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Forum Talk:Competitors and Press

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Competitors and Press
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Discussion about anything regarding Citizendium's competitors and any press coverage about or affecting Citizendium

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Larry Sanger interview

Citizendium founder Larry Sanger was interviewed via YouTube for Collegefeed a few months ago. He briefly discusses CZ and its origins in this part. He attributes CZ's situation to being "too similar to Wikipedia" and that a lot of early users left because "Wikipedia was happening and Citizendium wasn't yet". In other parts of the video, he talks about the origins of Wikipedia and InfoBitt. John Stephenson 19:47, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Another interview is here (about Wikipedia, experts and InfoBitt; interview in English with Greek subtitles). John Stephenson (talk) 13:26, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Article on perceived credibility of on-line encyclopedias (inc. CZ)

Research by Andrew J. Flanagin and Miriam J. Metzger published in the Information, Communication & Society journal in 2011 used Citizendium alongside Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica to investigate the perceived credibility of on-line information among children and adults. The abstract states that children rated Wikipedia as less believable than either Encyclopædia Britannica or Citizendium, but did so regardless of the content (because they did the same when Wikipedia information was presented as though it came from Encyclopædia Britannica). Unfortunately, the full article is behind a paywall and I can't access it. John Stephenson 16:52, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

We must be networked into it: I had no difficulty accessing it. The authors haven't done their homework properly: "entries are in turn confirmed by experts prior to being posted on the site". The research is based on two sample topics, global warming and homeopathy. Our article on the latter was approved, but not by the usual procedure; instead the Editorial Council approved it on the recommendation of a single Editor, who had contributed to it. The former article here isn't approved. It looks from this as if their conclusions shouldn't be taken too seriously as far as CZ is concerned. Peter Jackson 11:36, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
That does raise a practical issue, though: if even educated people who're actually using the site think that, do we need a clearer and/or more prominent disclaimer template?
I don't suppose we'd get very far suggesting to the expert community that if they're going to get the blame for CZ content they'd better do something about it. Peter Jackson 17:55, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
Alternative download linkPradyumna Singh 05:17, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

And another thing

while we're on this forum. A group of senior WP editors have got together to go on strike every Monday (How many peopel will notice?) in protest against the way WMF and JW are running the site. I haven't managed to get a very specific idea of what they're protesting against, but the general idea seems to be that the PTB side with admins and readers against the people who actually write the encyclopaedia. Peter Jackson 09:44, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

"PTB" ? The war over there revolves around the Manchester mafia, Eric Corbett, Simon Tushingham @"Sitush", 3 or 4 admins etc. who've been regularly accused of paid editing but have now fallen out with JW / WMF over the introduction of the new editing software platforms for which Lila Tretikov was inducted. These platforms will expose MM's business, so their bitter opposition now to JW.Pradyumna Singh 13:11, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

Powers That Be. Peter Jackson 11:51, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Peter, I was trying to work out how Pass the buck would fit into that round hole.Pradyumna Singh 01:57, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Some folks here would be interested in this Sock puppetry by an admin (and WMF's first employee) which sets the scene for the strikers.Pradyumna Singh 02:04, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

The Case is over on Wikipedia, with a highly controversial decision Wikipedia is amazing. But it’s become a rancorous, sexist, elitist, stupidly bureaucratic mess - slate.com Pradyumna Singh (talk) 09:40, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

And note that Eric only just escaped a ban, on a tied vote. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:55, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Newsweek: Manipulating Wikipedia

Manipulating Wikipedia to Promote a Bogus Business School

So this isn't just a question of obscure Wikipedian politics. It's a tale that demonstrates how Wikipedia can be cynically manipulated by companies, and how the credibility of the website is, especially in the developing world, a powerful and potentially dangerous tool. Pradyumna Singh (talk) 17:59, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Not peculiar to business. All sorts of political and religious factions have been manipulating it all along. WP's system and culture aren't all that good at dealing with it. Peter Jackson (talk) 09:24, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
I see some editors discussing this on WP say there are two large "chains" of such establishments in India and each has been paying people to manipulate WP in their favour and against their rival. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:38, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Google's 'truth rankings'

Google appear to be moving away from search results based mainly on link popularity, in favour of sites that contain information that is verified via their 'Knowledge Vault', i.e. an automatically-generated database. John Stephenson (talk) 22:15, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

The explanation there isn't very clear, but it looks like they're replacing number of sites linking to something with number of sites agreeing with something as their criterion. I wonder how many sites simply take their "information" from WP. If most do the change wouldn't make much difference. Peter Jackson (talk) 08:50, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Article on the "impossible trinity of information" and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

This article on Quartz.com compares various different ways of providing knowledge and argues that only the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has been able to present authoritative, comprehensive and up-to-date information (the "impossible trinity"). It compares the expert-run SEP to Wikipedia and Quora, among others (and argues that Quora tops Wikipedia, interestingly enough). However, the article also points out that similar projects for fields that move faster than philosophy have failed, and that the SEP is financially backed by Stanford (although they only pay three people). Experts are interviewed and explain why they contribute. John Stephenson (talk) 11:51, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

Interesting comparison between a CZ and WP image

"it's clear that the image (on Wikipedia) is not a good one of the painting, as can be judged by the one provided by Citizendium, Wikipedia's competitor."

link to article Pradyumna Singh (talk) 18:27, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia bans the Daily Mail

Wikipedians are removing links to the Daily Mail from their articles following this discussion. (Those of you who aren't familiar with the Daily Mail... well done.) The tabloid is no longer considered a reliable source.

Could we ever justify such a ban? We currently have 19 articles that link to the Daily Mail, including on some controversial topics. Wouldn't it just be an admission that our sourcing guidelines don't work? John Stephenson (talk) 19:33, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes, I noticed that discussion a little while back. Their RS criteria are rather vague and subject to endless argument and manipulation. It's certainly been alleged that they have a left-wing bias in assessment of reliability of news sources. How would one judge that objectively? Someone once told me the criteria were originally drafted by WMF lawyers for BLP and then mindlessly (or lazily) applied to everything else. In particular, as I pointed out, it's strange that a reputation for fact-checking is a requirement for citation of opinions.
Neither the page you link to nor the one that links to gives any definition of RS. The reason, no doubt, is the theoretical CZ model of expert approval, which should obviate the need. Maybe we should have something. One possibility I suggested years ago was an extension of our concept of Editor. If a source is written or edited by someone who'd qualify as an Editor here, it would count as reliable.
Actually, of course, there's no such thing as a reliable source, except maybe extremely specialized. There are mistakes in perfectly reputable sources like EB.
I wonder whether DM will report this itself, and if so in what terms. Peter Jackson (talk) 09:48, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, the guidelines are brief because it was assumed that there would be a significant number of Editors who would be able to determine what was reliable. I think it's problematic that it states that references are not required for information that is "common knowledge among experts" because something may not be at all obvious to a lay reader. It may be better to restrict this to "common knowledge" among the general public, although it is not clear what this means either. John Stephenson (talk) 14:29, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
It says this is following the practice of print encyclopaedias, which is indeed not to give references for most things. Would an expert-approved article here be any less trustworthy in that respect than that? That is, do editors of print encyclopaedias simply ask recommended experts to write articles, or do they also have those articles peer-reviewed by other experts? I suspect the former.
How much is actually "common knowledge" among the general public? And how much of that is actually true (according to experts)? Peter Jackson (talk) 15:45, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
I suggest that we try to provide references for all assertions, however common the knowledge they might appear. Some may consider that to be overdocumentation, but in my opinion that is preferable to underdocumentation, especially for the truly curious undergraduate or high school student unfamiliar with what we are calling common knowledge. Anthony.Sebastian (talk) 00:57, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
In practical terms there's a lot to be said for that. The main reason we don't do that, I think, is that in theory our articles are in preparation for Editor approval, and so are supposed to approach the form they'd have then. Trying to do the same as Wikipedia, but better, might be an alternative, as you suggest. Peter Jackson (talk) 14:06, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
One possibility might be to use the subpage system to have two versions of an article, one trying to meet approval standards and one more like WP.
Bear in mind that the WP concept of verifiability is really a fraud. One might, at least in principle, verify that an RS says something, but one can't verify that there aren't loads of others disagreeing. Peter Jackson (talk) 09:58, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
Sourceabilty would affect the way we write things. Summaries would often be more difficult. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:00, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Since we do not have a superfluity of Editors, what Peter says above about why "in theory" we do not reference all assertions does not apply at the present time. Which brings me back to the suggestion of over-documentation. Anthony.Sebastian (talk) 21:39, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

If you want to make a definite proposal, it should go in a different forum. You'd need to specify more exactly.
  1. Are you just proposing adding references where available?
  2. Or are you proposing including only sourced statements in articles? In this latter case
    1. would it be necessary to find a single source for each statement
    2. or would it be permissible to combine statements from different sources (which isn't usually allowed on WP)? Peter Jackson (talk) 10:55, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

Further discussion of the original topic at [1]. Peter Jackson (talk) 16:01, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

An interesting issue arises in that discussion. It would seem DM has relied to WP, at least online. However, the WP discussion can't link to the reply because it outs a WP editor, and WP rules forbid that. So what happens if a reliable source does so? It would seem that WP cannot cite such a source, and therefore cannot mention any facts therein unless they can find another source. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:11, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

JW on "our biggest difficulty with our decision-making processes"

[2]. Peter Jackson (talk) 18:16, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Ah, a link to an opinion from Jimbo Wales...
The way I see it, Wales is like the the first President of a newly independent country. Founding Presidents seem to be surrounded by yes-men and fan-boy/fan-girls. Those yes-men and fans seem to tempt the founding President with flattery; tell him or her,
"You are a genius! It is only through your prescient vision that the nation was founded! Your goals haven't been fully achieved yet, so why don't you cancel the elections to pick your successor? Let us make you the President-For-Life? it's the only way to achieve your vision!"
George Washington and Nelson Mandela had the moral strength to resist the flattery of their fans, and resist the temptation of allowing themselves to be appointed President-For-Life. Other Founding Presidents, like Robert Mugabe, did suspend the electoral process.
I see Jimbo Wales as having followed the Robert Mugabe model. I believe he has been a huge danger to the wikipedia. Washington, and Mandela, not only didn't interfere with the elections of their successors, they also were careful not to make their successors jobs more difficult, by weighing in on current issues. George Swan (talk) 02:56, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

Mugabe has never been declared President for Life. In fact he wasn't the country's first president: that honour belonged to Comrade the Reverend His Excellency President Canaan Banana (honestly, not an April Fool; that was his official title). Mugabe simply rigs the election and/or terrorizes the opposition any time he looks like losing.

JW has, in theory, certain reserve powers, like the Queen, but in practice never uses them, hasn't for years, and says he doesn't expect ever to do so. Certainly he does express opinions from time to time, and these are treated with respect, maybe too much as you say.

In this case, though, I'm citing something he said against WP. It's a long-standing rule of evidence that things people say against themselves are particularly worthy of credence. Peter Jackson (talk) 14:36, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

Wikitribune

Jimmy Wales has announced 'Wikitribune', a news service in which professional journalists will write stories which are fact-checked and kept neutral by a volunteer community. Financial supporters determine the topics that are covered. Edits are approved by trusted reviewers. (This is what various news articles are saying; perhaps this isn't the final model.)

I've noticed a few comments pointing out that ironically this is more like Citizendium. However, I don't think Wikitribune is going to require real, verified identities for everyone, and furthermore we neither pay anyone to edit nor grant donors the right to a say over what gets published. John Stephenson (talk) 10:11, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Well, it's similar in having two different types of contributors: "proper" journalists and amateurs. Like our Editors and Authors to some extent. The impression I got from his interview on Today was that the details of the collaboration system have yet to be worked out. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:33, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
The contributor groups appear to be swapped around: professionals actually write the articles, but volunteers fact-check them, neutralise the language, fix typos and update the material as necessary. I'm not sure how many professionals would want non-journalists going all over their work. Still, Wales has recruited three of his target ten journalists with 27 days to go. John Stephenson (talk) 11:49, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Well, it may be interesting to see whether they can come up with something better than WP's inadequate procedures for ensuring neutrality. Peter Jackson (talk) 17:17, 27 April 2017 (UTC)