Archive:What's Your Article?

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This initiative is "on hold" pending more interest and support.

This page may be found at


What's Your Article?

You have an article in you--the best article you can write, introducing some subject. Maybe no one could write a better article on that subject; or maybe you're just very passionate about it.

The Citizendium is a wiki with unsigned, collaborative articles. That won't change. But What's Your Article? gives you the opportunity to take exclusive credit for your one best article. Your name goes on it, prominently, at the top of the page. And only you can edit it. It is your work; it represents what you can do, and what you're passionate about. It doesn't matter if someone else has written on your topic. This is your take on the subject.

But you can only write one article for this program. That is a firm rule. So make it your best. Everyone's best will be collected together in one place--right here. How well will your article stack up against the others?

In time, as we get more and more editors on board, they will select the best of these articles to link to as "Signed Articles." This means your work might be held up as reference material and an official part of the Citizendium.

How to Join

You can list your article yourself (just edit this page), if you're a Citizen already. You may contribute an article without joining, just by sending it and a brief bio about yourself to We will create a user page for you, at least. Do tell us if you want to register too, and we'll create an account if you send us everything we need to register you.

Note, you will not be able to edit your article unless you join the Citizendium. We do not have adequate volunteers to make changes that you request; you must join us and make them yourself.


Why should you participate? Think about this: if you could write just one article, introducing one topic to the world, what would it be? There's something you know a lot about--something that excites or interests you, or that you care deeply about. We're challenging everyone: demonstrate your excellent writing skills by telling the world about that topic. Make the best possible article you can.

Why is the Citizendium organizing this? Because we think the idea of collecting the world's best individual work is extremely compelling. The result will be a huge number of very good articles that both express our individuality and enlighten the world. Furthermore, it's a compelling "hook" to draw people into the Citizendium project as a whole.

What kind of article is this?

The article should be an introduction to a topic. While it need not be an encyclopedia article, it should be expository and not argumentative. In other words, it should be written to inform, not to persuade. But, unlike collaborative, unsigned Citizendium articles, it can be written from your unique point of view. It is an informative article, but it can reflect your view. Of course, we prefer something objective.

More essentials

  • License. You specify the license. If you do not, we will treat the article as being exclusively copyrighted by you.
  • Language. The article need not be in English; it can be in your native language. Since we are alloting the opportunity to include exactly one article to everyone in the world, schreiben Sie doch auf Deutsch--ou en français--or whatever language you feel most comfortable in. Be sure to use the appropriate language category if the language isn't English, however.
  • Translations. If your article is not in English, you may post a translation into English (or other languages), if you wish. Only the original article may be categorized--except for special translation categories.
  • Can the article be used as a starting-point for a collaborative Citizendium article? You decide. Add Category:WYA CZ yes to your article to indicate we may use it, or Category:WYA CZ no to indicate that we may not use it.
  • It does not matter if your article is on the same topic as an existing Citizendium article, or someone else's signed article. Go ahead, write it!
  • Abuse is absolutely forbidden. You may not use this as a forum to heap abuse upon any group or person. Rational criticism is permissible if part of a larger exposition, but insults, over-the-top harangues, and bigotry are not.
  • The article must be entirely your own work. It may not, of course, be plagiarized from anywhere or taken from any copyrighted source unless you have the right to republish it with the Citizendium.
  • The article must not contain any profanity and must be written in a "family-friendly" fashion.
  • You may upload an article you contributed to Wikipedia--but only if you are the sole author of the article you're uploading. This is a strict rule!
  • Individual authors only. No joint authorship, please.
  • Business owners may write introductory articles about their businesses. Note that you may not do so in the main Citizendium article area; see Policy on Self-Promotion. Note that only individuals with biographies, not businesses or other corporate entities, may write articles.
  • You may make your article an introduction to yourself and your own life. This project does not have a "notability" or "maintainability" policy. Note that you may not do so in the main article area; see Policy on Topic Informants and Maintainability.
  • External links (including links to your own writings) are permissible.
  • If you attempt to create a fake identity to promote your business, other interests, or causes, and we find out, we will very loudly and publicly "out" you, and remove your contributions (all of them) from the database.

Violation of these policies, and of other policies yet to be worked out, may result in the summary deletion of your article and the blocking of your account. But don't worry--we're reasonable.

Placement and formatting

Please place your article in the "WYA:" namespace, with your initials in parentheses. So, if Larry Sanger were to write an article about the Donegal fiddling, he would put it at WYA:Donegal fiddling (LMS).

Here are some anticipated standard sections:

  • Title
  • Byline (your name, linked to your user page)
  • "Rough draft" template, if applicable
  • The main article text
  • End matter (e.g., notes and bibliography)
  • Special categories (see below)

Once you're done with a complete draft (at least), you can link to the article from this page. Won't this page get long? Probably. When necessary, we'll find ways to divide it up.

The Citizendium community hasn't adopted the initiative yet. But if you like, you can start writing your article now--consider this a test phase.

Special categories

Categories are used in MediaWiki software to group articles. What's Your Article? will use, and develop a full listing of, the following special categories:

  • Unfinished Draft, Rough Draft, or Final Draft. In other words, how far along the article is, in the opinion of the author. Example: Category:WYA Rough Draft
  • Corresponding Citizendium workgroup. Example: Category:WYA Philosophy. You may not tag articles with regular workgroup categories.
  • Geographical location of author (U.S. states, countries, and other geographical entities that users list). Examples: Category:WYA Marylanders, Category:WYA Australians
  • Language. We accept these articles in any language. Please mark appropriately if not in English. Example: Category:WYA Français
  • Citizendium availability. If your article can be used as a starting place for a Citizendium article, use Category:WYA CZ yes. If not, use Category:WYA CZ no. Note that your license must be commensurately ambiguous!
  • License. This category will, however, be generated by a template that you place at the bottom of the article. (Template list forthcoming.)

Talk page comments and formal replies

Other Citizens may offer their own comments on talk pages. Such comments must, of course, conform to Citizendium Professionalism standards. Such comments may offer advice, but generally they may not make demands. Since the articles are the personal, unedited work of a particular Citizen, the author is the final authority about his or her own article, and commenters must respect this.

Citizens may act as their own article page moderators. If you wish, you may delete any comments on your own page. You may not, however, edit other people's remarks. You either leave them alone or delete them.

If an article contains what others regard as errors that, to be responsible, must be corrected, and an author refuses to make the correction, we allow others to write formal comments in reply. In that case, an author may make a single "reply to critics," and that is the end of it. (We will have no more elaborate debate mechanism.)

The future of What's Your Article?

It's entirely possible that, in the future, we will move all articles to a new content management technology, separate from the wiki. For now, however, a wiki is what we have. Besides, we like the fact that it gets people into the Citizendium fold!

Note, the articles will not be listed in the main article namespace as "signed articles" unless they are specifically approved, or unless they are released to the Citizendium for further, collaborative development.

The Articles


Listing format:

<your name>, [[WYA:Title Here (INITS)|Title Here]]
One sentence expressing the main topic of the article. May be the first sentence of the article.
Nick Gardner, Learning from other people's mistakes
Everyone agrees that it is sensible to learn from other people's mistakes but the only known example of the systematic recording and analysis of mistakes is that employed by the UK's National health service.
Wlodzimierz Holsztynski, WYA:Elementary diophantine approximations
This article will present an approach to the number theory via the theory of approximations of real numbers by rational numbers.
Karsten Meyer, WYA:Offene Fragen bei den Pseudoprimzahlen
This article is about questions, i got, when i deal with pseudoprimes. The article is in german.

See also

Citizendium Initiatives
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