CZ:We aren't Wikipedia

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Citizendium was originally founded by Larry Sanger, one of Wikipedia's co-founders. Citizendium has gone through multiple different management models since its inception in 2006, but it has always adhered to its real-names policy. Let's look at how it compares with Wikipedia as of 2023.

How is Citizendium similar to Wikipedia?

  1. Citizendium and Wikipedia both aim to create a giant free general encyclopedia.
  2. Citizendium and Wikipedia both use MediaWiki software.
  3. Citizendium and Wikipedia both use wiki methods of collaboration and encourage everybody to work on articles in their area of interest and expertise.
  4. On both wikis, no particular qualifications are needed to contribute.
  5. Both wikis work on the basis of trust and rely on "soft security" to a great extent.
  6. Both wikis have similar naming conventions and other style guidelines in common. See CZ:Manual of Style for the differences.
  7. Both wikis are committed to an objective, unbiased presentation of information (although there are some differences as described in the following section).

How is Citizendium different from Wikipedia?

  1. Citizendium contributors use their real names and identities, must sign in, and are expected provide a publicly readable biography listing some of the life experience or training that they have. This policy exists to prevent vandalism and help contributors negotiate over article content. Citizendium goes to some lengths to verify contributor identities. Its user pages are for brief, helpful biographies and are not intended as vanity pages. Contributors are not allowed to promote their own resumes or business endeavors via this wiki.
  2. Citizendium defines objectivity differently than Wikipedia. The "neutrality policy" of Wikipedia, as applied nowadays by its leading editors, is that Wikipedia is based solely on "reliable" sources. If there's a consensus of those, then Wikipedia asserts that as unquestioned fact in its own voice, and other points of view, no matter how widely held, may not even be mentioned. This differs rather widely from Citizendium's concept, which is that if there are important points of view that "the scientific community" or some such rejects, Citizendium just says so.[1] Citizendium also uses sources differently from Wikipedia; in Citizendium, sources are something to help the reader rather than a required "proof" for every single assertion made within an article.
  3. Citizendium is a community whose shared principles are expressed in its policies. Citizendium managers have a low tolerance for disruption. Its management team has some firm rules that require professionalism. There are rules against personal attacks, self-promotion, and blatant violations of the objectivity guidelines, usually enforced first by warnings delivered privately if possible. The Citizendium community settles policies by discussion and (where necessary) voting by the community. The management team is supported behind the scenes by a private advisory group with long-term experience in wiki use and management. Any Citizendium contributor interested in managing the wiki may request to join this group by messaging the managing editor.
  4. Citizendium encourages discussion of editorial options on article Talk pages and in the Forums. The real-names policy allows a contributor's opinions (as expressed on Talk pages or the Forum) to be evaluated by the community with some reference to their life experience and professional qualifications. It helps us understand one another. On Wikipedia, it is not uncommon for a contributor who wishes to control the content of an article quickly to archive the article's Talk page in order to hide the fact that someone has raised a point of contention requiring community debate. On Citizendium, article Talk pages are not to be archived unless they become too long, and if defamatory content appears on them, management will simple remove the content from the page.
  5. Citizendium has its own content policy that differs from Wikipedia's idea of notability. Also, Citizendium articles are classified broadly into different Workgroups[2] and normally, categories are not used on articles. Works on Citizendium use the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (CC-by-sa) license.
  6. In terms of writing style, Citizendium management prefers articles that are compelling introductory narratives, not mere collections of data. An excessive use of acronyms is discouraged on grounds that acronyms can render a topic unintelligible to non-experts.
  7. Attached to every article is a set of subpages of supplementary information. These may include the standard tabs for related articles, bibliographies, and external articles, but also can be customized to include galleries, tables, timelines, tutorials, and signed introductory articles by experts.
  8. Citizendium takes avoidance of defamation seriously. This is why it has a Policy on Topic Informants and a Topic Informant Workgroup.
  9. At Citizendium, all contributors are equal. [3] A few of Citizendium's experienced contributors tend to help arbitrate editorial decisions via discussions on Talk pages or in the Forum. Any contributor is welcome to weigh in with their ideas, opinions or helpful information.

See also


  1. Unlike Wikipedia, Citizendium discourages the loaded language which dismisses certain people and ideas in the first sentence of an article by use of labeling them immediately as "pseudo-scientific" or "fads". For an example of differences in Wikipedia's "neutrality policy" and Citizendium's "objectivity policy", look at Citizendium's treatment of Graham Hancock, as compared with Wikipedia's article on him with it's multiple uses of the label "pseudo-". Citizendium would likely reject that first sentence as an example of loaded language which is far from objective.
  2. Workgroups are designated on the article's Metadata subpage template. See Subpages for more infromation.
  3. Formerly, Citizendium had experts in certain fields who were called Editors, and every Editor was also an Author; it also once had a method for producing citable articles that depended on the judgment of experts. These features are not currently being used.

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