User:Daniel Mietchen/PR-2010-013

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As mentioned on the forums, I think the current phrasing of the motion PR-2010-013 of the Editorial Council is problematic. Judging from feedback received so far, the best way to address these issues seems to be to submit an alternatively phrased motion and to see what support it can get in a formal vote of the council.
Feel free to edit this page, but please leave the "Original phrasing" section as it is.

Importation of articles

Original phrasing

The importation of articles copied from other sources, in particular from other Internet encylopedias such as Wikipedia, is not allowed.

The only exceptions to this general rule are

  • articles written originally almost entirely by the Citizen who imports them and who, in addition, is also an active contributor, and
  • specific articles that are explicitly accepted by the Editorial Council.

Remark:
Of course, any available source—including Wikipedia—may be used in a professional manner to find information and inspiration.

Revised phrasing (1)

Articles originating from other sources are not allowed to be imported into Citizendium's main namespace without having been adapted to Citizendium's formatting and style, taking copyright and article quality into consideration.

Remark:
Existing External Articles that do not fit Citizendium's formatting and style by [Date to be specified], shall be deleted. Those that do fit them shall be reclassified according to the Article status scheme. Following that, the status External Article shall be deprecated.

Revised phrasing (2)

High-quality articles originating from suitably licensed sources can be imported into Citizendium. Placement in the main namespace requires that the formatting, narrative and style have been adapted to Citizendium's standards.

Remark 1:
Existing External Articles that do not fit Citizendium's standards on formatting, narrative and style by [Date to be specified], shall be deleted. Those that do fit them shall be reclassified according to the Article status scheme. Following that, the status External Article shall be deprecated.

Remark 2:
As per existing policy, Editors always have the right to request deletion of low-quality content, and Constables have the right to delete entries that do not fit otherwise.

Revised phrasing (3)

High-quality content originating from suitably licensed sources that have been created or vetted by experts can be imported into Citizendium. Placement in the main namespace requires that the formatting and style have been adapted to Citizendium's standards and that the content is suitably interlinked with other Citizendium content.

Remark 1:
Existing External Articles that do not fit Citizendium's formatting and style by [Date to be specified], shall be deleted. Those that do fit them shall be reclassified according to the Article status scheme. Following that, the status External Article shall be deprecated.

Remark 2:
As per existing policy, Editors always have the right to request deletion of low-quality content, and Constables have the right to delete entries that do not fit otherwise.

Revised phrasing (4)

The importation of verbal content from other sources is not allowed.

The only exceptions to this general rule are

  • High-quality content originating from suitably licensed sources that have been created or vetted by experts,
  • articles originally written entirely or almost entirely by the Citizen who imports them, and
  • specific articles that are explicitly accepted by the Editorial Council.

Remark 1:
Placement of such imported content in the main namespace requires that the formatting and style have been adapted to Citizendium's standards and that the content is suitably interlinked with other Citizendium content. Failing that, they may be subject to deletion.

Remark 2:
Existing External Articles that do not fit Citizendium's formatting and style by [Date to be specified], shall be deleted. Those that do fit them shall be reclassified according to the Article status scheme. Following that, the status External Article shall be deprecated.

Remark 3:
As per existing policy, Editors always have the right to request deletion of low-quality content, and Constables have the right to delete entries that do not fit otherwise.

Revised phrasing (5)

High-quality content originating from suitably licensed sources, content that has been created or vetted by experts, may be imported into Citizendium's main namespace, but only after its formatting and style has been adapted to Citizendium's standards and the content has been suitably interlinked with other Citizendium content by at least one Editor in one of the appropriate Workgroups.

Remark 1:
Candidate content may be imported into an importers sandbox for the purpose of readying it for transfer to Citizendium's main namespace.

The current phrasing does not say that we cannot copy-and-paste all or part of a WP into a personal sandbox ... and re-work it in that sandbox before using it in a main article namspace. I do that quite often ... altho, in many (but not all) cases, the articles I re-work in my sandbox are those that I created and/or was a chief contributor in WP. Therefore, I don't think this re-phrasing is necessary. Milton Beychok 06:28, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Remark 2:
Existing External Articles that do not fit Citizendium's formatting and style by [Date to be specified], shall be deleted. Those that do fit them shall be reclassified according to the Article status scheme. Following that, the status External Article shall be deprecated.

I re-read this re-phrasing about 3 times before it became evident that you were not talking about the External Links subpage. I think this re-phrasing should be re-worded to emphasize that you are talking about the status classification 4 (the "External Articles" status) in the Metadata template. Other than that, I agree that status 4 articles that have not been significantly re-worked should be deleted as soon as possible. Milton Beychok 06:28, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Remark 3:
As per existing policy, Editors always have the right to request deletion of low-quality content, and Constables have the right to delete entries that do not fit otherwise.

Revised phrasing (6)

The import of content from other sources into the Citizendium's main namespace requires the following conditions to be met:

  1. The source of the import must be licensed compatibly with Citizendium.
  2. The source has either been created or vetted by at least one expert.

Remark 1:
An expert here is understood as a person meeting at least the subject-matter expertise requirements for Citizendium Editorship for the topic at hand. In practice, this would mean that basically all peer-reviewed scholarly articles would qualify under condition 2, whereas imports from other sources (e.g. the English Wikipedia) would have to be supported by at least one relevant Editor or - failing that - the Managing Editor or the Editorial Council.

Remark 2:
Placement of such imported content in the main namespace requires that the formatting and style have been adapted to Citizendium's standards and that the content is suitably interlinked with other Citizendium content. Failing that, they may be subject to deletion.

Remark 3:
Existing External Articles that do not fit Citizendium's formatting and style by [Date to be specified], shall be deleted. Those that do fit them shall be reclassified according to the Article status scheme. Following that, the status External Article shall be deprecated.

Remark 4:
As per existing policy, editors always have the right to request deletion of low-quality content, and Constables have the right to delete entries that do not fit otherwise.

Can we not do now what the revised phrasing would allow?

For example, does it qualify as an 'import' if I take a PLoS article into my word processor, put it into CZ format/style, add content as new information or as elaborations of the content already there, perhaps rearrange the narrative sequence, eliminate some of the original content, add new references, add editorial comments, perhaps add new images, create a related articles section and a bibliography section — then added it to CZ as a new article?

I would not consider it an import, even if most of the original sentences were retained.

Anthony.Sebastian 16:34, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

The implementation of an idea of an "article", other than Wikipedia, is a good question. To develop our Internet protocols area, for example, one approach may be starting with peer-reviewed, stable, public domain specifications of the Internet Engineering Task Force. The specifications are absolutely not in encyclopedic form, although some are more user-friendly than others. I would not dream of using the more complex specifications as a whole, but, in a CZ article, I might link. Nevertheless, when writing Routing Information Protocol, for example, I see little reason to rewrite well-written parts, but instead supplement with graphics and explanations. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:32, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
You asked me for my comments. I have not been active here the last year or two, in large part because my original intention was to edit simultaneously in Wikipedia and Citizendium , and the copyright problems made this impossible. Now that this is no longer a hindrance, I find this problem, and I think it a really drastic mistake.
A considerable portion of Wikipedia content is usable in Citizendium with only format alterations. There are of course a variety of differences in tone and approach as well, but adjusting this is enormously easier than writing from scratch. At least, it certainly would be for me, and I probably would resume my original intention if it becomes possible. I have some comments, though:
1. Why are you so concerned about the differences? Obviously we would not want here the junk that is in much of Wikipedia, but the bulk of it is not junk, just undeveloped.
2. What format changes are actually necessary? Just removing the links that don't exist and the special features (both the good ones and the confusing ones) that are not supported? The hardest part for me at least will be reimporting the illustrations, but that can be deferred.
3. The existing Wikipedia articles were imported some considerable time ago, and are mostly improved now in Wikipedia--sometimes very much. The first thing to do with them would be to examine the changes and--in most cases--re-import. But this cannot be done without considerable work, and it cannot be completed by Feb 28 unless someone commits to it almost full time. I'm willing to do a share, but definitely not all of it, and I cannot work to that sort of deadline. They've been here a few years--there's time to fix them (some cannot be fixed, or aren't worth fixing, of course, but most of them probably are usable.)
4. I compare this decision with the decision not to make use of Wikipedia articles initially as the backup. I thought then, and I still think, that this was one of the major cause of the slow acceptance of Citizendium -- an encyclopedia by definition needs what I can best call an encyclopedic body of material—enough that users have reason to think they'll find what they want when they go there. I care, because I think it's important that Citizendium be a success--even if only because Wikipedia needs some serious competition to drive improvement. The best way of getting enough is now, as it was then, to take and improve articles from other sources. DavidGoodman 05:39, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, David. Whether writing from scratch is easier than adapting some existing text depends on a number of things, including the quality of the existing text and the knowledge of the writer about the topic covered therein. My main concerns with the current phrasing of this EC decision are not with importing from Wikipedia or any other specific site, but with the side effect that even suitably licensed high-quality content published anywhere else is basically banned from being brought here.
Ad 1: Not sure exactly what you have in mind there with being "concerned about the differences", but if there were no differences between the two projects, there is no purpose in having both. The chunk of Wikipedia that covers topics for which expertise can readily be defined could in principle be of interest to Citizendium, and it is both larger than the current Citizendium and much smaller than the current Wikipedia. Plus, there is a whole lot of other openly licensed material out there that has passed some expert review.
Ad 2: Good question, and the way to a good answer is a long and wounded one. As for images, things like InstantCommons could facilitate that, along with some bots.
Ad 3: Existing Category:External Articles are supposed to be virtually free of improvements since their import. So there basically are no changes to be examined (other than formatting, but often even not these), and the decision to delete/ re-import/ start from scratch can in principle be made right away. Articles that have been worked on have been integrated into the CZ article status system, and should have received the WP credit line. The date stated above is just an indication that a data should be there in the revised motion. I am fine with any other date over the next few months.
Ad 4: You mean a configuration by which a search would lead the user to a CZ article if there is one, and to a WP article otherwise? I am not generally opposed to such a system, but I have not been part in those early discussions, and I would prefer to extend the system to point to whatever free resource that covers the topic best, so not just using Wikipedia as a backup.
--Daniel Mietchen 23:54, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
If any change ever gets made here that will permit use of the material, let me know, Is these another appropriate place for discussion? DavidGoodman 22:55, 8 March 2011 (UTC)