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Citizendium is governed by rules set forth in its Charter. Its Council and all officials derive their authority from this document, which specifies the powers granted to each. The Charter also provides general guidance on matters such as the conduct of appeals as well as the frequency and nature of Citizendium elections. Citizendium's basic governance structure is defined in Article 24 of the Charter:

The Citizendium shall be devoted to transparent and fair governance with a minimum of bureaucracy. It shall have one governing council: the Citizendium Council, and two ancillary positions: Managing Editor, Moderator Group.

Following is a brief description of Citizendium's instruments of governance. See Personnel for staff lists.

The Citizendium Council

The Citizendium Council is responsible for the content, technical, legal, financial and behavioral aspects of Citizendium. The Charter provides specific details of these responsibilities and outlines how the Citizendium Council should manage them. The Citizendium Council issues rules in its areas of responsibility through passed motions.

The Citizendium Council authorizes subsidiary teams to implement its policies and ensure the wiki and other Citizendium computing assets operate properly. Its current members are:

The position of Managing Editor is currently vacant.

Managing Editor

The Managing Editor has duties and responsibilities specified in Article 36 of the Charter. In brief, the role involve making decisions that ensure that Citizendium's policies are observed, as well as interim decisions on behalf of the Council. Additionally, the Managing Editor acts as the public face of the project and helps to resolve content disputes.

Candidates for Managing Editor must be Editors, i.e. recognized experts. The post is directly elected by the community. The Managing Editor is also a member of the Council, according to a passed referendum.

Moderator Group

Moderators maintain order in all online interactions between Citizens occurring on Citizendium assets. They also manage the registration process and perform duties requiring sysop and bureaucrat permissions on the wiki. The Moderators are somewhat unusual in that they are specifically established by the Charter and some of their duties are set forth in Article 27, Article 33, Article 34, and Article 38. Other non-Moderators also have higher technical privileges for the purposes of performing maintenance, but have no role in site monitoring.

Technical Staff

Technical staff are responsible for ensuring all Citizendium computing assets operate properly. They perform routine system administration functions, fix software bugs, sometimes engage in software development on Citizendium's computing applications, and maintain Citizendium's servers.


The Treasurer is a Council-appointed position with the responsibility for Citizendium's finances. The holder also administers donations and can be tasked with various other duties. The post was created in 2011, and is currently held by Hayford Peirce.


Regularly scheduled elections are held once a year. Roughly half of the Citizendium Council seats are vacated on July 1 of every year. An election in June selects Citizens to fill these seats. All open seats are filled in regularly scheduled elections. In addition, if one or more Council seats becomes vacant within (roughly) 90 days after a regularly scheduled election, a special election is executed to fill those seats.

The results of past Citizendium elections are noted on the Elections page.

Previous governance

Citizendium was initially run by the Editor-in-Chief, Larry Sanger, with the help of volunteers. The first formal governance structure was an Editorial Council, which ultimately gave way to a two-Council governance structure once the Charter was established. Governance then comprised the Management and Editorial Councils, one for administrative matters and the other to oversee content. The first version of the Charter also separately set up the roles of Managing Editor and Ombudsman, the latter to decide disputes over articles. The Councils were merged into a single governing body, with the Managing Editor a non-voting member, in 2013. In 2014, the office of Ombudsman was abolished and its duties merged into the role of Managing Editor. In 2015, the Managing Editor became a voting member of the Council.

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