CZ:Managing Editor/2010/008 - Modifications to the Charter/Working copy

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This documents is a working copy of the Citizendium Charter. It is meant to facilitate discussion, implementation and retrieval of Citizendium policy. For current policy, please always refer to the original Charter and to the motions passed by the Management Council and the Editorial Council. Please suggest changes on the talk page (possibly with a link to a relevant forum thread), rather than editing directly.


The Citizendium is a collaborative effort to collect, structure, and cultivate knowledge and to render it conveniently accessible to the public for free. It is built online by volunteers who contribute under their real names and agree to this social covenant centered around trust.

Part I: Citizenship and Editorship

Article 1

Registered users shall be referred to as Citizens.

Article 2

Citizenship shall be open to anyone who fulfills the basic conditions for participation as defined by the Management Council—including registering according to the real names policy—and agrees to abide by this Charter.

Article 3

Citizens shall not have their application to join or their use of the site blocked or terminated on the basis of their nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, creed, gender, sexuality, profession, education, politics, residence, age, name, or URL. Nor shall any official or governing body of the Citizendium discriminate in favor or against Citizens (except to the degree that such discrimination promotes editorial expertise), or any dispute be resolved, on the basis of any of these criteria.

Article 4

The Citizendium community shall recognize the special role that experts play in defining content standards in their relevant fields and in guiding content development towards reliability and quality.

Article 5

Citizens shall act responsibly and in a civil manner: derogatory or offensive language or behavior will not be tolerated. Citizens who interfere with another Citizen's rights as delineated by this Charter or who violate rules established by either the Management or Editorial Councils shall be subject to administrative action upon complaint of the aggrieved Citizen. The punishment may include, but is not limited to, suspension from the Citizendium for a period of time, or permanent expulsion. Other administrative actions may be established by the Management Council.

Article 6

Citizens shall mutually respect their competency regarding any of their contributions.

Article 7

All Citizens shall be equal and no special privileges shall be granted except those granted in this Charter to Editors and Officers.

Article 8

Citizens shall be considered Editors of their own user pages and subpages thereof, as long as content is not inflammatory or derogatory.

Article 9

All Citizens shall be treated fairly and respectfully by other Citizens, Editors, and Officers of the Citizendium.

Article 10

In cases of dispute, Citizens have the right to request the help of other Citizens or Editors.

Article 11

Citizens should expect Officers and Editors to be fair and impartial. Biased Officers and Editors shall recuse themselves from their official positions in any dispute resolution process.

Article 12

Disputes should be resolved on the basis of the evidence and not upon the character, point of view, or politics of the Citizen.

Article 13

Citizens shall not have any decision rendered against them in a dispute resolution process for which they have not had opportunity to have their say.

Article 14

Editors are Citizens whose expertise in some field of knowledge is recognized and formally acknowledged by the community. Official recognition of expertise — obtained through education or experience — and its scope shall be based on guidelines established by the CZ:Editorial Council.

Article 15

Editors shall assure the quality of the Citizendium's approved content. They shall review and evaluate articles and shall have the right to

  1. approve high-quality articles that treat their topic adequately;
  2. resolve disputes over specific content matters when requested;
  3. enforce style and content guidelines as established by the Editorial Council; and
  4. identify for discussion incorrect or poorly presented content.

Article 16

Any change in Editor status shall require a formal decision by the Editorial Council and may be appealed.

Part II: Content and style

Article 17

An Editorial Council shall be empowered to develop policy on content and style.

Article 18

The Citizendium shall welcome contributions in all fields of knowledge.

Article 19

All articles shall treat their subjects comprehensively, neutrally, and objectively to the greatest degree possible in a well-written narrative, complementing text with other suitable material and media.

Article 20

Specialist material—including original research—shall be welcome within limits set by the Editorial Council. Specialist material shall be put into context with background information and non-specialist material.

Article 21

As far as possible, special requirements of visually or otherwise impaired users and of responsibly exercised automated access shall be taken into account. Appropriate policies shall be developed when needed by both the Management and Editorial Councils.

Article 22

Articles formally judged to be of high quality by editors shall be designated "approved", protected and kept permanently available.

Article 23

The Citizendium shall remain free of advocacy, advertisement and sensationalism.

Part III: Organization and offices

Article 24

The Citizendium shall be devoted to transparent and fair governance with a minimum of bureaucracy. It shall have two governing councils: Management Council, Editorial Council, and three ancillary positions: Managing Editor, Constabulary, Ombudsman.

Article 25

Section One: Election Cycle

  1. Each year, half the members of the two Councils shall be elected. Elections for the Management Council shall be completed by June 21 of each calendar year. Elections for the Editorial Council shall be completed by December 21 of each calendar year.
  2. Elections shall be run by an "Elections Committee" appointed by the Management Council. Any Citizen, including officials but excepting nominees, may serve on the elections committee.
  3. The elections committee shall maintain all nomination and ballot pages on the Citizendium.
  4. For newly elected members, the term of office shall begin on the first of January for the Editorial Council, and on the first of July for the Management Council.

Section Two: Nominations

  1. Any Citizen may nominate and/or support one or more candidates for a Council.
  2. A Citizen who is supported by another Citizen becomes a candidate by declaring the intention to serve for the whole term.
  3. Any Citizen accepting a nomination shall resign immediately from any involvement in the election's organization. The Management Council may appoint a replacement.

Section Three: Elections & Reserve Members

  1. The candidates collecting the most votes shall be elected.
  2. Citizens who received votes may serve as reserve members.
  3. A Council member may request a temporary leave of absence, during which the member will be replaced by a designated reserve member. Such leaves shall not exceed 120 days in a year.
  4. A Council member who becomes inactive or unavailable for a period of 90 days or more, shall be replaced by the reserve member receiving the next highest votes.
  5. In the absence of reserve members, interim replacements may be appointed by the Council concerned.

Section Four: Council Size

  1. Either Council may propose a change of its size by an even number of members; this proposal shall be subject to a referendum held together with the next election. If passed, the new seats shall be filled immediately from the pool of reserve members as above for inactive or unavailable council members.

Article 26

The Managing Editor shall be elected by a simple majority of the voting citizenry during the same election period as the Management Council. For this election, up to four candidates shall be selected by the Management Council, taken from a list of Editors nominated by the community.

Article 27

Constables shall be appointed by the Management Council. The Management Council shall determine the number of Constables. Any Citizen in good standing shall be eligible for the Constabulary. The Management Council shall appoint one Constable as Chief Constable.

Article 28

The Ombudsman shall be nominated by the Combined Councils and appointed by majority Citizen vote at the same time that the Editorial Council elections occur. Any Citizen in good standing may be nominated for Ombudsman.

Article 29

All official posts shall be subject to the following conditions:

  1. The term of office shall be two years, renewable. The term of any replacement shall end when the original term ends.
  2. No Citizen may serve in two offices at the same time, except that a Citizen may sit on an appeals board while holding another office.

Article 30

Elections and referenda shall be organized by the Management Council and carried out by the Constabulary, with the following conditions:

  1. Two weeks shall be provided for nominations and for discussions of the issues brought about during the nomination period.
  2. Elections shall be open for a period of not less than seven days. The duration of the election period shall be determined by the Management Council.
  3. Election results shall be certified by the Management Council not more than 2 days after the close of the election.
  4. Each Citizen in good standing — as defined by the Management Council — shall be entitled to one vote.
  5. The nature of the ballot shall be determined by the Management Council, provided that any method adopted must be accessible and usable by every Citizen.

Article 31

An official may be recalled by two thirds vote of the Combined Councils.

Part IV: Community policy

Article 32

The Editorial Council is responsible for content and style policies. In particular, it shall

  1. make all decisions regarding the content of the Citizendium;
  2. establish the qualifications for Editors and establish the procedure for promoting Citizens to Editor status, provided that such qualifications and such procedures do not violate any article of this Charter;
  3. coordinate and supervise the Editors and their activities;
  4. encourage and supervise development and organization of the Citizendium's content;
  5. adjudicate disputes over content among Authors, Editors, and/or Managing Editor, and impose its decisions upon the content of the Citizendium;
  6. publicly set its own rules and by-laws for its meetings; and
  7. be composed of a number of members corresponding to the quorum who shall be Editors, while the rest of the members shall be Citizens who are not Editors.

Article 33

The Editorial Council shall enforce its decisions over content by reporting violations of its dispute resolutions to the Constables. Failure to abide by the decisions of the Editorial Council pursuant to the resolution of a dispute shall be considered a behavioral infraction and subject to action by a Constable.

Article 34

The Management Council is responsible for the technical and economic resources of the Citizendium and its related websites. In particular, it shall:

  1. make all the financial and legal decisions for the Citizendium;
  2. develop all rules of civility and behavior for participation on the Citizendium that shall apply equally to all Citizens regardless of status or position, adjudicate alleged violations of the rules, and impose sanctions for violations of the rules;
  3. administer "User Rights" as defined by the software;
  4. where necessary, develop operational procedures to implement the powers and institutions of this Charter;
  5. appoint and supervise the activities of Constables;
  6. conduct elections and certify the results of elections;
  7. publicly set its own rules and by-laws for its meetings;
  8. manage technical matters (software and hardware);
  9. establish and maintain public awareness of the Citizendium; and
  10. invite and establish collaboration with external partners on any matters relevant to the Citizendium's mission.

Article 35

Each Council shall

  1. have a quorum corresponding to the simple majority of its members;
  2. develop written guidelines to define and explain methods of communicating with that particular Council, including a mechanism that allows Citizens to petition that Council;
  3. be empowered to appoint delegates to perform specific tasks for a specific period of time (not more than two years) provided that the responsibility for the actions of a delegate shall always remain with the appointing Council;
  4. have power to adjudicate disputes in their core competency: content for Editorial Council, behavior for Management Council;
  5. have power to impose sanctions on Citizens for violations of rules.

Article 36

  1. to ensure by means of executive decisions that the principles and policies of the Citizendium are effectively and coherently observed; such decisions shall be based on established policy where defined;
  2. to make interim decisions on behalf of the Editorial and Management Councils when established policy does not provide guidance; these decisions shall be overridden by the establishment of relevant policy;
  3. to represent the Citizendium in its relations with external bodies, such as the mass media, and academic or non-academic institutions.

Article 37

Referenda may be initiated in two ways:

  1. Any Citizen may petition either the Management Council or Editorial Council that contested rules or guidelines be submitted to a referendum. Either Council must have jurisdiction over the contested matter. Either Council may, by simple majority vote, submit the referendum to a vote of the citizenry at the next regular election.
  2. A referendum may be initiated by a group of Citizens corresponding in size to 20 percent of the number of voters in the previous election. The Management Council must include a valid Citizen-initiated referendum in the next regular election. Failure to do so will automatically pass the referendum which shall then become official policy and enforceable. This Charter may not be amended by a failure of the Management Council to submit a referendum to a vote.


  • A referendum must be written as enforceable rules or guidelines.
  • A referendum shall be decided by simple majority of the votes validly cast by the citizenry during a regular election.
  • Any amendment to and any change of this Charter shall require a referendum and shall be ratified if accepted by a qualified majority of two thirds of the votes validly cast.
  • Any change of the license shall require a referendum.

Part V: Behavior and dispute resolution

Article 38

The Constabulary shall enforce the Citizendium's rules of behavior as determined by the Management Council, which shall apply equally to all Citizens regardless of status or position, including Editors and those with official positions. In particular, Constables

  1. shall not intervene in matters of content, and
  2. shall act with reasonable pragmatism and leniency, and only in those situations where a behavioral dispute is clearly covered by existing rules.
  3. Constables shall have power to block Citizens' access to the Citizendium.
  4. Any act of the Constables may be appealed to the Management Council.

Article 39

An Ombudsman is available to mediate any dispute. Agreements worked out through mediation shall be binding but may be appealed.

Article 40

  • Whenever possible, disputes shall be settled informally at the lowest possible level by subject matter Editors. Specifically, the following shall apply:
  1. Any party involved in a dispute may contact the Ombudsman for assistance in dispute resolution.
  2. When a formal decision is necessary or demanded, the Ombudsman shall facilitate the presentation of the issue to the appropriate body — Editorial Council for content disputes, Management Council for disputes involving violation of the rules.
  3. All Citizens shall have the right to a fair hearing, which shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following: the opportunity to present one's case in one's defense, the right to be heard by a fair and unprejudiced body, the right to have others offer testimony on one's behalf.
  4. The Editorial Council and the Management Council may impose sanctions that result in blocking a Citizen's access to Citizendium, removing or altering content, or terminating the Citizen's account. The Management Council and Editorial Council may from time to time devise additional sanctions as appropriate.
  5. Citizens shall not have arbitrary or excessive sanctions imposed upon them.

Article 41

Appeals of formal decisions shall be possible when a disputant can show an Appeals Board that either:

  1. New information is available; or
  2. A technical error was made during the previous formal procedure.

Article 42

  • An Appeals Board shall consist of Citizens who were not previously directly involved, as follows:
  1. one member appointed by the Editorial Council,
  2. one member appointed by the Management Council, and
  3. the Ombudsman or his/her designee.

Article 43

An Appeals Board may render one of three decisions: it may decide that the disputant does not have new information or that the adjudicating council made no technical error and deny a re-hearing; it may affirm the adjudicating council's decision, in spite of new information or technical error; or it may recognize that new information, a technical error, or both has placed the adjudicating council's decision in error and remand the case to the adjudicating council for rehearing. If the case has been remanded for re-hearing, it is expected that the adjudicating council revise its judgment in light of the appeal.

Article 44

  • The Management Council shall create a procedure allowing for dispute resolution to be heard privately. Privately heard disputes forfeit their right to appeal on technical grounds, although an appeal will still be possible upon discovery of new information.
  • In some cases, either at the discretion of the adjudicating council or at the request of a disputant, part of a public dispute resolution process may be removed from public view. Such an exception shall require public justification by the Ombudsman.

Part VI: Administrative matters

Article 45

All Citizens, regardless of position or status, shall be bound by this Charter including its amendments, and no referendum or decision of any council or official shall contravene it.

In cases where local, regional, national, or international law voids or limits clauses of this Charter or its amendments, all other clauses of this Charter and its amendments shall still be effectual and be implemented consistent with law.

Article 46

Material originating at Citizendium shall always be free to use, reuse, and redistribute — subject only, at most, to the requirement that those who reuse Citizendium content acknowledge the source of the material and make derivative works equally free to use, reuse, and redistribute. The Management Council has the right to upgrade the license version on behalf of contributors, but any change in license type must be ratified through public referendum. The licensing of content incorporated from elsewhere shall follow the conditions stipulated by the respective copyright owners. For all material, the applicable copyright license shall be clearly stated.

Article 47

The Management Council shall elaborate a strategy and policy on handling the establishment of branches in languages other than English. This must include the establishment of (1) governance structures parallel to those codified in this Charter for each new branch and (2) a democratic system for decision-making across branches.

Article 48

  • No official of the Citizendium — including any member of the Editorial Council, Management Council, Ombudsman, Constabulary, or Managing Editor, who are volunteers — shall be personally liable to the Citizendium or its members for monetary damages for a breach of the officials' fiduciary duties provided that the breach is not the result of
  1. Acts not done—or omissions not occurring—in good faith;
  2. Acts involving misconduct or a knowing violation of law;
  3. Acts for which the official derived an improper personal benefit;
  4. Acts done or omissions occurring before the adoption of this Charter; or
  5. Gross negligence.
  • No Citizen shall be personally liable for the monetary liabilities of or judgments against the Citizendium unless the Citizen has been shown to have authored libelous or slanderous content, or to have committed other acts, resulting in judgment or damages against the Citizendium.

Part VII: Transitional measures

Most regulations in this section have expired as of 23:57, 16 April 2011 (UTC). Only the remaining ones are still listed below, and two dates were added in place of their verbal descriptions.

Article 53

  1. The initial size of the Editorial Council shall be 7 members, that of the Management Council 5 members.
  2. A number of members corresponding to the quorum shall be selected, by lot or personal agreement, to serve shortened terms until the next regular election that is at least half a year after the initial election.

Article 54

The effective date of the Charter is 24 September 2010.

  • Accepting a nomination serves as a declaration of commitment, in the case of being elected, to fulfill this function until the limit of the term.

Article 55

Citizens fulfilling specific responsibilities in offices and special roles as of 23 September 2010 shall continue in those particular roles, on the basis of this Charter, until specifically replaced by the appropriate council or election.


For the purposes of this draft here is a list of the pages linked from within the Charter, along with the Article they first appear in and the words used in the link in place of the name of the page linked to. Some of the redlinks may have existing pages that are worded slightly differently, some may not be necessary and some may be in need of creation.

Page Topic First mention Comment
CZ:Accessibility special requirements #Article 21
CZ:Advocacy, advertisement and sensationalism advocacy, advertisement and sensationalism #Article 23
CZ:Appeals appealed #Article 39
CZ:Appeals board appeals board #Article 29
CZ:Approval process approve #Article 15
CZ:Ballott ballot #Article 25
CZ:Behavior behavioral #Article 33
CZ:Blocking procedures block #Article 38
CZ:Bot policy responsibly exercised automated access #Article 21
Category:Approved_Articles approved content #Article 15
CZ:Charter Citizendium Charter page header
CZ:Citizens fulfilling specific responsibilities Citizens fulfilling specific responsibilities #Article 55
CZ:Citizenship basic conditions for participation #Article 2
CZ:Civility civility #Article 34
CZ:Collaboration with external partners collaboration with external partners #Article 34
CZ:Combined Councils Combined Councils #Article 28
CZ:Communication communicating #Article 35
CZ:Comprehensiveness comprehensively #Article 19
CZ:Constabulary Constabulary #Article 24
CZ:Content guide content guidelines #Article 15
CZ:Contextualization put into context #Article 20
Category:CZ Editors Editor status #Article 16
CZ:Delegation delegates #Article 35
CZ:Disputes disputes #Article 35
CZ:Dispute resolution dispute resolution #Article 40
CZ:Editor Editors #Article 7
CZ:Editor applications procedure for promoting Citizens to Editor status #Article 32
CZ:Editorial Council Editorial Council #Article 14
CZ:Editorial Council/By-laws by-laws #Article 32
CZ:Editorial_Council#Decisions_made_by_the_Council.2C_in_chronological_order Editorial Council page header
CZ:Editorial Council/Rules rules #Article 32
CZ:Elections elected #Article 25
CZ:Elections#Certification certify #Article 34
CZ:Elections Committee Elections Committee #Article 25
CZ:Elections for the Editorial Council Elections for the Editorial Council #Article 25
CZ:Elections for the Management Council Elections for the Management Council #Article 25
CZ:Elections for the Managing Editor elected #Article 26
CZ:External relations relations #Article 36
CZ:Fairness fair governance #Article 24
CZ:Finances economic resources #Article 34
CZ:Good standing good standing #Article 27
CZ:Good writing well-written narrative #Article 19
CZ:Institutions institutions #Article 34
CZ:International languages other than English #Article 47
CZ:Legal matters legal #Article 34
CZ:Liability liable #Article 48
CZ:License license #Article 37
Special:ListUsers Registered users #Article 1
CZ:Management Council Management Council #Article 2
CZ:Management Council/By-laws by-laws #Article 34
CZ:Management Council/Rules rules #Article 34
CZ:Management Council Motions Passed Management Council page header
CZ:Managing Editor Managing Editor #Article 24
Category:Managing Editor/Decisions decisions #Article 36
CZ:Mediation mediate any dispute #Article 39
CZ:Minimum of bureaucracy minimum of bureaucracy #Article 24
CZ:Neutrality neutrally #Article 19
CZ:Nominations nomination #Article 25
CZ:Non-text materials material and media #Article 19
CZ:Objectivity objectively #Article 19
CZ:Officer Officers #Article 7
CZ:Official official posts #Article 29
CZ:Ombudsman Ombudsman #Article 24
CZ:Original research original research #Article 20
CZ:Petitions petition #Article 35
CZ:Public awareness public awareness #Article 34
CZ:Quorum quorum #Article 35
CZ:Quorum#Editorial Council quorum #Article 32
CZ:Real names real names policy #Article 2
CZ:Recalling an official official may be recalled #Article 31
CZ:Recognition of expertise recognition of expertise #Article 14
CZ:Referenda referendum #Article 25
CZ:Reserve members reserve members #Article 25
CZ:Resignation resign #Article 25
CZ:Sabbatical temporary leave of absence #Article 25
CZ:Sanctions sanctions #Article 35
CZ:Specialist material Specialist material #Article 20
CZ:Style guide style #Article 15
CZ:Technical matters technical #Article 34
CZ:Transparency transparent #Article 24
CZ:User rights User Rights #Article 34
CZ:Voting votes #Article 25