CZ:We aren't Wikipedia
How is the Citizendium similar to Wikipedia?
- We aim to create a giant free general encyclopedia.
- We use MediaWiki software.
- We use wiki methods of collaboration. We don't sign articles or have lead authors; we encourage everybody to "be bold".
- No qualifications are needed to participate as an Author (significant experience and/or qualifications are necessary to become an Editor).
- We rely on "soft security" to a great extent. We work on the basis of trust.
- We are committed to a neutral, unbiased presentation of information.
- We have similar naming conventions, and some other style guidelines in common. See CZ:Manual of Style for the differences.
- Some of our articles originally came from Wikipedia, but some of us are trying to mitigate that.
- The community and project has been organized by one of the people who originally organized Wikipedia, Larry Sanger.
How do we differ?
- Except for a short period in which we permitted self-registration, we have had no significant vandalism.
- We call everyone who contributes to an article an "Author", not an "editor".
- We have experts in certain fields who are called "Editor". Every Editor is also an Author.
- Our Editors work shoulder-to-shoulder with everybody else on the wiki, but have some extra responsibilities.
- We have a method for producing citable articles that depends on the judgment of experts.
- Our article policies differ. Our aim is to craft compelling introductory narratives, not mere collections of data, and we use a different neutrality policy. We take a more sensible approach to citing sources. The editors actually create the sort of sources that Wikipedia cites. We do cite sources, of course, but we have a sensible approach to doing so. We cite sources because doing so helps the reader. We do not cite sources to settle internal disputes, or to "prove" a point to contributors.
- Attached to every article is a set of "subpages" of supplementary information. These will include not only lists of related articles, bibliographies, and external articles, but also galleries, tables, timelines, tutorials, and signed introductory articles by experts.
- Our community and contributors are different. (We encourage you to get a contributor account.)
- We use our own names and identities. We require people to sign in, to use their real names and to fill out a publicly readable biography. We also go to some lengths to verify identities—and to greater lengths for Editors. Our user pages are biographies, not vanity pages. We don't use "userboxes".
- We are a community defined by shared principles expressed in our CZ:Charter. We expect professional behavior and have low tolerance for disruption. Our "Constabulary" has some firm rules that require professionalism. We have rules against personal attacks, and blatant violations of the neutrality policy. We enforce them by warnings (in most cases) followed by bans, which can be rescinded only through appeal.
- Our community managers (called "Constables" not "administrators") are different. Our Constables must have mature judgment. Constables do not make editorial decisions, they oversee behavior and adherence to basic policies; editors oversee content. Constables are held to a strict conflict of interest policy. If they have engaged in a dispute or are otherwise at work on an article, they may not exercise Constable authority with respect to that article.
- Policy decisions are made by our representatives to the Citizendium Council. The Citizendium community settles policies by discussion and (where necessary) votes of the CC. The Managing Editor is an elected, limited-term position, not a "dictator for life."
- Works on Citizendium use the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (CC-by-sa) license.
- We take defamation seriously. This is why we have a Policy on Topic Informants and a Topic Informant Workgroup.
- We talk about maintainability (or feasibility), not notability. We have a Maintainability policy.
- We don't use categories on articles themselves, and we don't overuse templates.
- We don't use excessive acronyms. Using a lot of acronyms for every small point of policy creates a sort of in-group that makes the community insular and unintelligible.
- Introduction to CZ for Wikipedians
- How to convert Wikipedia articles to Citizendium articles
- Citizendium Blog post (Feb. 28, 2008): Who's more command-and-control, Wikipedia or CZ?