CZ:Community Overview

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Revision as of 15:16, 22 February 2008 by imported>Larry Sanger
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How does our community work?

First, it's a wiki. You can work on whatever topics you want, whenever you want.

The basic wiki role is author. (Editors make up a different category, but they are authors too.) So, what can authors do? Almost everything. Authors can start new articles, edit existing articles, talk things over on the talk page, and much else. Editors can do all that, too. Editors aren't distant overseers looking down from the Olympian heights. To edit, editors must work shoulder-to-shoulder with authors and other editors. So editors are authors too.

Editors, who are experts in their fields, do have two special functions that authors do not have, however. First, they may make decisions, where decisions need to be made, about how an article should read. (This does not mean that editors must approve every change an author makes, which they certainly don't do.) Second, they may approve specific versions of articles. If you're an editor, and you want to know how to get started as an editor, please see The Editor Role. Some editors are members of one of the governing bodies known as the Editorial Council.

The basic operation of the community involves authors and editors working side-by-side. But, as in any community, there is sometimes conflict, and sometimes people get out of hand.

That's where constables fit in. Like their namesakes, constables are friendly, hard-working folks who make sure the community runs smoothly. If you break a rule of behavior, a constable might gently tap you on the shoulder and explain what's wrong. Constables are expected to be mature and kind and to make decisions solely about behavior, not about content, which is the domain of editors. See the Constabulary homepage for more. If you need to "call a constable," send an e-mail to

Work is bottom-up, or self-directed, to a very large extent. But, for a variety of reasons, we are also organized into subject workgroups. Workgroups are collections of editors and authors who are interested in a particular discipline. Each workgroup has its own homepage (example), category (example), "recent changes" page, (example), mailing list (example), and more. So far, most workgroups haven't done very much, although we aim to change that!

So far, you might recognize the Citizendium as an online community--but it is more than just a collection of people working together on shared goals. We need to coordinate our work, too. Coordination requires rules; so how are rules made? New proposals are made in our proposals system...

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