CZ:Workgroup Weeks/Endorsement Letter Template

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The following (below the line) is a template letter that could be sent to major academic departments and academic/professional organizations, introducing ourselves and asking for some sort of endorsement--i.e., asking them to ask their colleagues and members to participate on the week, or simply for a quote saying that the week sounds like a good idea.

Replace "XYZ" with the workgroup name ("Biology" or "Philosophy"), then place the resulting document, where the workgroup members can edit it however they find suitable, at: CZ:XYZ Workgroup/XYZ Week/Endorsement Letter


Dear ________,

I am writing on behalf of the Citizendium project (http://www.citizendium.org/), a free, expert-guided collaborative online encyclopedia project. I have a very small request of you, but first let me give you a little background.

You could think of us Citizendium as an attempt to create a more reliable and authoritative version of Wikipedia: unlike that project, we are devoted to genuine expert reliability and we require contributors to use their own names. We are young (a little over a year old) but we have already created over 6 million words in over 6,500 articles, and we're growing nicely. The project was founded by Dr. Larry Sanger, a philosopher who co-founded Wikipedia and who has since become something of a critic of it, his own brainchild.

We are now preparing to expand our XYZ offerings, by offering an "open house" for X-ologists. From [date] to [date], we will be holding XYZ Week, an event we intend to publicize far and wide in the XYZ community. During that week, we will try to get as many X-ologists as possible to join the project. This will be an opportunity for X-ologists to come together to support a project that we believe is badly needed. This event will help raise the profile of Citizendium among X-ologists. It will also help introduce X-ologists into the brave new world of online wiki collaboration, and give them an opportunity to widely share their knowledge.

To implement this event we have a small request to make from you. We are asking for a sentence or two from you encouraging your colleagues to join the project and show up online for XYZ Week. You could offer it either in your own name as an individual X-ologist, or as a representative of [name of department, organization, etc.]. We would use your endorsement in materials that we are using to announce XYZ Week to X-ologists. Indeed, if X-ologists see your further encouragement to support Citizendium by you yourself showing up online for XYZ Week, they will be more likely to sign up themselves.

You can learn more about Citizendium at http://en.citizendium.org, which will take you to the Main Page that has a link to the XYZ Workgroup page, and from there to the articles in progress and to the list of Core for which we need contributors. Learn more about the project at http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:About and an explanation of why the project is necessary is at http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:Why_Citizendium%3F

Please consider emailing your sentence or two to your colleagues, individually or through a distribution list. If you wanted you could simply forward this message to them, saying something like this:

I have checked out Citizendium and it appears to be a worthwhile educational project. I would encourage you to check it out for yourself and consider showing up online during XYZ and sharing some of your knowledge.

We feel a small expression of support from you, or from [name of department, organization, etc.], could help us build our XYZ offerings (currently viewable at http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Category:XYZ_Workgroup) into a first-rate knowledge resource.

Best regards,

[signature]