Forum Talk:Technical Issues
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Citizendium ownership change
A few different people have reached out to me recently about future directions with Citizendium. I appreciate that.
As you know, Citizendium stopped being "my" project a long time ago. But until this morning, I still owned the domain name.
This morning, I transferred ownership of all the Citizendium domain names to Pat Palmer, whom I know and trust and have worked with since the early days of Citizendium. She is not just a former computer science professor at Penn and a highly-sought-after computer consultant, she understands what has worked—and what hasn't worked—both with Wikipedia and the experiment that has been Citizendium. She knows all the old Citizendium folks well. She has a diplomatic and highly intelligent head on her shoulders. Maybe most importantly, she is highly motivated not to let CZ die. And from what I heard, she has sound, practical ideas about how to reinvigorate this project. If I can help that happen by getting out of the way, then I'm happy to do that.
We're not ready to make any big public announcements about this, but I wanted you on this group to know about this change of ownership. Pat will be the new legal owner of Citizendium as soon as the transfer is complete, and she has my support as this project's leader, as we make some important improvements.
We now have secure login and browsing back thanks to Joshua Sadule. http://en.citizendium.org should redirect to its https equivalent. Any problems can be noted here or on one of the Google Groups such as the non-member forum. John Stephenson (talk) 17:49, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
- Thanks a million to Joshua for installing the SSL certificate, and to John S. for testing. Good job!Pat Palmer (talk) 17:52, 3 July 2020 (UTC)
As to copying material to WP, this has been going on all along. Any WP editor can do it, whether or not they're a Citizen. I understand there's a way to search WP for articles acknowledging CZ as a source.
I agree wit Pat there are often problems with this.
- much of our material is unsourced, as this was policy, since demoted to guideline but never formally repealed
- some topics may not be notable
- our criteria for original research are less strict
- if you try doing it for anything controversial (politics, religion) you're liable to get into a fight with one faction or another
A related technical issue. If the site is put into Archive and someone then wants to copy something from it, there will usually be a legal requirement to link to the full history. I don't know about the technicalities of that. Peter Jackson (talk) 11:47, 18 July 2020 (UTC)
As to Pat's proposals, I've been happily contributing here and elsewhere for many years without payment, but I draw the line at vanity publishing. If that's the way it's got to be, include me out.
Is that how it's got to be? Pat's wording isn't explicit on whether those who pay the piper (Editors?) can authorize non-paying contributors (Authors?) If they can, they'd still make the decisions. Admit/expel Authors. Lay down policy. Impose topic bans like WP. Or the reverse: I think Scholarpedia invited non-member JW to write an article about WP.
Status report, end of July 2020
After all the discussions about possibly shutting down, we've formulated a plan to keep Citizendium running after all, and I want to give a brief status update, since a lot has been happening behind the scenes. During the past month, the server hardware was upgraded, resulting in a significantly faster wiki. As of August, monthly server costs will be less (~$75/month instead of ~99/month). The technical staff continue to plan vigorously for an eventual upgrade of outdated software, from the operating system and database right up to the MediaWiki software which drives the wiki, though we're not sure yet when to expect those upgrades because that move is very complex. The domains have been transferred to my name, and I have renewed them for another five years. Treasurer Hayford Peirce and I are working on transitioning the financial account from his personal bank into a Citizendium account. This is fairly complicated, is part way done, and will be complete (we hope) by the end of August. Hayford plans to continue as Treasurer, but he'll no longer need to use his personal bank account to manage it, and when you donate funds, you'll see it going to "Citizendium". The advisory group has had some offline discussions, and the plan, for now, is to continue patching and shoring up the servers and operations side of things, while informally seeking new users. We hope those of you who've written here in the past will return and do more work, and invite friends. At the point where the software can be brought up to date, we hope to conduct a major membership drive, with a modest initial goal of finding fifty active users. Why fifty? It's enough to support the servers, and a small enough number that people can get to know each other. The point is to provide not only a place for writing, but a place for community. Most policies will remain in place for now, although we're not averse to the idea of allowing multiple articles on a single topic in the future if this would allow people with different approaches to a topic to work in parallel without stifling each other's creativity. I will shortly archive the long (but useful) discussions above; they will still be easy to find via the archive table at the top of this page. Community comment is, as always, welcome.Pat Palmer (talk) 02:27, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
- PS - I want to have a WriteAThon again, maybe some Saturday in August. Who remembers the WriteAThons? Who would try to "attend"?Pat Palmer (talk) 02:33, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
A few thoughts
- We haven't actually got much in the way of policies right now, just CZ:Policies
- On alternative articles, we've already got CZ:Signed Articles, which might serve as a starting point
- Are you going to have a title? Larry was Editor-in-Chief, Daniel and Anthony were Managing Editors
- You do realize people are liable to ask you to deal with any disputes that might arise?
- You certainly seem to have got activity going (or is it just the prospect of imminent execution concentrating minds?
- Hi Peter! I hope you won't find it rude if I refrain from answering these questions until, or unless, I have to. Suffice it to say all those things have crossed my mind. Right now, I'm trying to prioritize operational needs while also making time to write a little in the wiki. I had forgotten how much fun writing can be (and how challenging). I'm grateful to everyone who is doing things, openly and behind the scenes, to keep Citizendium going; they are many, and you are one of them.Pat Palmer (talk) 16:18, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
Asking for community input
In preparation for a future recruitment drive, I'm trying to clarify what Citizendium wants to be. I'm proposing some changes to the policy document. Please discuss. An election will need to be held in a few weeks on that (date to be announced).
Since The Citizendium no longer enforces what formerly was called Neutrality, I've added "We strive for objectivity.", a short personal essay of my own, to the lower right on the landing page. I hope it won't displease you.Pat Palmer (talk) 22:41, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
For those who go back several years on this wiki, I'm sorry to report that I just heard, via User:Mary Ash, that User:Aleta Curry passed away very recently. Aleta was someone who, as Mary said, "had the wiki spirit". RIP Aleta. Pat Palmer (talk) 18:54, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
Network outages last weekend
I just received confirmation from the Citizendium hosting service that the two network outages which we noticed last weekend (around 11 pm EST on 9/18, and again about the same time on 9/20). were the result of a DDOS attack on Steadfast.net's center in Chicago. Each outage lasted about an hour. As a result of troubleshooting done during these outages, we discovered that the disks of the server are old and need replacing. Steadfast is working on the disk upgrades now, and those should occur without interruption. We are sorry if anyone was inconvenienced by these outages; such interruptions have thankfully so far been rare.Pat Palmer (talk) 19:11, 25 September 2020 (UTC)
Plans to upgrade the server software
Just want to make people aware the Francisco and Joshua are still actively making plans to upgrade the server software "sometime soon", which I hope will be before the end of this year. This is always a difficult thing to accomplish, as every layer of software from the OS on up through Wikimedia, is nearing or past it's desired end of life. But the reason I'm posting here is to give people a heads up that, when the time comes, we'll actually need to shut the wiki down for (it looks like) about two days, possibly longer, while everything is migrated over to the new platform. Kudos to the technical team for continuing to work on this difficult matter. Updating our software will mean, I hope, better looks when using mobile devices, and possible better results in search engines. Better edit capabilities and, if the past is anything to judge by, also a slightly frustrating transition period where we have to live with found bugs until volunteers get time to track them down. We'll keep you posted! Pat Palmer (talk) 22:55, 16 November 2020 (UTC)