The standards of a good Citizendium article are complex, and only summarized here:
- Encyclopedic. Articles must resemble encyclopedia articles. This means that there are many things that they are not, such as dictionary definitions or personal essays. Some other ancillary, helpful reference material, in the form of tables and lists, are also permissible. See what Citizendium articles are not.
- Accurate. Articles are to be held up to a high standard of accuracy. Editors should review every substantive claim made by an article, and be of the opinion that the claim is well justified by the relevant evidence, before approving the article.
- Neutral. Articles must not take a stand on controversial issues. They should report on controversies rather than engaging in them, reporting every side fairly and objectively. See the neutrality policy.
- Coherent. Articles must be coherent or unified, that is, integrated by a single style and plan, or "narrative flow." An incoherent article appears written by different people or at different times, or with different conceptions about the article's proper structure and style. Typically, an incoherent article repeats information pointlessly and leaves out crucial information where an expert would expect to find it.
- Comprehensive. Articles should cover all or most significant aspects of a topic, perhaps except those aspects that are included in articles about related topics.
- Well-written. Articles must not contain grammatical, spelling, usage, or other errors of poor writing. See article mechanics.
- University-level. Millions of topics can be treated at a level accessible to the average university student, or approximately the level of Encyclopedia Britannica or The New York Times. Certain topics cannot be treated except for specialists, and thus may be more advanced in presentation. In the future, the Citizendium Foundation may start separate projects for a children's encyclopedia, as well as an encyclopedia aimed specifically for specialists.
- Not original research. While articles may sum up their topics in novel ways, they should not do so in ways that imply new theories or analyses that in academic contexts would require peer review for publishing.
- Legal and responsible. Articles must not contain copyright violations, libellous statements, or grossly obscene information or images. Persons found to have added such material to articles can be permanently banned from the project. In particular, biographies of living persons must be handled a special way. See copyright violation policy, libel policy, as well as biographies of living persons.