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Citizendium is governed by rules set forth in its Charter. All Citizendium officials and councils 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, Constabulary.

Following is a brief description of Citizendium's instruments of governance.

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:


Constables (corporately identified as members of the Constabulary) maintain order in all online interactions between citizens occuring on Citizendium assets. They also manage the registration process and perform duties requiring sysop and bureaucrat permissions on the wiki. The Constables 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.

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 Managing Editor

The Managing Editor has duties and responsibilities specified in Article 36 of the charter. Specifically, the Managing Editor has the following duties:

  1. to ensure by means of executive decisions that the principles and policies of the Citizendium are effectively and coherently observed; such decisions shall be based on established policy where defined;
  2. to make interim decisions on behalf of the Citizendium Council when established policy does not provide guidance; these decisions shall be overridden by the establishment of relevant policy;
  3. to represent the Citizendium in its relations with external bodies, such as the mass media, and academic or non-academic institutions;
  4. to offer guidance on existing policy and its interpretation to help resolve disputes; to advise the Council; and settle disputes including imposing interim solutions pending relevant policy decisions. Throughout, the Managing Editor's guidance is expected to be in accord with the established principles and policies of Citizendium, and particularly with the Charter. The Managing Editor is available to mediate any dispute. The Managing Editor mediates a dispute when requested by all involved parties or when requested by the Chief Constable. Agreements worked out through mediation shall be binding but may be appealed.

Candidates for Managing Editor must be Editors. The post is directly elected by the community.


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, 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.

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