the header (better header might use word "irony" somehow?). I also like DD's idea in terms of article improvement. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:49, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
The punchline ending is awesome. It neatly wraps up what I consider to be the best article on Rational Wiki. And I've read many of them. harej 04:11, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
OK, I'll sink back into the primordial ooze. Doctor Dark (talk) 02:49, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I still think you are right DD. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:03, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Does need a better header - David Gerard (talk) 11:37, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

mean article word count[edit]

Should perhaps be noted that it is still higher than wikipedia which is at 562.Geni (talk)

I noted en:wp was 3655 bytes per article in Jan 2010, which works out to 562 if you assume 6.5 characters, including wikitext, per word - David Gerard (talk) 19:13, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Semantic Web[edit]

The most promising thing on the forums is the notion of using Semantic Web stuff. The reason I say this is promising is because, having previously been deeply sceptical of this stuff - it requires dedicated ontology geeks to get it going - I put Semantic MediaWiki on an intranet wiki I run at work. And if you have the ontology geeks, then damn it can be cool. Whack in GraphViz too. Live-action pretty graphs! They have the requisite bureaucracy, if they put the content in they could actually do some stuff that's qualitatively different and better than Wikipedia - David Gerard (talk) 00:30, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Draft of new cover blurb[edit]

The cover abstract is a teaser for the article; it does a different job to the article intro. Although in a perfect world they could be interchangeable, I still don't like the present one much. This is a more teaser-like one, with the "This article..." construct fitting in with some other abstracts.

Citizendium's logo as of July 2010.

Citizendium is a free internet-based encyclopedia project, established by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger.

Citizendium claimed it would achieve greater reliability than Wikipedia by requiring real names and assigning editorial control to experts. Alternative medicine practitioners then took over the "healing arts" workgroup, managing the articles on their own terms, removing criticism and cherry picking references, leading to a plague of pseudoscience and a ludicrous puff piece on homeopathy being featured on the main page. Many of the original academic experts were driven away by the site administrators.

Despite lofty ambitions and a hugely publicized launch, participation has declined to about 20 regulars and only 80 people editing in any month. Citizendium is a cautionary tale of top-down management of volunteer projects and the dangers of credentialism.

900 characters, less conceptually tangled middle paragraph (though that sentence is too long). Am I on the right track? - David Gerard (talk) 17:34, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

It shouldn't say "Wikipedia" twice in the first sentence, also, when did Sanger get promoted back to "co founder"? (Oh, I see, there's a footnote in the article) How about
"Citizendium is a free internet-based encyclopedia project, established by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger."?
"enshrining editorial control by experts" is awkward.
Also, we really should have this stuff settled before cover storying an article, shouldn't we? Not that it's a crisis... ħumanUser talk:Human 18:27, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Whatever, hack up the above text as I just did ;-) "enshrining" is not the perfect word, no. There probably is one though. Our current blurb is not awful but the middle of this one is less worse - David Gerard (talk) 19:18, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
A solution occurred to me. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:46, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

"I'm quite able to keep up with it, as are you"[edit]

Is that a lifetime promise? What happens if you get a life? I'd prefer to see our articles - especially cover stories - written in such a way that they don't require "current events" updating, since we aren't big enough yet to do that job. Someday, maybe... ħumanUser talk:Human 01:29, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

In this case we're talking about the charter vote, which is a week to happening or not happening - David Gerard (talk) 13:12, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Ah, ok. Cool then. ħumanUser talk:Human 17:04, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Dana Ullman is back![edit]

This should be interesting to watch. tmtoulouse 19:14, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Whoa, is this common knowledge? That Sanger thrusted Ullman on CZ personally? tmtoulouse 23:50, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes it's sadly true. Sanger also voted for Homeopathy to be made Article of the Week status. FreeThought (talk) 00:46, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Sanger's invitation to Ullman has been in our article for several months now.
Reading their Homeopathy talk page, some of their folks are becoming more and more impatient with Ullman. It will be interesting to see if they eventually do something about him once Sanger is out of the picture. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:38, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
'Tis fun. Berkowitz: "It's futile to argue this with Mr. Ullman" 05:08, 17 September 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Berkowitz has a history of changing sides when it suits him, 'Yes my leader'. FreeThought (talk) 11:44, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Shift of tense[edit]

The first three sentences refer to Citizendium in the past tense, then the tense shifts to present. I get the point, but it reads awkwardly. Could some body person who writes betterly than I fix this? Doctor Dark (talk) 12:54, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Difficult, as the tense is correct in each sentence - there's a mix of past (ambition and crash) and present (a few people squatting in the ruins) to cover - David Gerard (talk) 22:39, 17 September 2010 (UTC)


== Rationalwiki ==
I hope one of you can write an article on the retionalwiki refuting their allegations about CZ as well as the CZ article on homeopathy.—Ramanand Jhingade 15:43, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

And why, precisely, don't you do it? I have never read Rationalwiki and have no reason to do so. I certainly won't defend the CZ article on homeopathy, because I frankly wish it were gone. Dr. Jhingade, it really is contrary to the spirit of a wiki to suggest others do what you want done. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:32, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

00:56, 21 September 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

incidentally. (He's blocked @ WP) 01:09, 21 September 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
This guy could possibly do with an article: he can cure cancer! "The only CANCER Cure Clinic To treat, cure or prevent all types of cancer without any surgical operation - economically". Trouble is there's no address to go and see him but his webshite is registered in Texas, although he apparently is in Bangalore. Don't see any Quack Miranda Warning on the web page: is it reportable? 01:19, 21 September 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
And Aids! The guy should be locked up! He's got a list of hundreds of ailments that can be " ...cured ... completely and permanently, without surgery..." 01:27, 21 September 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
How does CZ work again? Is it something like certain editors are only allowed to edit certain topics, so the sane people can't take on the quacks? How sad.--— cm2 — 01:55, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
CZ doesn't "work". And yes, Toastie dear, we need an article on this Ramanand Jhingade character! ħumanUser talk:Human 02:19, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Um. I think the Jhingade article in its present form is over the top. Better just to say the guy claims he can cure cancer, AIDS etc. with magic water than to make all those accusations. Let his own words condemn him -- "Homeopathy can cure Cancer completely & permanently" and so on. Doctor Dark (talk) 21:33, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Any logged-in contributor ("Author") can edit the draft, "Editors" are the ones who decide if the draft gets approved - David Gerard (talk) 09:22, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
"Oh, how I wish homeopathy and its spinoffs would go away. I may just deal with the frustration by leaving Citizendium, as long as this is the main area of discussion. Desperately waiting for the Charter, hopefully ratification, and the Editorial Council..." - Berkowitz is living in cloud cuckoo land. There is nothing in their draft charter I saw that deals with homeopathy, the healing arts workgroup, or fringe POV pushers. It's like Neville Chamberlain arriving back in London with a piece of paper in his hand signed by Hitler. The charter will turn out to be worthless hype. It does not deal directly with the problems facing citizendium and will only add more bureaucracy in running it. FreeThought (talk) 02:28, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
And I note the criticism of homeopathy in question was removed by Matt Innis in his role as Constable. Good things Constables don't control content. Oh, wait - David Gerard (talk) 09:28, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Charter passed[edit]

Now the fun begins, will it fix all their problems, will they be able to fill the slots? tmtoulouse 01:37, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

No indication on how many or who voted. I suspect it was less than a dozen. FreeThought (talk) 01:57, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I am hopeful we will get the actual number eventually. I am worried Larry will sit on this forever but hopefully it will move forward it will be an interesting petri dish. tmtoulouse 02:15, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
  • There were a total of 74 votes
  • Of those 65 were 'Yes' (87.8%)
  • Of the remainder 5 were 'Revise' and 2 were 'No'

And apparently 2 voted for Mickey Mouse, or something. Larry ratified the vote so they have their charter, so now all the magic will happen and *poof* all will be well. Let the fun begin. tmtoulouse 05:12, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

The Mickey Mouse votes were tests to see whether the system would work properly and accidentally included in the totals. This was corrected later. Peter Jackson 10:59, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I find those figures hard to believe.. given very few people voted in the charter elections, and most of those that did vote were the nominees themselves. FreeThought (talk) 05:35, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I can only speak for myself here. I read the position statements of the candidates for the committee and didn't see anything worth voting for, or even against. I voted for the Charter in the hope that it would enable CZ to get its act together. Whether it will remains to be seen. Peter Jackson 11:01, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Links to the fun? ħumanUser talk:Human 06:27, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

For info the charter forum here is the best spot.

Larry has responded on the mail list here, I just read that and it just feels like someone abandoning a project they started. It is one thing to walk away from something that is completely self-sustained and self-sufficient that no longer needs you (like say wikipedia and Wales though how much Wales walked away and how much of his involvement was extracted painfully is open to discussion), or even to limit management and control of the wiki structure and content but still providing infrastructure and financial support (which is roughly the model I try and follow), and what he is doing. Reading his list of things CZ needs reads like what you would need for a brand new project, a place for it to run, money to make it work, ways to encourage participation, etc. All of these things are really basic and if any of them fail then CZ is done. Larry is walking away from a project that still desperately needs hand holding and is no way self-reliant. It feels like abandonment not progress. And now it sounds like he is doing the same thing with his watchknow project which is more moribund than CZ.

He seems to be rather proud of himself for coming up with what he thinks are good ideas, getting them half implemented and then jumping to another good idea regardless of the state of his last one. I see this as a character flaw not a virtue. tmtoulouse 14:35, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

On the other hand, the departure of Larry's controlling presence could be an advantage for the project. For example this could give the remaining folks latitude to get their act together and escort Ullman, Jingadey and other timewasters to the exits. I wouldn't declare Citizendium dead just yet. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:08, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
It's been dead for sometime ... FreeThought (talk) 16:30, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I am certainly not routing for its demise, though its premise and guiding principles clash with my own philosophy, and I do think they give way to much credence to fringe ideas. Their charter is an interesting experiment in wiki management, and online community management in general. I always appreciate a new petri dish to learn from, helps to avoid making the same mistakes! tmtoulouse 17:31, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Doctor Dark writes:
For example this could give the remaining folks latitude to get their act together and escort Ullman, Jingadey and other timewasters to the exits.
This won't happen soon. For one, Constable Innis, who has a soft spot for Eastern Wisdom, will be a formidable obstacle in their escorting to the exits. Read what the good constable wrote about Masaru Emoto:
But, if we remain objective, whether the guy is a crackpot is not the issue. The issue is whether his work has merit. Just because he explains his concepts in eastern lingo does not mean we should automatically discount it. These descriptions have served the eastern world well for thousands of years and many may be scientifically valid. In other words, what they categorize as fire or earth or water may be observations that their collective greatest minds have made over the millenium to describe how things behave (before there were microscopes).[1]
--P. Wormer (talk) 09:18, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
If you look at the position statements of candidates for Editorial Council, you'll find several take a very anti-fringe position. Peter Jackson 11:04, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
It's only mostly dead. The present incumbents could bring it back to life. Remember that RW is of a comparable size. RW's main asset by comparison is that it doesn't take itself nearly as seriously - we're tiny, but we know it. Nonprofit umbrella, but still run on one box out of someone's house, etc. We treat it as our hobby and donate the few bucks it takes to keep it going. Can the CZ regulars realise it's basically their hobby and do the administrative stuff as if it is?
One idea that springs to mind for hosting is iBiblio - David Gerard (talk) 11:20, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Mostly dead? It's either alive or dead. It's analogous to saying someone was mostly pregnant. FreeThought (talk) 17:19, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Not so: a tree can be "mostly dead" but still have a branch alive. 18:52, 27 September 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

First milestone[edit]

"The initial size of the Editorial Council shall be 7 members, that of the Management Council 5 members."

So, can they do it? Do they have enough involved editors to fill 12 management spots? If so does that leave many editors that are non-management? Do we have an "active editors at CZ" type table? tmtoulouse 14:55, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

  • 3/4 of the entries are made by ten persons - these are the natural candidates for some of the jobs, I think
  • it won't be easy to fill all the positions from those who edit at least once a week...
larronsicut fur in nocte 16:17, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Looks like a case of "too many chiefs and not enough Indians". FreeThought (talk) 16:30, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
One interesting question I have is that the charter drafting committee seemed really, really burnt out on the process. I wonder if a few of them might spurn election to management from that experience. That would take out some major players. This has potential to be interesting. tmtoulouse 17:36, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
One aspect of this that is interesting, and we have a similar "issue" here on RW to consider, is that a pool of users drawn to a certain kind of project might not necessarily include the sort of people who "like" doing administrative work. The larger the pool, the greater the likelihood of having enough of them, of course. ħumanUser talk:Human 18:11, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Surely being an RW Foundation trustee isn't that onerous ;-p - David Gerard (talk) 22:52, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Are you kidding? By the second meeting all we had were homeopathy jokes and reversed Orders of Rules by Robert to amuse us. Hell, the dust mites were taunting me! ħumanUser talk:Human 02:40, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Nominations trickling in[edit]

So far what I have noticed is that the cross over between the EC and MC nominations is almost one-to-one so filling up both committees might be hard. There are a lot of names that are no longer active or were never really active. Could someone like Ramanand Jhingade wind up on the EC or MC by default? tmtoulouse 16:51, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

I wouldn't be alarmed by it. The last MC/EC was essentially "toothless". Even if elected he wouldn't be able to achieve much without majority support. The real power will lie in the hands of the Managing Editor, and so far no-one wants to drink from it's chalice. FreeThought (talk) 17:19, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Update: 2 candidates have now accepted nomination for ME. Peter Jackson 17:10, 7 October 2010 (UTC)


"Wikipedia, of course, has vast quantities of pseudoscience, as it does of most other failure modes of encyclopedic writing." The bit in italics just doesn't read right to me, but for the life of me, I can't figure out what it's supposed to say. --PsyGremlinFale! 23:04, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Me neither. --Sir Onion Kneel before my vegetable might! 02:44, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
I think what it's trying to say is that Wikipedia has most of the problems ("failure modes") that plague other projects of its type. But the wording isn't great. Since the topic at hand is pseudoscience, it's not necessary to expand beyond that. I'd just say something simple like "Wikipedia, of course, has vast quantities of pseudoscience too. But apart from having many more contributors...(etc.)" Doctor Dark (talk) 02:47, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
"Vast" is the first poor word choice, as it demands a statistical citation. I'd bet that real science outweighs PS, oh, 1000:1 on WP. The statement, if not deleted, should provide some sort of link to prove what it's saying. PS, I recognize the writing style, someone might want to ask the original writer what he meant, sometimes he's just a bit unclear. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:55, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Bah! *waves* Just because you fail to reach up to my brilliance does not mean it is not brilliance. (Logically.) - David Gerard (talk) 09:56, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
And just because you can't explain it to me doesn't mean you aren't an unappreciated genius! ħumanUser talk:Human 07:46, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Capitals after semicolon[edit]

Doctor Dark changed lowercase letters preceded by semicolons to uppercase; according to the Chicago Style Manual this is incorrect. Maybe it is a British rule? --P. Wormer (talk) 11:26, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Preceded by semicolons? Can't find that -- can you point it out? Doctor Dark (talk) 14:31, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I apologize, I looked at a diff saw changes from lowercase to uppercase, but overlooked that the semicolons just before that ended —. My mistake.--P. Wormer (talk) 15:57, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
No worries. I screw up regularly (it's part of my day job) so if you see anything amiss let me know. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:21, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I think I saw some of those edits. There is a very messy section, full of non-sentences and sentences describing their bullet points, I despaired at fixing the mess myself. Does anyone care about that "cover story" thing any more or do they just choke these pages with badly-written bullet points nowadays? ħumanUser talk:Human 07:45, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Dana Ullman (again)[edit]

I am going back and forth on CZ. I am really excited to see what they manage to string together with the charter, and with RW getting ready to vote on trustees it will be nice to see what works and what doesn't work for them. But I keep coming back to Ullman, any project that tolerates him beyond pointing and snickering at the crazy guy in the corner deserves an ill fate, and CZ has decided to exalt him. tmtoulouse 23:39, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

The proof of the pudding is in the eating (or whatever timeworn cliche you like). CZ has a chance to turn things around with Sanger being out of the picture and the charter giving the community a sense of self-direction. I'm taking what they do with the homeopathy mess as a tangible indication of whether anything has really changed. Will they clamp down on Ullman, Jinghadey and their ilk? CZ Mark II wouldn't have to kick them out altogether, just be very firm that they won't be allowed to use the place as a soapbox.
Some of the CZers have noticed RW and think we're being unfair to them. What they don't realize is that many of us want CZ to succeed. Sure, there's a little snark here and there but our criticism is constructively intended: don't bring in experts only to overrule and micromanage them, don't give purveyors of bullshit a free ride, and so on. Will they seize this opportunity to get CZ on the right track? I don't know, but I'll be glad if they do. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:28, 5 October 2010 (UTC)


Surprised by the inclusion of Infant colic as an example of a pseudoscience influenced article; it was wholly written by two MDs, and only one of the 43 references is to an alt med journal; that is referenced in a short section on alternative therapies that has a skeptical tone.

The comments on the protoscience article appear to refer to the text (rashly) imported from Wikipedia which was subsequently edited radically down by Citizendium editors to its present stub size.Sparx (talk) 14:27, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Jimmy Wales officially recognized as founder of Wikipedia[edit]


The Gottlieb Duttweiler Award 2011 goes to Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia. Wales receives the award for his merits of democratizing the access to knowledge. The award ceremony will take place on January 26, 2011. Roger de Weck, designated director-general of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR, will hold the eulogy.

In barely one decade, Jimmy Wales has succeeded in establishing a worldwide network of knowledge. Wikipedia, his online encyclopaedia, accessible on the Internet for free, has become a symbol of a radical change in the media economy. Moreover, it revolutionized the access to knowledge as man's most important resource and thus contributed to democratizing knowledge.

Owing to its independence and neutrality, Wikipedia enjoys great acceptance and credibility. Its pioneer Wales is not looking for money or fame but wants to share and pass on knowledge. His non-profit organization is financed by donations, collaboration is voluntary and the participative model deeply democratic – since “voluntary acceptance of responsibility is the price of freedom” (Gottlieb Duttweiler).

The politically independent Gottlieb Duttweiler Award is conferred at irregular intervals to persons who rendered outstanding services to the general public. Previous award winners among others were former UN Secretary-General and peace Nobel prize winner Kofi A. Annan, Germany's former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, and the Czechoslovak President Václav Havel.

The Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute does not believe Sanger was co-founder. Wales has picked up the prize (along with 100,000 Swiss Francs) as "founder of Wikipedia" - it was not shared with Sanger. FreeThought (talk) 01:37, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

The "eulogy"? Who died? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:06, 12 October 2010 (UTC)