User:Hayford Peirce/Editorial Council Election Statement 2010

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  • I've been at CZ since May of 2007. I have a background as an English major in school and as a professional (and published) writer of fiction. I have a fairly broad knowledge of most items that fall under the "liberal arts" blanket but no particular expertise in any of them. Likewise I have an intelligent amateur's knowledge of a number of other things such as eating and drinking, tennis, baseball, Polynesian culture, and other trivial and useless items. For most of my career at CZ I've enjoyed creating articles, more or less at random, about these interests, and also making edits to and comments about articles created by others. Here are two that I've started in the last couple of days:
  • For more than a year and a half I was honored to have served as a Constable. Finally the general aggravation inherent with the post caught up with me and I abruptly resigned about six weeks ago.
  • In spite of my liberal arts background and lack of formal training in the hard sciences, I have a deep, deep appreciation of the "scientific method" and all that that implies when creating articles for CZ and judging them.
  • I am deeply skeptical about all non-mainstream pseudo-scientific and fringe beliefs and think that they should be treated at CZ with great rigor and from the point of view of mainstream scientific authority.
  • Consequently, if elected to the Editorial Council, I will make it my first order of business to try to redo the Workgroups completely. I would, for instance, try to completely eliminate the Healing Arts group, which has come to encompass things that it was not meant to when it was created four years ago during the first days of Citizendium. Does this mean that certain Editors such as those involved with the Homeopathy article would then no longer be Editors under the new Workgroups and would therefore no longer have veto power over certain articles as they now do? Yes, absolutely.
  • As you will see from the above paragraph, I believe deeply in the original CZ concept of "expertise". And I believe that it must now be applied to the number of fringe articles that have arisen over the years.
  • I have looked through the new Charter carefully and I see nothing in it to tell us how the decisions of the Editorial Council will be formulated and voted upon. Except that the Council will always operate within a quorum of the majority of its members. I myself am adamant that it should be firmly established that the Council should make any decision WITH A SIMPLE MAJORITY OF THE VOTING MEMBERS. Period. If four members vote for a proposal and three vote against it, the proposal is adopted -- and that's the end of it.
  • If elected to the Council, I will do my best to make sure that this Majority Rule is quickly instigated and then followed. If this policy is not adopted, I will then resign from the Council. Without Majority Rule, in my opinion, the Council will be useless and there would be no purpose in serving on it.
  • That said, I do pledge to take an active interest in the Council and to *always* be available for discussions of the issues brought before it -- and then to vote on those issues. And to fully support any decisions of the Council, whether or not I voted for them.
  • In other words, if you support my candidacy, you will not be choosing someone who will, like a number of those Citizens chosen a year ago to work on the Charter committee, simply vanish.

Are some of the statements above confrontational? Yes. But they also serve to tell you exactly where I stand on a number of the most important issues concerning Citizendium.

Addendum of October 7, 2010: There are a certain number of other Citizens who, to me, have agendas to push concerning what I consider to be "fringe" topics or pseudoscience. I have nothing against the inclusion of such topics as articles in Citizendium as long as they are not handled in a credulous manner—I strongly believe, in fact, that they should be here, in order to educate the curious and ill-informed. I do not, however, think that partisans of these, to me, strange beliefs, have any place on the councils of Citizendium, where their presence will only create discord and gridlock with the other members. I'm pretty sure that anyone who is a regular contributor to, or observer of, Citizendium can think of a number of Citizens who are firmly in what I think of as being the "fringe" camp. Some of their names appear on the list of nominees for the Editorial Council. I will now make it perfectly clear: if any of these people are elected to the Council, and I am as well, I shall refuse to accept my election and I shall refuse to serve on the Council. If, like me, you believe in the intellectual integrity of Citizendium, then I urge you to be extremely careful in your choice of candidates.