CZ Talk:Introduction to CZ for Wikipedians

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Content merge

Hey Steve, let me leave this in your hands. See CZ:Introduction to CZ for Wikipedians for what I worked on--feel free to fold it in, or not use it. I didn't realize that you were at work on this, or I wouldn't have bothered. --Larry Sanger 14:48, 30 March 2007 (CDT)


workgroups build collaboration that wp did not/does not have.

workgroup recent changes allow you to monitor article changes within a general field.

wikipedia had sub-categories that only allowed you to monitor recent changes within that small sub-category instead of a general category like "biology workgroup."

Articles need to get tagged with workgroup tags for workgroup recent changes to work to its full potential.

Adding your name as an author to a workgroup...

Applying to become an editor of a workgroup...

Will add more ideas later. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 19:44, 30 March 2007 (CDT)



"At Wikipedia, creating lots of stubs is considered productive. Someone will always come along and add to it, "eventually". At Citizendium, we feel it is much better to start one or just a few articles, and concentrate on them until they are approved."

This is policy? -Tom Kelly (Talk) 20:09, 30 March 2007 (CDT)

What about Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikisource, etc.?

Do we ignore these? Link to them? Set up a Citictionary? Having done a lot of work on Wiktionary, I find it to be much simpler to work with and less subject to contention, manipulation, and plain silliness, than Wikipedia. Wikiquote, on the other hand, has some of the basic problems of Wikipedia on a smaller scale - obsession with pop culture trivia, arguments as to the notability of persons and media quoted, and efforts to manipulate the placement of quotes on contentious issues such as abortion and religion to score points for one ideological position or the other. Brian Dean Abramson 20:02, 1 April 2007 (CDT)

I think if a word needs to be defined, the article should define it. Etymologies belong parenthetically or in a footnote. Given what you said about Wikiquote, why bother linking to it at all?? Placing a link to Project Gutenberg or Wikisource's copy of Journey into the Interior of the Earth in an article about Jules Verne plainly seems good practice. Stephen Ewen 22:39, 2 April 2007 (CDT)

Bringing in solid, unchanging articles from Wikipedia

I've written 100+ Wikipedia articles on WWII U.S. Navy ships and some related subjects. They are all based on the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS), but with some facts, public domain photos, etc. added by me. If I do say so myself, they are pretty good encyclopedia articles. There has been very little editing by other people.

Since these are basically historical articles about subjects that are not ever going to change (the ships were scrapped long ago), I'd like to be able to bring them over to CZ without making a lot of changes just for the sake of making changes. (It would be VERY hard to make factual changes, and troublesome to make wording changes, though the latter COULD be done.)

What should I do about these articles? Louis F. Sander 20:27, 1 April 2007 (CDT)

Hi Louis. That sounds like a decision for the Editor-in-Chief. - Stephen Ewen 20:48, 1 April 2007 (CDT)
Reading CZ:How to convert Wikipedia articles to Citizendium articles, it seems that you are free to copy them if you think that the Wikipedia articles are good and you adopt them to the Citizendium house style (remove categories and interlanguage links; that sort of stuff). I haven't seen an argument against copying them in this case. -- Jitse Niesen 21:26, 1 April 2007 (CDT)
There is more to it because the articles are based upon the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. My own question is that if they really are unchanging at WP then is that not just mirroring them here? Are they really not improvable given CZ:Introduction_to_CZ_for_Wikipedians#Get_ready_to_rethink_how_to_write_encyclopedia_articles.21 ? Stephen Ewen 21:28, 1 April 2007 (CDT)
There are tons of good articles at Wikipedia that if you don't bring over eventually we'll be lacking here. If you get 1 enthusiast who wants to write on a rare topic, it is unlikely that he/she will want to completely change the way they approach writing an encyclopedia entry for a separate encyclopedia. Please, let's access the good content at WP and bring it over here. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 21:39, 1 April 2007 (CDT)
By bringing the articles to CZ they will go under the scrutiny of the editors before being approved and may indeed improve slightly. So if your article is really good and ready for approval, it will "improve" during the approval process. Bringing the article over will also attract the article to a group of experts that may not have stumbled across it at Wikipedia. I am not authority or an expert - just my opinion. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 21:42, 1 April 2007 (CDT)
All good points, Tom. The thing that is holding me up in this case from say yes, go ahead, this is clearly allowed by the exception clause, is that the articles are based on a public domain encyclopedia. I am just not sure of the status with that. This is why we need to get a decision on the matter, and one on principle that we can institutionalize into our policy...for the next time this issue comes around. :-) I'll get an answer. - Stephen Ewen 22:44, 1 April 2007 (CDT)

Thanks for the good discussion so far. I've brought one similar article over already, and of course I removed all the categories (there were a bunch of them). I'm mainly wondering how many wording changes, if any, should be the norm for articles like these. If I change a few things just to change them, somebody could of course make the same changes in the WP article. I'm thinking it might be a good practice to change something, just so one could examine the WP and CZ versions and tell them apart, at least until somebody makes them identical, if that should ever happen.

The article I brought over was USS Rankin (AKA-103). The CZ version is HERE, the WP version is HERE. I put in a better photo when I put it on CZ, and I made some other changes just to conform with CZ desires. It would be most excellent if other similar articles could be brought over without making changes just for the sake of making them. Louis F. Sander 00:32, 2 April 2007 (CDT)

Let me just say I think the article could be improved stylistically. See Article Mechanics--Narrative coherence and flow, Improving articles stylistically and Get ready to rethink how to write encyclopedia articles. - Stephen Ewen 11:15, 2 April 2007 (CDT)
Too much trouble, too little reward. 100+ stylistic rewrites of 100+ fairly long, reasonably good articles? No thanks. Louis F. Sander 04:10, 3 April 2007 (CDT)
I'm still thinking about this, especially the desire to differentiate CZ articles from those in WP. Is the idea just to make sure that they are different? (If that's the case, making some style changes would do it.) Louis F. Sander 16:57, 5 April 2007 (CDT)

I just noticed this debate. The reason for the policy against bringing WP (or other free content) articles in unchanged is that we don't want to be a mere mirror of other freely available content. Why not? Mirrors do no one any good. Well, you might say, don't they expand CZ's base of content, and isn't that a good thing? Perhaps, but if, simply out of vanity, I just wanted to have my Wikipedia articles hosted by another, perhaps more credible source, and I were just as apt simply to forget about them as work on them, then my content might degrade in quality over time, since no one who's mainly responsible for creating it is on board. It's important that people who are committed to articles be on board. I think that's the bottom line. We don't really trust people to bring articles in willy-nilly; we've seen too many people bring in an article, only to let it sit unedited, particularly when it badly needs editing.

This is why we can allow exceptions like Jaap Winius' many asp articles, as well as the classics articles imported by Ori Redler, as well as articles an aerospace engineer (I forget his name) has talked about importing. We have their commitment in hand.

So, on the same grounds, I would say to Mr. Sander that you are very welcome to import your articles, if we can have your word that you will maintain them--you know, look in on them from time to time, and make sure they're up to our standards--here on CZ. Will you, however, please make a template to place on the top of the talk pages of all of these articles, explaining the situation, that you're committed to maintaining them if no one else does? If we get your word, that's another exception to add to Article Deletion Policy. --Larry Sanger 17:56, 5 April 2007 (CDT)

I brought over another of my Wikipedia ship articles, polishing it in a minor way as I did so. I put a pretty detailed statement on the talk page HERE. Thinking that this might serve as a pattern for "my" other articles and for others who bring "their" articles over from WP, I'm wondering three things:
1) Are the minor changes to the article OK, or should we who do this try hard to make more substantive ones?
2) Is the statement on the talk page OK, or overkill, or ???? (Once it is as it should be, I'd intend to use it for the 100+ other similar articles I bring over.)
3) Considering the small amount of "Wikipedia" work in the article, and the large amount of "Lou Sander" work, how important is it to check the "Wikipedia" box at the bottom of the edit screen? Louis F. Sander 16:58, 6 April 2007 (CDT)
I brought over four more articles using a similar technique, which might serve as a model for others. It is also subject to improvement and refinement, of course. The articles are USS Alchiba (AKA-6), USS Alcyone (AKA-7), USS Algorab (AKA-8), and USS Alhena (AKA-9). They all have some changes, some improvements, and a WP disclaimer on the talk page. I'm being bold, but still wondering about the questions raised immediately above. Louis F. Sander 10:38, 7 April 2007 (CDT)

CZ and WP on the Screen

When one has CZ and WP articles open at the same time, and has scrolled down past the top few inches of the screen, there is no visual differentiation between the two. It would help if CZ used a different background color for the left frame (or border, or whatever it might be termed), or put some sort of wallpaper-like graphic there. Or at least a different shade of gray. Having done this in other contexts, I prefer a very pale shade of blue.

If editors can't easily tell whether they are looking at CZ or WP, some really bizarre editing accidents await us. Louis F. Sander 08:18, 7 April 2007 (CDT)

PS - It would also be MOST excellent if the left border could appear in another color, preferably yellow for caution, when in edit mode. Louis F. Sander 09:49, 7 April 2007 (CDT)

Here are a couple workarounds for now. One, use Firefox if you use Windows or Mac (with IE) and download the IE tab extension, then consistently open one or the other in an Internet Explorer tab. Two, see CZ:Enhancing_your_editing_with_java_extensions and follow the directions to use it at CZ. Either one of these -- or both -- will make things look differently. — Stephen Ewen 06:07, 8 April 2007 (CDT)

In a nutshell

As someone who is an experienced editor to wikipedia and new here to citizendium, I'm sat here thinking what does it all mean? What is the fundamental difference between the two projects and what will their relationship be?

These are my thoughts so far - please correct me if I am going wrong:

  • Scope/Depth: Certain articles on wikipedia would not be on Citizendium, because:
  • Standard: Articles should be of a higher standard because:
    • Articles are written by expert Authors
    • Editors are held to a higher standard of behaviour (no anon editing, real names, more censure)
    • Once approved articles cannot be instantly edited

Both projects are free-content based, and therefore you would expect the projects to be intimately linked, sharing content and editors.

At the moment the tone of the relationship seems quite sour - CZ is better than WP, and we'll prove it. Perhaps a more sensible route in the long term is to imagine a future where both projects exist side by side - perhaps with WP providing the more trivia-based information and CZ the academic rigour for the more serious articles.

You could imagine a future where content is freely shared. Content on WP can be used as a base for CZ articles and then copied back to WP when it has been improved. CZ articles are locked so they become a more reliable source, but WP is quicker to edit so it may become more up to date, say, with current events.

Am I on the right lines here? Andrew Turvey 18:26, 8 April 2007 (CDT)

Whether over time WP specializes in pop culture items while CZ in more serious topics is a matter only time will tell. — Stephen Ewen 19:42, 8 April 2007 (CDT)

New template

Incidentally, please see my new template here: {{WP}} Andrew Turvey 18:26, 8 April 2007 (CDT)


This page says:

At Wikipedia, creating lots of stubs is considered good practice.

Really? Few people have a longer Wikipedia editing history than I do, and I for one never considered this good practice. The only time I've run into someone considering it good practice was when I argued in favor of creation of redirect pages with non-existent targets (misnomers or incorrect spellings or the like redirecting to the correct spelling to forestall creation of an incorrectly titled new page). Someone said: why don't you just create a new stub article instead? (I didn't, in the cases I had in mind, because I didn't know enough about the topics.)

(I will heroically abstain from sarcastically saying it is considered good practice to leave a "stub" notice at the bottom of an article after it's length rivals that of War and Peace and it's been cited in the most prestigious scholarly journals a hundred times. I think some efforts have been made to prevent that from happening, but not enough.) Michael Hardy 13:14, 30 April 2007 (CDT)

You might be different. But look at WP policies and general practices. If creating stubs were not considered good practice, then why are not stubs of 50 words or less older than a few hours old not summarily deleted at Wikipedia as they are at CZ (see here). More so, why do I read such encouragement about creating stubs at There, one is even offered advise on how to create an "Ideal stub article". Heck, we can even fulfill wishes from a list of Wikipedia's Most Wanted Stubs. Do you have a better way to describe this than "considered good practice"?---Stephen Ewen 14:49, 30 April 2007 (CDT)
"Considered good practice" is not the same as "considered tolerable" or "considered OK", etc. Michael Hardy 20:52, 30 April 2007 (CDT)
Within the mathematics sub-culture at WP--very arguably the project's strongest point--what you are saying may be true; but not at all for the project as a whole. Still, let's change it to "an encouraged practice", or at the least, "an acceptable practice". Stephen Ewen 21:34, 30 April 2007 (CDT)


This page says Citizendium is not "elitist". I've never been able to figure out what the word "elitist" means. The definition at the beginning of Wikipedia's article titled "elitism" doesn't help. Does "elistism" mean the belief that some people constitute an "elite" in the sense of having vastly more knowledge and ability than others? If so, then elitism is true, and to say "We're not elitists" would mean "We deny that some experts have vastly more knowledge or ability than most of us". The definition I mentioned says elitism holds that the views of those who belong to an elite should be taken more seriously than others. If they belong to an elite consisting of those who are knowledgeable in what laymen don't know, then what would be wrong with elitism? On the other hand it mentions those who have great wealth. Is Citizendium saying "we don't think the views of the wealthy are more reliable than the views of others"? Someohow I doubt that's what was meant: why would there be any occasion to mention such a thing? Michael Hardy 17:23, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

Mike--it means, here, mainly that we do not limit participation to the "elite." Elitism is bemoaned precisely because it's exclusive; we aren't exclusive in the way many academic projects are. --Larry Sanger 10:58, 7 May 2007 (CDT)

Reverting others' work.

May we rephrase Reverting others' work into "Reverting others' work without explanation", or something along those lines, which seems more accurate (see, for example, the next rule: "Deletion of others' work without explanation") ? Nat Makarevitch 15:41, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Checklist; CZ Live - update needed

Someone who's got more of a handle on where this is and where it's going needs to update the sections having to do with the Article Checklist and the CZ Live. I use subpages, so don't deal with either as they're covered in the metadata page. How does this work if people start articles simply, and is it clear in the instructions? Aleta Curry 21:30, 1 January 2008 (CST)

minor grammar squawk(s)

In this sentence: "Articles copied from Wikipedia without any substantive revisions after one week ago are subject to deletion.", I think we need to either get rid of the word "ago", or perhaps replace it by words such as "goes by" or "elapses". I would have amputated that one word "ago" myself already, if it were not for that first sentence, "Before you be bold and start contributing, please read this document all the way through." (umm, would that have counted as being bold? just wondering.) Michael Lee Schwartz 11:08, 22 February 2008 (CST)

another nano squawk: in the section about "Family-friendly", it says, << All general usage traditionally print encyclopedias [...] >>. It should be changed to either "traditionally printed", or "traditional print". Just my 0.02. Michael Lee Schwartz 12:04, 22 February 2008 (CST)

Please, by all means, feel free. Stephen Ewen 16:08, 22 February 2008 (CST)

inconsistency re @ vs. _at_

just my 0.02 again: In the section on "Constables", (under "We ain't elitist, but our "world" isn't flat"), it has 2 different places where the e-mail address is given. One - on the very last line - says << please email constables _at_ >> But just a few lines up from that, it gives an e-mail address (the same one, I think) with an "at" sign ("@") instead of using "_at_" in the middle. I don't know which one is better (another reason why I didn't just fix it myself, immediately); but whichever one is better, shouldn't it be used for both? Michael Lee Schwartz 11:46, 22 February 2008 (CST)

"@" is bad to use because of spambots. --Robert W King 11:48, 22 February 2008 (CST)
Whoa, in that case, I think the place with the "@" should be fixed to say "_at_". I would do it now, but you go ahead (don't wait). Thanks. Michael Lee Schwartz 12:07, 22 February 2008 (CST)

You may need to rethink how to write encyclopedia articles!

Aleta recently replaced "Get ready to rethink how to write encyclopedia articles!" with "You may need to rethink how to write encyclopedia articles!" in a section heading. I don't like that change; "may" and exclamation points just don't get along. I like Aleta's weakening of the text to avoid overstating the problems with WP, but I think the heading was fine as is. --Warren Schudy 21:46, 1 January 2008 (CST)

Well, you're right about the 'may' and the exclamation point--brain cramp.
I'm trying to work out two balancing acts: one, to remove oversimplifications and generalisations, and to remove language that is off-putting or just plain insulting.
Aleta Curry 16:05, 2 January 2008 (CST)

Importing existing texts, and the goal of a 'reliable' Encyclopaedia

This text in this page:

Absolutely do not simply copy content from Wikipedia to Citizendium without working on it. If you wish to import material from Wikipedia, it must be because you have immediate plans to improve it. .. Articles copied from Wikipedia without any substantive revisions after one week ago are subject to deletion.
Exception: If you are the primary author or manager of an article or class of articles .. and you intend to continue your work on and maintenance of the article(s) here, then you may do so.

seems to me to potentially be somewhat in conflict with the very top goal in CZ:Fundamentals, which says that our goal is to be a "reliable .. encyclopedia". The thing is that I have written from scratch a number of articles and placed them on Wikipedia, and would like to import them here - but I have no plans to improve them, because I already did basically as good a job as I could. (For example, see Anatoly_Marchenko. Yes, I know this example isn't a perfect Citizendium article, for reasons that I don't want to divert into here.)

So why have duplicate content, with basically identical pages here, you ask? Because of that goal of reliability. I can't be bothered to keep an eye on Wikipedia articles to make sure some moron doesn't drive-by 'improve' them, and put crap in them... (bailing out a leaky boat, that one is). However, once an article is placed here, and Approved, I know that an article people can rely on exists.

I know some will say 'but you can always improve an article, why don't you improve these, and then you won't have a problem with them being here'. The thing is, I feel that there are far more useful things to be doing here with my time and energy, like write articles on topics we desperately need, rather than improve existing articles which are already in very good shape indeed.

So can we make an exception for articles which are Approved, or on their way there - because any/all such articles are, by definition, part of our chief, main goal: a reliable and high-quality encyclopaedia. J. Noel Chiappa 14:15, 25 February 2008 (CST)

I think this falls under the exception given Exception: If you are the primary author and you intend to continue your work on and maintenance of the article(s) here, then you may do so. In such a case, place a note to that effect at the top of the article talk page(s). To maintain an article means to monitor it for changes by others that may be a problem. Or to update as necessary. It means keeping a watch and does not mean it has to be expanded. Richard Jensen 11:57, 2 March 2008 (CST)
I would agree with Richard's interpretation here. (This is what Richard himself has done quite a bit.) --Larry Sanger 12:34, 2 March 2008 (CST)
But the whole point of CZ, as opposed to Wikipedia, is that you shouldn't have to "keep a watch" on an article to ensure that it doesn't become erroneous, or degraded in quality! I would like to bring these articles in, get them approved, and move on! J. Noel Chiappa 20:01, 3 March 2008 (CST)
This is a good question, which has been asked and answered before. However, I'm not sure anyone has yet addressed Noel's specific point above, to wit, is a CZ author obligated to keep watch on her articles? It runs corollary to something I asked a while back, if you remember, Larry: vis a vis stubs: can one write to the limit of one's knowledge and then move on; we have written somewhere almost this moral imperative to see every thing we write through to some sort of stable fleshed-out full article, if not approval. This is just not possible for every one for every subject.
The point I would make in response to you, Noel, is, while we will be (we hope!) vandal free, idiot free, malice free and mischief free, that does not mean articles are protected from erroneous drive-by edits. Sure, approved versions may be, but even then, editing will still continue in draft space. So things may be put it which are arguable, things deleted which in your opinion are vitally important, or edits made which are simply wrong. I'm sure we all realise that intelligent people can still make mistakes. Well, not me, obviously, but....
Your question still stands, and it's a goodie: are we obligated to deal with all this? And must we commit to that before importing--indeed, by extension, before writing at all?
I think that's too much of a burden for a wiki, if that's our underlying philosophy.
Aleta Curry 21:09, 3 March 2008 (CST)

from CZ to WP

Now that Wikipedia has finally changed its license to CC-BY-SA 3.0, it is able to use material from Citizendium. A workgroup has been formed there, WikiProject Citizendium Porting, to coordinate this. Some of the people here might be interested in helping. You'll notice they're about as cautious about using some of the work here, as people here are , correctly, cautious about using work from WP--in particular they are unhappy with what they consider our inadequately detailed standard of referencing. (BTW, I'm DGG at Wikipedia.) DavidGoodman 03:15, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Latest edits

Since the Charter, I'm going through policy pages to trim them, simplify them, and bring them up to date. I have made substantial deletions in some cases - this is because the same material is covered elsewhere, and it's very hard to maintain coherent policy if there's duplication in multiple places. My deletions aren't intended to imply any change or loss of policy, just to ensure that there's a clear, single, authoratative account of key policies.Gareth Leng 13:00, 17 November 2010 (UTC)