NOTICE: Citizendium is still being set up on its newer server, treat as a beta for now; please see here for more.
Citizendium - a community developing a quality comprehensive compendium of knowledge, online and free. Click here to join and contribute—free
CZ thanks our previous donors. Donate here. Treasurer's Financial Report -- Thanks to our content contributors. --

CZ:Proposals/Subgroups in addition to Workgroups?

From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
Jump to: navigation, search

This proposal has been assigned to the Editorial Council, and is now in the Editorial Council proposals queue.

The draft resolution is found at CZ:Editorial Council Resolution Subgroups‎. Note: this is only a draft and is not yet an official resolution.

The proposed policy is found at CZ:Proposals/Subgroups. It is a more current version too.

Discussion about this proposed policy is found at CZ Talk:Proposals/Subgroups in addition to Workgroups?

Driver: Chris Day


Subgroups can represent a subset of editors and authors from a workgroup with a niche interest, be a vehicle for collaboration between different workgroups, a navigation tool or all of these concepts.


The breadth of some workgroups is huge, so it makes sense to break them down into more natural subgroups. Within biology and engineering alone whole academic departments can be based on a subset of those workgroups disciplines, i.e. Botany.

There is also an interdisciplinary need for subgroups. Take a hypothetical subgroup called Biochemistry Subgroup, it should involve editors and authors from at least three different workgroups, Health Sciences, Biology and the Chemistry Workgroup.

A further advantage is that readers will be able to use the Subgroup categories to focus on articles in a particular discipline. An electrical engineer can first look at the Electrical Engineering Subgroup category. A military historian can first look at the Military History Subgroup category. A thermodynamics student can first look at the Thermodynamics Subgroup category. Those readers will find it harder to find specific articles somewhere amidst a great many articles in the Engineering category or the History category or the Chemistry category. Obviously related articles subpages will serve these readers better as they get tuned to citizendiums other navigation tools but as a first bite these Subgroup categories will serve as an effective corral for some topics.

The genesis of a subgroup

Workgroups are a collection of topic areas in citizendium that rarely change. To add a new workgroup requires top down approval. In contrast, the number and names of various subgroups should be more fluid within the limitation that one cluster can only be in up to three different subgroups (this will limit the narrowness of subgroups).

Who can start a subgroup?

Authors and editors can initiate any subgroup idea but it will be up to each workgroups editors to recognise and endorse "affiliated" subgroups. This is preferable to having to go as high as the editorial council, as with requests for new workgroups. This bottom up approach should encourage the creation of experimental subgroups and lead to fertile collaborations within citizendium.

Which subgroups are needed?

Editors decide which subgroups are relevant and will add the appropriate ones to their workgroup (see an explanation on how to use the A-D parameters below in section "How to start a Subgroup"). If editors from another workgroup feel there is an interdisciplinary connection, they too might consider adding their workgroup to the subgroup template. Subgroups may well come and go in a Darwinian manner depending on the various interests of editors and authors and whether it is affiliated with any workgroup.

How do we prevent redundancy?

We need a mechanism to prevent redundancy. i.e. we may not want two similar subgroups such as Protein Structure Subgroup and Macromolecule Structure Subgroup. At present this would probably be an informal process but could require a more formal process as the citizendium community grows.


The subgroup name will be added to the metadata of any article falling under the umbrella of that particular subgroup of authors. This idea is currently active and seen in the metadata template as the three fields of sub1, sub2 and sub3. These fields can be used to denote the affiliation of any article cluster; up to three different subgroups can be added per cluster. An example edit can be seen at the Chemical engineering article where the Category:Chemical Engineering Subgroup is being used as a pilot for this idea.

The subgroups home

The home for each subgroup will be at 'CZ:NAME subgroup' and there will be a 'Category:NAME subgroup' page that lists all the articles within the subgroup, where NAME is the desired subgroup name.

Each subgroup should also start a main article and move it towards approval. Once the main article is approved, the subgroup can seek affiliation with related workgroups.

How to start a subgroup

1) Create a template titled Template:NAME Subgroup.

2) Add the following to the template: {{Subgroup|NAME|A|B|C|D}}. A-D are four optional parameters that can be added by editors to affiliate their Workgroup with the subgroup.

Thus, Template:Chemical Engineering Subgroup has {{Subgroup|Chemical Engineering|Engineering|Chemistry}} in the body of the template.

ONLY EDITORS can endorse affiliation with workgroups and add them as A-D parameters to the Subgroup template (see next section).

3) The template {{NAME Subgroup}} should be placed at the top of the CZ home page for the subgroup and its talk page as well as each category in the subgroup. For example, our model subgroup currently has the following pages:

CZ:Chemical Engineering Subgroup
CZ talk:Chemical Engineering Subgroup
CZ:Chemical Engineering Subgroup/Affiliation
Category:Chemical Engineering Subgroup
Category:Chemical Engineering Approved
Category:Chemical Engineering Editors
Category:Chemical Engineering Authors
Category:Chemical Engineering tag

Any categories at the foot of a page and/or descriptive text for each page is automatically added based on the parameters A-D.

Affiliation with workgroups

Affiliation with a workgroup can be endorsed by active editors and can proceed after the Subgroups main article is approved.

Affiliation requires the approval of two active editors from each workgroup that is approached. This affiliation must be formalized by adding the workgroup name as one of the A-D parameters of the {{Subgroup}} template at 'Template:NAME Subgroup' (See previous section). The editors should document their endorsement of affiliation on the 'CZ:NAME subgroup/Affiliation' subpage.

If a Subgroup becomes redundant or inactive two editors from an affiliated workgroup can revoke the affiliation. This too should be documented on the 'CZ:NAME subgroup/Affiliation' subpage and the workgroup name removed from the {{Subgroup}} template at 'Template:NAME Subgroup'.

Any Subgroup that cannot find editors willing to endorse an affiliation with a workgroup, or any Subgroup that falls out of favor (a subgroup that formerly had affiliations with workgroups but currently has none) will be archived in cold storage. This can occur after a six month period with no affiliated workgroups. This process can be reversed, however, if active editors wish to revive the subgroup at a later date.

What is Cold Storage? Can it be linked?

How to navigate subgroup pages

The navigation bar at the top will lead one to all the relevant pages using standard hyperlinks.

Subgroup navigation.jpg

Each affiliated Workgroup is hyperlinked in the subpages navigation header and an affiliated workgroup category is placed at the foot of the CZ:Subgroup home (See an example of the affiliated subgroups category for the engineering workgroup at Category:Engineering Affiliated Subgroups). This type of category will be used to track all the subgroups that affiliate with any given workgroup.

How to customize subgroup headers

Each subgroup will have a grey coloured navigation bar by default. See the genetics example here. It is possible, however, to have a jazzy workgroup banner at the top IF there is an image at the location "Image:NAME banner.jpg" where NAME refers to the subgroup name. Below is an example for Chemical Engineering, see the banner insitu at the home page for the Chemical Engineering Subgroup.

Example of a Subgroup specific banner.

How to invite your colleagues

Authors and Editors can be added to a Subgroup by adding the appropriate category tags to their user page (either {{Category:NAME Editor}} or {{Category:NAME Author}}, where NAME refers to the subgroup name). Anyone can add themselves as an author, of course.

It should be noted that the editor label does not give special editorial rights outside their designated workgroup! It is merely to identify members of the subgroup that are editors in one or more workgroups. Note: there may well be clusters tagged in the Subgroups collection that a "subgroup editor" cannot recommend for approval.


Since the pilot Chemical Engineering Subgroup was initiated it has added 122 articles and 18 of them have been approved. A good many of those 122 articles include content that is overlapping with the Engineering, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences Workgroups demonstrating the potential for interdisciplinary collaborations within the environment of a Subgroup.


Moved to Discussion Page

Proposals System Navigation (advanced users only)

Proposal lists (some planned pages are still blank):