- 1 Why is another online encyclopedia necessary?
- 2 What is Citizendium trying to achieve?
- 3 I don't see myself as an expert. Can I still participate?
- 4 I live outside the U.S. and my native language isn't English. Is there a role for me?
- 5 What progress has occurred so far?
- 6 Will someone else profit from my contributions?
- 7 Will I be paid for my contributions?
- 8 Why do you ask for donations on the front page?
- 9 How can I find out more about your contributors?
- 10 What is expected of Authors?
- 11 What do Editors do?
- 12 Where can I find out more?
Why is another online encyclopedia necessary?
The world needs a trustworthy free encyclopedia. We aim to create that by providing a responsibly governed global community where real-named contributors work under expert guidance and all are accountable.
What is Citizendium trying to achieve?
Our goal is to capture the full range of humanity's various understandings and knowledge of reality, and thereby to paint a maximally broad and detailed portrait of our universe as accurately as living humans understand it. We also expect our approved articles to be, in the long run, as authoritative, error-free, and well-written as encyclopedia articles are expected to be. We believe that an indispensable means to this end is the involvement of many levels of experts who will not only write, but also help guide and, ultimately, approve many of our articles.
We have already added thousands of articles, and hope to grow to hundreds of thousands of articles within the near future, and millions after that. This is not the traditional goal of paper-and-print encyclopedias, which have typically sought to offer only mainstream views of the most important aspects of a small number of important topics. Cheap disk space and bandwidth, and the potential of participation by ultimately millions of people, means that we can capture humanity's understanding of reality with far more nuance and detail. Quantity, alone is useless, however, without the trust that comes with high quality, reliable content.
A new sort of online community
We welcome experts as well as the general public; we will be built not by top-down orders but as and where contributors wish to work; and we will be organized as a genuine republic of letters governed by a rule of law. There will be no "dictators," but a regularly changing group of people tasked to manage a public trust in conformity with a relatively stable code of rules. It also means that we will have very little tolerance for the sort of immature disruption and abuse that plagues so many other Internet communities.
I don't see myself as an expert. Can I still participate?
While we need the involvement of many expert editors (some have explained why they're involved), most of our contributors are "authors," not editors, and the majority do not have terminal academic degrees. We're a public project guided by experts. But there are many levels of expertise, and even more levels of knowledgeable participation. To get involved, register as an author. You can also contribute your thoughts to the project forums and receive important announcements by joining Citizendium-L. Editor applicants additionally provide a CV and proof of bona fides, although many get involved as authors right away. For more information on editor applications, again, see our registration page.
I live outside the U.S. and my native language isn't English. Is there a role for me?
- See also: CZ:International
While we have launched only in the English language, this is a digital and international project, with active participants from all around the world. There is no central office; the editor-in-chief is in Ohio, our five servers and technical manager are in Chicago, and our current umbrella organization, the Tides Center, is in San Francisco. If the English language project appears to work well, we will launch in a number of other languages.
What progress has occurred so far?
We first announced plans for this project on September 15, 2006. Our pilot project got underway in early November 2006, and we entered a "beta" phase, inviting public viewing and participation, in late March 2007. While still a private pilot project, we gained over 180 expert editors and over 800 authors, who together created or began revising over 1,100 articles. Since then, we have grown to over [[Category:CZ Live|Template:Articles number articles]] and thousands of registered contributors (with a few hundred active every month). At the same time, many thousands of messages have been exchanged on our forums and mailing lists. We are a vital and growing project, as our statistics page shows, and recently our rate of growth has been clearly accelerating.
Will someone else profit from my contributions?
We are a nonprofit project, in order to ensure maximum participation and the independence of our information. We're nearly 100% volunteer.
Will I be paid for my contributions?
No. All of our contributions are donated by the contributors. As a nonprofit, all volunteer project, all contributions are covered by the Creative Commons-Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license
Why do you ask for donations on the front page?
Server rentals, bandwidth, and basic personnel are all ongoing costs. So we need your help to sustain this important work: donations are tax-deductible. The Citizendium is a project of the Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We will be associated with Tides throughout 2007 and intend to become an independent nonprofit probably in 2008.
How can I find out more about your contributors?
All of our authors and editors use their real names. No cute aliases or menacing pseudonyms are allowed! You can find out about most authors on their User Pages. Typing User:FirstName LastName in the Find box at the upper left of every page will usually not take you there. After the unsuccessful search, go to the bottom of the page and click the box for User: pages, then search again.
What is expected of Authors?
Information about the Author Role can be found here.
What do Editors do?
The Editor role is one of the most distinctive aspects of Citizendium. You can learn more about it here.
Where can I find out more?
- Statement of Fundamental Policies
- The Citizendium one year on: a strong start and an amazing future (October 2007; first year progress report)
- Latest press release
- Older press releases: 1 | 2 | 3
- Toward a New Compendium of Knowledge (September 2006; original project manifesto; outdated, but articulates the grounds for the project; [essay_shorter.html shorter version])
- Why the Citizendium Will (Probably) Succeed (March 2007)
- Why Citizendium editors are involved: some testimonials (compiled winter 2006-7)
- Who Says We Know: On the New Politics of Knowledge (Edge.org, April 2007)
- How to Think about Strong Collaboration among Professionals (text of keynote at Handelsblatt IT Congress from Jan. 30, 2007)
- Why Make Room for Experts in Web 2.0? (text of keynote at SDForum from Oct. 24, 2006)
- The Role of Content Brokers in the Era of Free Content (articulates one of the Citizendium Foundation's concepts for funding free content)
Larry Sanger is the author of the above writings, unless otherwise noted. Others are welcome to submit essays in a similar vein.