Forum Talk:Management/Archive 2
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Discussion on all aspects of management and other non-content issues, including forum usage, legal and financial issues, initiatives and public relations
Has the project failed?
Statement (Copied from the talk page of User:Peter Schmitt)
Considering the state of CZ (number of active citizens) it should be clear that this is not the time for elections and referenda on formal issues or introducing new positions (Editor in Chief). Those who bravely keep the site running should admit that the project has failed, and that there is only one task left to complete: To close CZ in an orderly way and to find a permanent place where the complete database (including history, forum, etc.) will be kept accessible (possibly the internet archive, www.archive.org).
Maybe there should be a place (a group or forum) where the fate of CZ can be discussed, the reasons for its failure can be analyzed, and ideas can be put forward how to realize successfully an alternative to WP.
Some points for such a discussion:
- There is a need for a public domain encyclopedia certified by expert editors.
- WP needs competition -- a monopole is never good.
- One of the errors of CZ (though that may not have been clear from the beginning) was that it is not enough to add a few rules to the mechanics of WP. CZ was and is meant to work essentially like WP. Thus the result will either be very similar to WP, or (as it happened with CZ) the stronger project will dominate and eventually eliminate the weaker copy.
- Assuming for the sake of argument that CZ has failed, doesn't it make sense to determine why before deciding whether closing down is the appropriate response?
- I seem to remember there is a Google group for discussion of CZ, intended to replace the old non-Citizens' forum. Of course you have to be a member of Google to join the group, but that's free, isn't it?
- I agree with your first 2 bulleted points. Wikipedia has actually been declining since 2007, but there still isn't a serious general competitor (as distinct from specialist ones). I've been working to improve would-be competitors like this while leaving WP to its own devices for some time now.
- On your 3rd point, have you got any more drastic changes in particular to suggest? Peter Jackson (talk) 08:48, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
- I would not be so hasty to seek to close CZ. WP has also been suffering too. Have a read of these recent articles , , . Perhaps there are some important lessons here for CZ. Firstly, DO NOT try and emulate, imitate or be a mirror of WP. If WP has problems, you will suffer the same. Second, be different, be distinctive, be what the internet wants. I guess that means we need to take a different strategy and appeal to users of mobile devices and smart phones. In other words make articles short, and concise and useable in the modern world. We must not abandon the goal of being more definitive and accurate than WP, but CZ must have relevancy. If the EiC's role does just that single thing ... make CZ relevant, then it will make the election/referenda worthwhile. Alan Horton (talk) 09:39, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
- Maybe you'd like to elaborate how you see NPOV and NOR as weak points on WP and here.
- WikiSage is (deliberately or not) a sort of hybrid of Wikipedia, Citizendium and Wikinfo methods:
- (from CZ) if an expert is available, they control the main article;
- (from WP) otherwise the main article is decided democratically;
- Peter Jackson (talk) 09:47, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
ad (1)+(2) Both is possible, of course. I do not think that there is an explicit CZ policy on that. On the other hand, WP articles often contain much too much details which hide the important information. This material would better fit into extra articles (or subpages)
ad (3)+(4) That is a difficult issue. Facts have to be correct, of course. And I think that "objectivity" is a better term for the position tha an encyclopedia should take. However, there are many fields where strict neutral (or objective) articles lack useful and interesting information (religion, history, reviews of works of art, contested theories, ...).
ad (5) It makes no sense to exclude primary sources (often the best available!) and to insist on sources for every remark. An encyclopedia is not the place to publish new results, but why should an article not -- by bringing together material -- bring new insights?
ad (6) All three rely on the "wisdom of the crowd". This works well for building lists and collecting details. It does not work so well for writing good articles. But this is another story ... ;-)
- To try to fix ideas, I've just had a look at the WP neutrality policy. It boils down to 3 points:
- clearly and accurately distinguish between facts and opinions
- avoid biased language
- give different POVs due weight corresponding to their prominence in "reliable sources".
- Peter Jackson (talk) 09:52, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
- CZ policy doesn't seem much different. Print encyclopaedias, on the other hand, don't seem to feel bound by such principles.
- Maybe you could clarify your own ideas in relation to this. Peter Jackson (talk) 09:59, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
Why close CZ?
When CZ was started it was a project with an interesting concept and as such attracted some attentation. However, it did not really get off and never came near to its (far too) ambitious goals. On the contrary, it soon began to decline and never recovered in spite of all the efforts made to save it. In the meantime it should be clear that CZ does not work as intended. Something is wrong (mechanics, rules), and it would require major changes and huge efforts to relaunch the project with some chances of success. However, a person with the means and the energy to achieve this (is there such a person?) would be better off to start a *new* project from the scratch that does not suffer from the (now) bad reputation of CZ, and that does not need to be completely reformed.
(When CZ is completely archived -- the whole database and all additional material -- then it could, if desired, be revived any time.)
- I can only repeat what I said before: it seems reasonable to me to try to understand what the problem(s) is/are before deciding what to do about it. Peter Jackson (talk) 09:49, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
- Dear Citizens, since I am not a native English speaker I have never contributed to CZ, waiting for it to take off to the next phase of opening up for other languages. Every now and then I visited CZ to see how it's doing. I am visiting it today, again, and my heart is bleeding when I see that you are actually discussing shutting the whole enterprise down.
- Please let me tell you that I believe that indeed there is a space for a new encyclopedia, other than Wikipedia. A lot has changed since WP inception - we now have all the online courses, forums such as StackOverflow, open access books and illegal sites such as LibraryGenesis and Sci-Hub. And yet all this becomes more scattered and chaotic with every minute. There has always been a need to organise our knowledge. And anyone can try working on her own - but we will do it on our small private web sites, our small free publications, just adding to disorganisation. The alternative is that people could work under one name, be it CZ or some other name.
- My friend who works in marketing says that it's always easier to improve an already existing brand than creating a new one.
- I would be very sorry to see CZ getting closed. I understand how bad it feels when there is no success. I would wish that CZ gravitates towards Larousse encyclopedias, or develops into collections such as Oxford Manuals. Oxford Manuals are great, but too long to read the whole thing when you just want to get the basic idea who eg Spinoza was. It's very nice that there are very specialised articles here on very specific topics, but what is really necessary is to write short books and essays on general subjects, such as History of Europe, Mathematics, Western Philosophy, Nutrition etc.
- The expectation was that CZ would just miraculously and spontanously become what WP is today, but since the human base is different in this project, it requires more marketing, more direct encouragement, more promotion. I got here because of the book by Andrew Keen. Otherwise I have never heard of CZ. Why do we assume others would?
- Thank you for your support, Piotr. (And please feel free to edit in English!) It's also worth reminding ourselves of those non-members who read our site, link to us, 'like' us on social media, retweet us, and so on. CZ does get used to a modest degree despite the lack of much promotion over the last few years. As for shutting down: this volunteer project costs us about a hundred bucks a month to run, and there are ways to reduce that still further. Why would we want to stop? Even if it's eternally a hobby site for a few enthusiasts, that's better than nothing at all, and we can gradually reform and expand over time. It needs very few people to keep the site ticking over. Also, other than democratic processes, we have two important policies that distinguish us from the competition: verified real names and Editor oversight. There is no reason to throw those away. I think there is a place for CZ as an active source of free knowledge, rather than just as a static archive. John Stephenson (talk) 19:42, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
For what it's worth: When I first looked at CZ I was looking at the article on Civil Society, which I found was infinitely better than the equivalent one on Wikipedia. It was informative, well-organised, and clearly authoritative, whereas Wikipedia's was the usual jumble, and uninformative at that. However, if I had happened to look at some of the other articles here, I would not have continued to use the website. Anyone who first came across some of the inept or half-started articles we have here would not get a good impression. I know it is no use proposing a remedy, because I have learnt that even if it is agreed, nothing will actually happen — and that, I think, probably applies to the idea of a new start. I suppose I just remain one of the hobbyists that James Yolkowski refers to (but, I hope, of a reasonable standard.) --Martin Wyatt (talk) 19:07, 27 June 2016 (UTC)
- 1) the gerenal feeling is that Everything is already in Wikipedia,
Why didn't it work?
CZ was started as a fork of WP. This turned out as a mistake. Attempts to remedy this by deleting many articles were not completely successfull. Traces of articles inherited from WP are still present -- and they are not to WP's advantage. (Remark. Trying to reform WP might lead to similar problems.) Peter Schmitt (talk) 23:22, 27 June 2016 (UTC)