Archive for the 'Citizendium' Category

Forget my own head if it weren’t nailed on

March 12, 2007

A recent email from Larry Sanger:


It occurs to me that a few of you might not be participating on the wiki ( because you lost your username. Well, it’s no bother for us to look it up for you. If you have forgotten yours, simply drop a quick mail to constables at and we’ll send it to you. Then you can easily have your password sent to you, and get involved!


Hang on. Citizendium requires all users to register with their real names, and always has done; it’s one of the fundamental principles of the site. Not only that, but there is a standard format for all Citizendium usernames: “Firstname Lastname”.

So.. why does Larry think that people are forgetting their own names?


Apparently, I’m awesome

March 10, 2007

Or so says Jonathon Stokes, the co-founder of a hitherto unknown-to-me site called ValueWiki. Look, I’m up there at number 1! (Err, technically that’s Wikipedia Weekly, not me. But I get a personal mention.. that counts for something, right?)

Indeed, that’s a pretty good list to look at, and I follow a number of blogs that it lists. Among the others that get a mention are Citizendium’s official blog at number three, Geoff Burling (one of the most knowledgeable Wikipedians I know), and, surprisingly enough, Jimmy Wales. Jimmy rarely posts to his blog, but it’s usually worth reading when he does.

To go a little beyond this list, I could also point to Wikimedias who blog at Meta, or better yet, the very excellent sites Wiki Blog Planet (which seems to be identical to Open Wiki Blog Planet) and Planet Wikimedia.

Go subscribe to some lists, or something. In the meantime, I’ll ponder the question: is Jonathon Stokes the Jonathon Stokes?

How to influence people

February 27, 2007

Larry Sanger’s Citizendium is just drowning in good press these days. Unfortunately for the site, two slashdottings later the site is still struggling to keep up a decent rate of expansion: the “Big Write” project fizzled, and hundreds of new users in just a few days have done little in terms of writing new content. So, when Ars Technica’s Nate Anderson posted a glowing three-page review of the Wikipedia alternative, it was another chance for Citizendium to leap to the big time.

However, the resulting discussion thread turned out a little differently. The response was overwhelmingly negative, despite the best efforts of Citizendium’s Jason Potkanski, an Ars reader and forum denizen himself.

This is where the story gets interesting, though. It seems that Larry saw the discussion thread, which had been linked to on his site’s official blog, and decided to take a read. Here is his response (emphasis mine):

Jason, why do you waste your time in that discussion? Clearly you’re dealing with a bunch of jackals there who simply hate the idea of the project. There will be only more and more such people as we become more and more successful. No one cared much last September, so we only had a few negative reactions, all of them saying that it can’t work; but now that we’ve got over 1,000 articles, many hundreds of participants, consistently well over 500 edits per day (and pushing toward 1000 regularly), with scores of regular contributors…well, some people are evidently starting to feel threatened by us.



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Baby steps forward

February 26, 2007

Big Things are happening at Larry Sanger’s Citizendium. Things like “The Big Delete“, in which the project “unforked” itself from Wikipedia by deleting most of their derivative content; “The Big Speedydelete“, in which they deleted “probably over 1,000 pages” of other crap; and “The Big Cleanup“. Most recently, though, Citizendium has launched itself into the next Big Thing: the imaginatively named “Big Write“.

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Citizendium struggles to convert publicity into content

February 14, 2007

Citizendium was slashdotted again recently, prompting the creation of 900 new user accounts in the last 24 hours. So, following up from my recent post on their last slashdotting, how has this affected the site’s performance?

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Standing in line, how interesting

February 12, 2007

At the risk of inadvertently lifeblogging, I’m standing in the middle of Union Court at the ANU, waiting for a sausage from the sausage sizzle. They don’t appear to be selling any, though — I sense a conspiracy.

In other news, my recent post on Citizendium was the 21st most popular WordPress post of the day, yesterday. :)

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Wikipedia Weekly 11 finally recorded

February 10, 2007

Now that internet connectivity has been restored to Taiwan and mainland China, we’ve been able to spend some time with Andrew Lih recording the next episode of Wikipedia Weekly. The topics of conversation included comparisons between the Microsoft, MyWikiBiz and AstroTurf controversies; new board hires; the recent fundraiser; and, of course, Citizendium.

Since the last release, though, we’ve averaged 550-600 downloads for each episodes, with Episode 1 way out in front with just under a thousand. We’ll try to get back to those numbers now that we’re able to return to a regular release schedule.

There’s no hubris at Citizendium

February 10, 2007

No, seriously, the article on “hubris” is still missing from the encyclopedia. This is despite Larry’s email of February 3, specifically requesting that the article be created.

Just sayin’.

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You’ll never find this at Wikipedia

February 9, 2007

Choosing a horse – Citizendium Pilot:

Choosing a horse means making a large commitment, larger than is involved in obtaining any other common domestic animal. Horses are long lived, “high-maintenance” creatures that are almost always much easier to buy than to sell. Any new horse owner is best off tackling the task of finding that first horse with the help of real professionals, including the teachers and trainers that know her riding skills and personality. But, like with every other important decision, the final choice is up to the individual making it. Armed with knowledge, the novice horse-buyer is in a better position to navigate the process of finding, buying, and settling in the right horse. This article reviews some of the basic advice that has been published by equestrians on those topics.

The above is the introduction of an article that you will never see on Wikipedia, highlighting one of the prime differences between Larry Sanger’s Citizendium and its predecessor; the former relies on the oft-debated concept of “notability”, whereas the former simply relies on verifiability. Essentially, the site will accept any information, provided its possible to prove it.

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Citizendium since the slashdotting

February 9, 2007

Following on from the recent slashdotting of Citizendium, I thought it might be worth breaking down the numbers to see how they’re faring since the article ran. They appear to have weathered the ‘Slashdot effect’, which involves ten of thousands of geeks descending upon a page in a short space of time (usually bringing it to its knees in the process), but how has the publicity affected the project itself?

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