Difference between revisions of "Citizendium"

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Some more examples of awful pro-pseudoscience articles:
Some more examples of awful pro-pseudoscience articles:
* [http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Memory_of_water Citizendium:Memory of Water] - as per Homeopathy claims above.
* [http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Memory_of_water Citizendium:Memory of Water] - as per Homeopathy claims above. This article was eventually toned down after library scientist Walt Crawford criticized it as "deeply disturbing."<ref>http://citesandinsights.info/civ9i5.pdf</ref>
* [http://en.citizendium.org/wiki?title=Pseudoscience&oldid=100499162 Citizendium:Pseudoscience], particularly the section under "Astrology"
* [http://en.citizendium.org/wiki?title=Pseudoscience&oldid=100499162 Citizendium:Pseudoscience], particularly the section under "Astrology"
* [http://en.citizendium.org/wiki?title=Intelligent_design&oldid=100499196 Citizendium:Intelligent Design] - a scary article, reminiscent of [[A Storehouse of Knowledge|aSK]].
* [http://en.citizendium.org/wiki?title=Intelligent_design&oldid=100499196 Citizendium:Intelligent Design] - a scary article, reminiscent of [[A Storehouse of Knowledge|aSK]].

Revision as of 03:57, 20 December 2009

Citizendium ("CZ") is a by-product and pretender to the throne of Wikipedia.

The project was founded by Larry Sanger to counter criticism that Wikipedia ("the encyclopedia any teenager can vandalize") is written by too many non-experts. Articles at CZ are vetted by alleged experts, and editors are required use their real names and to post their credentials. The definition of "expert" is, however, extremely broad and often doesn't reflect any accredited academic expertise in a subject area. Articles are divided into "workgroups" such as history, engineering, and biology. Thus someone who is an "expert" in electrical engineering would also have authority over an article on chemical process engineering. There is also a workgroup on "healing arts," which is Citizendium's term for alternative medicine.[1] This means that alternative medicine practitioners get to manage articles in those fields largely on their own terms - i.e., with authority to remove unwanted criticism and to cherry pick their own references. While anyone can sign up and edit (and the contributors are called "Citizens"), the fact that real names are required means that participants lose their privacy.


Sanger's prognosis compared to reality
The rate of the creation of articles at Citizendium
The number of articles (approved, drafts and otherwise) at Citizendium 2007-2009

CZ has grown very rapidly slowly: In June 2009, there were less than 13,000 articles in the main space, less than 0.5% of the 2,900,000 articles at the English version of Wikipedia. The very small article creation rate of ~13 per day has been fairly steadily over the last three years. Sanger himself expected an exponential growth[2], as he stated on Oct 30, 2007:

The rate at which we have started new articles has actually tripled since January and doubled since July (the last 100 days). In mid-January, just when we "un-forked," we were adding just 4.3 articles per day; in mid-July, we were at 7; and by mid-October we reached 14. We have tripled our creation rate since January and doubled it since July.


Suppose that we continue to accelerate our growth. This is not unreasonable. The only question is how quickly we will accelerate. If we were to continue to triple our article count each year, then we would break 100,000 articles by 2010, and one million articles by 2012.

Suppose we merely double our article count every year. Then we'll still break 100,000 articles by 2011 and one million by 2015.

To put it simply, we aren't just growing; our growth is accelerating.

The year 2008 didn't show signs of an accelerated growth, but only the future will tell whether the project will, from here until eternity, muddle on creating 14 articles per day[2] as it was doing for the last two years.

Crank magnet

Citizendium's "expert" approval is just as much a double-edged sword as is Wikipedia's open editing policy. The major downside to Citizendium's approach is that they allow designated "experts" to take ownership of articles within their field. In some cases this is fine and combats the effect of Wikipedia's almost unguided editing causing articles to degrade, however it can be the case that people of very dubious qualifications can obtain such ownership with relatively little opposition. Thus, the method can effectively let supposed "experts" hijack pet articles and push their own POV, making the articles as uncritical as possible to the topic at hand.

For example, Citizendium's horrific piece on homeopathy,[3] which has been taken over by Dana Ullman, a long-known internet shill for pseudoscience who was banned from Wikipedia for disruptive advocacy.[4] Also, the article on chiropractic[5] is owned by D. Matt Innis, a practicing chiropractor and acupuncturist.

Both of these pseudoscience advocacy articles appear to be fully embraced by the Citizendium community. They are both marked as "approved" articles and the homeopathy article was even used in January 2009 as a "featured article" of the site.[6]

Some more examples of awful pro-pseudoscience articles:


The Scientology article is edited by at least two well known members of that organisation. On 1 May 2007, the article 'Scientology' was moved first to 'Scientology (the philosophy)' then finally to Church of Scientology. The word 'cult' was deleted as well as any mention of scientology being banned in a number of countries, and the term 'adherent' replaced with 'parishioners' by User:Terry E. Olsen. Olsen is the infamous usenet and wikipedia editor known as 'Terryeo'.[10][11] Shortly afterwards User:Steven Ferry joined Citizendium. Ferry has never declared his previous and active membership[12][13] of scientology to the project, prior to editing the article, and the targeted removal of criticisms.[14][15] Ferry was subsequently elected to the Citizendium Editorial Council unopposed in 2008,[16] leading to claims the project had been successfully infiltrated by the Church of Scientology.[17]

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