Week 10 – A2: An alternative to Wikipedia?

1. What do their different editorial policies imply about differing approaches to authority and to the role of the ‘expert’? What are the most important differences between Citizendium and Wikipedia in terms of their editorial policies?

In Wikipedia any anonymous user can edit the content.

Citizendium differentiates between authors and editors.  Authors can still remain anonymous when submitting information but before their work is vetted before actually being made available. Editors have to show their real identity and expertise. They need to submit their CV in order to be approved. Citizendum uses constables to review the request for an editor account. These constables are expert administrators holding at least a bachelor’s degree.

2. How far is Citizendium meeting its goals, as far as you can tell from recent reports?These reports may come from Citizendium (what it says about itself) and from commentators.

This project seems to be growing in size although it’s base of articles is somewhat small. Problems I found with this tool (when compared with Wikipedia) is that it still caters only for English language users & articles. Also it is somewhat time consuming to request a Citizendium account.

3. If you have time, search on the same term in each wiki and compare the results. For example, at the time of writing, their entries on ‘Crystal Palace’ differ markedly.

I have made two searches; Crystal Palace and Malta. The results in the two wikis were somewhat contrasting as the amount of information in Wikipedia was overwhelming whereas to date  in Citizendium the article about Malta is not approved and contains only one sentence. This might be a result of the larger number of users which Wikipedia has.

4. Then search – within Google, for example – on ‘Wikipedia approval’, ‘Wikipedia vandal’ or similar terms to see whether and how Wikipedia’s own processes of approval are evolving.

In Wikimania 2008 it was reported that the idea of “flagged revisions” was being tested. This system would shift Wikipedia to the same path started by Citizendium i.e. the use of ‘expert approval’


Wordle: kijt.wordpress.com


3 thoughts on “Week 10 – A2: An alternative to Wikipedia?

  1. Hi Keith
    You may be interested to know that I have been blocked by one of the Citizendium constables because he doesn’t believe that my name is real and that I’m therefore not a real person. Given that they are supposed to be expert administrators I would have thought they might at least do some research before taking such drastic action – but then, I’m not really that concerned about having a Citizendium account…..

    1. Thanks Frauke for this information. So this might be a reason for the lack of information available on this project.

  2. @kijt, (1) contributors have to use their real names (as on the ID or driving license)
    (4) flagged revisions at WP just check for absence of vandalism and thus do not really point into the direction of CZ’s approval process which requires at least graduate-level expertise in an area relevant to the article

    and if you feel there is a lack of information on the project, take a look at http://forum.citizendium.org/index.php or ask via

    @ Frauke,
    dunno what happened exactly in your case but blocked accounts are rather rare at Citizendium, so if you’re still interested, I’d give the constables another try – as far as I can tell from about one year on the site, they are usually really friendly and try to be helpful.

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