CZ:Proposals/Article Content Request help

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This proposal has been assigned on an ad hoc basis to the person or persons named just below, and is now in the Ad hoc proposals queue

This proposal will be approvable, with one caveat, by the contributors to this page, when the driver deems it ready to call for approval. If there is a controversy, and you contribute to this page, then you have a "vote." The caveat is that the final proposal must be posted to cz-editcouncil by an editor (feel free to send it to me when you're ready --LMS), so that the Council has a chance to review it and opt to vote on it (not likely). Also, rest assured I will not use a "veto" in this case; if I have to vote, my vote will count for one. --Larry Sanger (Proposals Manager pro tempore)

The basic proposal

(In a nutshell, this one is quick & easy)

Article Content Request should exist in order for authors to request article assistance on particular topics within a subject. This is not intended to be a request for editorial review, rather, it is a system devised to empower citizens to help out on subjects that they might know about. It is meant to spur activity and input from those who might have knowledge in a discipline.

Think of it as a "Classifieds" for content requests. Instead of posting a message on an article talk page and never receiving any response, CZ:ACR can aggregate these requests all in one place so it may be reviewed on a daily basis for those seeking technical, professional, expert, or advanced knowledge on a topic.


The system doesn't have to have a template, but it should be organized in such a way that specific requests can be grouped or classified.


A simple no-frills system, to represent a classifieds with visual appeal. Template:Request with two parameters, article= and request=.

See template for documentation.


I don't think it will help most people to say, "Please use this template if you are having technical problems." If they're having technical problems, they probably won't get templates.

I'm not sure what the problem here even is, and why a template should be thought to solve it.

I also wonder how this improves on CZ:Feedback Requests and CZ:Requested Articles, which aren't used very much. --Larry Sanger 14:30, 11 February 2008 (CST)

Feedback requests is for articles that are already developed, while they are on the road to approval. Requested articles are for articles that don't exist yet. This assists articles which have very little development, and creates an advertising space that might inspire someone to contribute to that subject. --Robert W King 14:34, 11 February 2008 (CST)
The distinction between this proposed page and CZ:Feedback requests seems too subtle to be worthwhile. Let's expand the mission of the feedback requests page if needed rather than creating a confusingly similar page. Is there any reason to separate feedback on developing pages from feedback on developed pages? Warren Schudy 19:58, 11 February 2008 (CST)

Not commenting on the actual template, there's a simple technical solution to make templates noob friendly. You create a special link that opens an edit window with the template and instructions preloaded, e.g.,:


1) where it says "article=", type the name of the article you want help with.

2) where it says "request=", type your request.

3) Click the "Save page button.


For example, see this, but particularly see it when you click the edit window here (l-o-o-o-o-o-ng URL!). Stephen Ewen 14:42, 11 February 2008 (CST)

Ah, here's what the URL looks like:

Stephen Ewen 14:47, 11 February 2008 (CST)

The template spends more than half of the vertical space on title and spacing, potentially leading to excessive scrolling. Firstly, could the template be revised to put the title on the same line as the request? Secondly, is there a good reason to use templates here? Warren Schudy 20:05, 11 February 2008 (CST)

I've got a few more reactions to this proposal. (1) There is no driver, next step, etc., listed. Without that, the proposal will not make it through the system. Aren't you volunteering to be the driver? (2) I agree, I simply don't see a need for a template here. I would strongly recommend that you simply get rid of the template. (3) The page should not include an acronym (for pity's sake) in the title; this directly violates a long-standing rule, in fact. (Obscure, no doubt, but still a rule.) (4) This is yet another community page, adding further complexity, when I'm not sure it really adds much to what is already available with feedback requests and requested articles. Actually, I would be more inclined to combine all such pages into a single page, something like CZ:Help Requests or CZ:Collaboration Requests. --Larry Sanger 21:06, 12 February 2008 (CST)

I think that you're addressing an important issue here - how to maximise the value of expertise by putting it in touch with motivated authors. I think that newcomers to Citizendium in particular might be encouraged to see calls for help in areas that they might feel they have something to add directly. So I'd suggest by whatever means, targeting these in some way with requests for assistance and involvement. Our current attempts in that direction are I think not well focussed - calls for particular articles are NOT good in my view, calls for support and assistance are, because of the implication of reciprocal involvement. Gareth Leng 04:39, 15 February 2008 (CST)
To address Larry's concerns, this isn't about content disputes, or article review, or article quality assurance. This is about engaging the community or "picking their brains" so to speak, which I think has real merit. It would certainly provide the capability for article quality and coverage to be increased. --Robert W King 10:36, 15 February 2008 (CST)

Hey Robert--you only addressed one of my concerns. I agree that you are attempting to solve a very important problem. I would put the problem you're trying to solve this way: how to engage recalcitrant contributors, and more specifically, how to get people who might be interested in helping with specific wiki tasks to do so.

All I see here fundamentally, however, is a page in which people can post, "I need help with this bit." I think it is perfectly obvious that this will not solve the problem. For one thing (just one), why think that the recalcitrant contributors will monitor the page?

Let's describe the solution more generally, and then see if we can come up with a more effective solution: what we need is a system to "get the word out" when help is needed, and effectively motivate people to supply the help. Making a wiki page will only go a small way to achieve that purpose. What could go farther?

If you are still going to maintain that a wiki page will solve the problem, then could you explain exactly how your page is different in purpose from CZ:Feedback Requests? Is it that you think there is an important difference between "feedback" and requests for content help? I don't think so. In any case, notice that the feedback requests page has been mildly helpful, but not very, it seems (gauging by "completed requests" section).

I would be inclined to change the title of "feedback requests" to "help requests," because I think it is just too confusing to add yet another help request-type page, when they aren't that useful (yet); remind people that the page is there and perhaps broadened slightly in scope; and see if we can get someone to maintain the page. It might also help if the page maintainer were to post the help requests to the relevant workgroup mailing lists: the problem is best given a "push"-type solution. --Larry Sanger 12:17, 15 February 2008 (CST)