Citizendium isn’t interested in your opinion

February 7, 2007

A couple of days ago I created a page at Citizendium that demonstrated my thoughts on how to effectively keep large numbers of editors informed of ongoing requests for article approval, and emailed the Citizendium-L mailing list about it.

Here is the reply I received (screenshot here):

Posting of your message titled “Centralised location for approval nominations”has been rejected by the list moderator. The moderator gave the following reason for rejecting your request:

“David Still,

You’re not an editor; yet not only are you attempting to engineer our editorial process, you are trying to *lead* the engineering of the editorial process. All of this without consulting the editor-in-chief or, as far as I know, even any actual editor. You are not welcome to participate in this way, particularly since you have proven that you lack the good sense and diplomacy to know how to work with actual adults.

Please leave this up to the actual editors.

Larry Sanger”

Any questions or comments should be directed to the list administrator
at:

citizendium-l-owner@lists.purdue.edu

Let me express my profound disappointment in this turn of events. The demonstration was moved to my userspace just after the above email was sent, without any discussion of its merits anywhere — the forum thread was again ignored, and Larry has yet to explain why the idea itself was bad or unwanted.

Now to point out some choice quotes from the above email.

“All of this without consulting the editor-in-chief or, as far as I know, even any actual editor.”

Let me count the ways. First, my opinions on the matter were made quite clear weeks ago at Ars Technica, and were responded to by Mike Johnson — a member of Citizendium’s editorial committee. Good communication++;

Next, I blogged about it here, and was personally responded to by both Mike and Larry Sanger. At this point I chose to post about it on the Citizendium forums, and was pleased to see that Mike Johnson again replied and expressed pleasure with the specific suggestion that I chose to demonstrate:

You’re absolutely right. We’re not using said page as much as we should. I’ve linked to it from Category:Approved Articles and the page you suggested. I also think it should be on the main page, but I’m unsure of exactly where to slip it in. If you find yourself inspired, go ahead and add it.

Your suggestion that a more distinct, structured place should be set aside for comments on articles up for approval also sounds good, and that actually ties in with something more sweeping we’d like to implement- threaded forums attached to articles instead of flat talk pages. I can’t speak to the timeframe involved, however.

Okay — so far, so good. Having created this thread, though, I decided to publicise it a little to see if I could get some more participation there; it had, and still has, largely been ignored. As such, I emailed the Citizendium-L list; I know that Larry read this email, and presumably saw the link therein, because as list moderator he have to have seen it in order to reject it. If it hadn’t, either he neglected to read it in the first place, or someone else moderated the email for him and neglected to pass it on. Again, good communication++;

The second quote would be this one:

Please leave this up to the actual editors.

Given the state that Citizendium is in, I’d rather not.

UPDATE: Soon after the above email, I asked him to clarify his reasoning. Here’s my email, and Larry’s reply:

Spot the ad hominem.

UPDATE 2: But wait, it gets better!

Excellent.

Please. Larry, discounting someone’s suggestions on grounds as dubious as those is bigoted at best, especially in light of your own amazing egotism.

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35 Responses to “Citizendium isn’t interested in your opinion”

  1. IComeAnon Says:

    Well, it’s sad. The site isn’t even a year old and already there is a power struggle in place. Input doesn’t harm anyone, after all, it was a suggestion not a ram thru of policy.

  2. Larry Sanger Says:

    David, for posting PRIVATE e-mails to your blog, you are no longer welcome on the Citizendium project.

    Larry Sanger

  3. canti Says:

    Unsurprising that a project based entirely on the principle of elitism and stroking the egos of mainstream upper-crust academia would be so blatantly exclusionary. Utterly pathetic.

  4. Christopher Says:

    What… a… prick.

    Sad that age should be a condition, rather then the actual merits of one’s opinion or viewpoint.

  5. Sir Nicholas Says:

    Well, I am now very sure that Citizendium just isn’t worth it. A person like Larry should be capable of understanding that such emails and egotist comments can be published anywhere by anyone. It’s like digging the grave of the very project you have tried so hard to make.

  6. Elijah Says:

    Someone should remind Dr. Sanger that he is not an emeritus from a respected university with books and plaudits galore. He is simply one of many newly-minted PhDs, and represents the worst of academic elitism. Perhaps if he had a series of real accomplishments within academia, he would be, as many respected and noteworthy professors are, a little less elitist.

  7. Nameless Says:

    If it helps, they are totally clueless in dealing with vandalism, which will lead to their downfall. I’ve gotten them, via pagemoves, to delete the histories of 4 of their largest articles and several userpages.

  8. ProfRAP Says:

    It’s disappointing but not surprising to hear of this. The underlying trouble with CZ — and I worked my butt off as an Editor there for three months — is that Larry micromanages everything. Several editors proposed an Interdisciplinary Studies workgroup; Larry replied that this was not a real academic field because it wasn’t *limited* enough. When Larry proposed dumping WP contant and abandoning the fork, I and many other editors only learned of this after some invisible consultations and the decision had already been made.

    I do not think Larry Sanger is a bad person; on the contrary, he’s energetic, a great promoter and fundraiser, and brings great experience to the project. But, like a Wikiepdian who gradually begins to feel that certain articles, or certain subjects, “belong” to him or her, Larry has a sense of ownership that ends up short-circuiting the needed spirit of collective collaboration which is at the heart of the wiki ethic. In other words, he’d be a great chief executive, but he needs to delegate the editorial process to a more collective body, and get a managing editor who understands the wiki philosophy and can be fully independent. In newspaper terms, he’s publisher and editor; the integrity of content relies on those being independent positions.


  9. This turn of events — being attacked, assulted, and then banned from CZ just for *suggesting* an improvement — that’s simply horrible.

    When I was told about Citizendium, it sounded like a version of Wikipedia that would start off with certain important controls and processes in place, instead of having them jury-rigged (and non-GFDL, a major plus). What it’s turning out to be is just a mirror of Wikipedia with less than full GFDL compliance. It doesn’t help that the only administrator who seems to work at Citizendium seems to be completely unfamiliar with the English language or wiki markup/administration, and Citizendium is an English-only wiki.

    Ah well; it was a try while it lasted.

  10. Elara Says:

    All of this should really serve to enlighten people about the actual purpose of Citizendium. It is not a “noble” project. It is an attempt, by a very self-centered, egotistical, and pompously arrogant person, to corrupt the GDFL licence, to create a site edited by some handpicked crew of so-called “experts” who are entirely biased and not neccessarily representative of the main thrust of leading opinion on anything, and most of all, is owned.

    The comment here from Larry Sanger says it all, folks. He accuses someone who is trying to make constructive criticism of being immature and not worthy, then when this person calls them on it, says they aren’t welcome. I’m real sure daveydweeb is just all heartbroken over his missed chance to join the Furherpendium.

  11. Nathan Says:

    Larry Sanger (I know you’re reading this): I’m sure he really cares what you think since you made such age-discriminatory comments.

  12. Matrix Says:

    Sanger’s handling of this was both snobbish and petty.

    Volunteer-driven free-content project management 101: if you think someone’s well-meaning suggestion is poor, either ignore it, or, if needed, rebut it. To block it from being posted to the mailing list is unnecessary, but Sanger’s sneering emails betray snobbery of the worst kind.

  13. Larry Sanger Says:

    If you take the time to inform yourself of the actual facts of the situation–not just what “Daveydweeb” says are the facts, because he has of course twisted them out of all recognition–and if after doing so you continue so strongly to disapprove of my handling of the situation, then it will not bother me very much that you never join the Citizendium. I hope you will stick with Wikipedia and help it to thrive according to your lights. This, of course, will guarantee that a need for the Citizendium remains, which has attracted the many people who have joined us.

    For those who do not merely want their prejudices reinforced, here are a few facts.

    David Still hasn’t been banned yet. He’s not welcome as far as I personally am concerned, but that’s just me. He is very far from being banned for making suggestions, which is absurd; what he might be banned for is posting private e-mails, and he might not. The decision has not finally been made yet, because we (the constables) want to take action only after a clear and fair process. The mails he posted were private mails to me, not public pronouncements; but he made them into public pronouncements by posting them. By the way, he did not post all the mails. THAT is why he is being considered for being banned. And, speaking merely for myself, I won’t wish to welcome him personally on the website until he apologizes for his ridiculous and childish behavior, not the least of which has been to play the part of the demagogue to all of you.

    Daveydweeb has done virtually nothing on the wiki, and yet, as an obviously immature teenager, he expects essentially a full seat at the decisionmaking table with people far older and wiser than he is? And he expects this in a project that is *avowedly* guided by experts, as he knows? If that’s what he expects, he should stick with Wikipedia, where he will be hailed as a great martyr. Great work, Daveydweeb!

    The notion that I am “ageist” is laughable. There is a 19-year-old on the Executive Committee, and I have been encouraging of a very bright 13-year-old. The other Executive Committee member that Daveydweeb mistook for an editor is actually a recent college graduate who is 25 years old. The relevant question appears to have gone over everyone’s heads except for the Citizens who care enough to pay attention. The *original* issue, for which I took Daveydweeb to task, was simply whether non-editors may shrilly (i.e., beginning with completely unfair and ridiculous personal attacks, as in Daveydweeb’s earlier blog post) demand the attention of the Citizendium’s editors and attempt to drive the formation of editorial policy. If he had actually been polite, then he might have received the full hearing he demanded. Even as it was, a number of people *did* give him a hearing.

    Perhaps our hardest-working editor explained the matter to Daveydweeb very pointedly as follows:

    “You launch your ‘blog’, and then demand that everyone halt in their tracks and answer to you. You wanted to be part of the group? You could have joined in on the wiki that is open to all. You have no right to insult us and demand that we ‘answer to you.’ It is you that has set up a hierarchy here and it is we who don’t accept it. Your demands, personal and insistent, are not free speech, but a constant plea for attention that you will not let be ignored. You place yourself in the position of an interogator, and you behave as if you have some authority over all of us, you are inconsiderate of our rights and sensibilities as people to the point of publishing personal e-mail on the web. Behavior on that level of immaturity transforms our forums and our wiki into a hostile workplace. The very nature of an open ‘radical collaboration’ demands that we manage, somehow, to set up rules for government that frees those working in good faith from being held hostage by those with political agendas, quests for personal profit, and from childish attention seekers. Those rules are needed to allow us all to have freedom of speech and peace of mind.”

    ProfRAP, I appreciate your voice of relative moderation here, and I am still sorry that you felt you had to leave. But I have to take issue with one thing. The notion that I have an overinflated sense of ownership over the project, as you have alleged, is profoundly unfair. Maybe you never noticed, but I have gone out of my way to call for people to take up positions of responsibility. If I “micromanage everything,” it is because no one else will actually step up to do any of the relevant managing at all. And when there are those who do, and are evidently doing a good job, I have greatly appreciated it and generally stepped aside. I have also said that I will be stepping down from my position as editor-in-chief in two to three years. I have said (and am slowly making into a reality…by dragging people kicking and screaming into positions of responsibility) that we are building a representative republic, not anything remotely resembling a dictatorship. For virtually every significant decision, I solicit feedback, which I then use. I have made proposals that I have seen shot down, and which I did NOT then execute by fiat. As to an Interdisciplinary Studies group, we might have some such groups, but the mere fact that you did not get your way on this proves little; the reason I gave for being opposed to such groups is that they are intrinsically overlapping of other groups. As I asked and as you never coherently answered: for what articles will this group be responsible?

    Besides all that, we have not yet set up a group to revise and edit the list of workgroups. This is something I want to get started soon. I will be happy when it does, and I will leave decisions in their hands and largely out of my own. If they decide to install groups that you and others have demanded, I will of course respect their decision, for the issue will really be out of my hands–as it should be.

    In short, your characterization of my “sense of ownership,” ProfRAP, is profoundly unfair.

    But then, when there’s a pile-on, people rarely care about what’s fair or not. :-)

  14. daveydweeb Says:

    “By the way, he did not post all the mails. THAT is why he is being considered for being banned.”

    Cool: http://www.flickr.com/photos/93467013@N00/385110983/

  15. Prokor Says:

    boo-hoo. Wah-Wah-Wah. They wouldn’t let me play with them because I wanted to be the boss. Wah-Wah-Wah.

    I know better than they do what they should be doing. I wasn’t invited, but I was good enough to show up at their party and tell them they are dancing all the wrong steps to all the wrong songs and now they don’t want me at their party, boo-hoo-hoo.

    They are egotistical, self-righteous, pompous boobs because they hurt my poor fragile ego. Boo-hoo.

  16. Mike Johnson Says:

    I would suggest that everyone calm down, consider that this is a complex situation, and consider that we’re all human.

    Thank you.

  17. Glen Says:

    Unbelievable. Im at a loss for words. Sanger you’ve really come out looking like a clown here.

  18. Fredrik Says:

    “It is an attempt, by a very self-centered, egotistical, and pompously arrogant person, to corrupt the GDFL licence”

    The GFDL has nothing to do with Wikipedia’s decision-making processes or its policy to allow anonymous editing. Even if it did, Citizendium is a project to write a free high-quality encyclopedia, not a project to promote or preserve the GFDL.

  19. ProfRAP Says:

    Well, it’s interesting to see Larry himself here on the blog!

    I don’t think people should just take random shots at Citizendium here — there are a lot of people of good will trying to make it work! And I don’t think the license issue (GFDL or some other copyleft model) is a real problem. I think CZ’s difficulties so far are largely governance ones, not implementation ones. If the core wiki, and list of approved articles, grows large enough — time will tell, and with WP content dumped, it will take much longer — then CZ may well be a viable encyclopedia.

    My point is just that, when you are asking people to volunteer, it’s importance to give those who do some sense of internal governance. Let them do what they feel most comfortable doing, and what they are best at — there’s no need to regard a new proposal as a threat. And let them at least try to self-govern. Heavy-handed tactics, even if the are well-intetioned, will alienate many volunteers and potential volunteers.

    For my own part, I thought Davydweeb’s idea was a decent one — like the wiki as a whole, or like dumping WP content, it could always be un-dumped or changed, or eliminated later. Even if it was a terrible idea, those working on the wiki could just ignore it if they liked, for now.

    That to me is the wiki philosophy — it is, somewhat, hierarchical, but works best with many heads, not just one.

  20. OutAndOutsider Says:

    This strikes me as pointing out an attitudinal flaw in the Citizendium approach:

    In laissez-faire wikipedistan if some entrepreneurial teenager put up a page that bundled together all the articles awaiting approval it wouldn’t be seen as some sort of power grab or attempt to game the editorial process — it is just some entrepreneurial teenager putting up a page bundling together the articles currently awaiting approval. If the community found the page useful that’s fine, and if it didn’t find the page useful then there’s still NO HARM DONE.

    In heavily-managed citizendistan the very act of putting up some kind of page is fraught with significance, and thus if some entrepreneurial teenager puts up a page of articles awaiting approval it’s a power grab aimed at restructuring the editorial process…the implications for citizendistan’s prospects are obvious, in my opinion, although I’d prefer being proved wrong on that.

    I’ll check back once there’s > 1 approved article on the site I can read without registering an account.

  21. Kali Tal Says:

    Organizations rot from the head down. My own experience with the King of Citizendium is that Sanger doesn’t care about expertise unless he certifies it… even in fields in which he has no authority or knowledge. Case in point is his dismissal of all area studies and interdisciplinary fields as proper subjects around which editorial working groups can be focused — and this despite quite a number of protests from respected scholars in those fields. It also seems to me no accident that the areas he’s dismissing are those most heavily populated by female and minority scholars, who are in terribly short supply at CZ. I’ve blogged about this at length. CZ, as Sanger frames it, is an inherently conservative project.

    In my estimation, Sanger is an intellectual lightweight who pays lip service to expertise, but only when it supports his POV. His claims to neutrality are a joke (probably another reason why he so despises the very fields that question his kind of “neutral” position).

    Sanger also seems to have no self-consciousness at all about his flip-flops on how wonderful or awful people are. For example, without knowing me beyond some posts I’d made to the CZ Forum, he invited me to be part of the CZ Editorial Board — the “in crowd.” He wrote me talking about how wonderfully level headed I was. I was the paragon of Reason… until I disagreed with him on a matter in which I’m generally considered an expert, and about which he is almost entirely ignorant. Suddenly, I was accused of attempting to hijack CZ to further my own agenda, told that the disiplines in which I was trained were political rather than academic, and dismissed without having any of my “well reasoned” arguments addressed. I resigned, disgusted and embarrassed that I’d fallen, even for a second, for CZ’s claims of being open to anyone but mainstream, middle-aged, professional class white guys.

    Really, CZ’s main point of failure is that it is neither a realm of expertise, nor an open, democratic free-for-all. Instead, it is a select group of people claiming that expertise is the governing model, while cherry-picking the editorial staff based on their social connections and political beliefs — not on their credibility as subject experts or on their capacity for objective analysis. I expect Sanger to cry out in protest over this statement, but I stand by it without reservation.

    Oh, and that 18-year-old Larry keeps mentioning as if that invalidates the agism complaints… It’s nice to have a token young person [black person, woman, [insert your favorite minority group here], but that’s no proof of an organization being truly open to the people who belong to those groups. If Sanger was as smart as he claims to be, he’d realize what a weak argument he’d put forward; about as good as “Some of my best friends are….” Aside from that, I think turning around and calling the people who disagree with you childish is pretty damned childish itself.

    KT

  22. Mike Johnson Says:

    Kali Tal,

    You know all that from… what? You had hardly joined Citizendium (and hadn’t done any work) and then you exploded a nearly-unprovoked, agenda-laden diatribe over people who were trying to make an encyclopedia.

    If you have a cause, fine. Just fine some healthier way to further it.

  23. daveydweeb Says:

    Personally, I think I’d prefer it if people were to move away from personal attacks, at least on the blog. We’ve all made our fair share, it’s probably time to move on to discussing others’ arguments, not personalities and motivations.

  24. Larry Sanger Says:

    Kali: “He wrote me talking about how wonderfully level headed I was. I was the paragon of Reason…” Indeed, Kali, you did seem to me to be that. Your Forum posts, still available on the CZ forums, seem to show a person with a find mind and good judgment. You certainly did an excellent impression of such a person. Moreover, you came highly recommended by another editor. One must trust many people at the beginning of a project or risk the very power-hogging I have been accused of. That is why your later rants, unencumbered by any positive relation to the facts or to fair judgment, have been so disconcerting and disappointing. The fact that you did not get your way on one certain editorial decision, which I assured you was merely PROVISIONAL in any case, is obviously no grounds on which to wig out the way you have.

  25. Larry Sanger Says:

    Kali again: “…cherry-picking the editorial staff based on their social connections and political beliefs — not on their credibility as subject experts or on their capacity for objective analysis. I expect Sanger to cry out in protest over this statement, but I stand by it without reservation.”

    You stand by “without reservation” something of which you haven’t got the slightest bit of knowledge. CZ editors are let into the project purely based on whether they meet certain objective criteria, which are stated at http://www.citizendium.org/cfa.html There is no other test, political or otherwise. And that’s precisely *why* we designed the system so that people became editors based *only* on their qualifications, not based on easily politicizable judgment calls.

    As for the Executive Committee, I choose these good people, whom you unfairly disdain, purely based on how active they were early on in the project, and of course based on how much of a practical knowledge they demonstrated of what we’re up to. This is why I chose you, Kali Tal, to join the Executive Committee. I wanted your perspective. It was YOU who resigned. Anyway, unlike you who declared your politics openly (Marxist/feminist), I have no idea what the politics is of the other committee members, and frankly I don’t care. I can work with people of many political stripes, and I often do.

    Given these facts, the notion that you would claim publicly that you “stand by [your ridiculous claims] without reservation” is excellent evidence that you do not care one whit for the truth or for fair play, but only for the advancement of whatever it is (perhaps only a wounded ego) that you have placed in opposition to these things.

  26. Gregory Kohs Says:

    I was made to feel VERY unwelcome on Wikipedia by Jimmy Wales himself, when I sought to provide “seed” or “germ” articles about companies and organizations that were notable and verifiable, but currently lacked any mention in Wikipedia. That I would be paid by such entities to do so was seen as “antithetical” to Wikipedia’s mission, even though the Reward Board was in place — offering cash for edits — and even though I made no claim of “ownership” of the articles I would generate. Wales went on an “anti-PR” tirade for most of that summer and autumn.

    Then, when I reached out a hand to Sanger, offering to contribute business/commerce-related content to Citizendium, I was rebuffed in a way that made me feel SOMEWHAT unwelcome.

    Seeing this level of micromanagement and personal disdain, I now wonder if Wales and Sanger couldn’t work things out because they are cut from the very same cloth.

    I gave up on both so-called “community-edited” spaces and one-upped them both by co-developing Centiare. There, users with a legal standing as an individual or as a representative of a corporate body are welcome to “protect” the content about themselves in “Directory” space, all while freely contributing to non-legal-entity articles as a cooperative collective in “Main” space. We also have implemented Semantic Mediawiki, so we’re probably more in line with Tim Berners-Lee’s vision than either WP or CZ.

  27. Geoff Says:

    I’d like to address one point raised here that no one else has:

    I have never seen Davey act in a manner that would justify the label “immature” LMS has given him, nor has he acted this way in this exchange. (Publishing private email, if Davey has done this for no good reason, is a breach of etiquette and not a demonstration of immaturity.)

    Unless he has evidence to support this accusation, I think Sanger owes Davey an apology.

    Geoff

  28. Guy (JzG) Says:

    Gregory: your fundamental problem is that you did not understand what Wikipedia is. You have stated that you can’t see why businesses would want to add themselves to Wikipedia, with all its tiresome neutrality and verifiability policies, when your own project is (in your view) a much better and complete business directory.

    Of course that is possible, because *Wikipedia is not a business directory*. In fact, a directory is one of the things Wikipedia explicitly is *not*.

    It’s not a surprise that you don’t fully comprehend that, because you don’t seem to comprehend much of Wikipedia’s underlying ethos. For example, you never did see why the community is so unhappy about editors actively setting out to create conflicts of interest (by selling their article-writing services). Jimmy Wales is a very skilled communicator, I can’t believe he did not make this clear to you, I believe you simply don’t “get” it. That’s fine, nobody says everybody has to buy in, only those who want to be a part of the project. If you want to be part of the project, but you don’t buy into the ideals, well, you’ve got a problem. The difference in philosophy is clearly demonstrated by your policy of giving representatives editorial control over their articles. This is the absolute opposite of Wikipedia, where nobody owns an article. It’s a fundamentally different approach, in keeping with the fundamentally different goals.

    Sorry we deleted your article on your firm and blocked your latest sockpuppet, we really don’t like conflicts of interest or self-promotion. Because we are not a business directory (did I mention that?) we are an encyclopaedia, with a non-negotiable neutrality policy.

    I wish you success with your business directory. I’m disappointed that you still apparently harbour a grudge against our encyclopaedia for *not* being a business directory with representatives exerting control over their content. I really thought that the name Wikipedia was a dead giveaway – a wiki and an encyclopaedia. Not a business directory with PR control over advertorial content.

    So, I’m sorry you’re disappointed in Wikipedia’s failings as a thing it expressly is not, I’ll try to console myself with the fact that with 1.6 million articles in English alone and a pace around the top ten websites worldwide, perhaps we are doing something right after all.

  29. Gregory Kohs Says:

    Guy Chapman, it is hilarious to me that you would pontificate here publically about my failure to “comprehend” Wikipedia, while in practice, you have:

    (1) deliberately ignored my polite e-mails to you;

    (2) resorted to LYING about why you speedy deleted [[ICR/International Communications Research]] (you know damned well 207.8.215.81 wasn’t a banned user in June of 2005, but your deletion summary stated “article created by a banned user while banned”);

    (3) conveniently ignore the fact that Jimmy Wales prescribed a working publically-endorsed arrangement for MyWikiBiz to author GFDL content on our OWN website, which other independent editors could scrape into Wikipedia at their own choosing (which is exactly what happened with [[Arch Coal]]), but Jimmy Wales then went ape-shit and deleted [[Arch Coal]] with prejudice and libeled my business because I had the “nerve” to ask him if the [[WP:COI]] guideline superceded his personal agreement with me;

    (4) conveniently ignore the fact that about 20%-25% of the Wikipedia community that ever weighed in on any MyWikiBiz article dialogue (and about 40% of an MSNBC survey of over 1,160 readers — http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16795533/) stated that they have no trouble with paid editing, especially if the author is open and honest about his potential COI. No instead, to you, the ENTIRE Wikipedia community thinks paid editing is antithetical to the “underlying ethos”.

    If we’re to look squarely at the efforts of Guy Chapman, I’d say we’d have to conclude the “underlying ethos” of Wikipedia is administrative deceit and treachery.

    So, thank you for posting a comment here, Guy. We can all see here, in public now, how retarded it is for you, as a grown adult, to chide my “comprehension” of Wikipedia’s moral construct, when I’ve pointed out the FACTS that show I very much understand that open and honest dialogue between people like me and the community (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:MyWikiBiz/Archive_2), as well as between me and Jimmy Wales (http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2006-August/051897.html), can be wadded up and thrown in the trash the moment someone with “admin powers” decides their logic doesn’t hold water any more, and they have the convenient power to erase, modify, and fabricate history to make the slighted party WITHOUT admin powers look foolish.

    So, who looks foolish here, Guy? Me? Or you?

    You’re right. Centiare is just about the OPPOSITE of Wikipedia. We’re actually running the Semantic Mediawiki software the way it is meant to be deployed — with boundless extensions that enable users who CARE ABOUT AND WANT TO PROTECT AND PROMOTE WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY ABOUT THEMSELVES AND THEIR COMPANIES (and maybe even make some money in the process), to do just that. I know you will laugh at this, but I would not be surprised if in six or seven years, Centiare has more daily web users than Wikipedia does now. Contributing to Centiare offers personal financial reward to every contributor. Contributing to Wikipedia offers the intangible reward of currying favor with Jimbo and the admin “cabal” that most admins refuse to admit exists. I’ll leave it to History to tell us which is the better organizational model. The “unpaid collective” approach didn’t seem to work so well for the Soviet Union.

  30. Guy (JzG) Says:

    Ah, Gregory, still beating those dead horses? I didn’t /ignore/ your messages, I just didn’t see any point in replying, because long exxperience indicates that debating with people who have failed, after numerous patient explanations, to understand the principles of Wikipedia, ends up with them still not understanding and me wasting more of my – and their – time. You’re banned. You’re banned because you deliberately set out to create conflicts of interest articles, and because when you were blocked for doing so you kept right on registering new accounts and doing the same. Who looks foolish? Why, you do!

    It’s also pretty clear that you don’t understand why we contribute. We contribute because we believe in the ideals of a free encyclopaedia. Obviously you believe in the ideals of a business directory where subjects get editorial control. The two are different. Feel free to come back and crow if one day your business directory moves above our encyclopaedia in the hit stats.

  31. Gregory Kohs Says:

    Guy, “not replying” to an e-mail when the sender has asked (repeatedly) for a reply is, by definition, “ignoring”. It also shows the type of person you are.

    It’s also important to point out that you keep painting my efforts with your arrogant and historically inaccurate brush strokes of “conflict of interest”. When MyWikiBiz launched, there WERE NO “conflict of interest” policies on Wikipedia. They arose after the fact. Meanwhile, my goal was to fill in missing gaps in Wikipedia where there really ought to be content, according to Wikipedia’s own guidelines. I felt that, as a student of history and a practitioner of marketing research, I could do so accurately, without undue “spam”, “cruft”, “puff”, or whatever label you want to disparagingly use.

    When my account was blocked, I created new accounts because it’s the only way to continue participating in the ongoing debates and discussions ABOUT this topic. I didn’t use the accounts to execute business transactions, even though you imply that I did.

    Being that you give no explanation for why you chose to lie about your edits within Wikipedia, I think we can all safely say that I have a very good understanding of the “principles of Wikipedia”. Get back on your bicycle, Guy, if you want to vent your hypocritical energy. Few here agree with you, because on this blog, people who disagree with you aren’t banned by you.

  32. Guy (JzG) Says:

    Gregory: No, it’s not ignoring when the answer has already been given numerous times. Yes, it shows the type of person I am: the type of person who doesn’t waste time encouraging someone to believe that a hopeless case is anything other than hopeless. Banned user evading ban: block, revert, move on. Standard operating procedure. You’re banned from Wikipedia, and your supercilious tone is probably a part of that.

    Sure, Wikipedia can’t possibly work because we rely on volunteers and a crypo-Communist ethic and we don’t allow article subjects editorial control. Yup, Wikipedia is doomed. And bumble bees can’t fly either.

  33. Wybo Wiersma Says:

    With LogiLogi.org we are trying to prevent these issues by rewarding people with influence based on their contributions. It’s a small project but we’ve already much done. A video of our short presentation at the Fosdem can be seen here: http://video.google.nl/videoplay?docid=865414300290684342

    LogiLogi though is meanth for discussions and informal innovation, not for encyclopedia- building…

  34. Chris Says:

    Well this is massively disappointing. I’ve been editing Wikipedia on and off since around 2004 (not that that’s anything remarkable or anything) and have really come to detest it. I was quite optimistic about Citizendium until reading this, which basically demonstrates that some of the same flaws inherent in Wikipedia (cliques, elitism*, uncivility, politics, etc.) are also embedded in this project.

    Sanger’s opinion of David’s intentions and behavior might be completely justified for all I know, but his attitude is offputting; telling people to “grow up” and whatnot is not – in my opinion – an acceptable way to run a project, not to mention extremely bad PR. Making private emails public is also a poor way to behave if you ask me, but Sanger is going to have to realise that this will probably be inevitable (a la Wikitruth).

    * Giving higher priority to those with credentials/experience is something I totally agree with. Giving people preferential treatment based on how many vandal reverts they make, or discounting new editors opinions based purely on the length of time they’ve been part of the project rather than their arguments themselves, and the like, is not.

  35. Fully agree with Chris Says:

    I fully agree with the above opinion. Being disillusioned with Wikipedia, I thought I’d join Citizendium. Then I’ve realised these two men – Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger – have issues between each other. The battle of the egos more like. And caught in the middle are countless of contributors giving their time and knowledge for free for some higher noble cause (or less ignoble causes) such as an open encyclopedia.

    Until these two men sort their disagreements out as the proverbial goes: we are f**ked.

    I’ll leave my contributions to more worthwhile things (such as advancing my academic career) rather than involving myself into some petty personal politics of the two.

    An openpedia with Jimmy or Larry? Yawn. I’ll wait for a more professional, uninvolved third person for Webpedia 2.0

    Might create one myself. You never know.


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