Daveydweeb joins Citizendium

November 22, 2006

I’ve been talking a lot about how promising I think Citizendium could be, and I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is and sign up there. Doing so was surprisingly easy — the site no longer requires particularly impressive credentials for its application process, so I was able to become a member with little more than a high school education and an interest in gaming.

That’s a good first step. Here are some other things I’ve noticed:

1. Editing has started slowly, but is steadily and consistently improving the quality of those articles. Looking at the “Recent Changes” reveals that something like 5-600 edits are made per day. Every edit is made by a registered user under their real name — there is no vandalism — and the number of edited articles is increasing gradually.

2. The majority of recent edits have been relatively minor ones, such as adding the “CZ Live” category to articles (indicating that they have changed significantly from the Wikipedia version), or adding various “Workgroup” categorisations to articles. These latter changes mark an article belonging to a specific “Workgroup”, a similar concept to Wikipedia’s WikiProjects. They are, however, much smaller, as they were only formed a couple of days ago.

3. The version of MediaWiki run by CZ seems to be slightly different from the current one in use at Wikipedia. Links to create certain things like Redirects are missing from the Citizendium editing box, and can only be added by manually creating them. It’s a minor thing, and the simplification makes life a little easier by removing “crufty” features, but it’s a little strange to get used to.

4. The vast majority of contributors appear to be university educated and extremely well qualified. I have no actual statistics on this, but it certainly appears that Citizendium is currently run by university professors. :)

5. The fact that most users there are well qualified did not prevent them from accepting my application, despite the fact that I don’t even have a Year 12 certificate yet (it won’t arrive until late December). Excellent.

6. Citizendium is not yet live to the public — there are so few links in this post because, frankly, nobody would be able to read them — which gives authors a certain degree of freedom that Wikipedia editors simply don’t have. Major changes can be incrementally made at CZ without the need for a sandbox or for the stress of ensuring that each version is good enough to place online. It’s much less stressful, and it means that articles can be totally torn down as necessary.

7. The main challenge of Citizendium is to differentiate itself from Wikipedia as much as possible, which is going to take a heroic effort to do. Only a couple of hundred articles have really reached that point — if that — and the project has already had a few months to get thus far. Citizendium will need a significant influx of new users over time to help reach the point where they can go live.

That’s all for now, I think I’ll go back to editing for a bit.


One Response to “Daveydweeb joins Citizendium”

  1. […] glad to see that Larry Sanger has finally decided to do something about one of my earliest criticisms of the his project, that it would be better to create original content than to get bogged down in […]

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