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CZ:Managing Editor/2012/005 - Importing external articles: Step One

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Statement of the problem

In regard to the June 2012 passage of Referendum #2, CZ:Elections June 2012/Referenda/2, which rescinded the Editorial Council’s restrictions on the importation of articles from other sources to Citizendium (Editorial Council Resolution R-2010-013), it is noted that:

  • the referendum specifies a 30-day 'probationary' period for meeting certain conditions before an imported article can be retained;
  • no specification is made as to the location in Citizendium where an imported article is to reside during that 'probationary' period, though the wording of the referendum might be interpreted as the location will be main namespace.

Existing applicable policy


  • 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 Editorial and Management Councils 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.

Number 2 applies in this decision.

Decisions by the governing bodies

Editorial Council

No decision about the problem as stated above has been made, nor is currently being discussed actively.

Draft decision

The text below is what I plan to decide in this case. Feel free to edit the text if you think this improves it. If your edits require discussion, please use the dedicated section below: Discussion of draft decision. Editing and discussion in this "Draft decision" section shall stop 24h after my last edit to it.

In regard to importing an external article into Citizendium, the imported article will first be imported into a subpage of the importer’s user page.

  • The importer will specify on that subpage that it is available for Citizens to work on.
  • The imported article must have the 'Editable user page category (markup: [[Category:Editable user pages]]) listed among the categories list at the bottom of the page.
  • Further notification of the imported article's availability for improvement editing will be made through contact by the Approval Manager to the members of the pertinent Workgroups and through announcement on the Citizendium-L mailing list.
  • Because the imported article resides off the main namespace and off the radar to search engines, this decision extends the time of the probationary period until no substantive work on it has been done by the importer or other users for 12 months, whereupon, if not eligible to be tansferred to main namespace, it will be removed.
  • The subpages needed when the imported article moves to main namespace (Bibliography, External Links, etc.) are to be temporarily made subheadings of the worked-upon article in userspace.
  • The article will be eligible for relocation to main namespace when upon request to the Approval Manager, the Approval Manager finds the article substantially improved. The Approval Manager must request and receive an okay from the appropriate governing body before relocation can be implemented.
  • The external source of the article, its title, and the date-time of the import will be registered by the importer on the page: CZ:Imported article registration.

Intent of this decision

The intent of this decision is to eliminate the possibility that one or many inferior, and only partially worked-upon external articles appear as Main Articles before having met the improvement conditions stated in the referendum and amplified and exemplified by Editorial Council decision, or by whatever appropriate governing body, or by an additional Managing Editor decision.

Some members might import multiple external articles, thinking they have time to upgrade them, while some might come from inappropriate sources, others unsatisfactorily worked on.

In time there might be many Main Articles at any one time that CZ would not be proud to show.

Another, important, reason for first importing to the importer's userspace: to make sure that the imported article meets all of the reuse license requirements, including required attribution, before moving to main namespace. Articles imported directly as a Main Article that fail to meet reuse license requirements renders Citizendium vulnerable to censure and possibly legal action, not to mention public criticism.

Another, important, reason for first importing to the importer's userspace: inasmuch as the imported articles will remain in the importers’ userspace until eligible for relocation as a Main Article, this decision serves Editorial quality control.

Discussion of draft decision

As a particular exception to the above rules, where an author on CZ has written the article themselves but on another site such as Wikipedia, the article can be imported to CZ with proper notification of its original posting, viz a Talk page alert as to its source and (where applicable) a template on its main page indicating its source. John R. Brews 00:03, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Good point, John. Will incorporate. Anthony.Sebastian 03:57, 31 July 2013 (UTC)