|This is a Citizendium help page|
|This help page is meant for help and guidance only. It can be edited by any Citizen and, whilst we try to ensure it is accurate, it may not fully represent current policy.|
|Further guidance can be found at the Editor Policy page.|
Editors are responsible for Citizendium content, not participant management (which constables handle). Editors, essentially, guide the crafting of articles and they approve articles. Editors may also be involved in governance, if they wish. Editors are also authors, so many write articles both inside and outside their area(s) of expertise.
Editors are expected to ensure that articles are accurate, objective, representative of different (important) views, balanced in representing those views, and sufficiently comprehensive as to be valuable encyclopedia articles. An editor who is a specialist on a given topic may thus make certain decisions about, and plan the articles on, that topic. Editors might, for example, list an article plan and guidance on issues at the top of an article's talk page, and should be willing to discuss questions on the Talk page. The best way to keep authors enthusiastic is to explain any editorial decisions clearly and politely, to be (reasonably) responsive to questions, and to be encouraging and constructive in advice and guidance.
Obviously, editors must share this responsibility with other editors; but if there is anyone who is a genuine specialist on the topic, then, within reason, the other editors defer to that editor on issues relevant to that particular expertise. Authors, too, defer to editors responsible for an article to which they contribute on such issues. But this does not mean that the editor may flout Citizendium guidelines with impunity, or that we support "local dictatorship"; we don't. Any author who feels that an editor is acting unreasonably (and any editor who believes that an author is being unreasonable) may refer the dispute to the Citizendium processes of dispute resolution.
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.
Editors can also approve articles. Approval involves identifying a particular version of the article from the page history--often, the most recent one--and nominating that version for approval on a certain date. As editor, you can do this single-handedly for articles in your workgroup(s), if you have not made any significant contribution to the article yourself. If you have contributed, then the article can only be approved either by a group of three editors including yourself, or else by another (uninvolved) editor. For instructions, see Approval Process. Your first time through, do ask for help--there are many people eager to help new editors with new approvals.
Editors may participate in two different sorts of governance bodies: Workgroups and the Editorial Council. Workgroups, when active, will set some policy and settle some content disputes with regard to articles in their care. The Editorial Council is broadly responsible for content policy.
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