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CZ:Charter drafting committee/Position statements/Brian P. Long

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As I see it, the Charter should be a largely conservative document. The Charter should express the fundamental beliefs of the Citizendium community and the policy compromises that have been worked out since the establishment of the project. Where those policies are unclear or disputed (in the case of the neutrality policy, in particular), the drafters of the Charter should aim to find a reasonable compromise position. The most important reason for this conservatism is simply practical. It will be hard enough to find good formulations of Citizendium’s core values without trying to dramatically overhaul any of our procedures or principles. I’ve been involved with a number of Citizendium policy reforms since I’ve been here that stalled when the proposals became too grandiose and the conversations dragged on for too long. The best way to get the Citizendium Charter right is to limit the things it is trying to do. There are a few areas, however, where I believe conservatism would be misguided, and where the Charter could give Citizendium governance a much needed shove in the right direction. The Charter should clearly define the Editorial role and the role of the Editor-in-Chief. This should include a clear statement of the authority Editors have to make decisions about article content, the rights Authors have when dealing with Editors, and precisely those situations in which the Editor-in-Chief is empowered to overrule an Editor. It would be unrealistic to expect that the Charter will specify, in detail, all of the procedures for this, but a clear statement of principles on these issues is sorely needed. Furthermore, I believe that the Charter should lay the groundwork for the establishment of a Judicial Board (or perhaps even begin to implement one). We have (some) procedures in place for appealing the particular application of a rule, but we do not yet have a good way to make sure those rules are interpreted reasonably and consistently. As Larry has stated since the early days of the project, a Judicial Board is a necessary (and currently lacking) part of Citizendium governance. I think the Charter should also explain how policy proposals (particularly those that affect the entire community) are to be proposed and established, and the procedure by which amendments to the Charter can be made. Finally, I want to make clear that my emphasis on a narrowly-focused Citizendium Charter does not betray some Pollyanna-ish belief that the procedures we now have are great and that everything is going smoothly at Citizendium. We have a long way ahead of us, and a lot of governance problems to sort out. A clear, limited statement of our policies should help us to make progress in the future.
Nominees who have accepted
Nominee Link to position statement
Raymond Arritt statement
Robert Badgett statement
Martin Baldwin-Edwards statement
Howard C. Berkowitz statement
Stephen Ewen statement
Shamira Gelbman statement
D. Matt Innis statement
Meg Ireland statement
Russell D. Jones statement
Brian P. Long statement
Daniel Mietchen statement
Tom Morris statement
Joe Quick statement
Supten Sarbadhikari statement
Peter Schmitt statement
Anthony Sebastian statement
Drew R. Smith statement
Ro Thorpe statement
David E. Volk statement
Alexander Wiebel statement