Archive:Ombudsman Guidelines

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As Ombudsman, most of the complaints that I receive are that the rules of the project are not being enforced, or not consistently, or not in the way that the complainant would like. In these cases I look at the Charter for guidance, and while the margin for interpretation may be quite broad, the intent is clear, and that’s the basis of the advice that I give.

The Charter is very clear on the way that Citizens are expected to behave to each other : ”All Citizens shall be treated fairly and respectfully by other Citizens, Editors, and Officers of the Citizendium”.

The constables have the task of overseeing this: “The Constabulary shall enforce the Citizendium's rules of behavior as determined by the Management Council, which shall apply equally to all Citizens regardless of status or position, including Editors and those with official positions. “

And this is constrained by a requirement that they:

“shall act with reasonable pragmatism and leniency, and only in those situations where a behavioral dispute is clearly covered by existing rules. “

In some cases, the exercise of pragmatism and leniency has been stretched to a degree which conflicts with the expectation that the project shall operate a culture of mutual respect, tolerance and civility. We cannot allow bullying behaviour to continue on the project, and the constables have the clear authority to stop that, by banning persistent offenders.

The EC regulation on editorial qualifications makes it clear that editors are expected to be able to assess the quality of an article when it comes to Approval; it does not give them authority to dictate in matters of style and presentation, or indeed to demand anything of an author other than deferring to specific content decisions that are made within the bounds of their technical expertise.

CZ:Editor expresses the expectations of an editor thus:

“An editor should exert "authority" rarely. If an editor is also acting as an author on a particular article, then he or she should take care to exert authority only on issues where his or her professional expertise is clearly relevant. Many issues about articles are not relevant to an editor's specialist expertise. Some (e.g. citation styles, naming conventions etc.) may be determined by the workgroup policy. Others (including issues of presentation, writing style, level, and tone) should be settled if possible by discussion between the collaborating authors and editors as equals.“

The constables must ensure that authors can contribute without domineering oversight, and without being subject to offensive attack. They have to act fairly, and that means they have to treat all Citizens as equally deserving of respect when considering the facts of the matter; as enshrined in the Charter, the rules apply equally to everyone. If a constable’s decision is questioned, then it may be appealed to me, and I will follow the Charter and established rules of the project, and try to do so strictly objectively and regardless of status.