Forum Talk:Management/Archive 1

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Current discussion


As Anthony has decided to reply to Christine in his own space I think I'd better make my future comments in neutral territory, though my inclination is "If it ain't broke don't fix it."

I agree with the common sense sentiment, but not the possibly implied premise. By the way, I have responded to Managing Editor's Announcement regarding this topic on the Discussion page of that office's announcement tab where feedback has been directed. Christine Bush 17:26, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

I'd like to ask Anthony whether he has any thoughts on [1].

I'd also like to ask Christine whether she's proposing to apply this suggestion to Editors, or just to lesser mortals like her and me. It strikes me that Editor credentials on user pages effectively identify Editors. Peter Jackson 09:58, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Hi Peter, thanks for your question. I won't be applying this to anyone. I'm simply researching a topic that interests me which happens to have a potential use case here.
Were a digital identity policy change to be enacted by CZ Council or via Referendum, and there is no such active proposal at this time, then I would hope it might work something like this: any existing CZ account would have the option to adopt a pseudonym, including Editors. I would not expect that longtime users of CZ would have much interest in doing so, but they should be able to do so. Digital identity policies should apply to all users, not their roles. Christine Bush 17:26, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
We have debated this issue long and at many times in the past. As a collaborative knowledge project, CZ is only as reputable as the authors that generate the knowledge and as reputable as the editors that review that work. These authors and editors are known in other places than just on CZ. Their authority as experts can readily be verified -- as it should be. Reputations take years to build. They serve as shortcuts that enhance the reliability and credibility of information. CZ should say to any author or editor who wishes to take the time to build a reputation under some other name than his or her own: there are plenty of places in the world and on the web where you can do that, but CZ is not one of them.
Furthermore, as a principle of its core identity, the real-names policy is one of the two foundation stones of this enterprise (the other being expertise). Try building an arch with one pillar. This is what makes CZ the citizens' compendium. Russell D. Jones 20:19, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
You're right. The real name "shortcut" as just described seems to effectively bypass all these weird "digital natives" I keep hearing about in the news. Perhaps we should add something to our welcome page about going somewhere else to build your reputation? I think if I saw that spelled out so unambiguously I would be clear that I was not welcome here. Christine Bush 00:49, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Authors writing under their real names are building their reputations as experts in their fields; and that's what we want because CZ honors expertise (the other pillar). Regarding the building of one's reputation at CZ, we've also debated that (it was an issue about whether or not authors should be credited for their work by adding a by-line; I personally think that they should get credit for their work. It would be another marker of how CZ is different, and it would aid people in advancing their careers as writers by building the reputations). The result of that debate was that articles would remain largely anonymous as if collectively authored (such as is done at WP -- "wikipedia contributors").
As for being welcomed; of course, Christine, I welcome you. I also appreciate your willingness to look hard at CZ and its issues and to question if things are being done as well as they could be. You also are in a position of power to do something about it if you want to exercise that power. I also appreciate your willingness to have this idea vetted. But my concern here is, after spending a lot of time here trying to de-WPify CZ, let's not make CZ WP. CZ has some differences and there are so many collaborative knowledge projects out there that it's easy for them all to become just another flavor of WP. CZ is different. Shouldn't we try to protect that?
I think the question you are asking is: should anyone, writing under any name, be welcomed here? Am I understanding your question correctly?
I did not write that anyone who wants to write under their own, real name should be unwelcomed here. In fact, I feel quite the opposite: anyone who wants to write here under their real name should find writing here a welcoming experience and we should do our most to welcome them. Russell D. Jones 02:24, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
I support only real names and verified identities being a prerequisite to author here, so that the disastrous anarchy of other "encyclopedias" are not repeated.
The proposition that 'anyone' can write 'anything' under a pseudonym should be firmly rejected. Claus Bruentrup 10:10, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

What A Pseudonym Is

   There is great confusion in this community about what a pseudonym entails. Contrary to what Managing Editor has written

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

a pseudonym is not an anonymous user. A pseudonym is the user name of a verified, registered user with a name they have chosen.

   If you want to debate anonymous users, please start a thread about anonymous users. Thank you. Christine Bush 20:20, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

I respect and appreciate Constabulary's advisement re: this post. I would request insight on my User Talk page regarding why the same criteria applied here does not apply here? Thank you. Christine Bush 21:09, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Increasing CZ contributor numbers

Post #18 in this Why did Citizendium fail? is to be noticed for the points it makes.

  1. Extremely poor ranking on Google search. Its clear Google has blacklisted CZ. [Many reasons for this]. Simple formula : Better SERPs == Contributors demanding to be let in
  2. Rip off all the old/neglected Wikipedia content. [Google is heavily penalising this site for "duplicate" / poor quality content, which is hardly updated]
  3. Re-market it as "The SAFE Wikipedia without all the Porn".
  4. Retain the name and domain, AGE is always important in SERPs.

A small 'quality' site with even 100 excellent show-pieced articles gets more hits than a site with 1,700 diamonds buried in 2 million pig droppings. See [2] it doesn't compute at all for a "Jane Addams" Google Search, but [3] its #2 or #3 for "Guru Angad" on a tiny wiki in India with 30,000 articles.

Clean up the house, the residents will follow. Claus Bruentrup 11:17, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Couple of thoughts:
  1. Fred Bauder of Wikinfo says search rankings are a matter of links: if you have some good articles, and some people know about them amd link to them, serach engines will take notice. Is that right?
  2. I did a snapshot the other day of articles per active editor:
    • multilingual Wikinfo 14500
    • English Wikinfo 6237
    • Citizendium 3555
    • Knowino 1272
    • Conservapedia 181 (not strictly comparable, as they use a different definition of active)
    • Wikisage 94
    • Wikipedia 36
    • RationalWiki 18
    • How many articles can the average active editor maintain?
    • Note also that the situation worsens: more articles, fewer active editors.
Peter Jackson 13:37, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Hi Peter
The no. of links is "old school SEO". Google (and it is the #1 engine so very far ahead of the others) does use "quality of links", "click through rates". What is more important is the on page text and other on page ranking factors.As a ball park figure, a useful metric for "articles per active contributor" could be A = E^2. So if you have 50 active editors then 2,500 would be a good no. of articles to have.
I reiterate that if SERPS increase followed by click-throughs then contributors and donations to sustain CZ would not be a problem. Claus Bruentrup 14:05, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

How the Modern Web Works

   We have all been directed recently to keep our discussions about increasing participation "real." Let's do that. Here's how:


   When discussing search engine optimization, the biggest mistake people make is to neglect the scale of the numbers at play. Yes, Google is the 1000-pound gorilla, but there are still billions of searches at play on the other platforms. Appearing in just a small percentage of such a large number is beneficial, and we do.

   For example, search on "extrajudicial detention" in bing and our article is listed third. The same search on Yahoo! and we're listed twice (because of the U.S. sub-topic.) Do the same search on Google and we aren't even on the first page. (Personally, I've started using bing instead because you can earn rewards].)

   However, the goal of SEO is not just to show up in the is to convert. Once people see you, you want them to click the link to your site. In order to know what is working, we need to see data. Where does one find our traffic reports? Christine Bush 18:37, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

In addition to keeping discussions "real", it may also help to keep them short and focused.
It's a defeatist attitude to ignore Google and play in the kiddy league, Clicky Search Engine market share. BTW, Google has downgraded this wiki for very good reason, but Google has not backlisted CZ as I first thought, My work-in-progress Wikipedia India Education Program entered G-search with a SERP of #118 and has slowly (ie. in all of 4 days) worked its way up to #8 for its title :-)Claus Bruentrup 12:38, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
   I value having a scholarly forum where complex ideas, structured and presented in such a way that granular commentary is encouraged, can be shared.
   I did not suggest we "ignore Google." To the contrary, I agree with Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, that we should be extremely mindful of Google. So I would regret if anyone had cause to frame my statements regarding the scale and purpose of the search market as a whole (insights which I should properly attribute to an SEO seminar presented by Network Solutions) as being defeatist. My comments are intended to be practical while also giving credit where it is due for our successes.
   I heed the economic principle that competition in markets is healthy. Enabling dominant players simply because they are dominant is almost the definition of defeatism and is one of the reasons sometimes cited for contributing here instead of elsewhere. Alternative platforms provide a place, among other things, to subvert dominant ones by writing articles about them, for example. Christine Bush 18:20, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Have you considered the proposition that Google is #1 because they are "better" than the others for their stated purpose. When achieving ranking on Google is easy, its a wonder that CZ generally ranks badly because simple things (which don't cost money) are not being addressed. There's no point in having alternative platforms if nobody reads them. Take this well written overview Industrial cooling tower, it simply doesn't show up on Google - even for a search in quotes. Claus Bruentrup 06:26, 22 October 2014 (UTC)


   In addition to SEO, we should be making better use of Google Scholar and developing a strategy to regularly and rigorously track (and report) citations of our articles. As far as I'm aware, we are not doing this. I did a casual search over the weekend and the results were not encouraging. As we are apparently basing our entire participation strategy on some ephemeral combination of "expertise" and "reputation," we should be actively developing quantitative measures of success for this strategy. Christine Bush 18:37, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

The first link you give explains that, to get on Google Scholar, you need to put your article in pdf with a bibliography at the end; by implication, wiki-type articles with bibliography subpages are likely to be ignored. Peter Jackson 08:29, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
   Yes. PDF creation is readily automated and PDF files are easy to include in a wiki if we're interested in doing that. Christine Bush 19:30, 21 October 2014 (UTC)


   We should also implement a way to track (and report) pingbacks and trackbacks to our articles from blogs and other sites. Christine Bush 18:37, 20 October 2014 (UTC)


   I've also noticed that whenever an article is touched, it generates a post to the @CzPages Twitter feed. This is a good start, but we only tag these posts with #Citizendium and this account only has 11 followers, one of whom is a CZ Constable and another is @TheCitzendium (25 followers). Unless you are a Twitter user searching for "Citizendium" these posts are not accomplishing much. Instead, these posts should be tagged with the relevant topic, such as #Math, #Engineering, #Medicine, #Windsurfing, etc. There are also two other accounts, @Citizendium and @CitizendiumTest which are diluting our web presence there. It is possible to both delete unused Twitter accounts and to rename active ones without losing any followers. We should do both.

   But as with SEO, the goal of Twitter is not just exposure but circulation. We want people to find CZ articles because they were precisely and invitingly tagged but then you want them to pass these links around. Using GNIP, one can monitor the real-time linkstream and learn if/how links to articles are being circulated.

   The goals and strategies for Google+ and Facebook are similar.

   We should also encourage active members to include CZ in their social media practice. If you already do so: thank you! To facilitate this, we provide a tiny raft of sharing tags on articles. Is there click-through data for these? We should add a tab for keywords into the subpages template and then use those as hashes, to be included in the pre-populated content field when someone chooses to share. (Even if nobody used the sharing feature, the presence of user-added tags tells us how users map an article to other ideas.) For now, the pre-population behavior is erratic from service to service and notably we do not include a link back to the article if you click the Twitter badge.Christine Bush 19:54, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Related: CZ:Statistics, CZ:AddThis_Tracking_Statistics

— (The Constabulary has removed an initialism here. Please replace this with plain English. ) —
We would first want to get the articles ranking 'reasonably' well on Google (ie. in top 20). We then want SM presence to take CZ pages into page #1 (ie. top 10). If the articles are copy-vio dogs and the authors don't do their on-page optimization Google will de-rank you. Click-through is a function of content, your article doesn't have to be "perfect" just better / more useful than others online. CZ will start ranking when its articles have unique content, and students start copy-pasting from CZ instead of WP.
I can't locate a RSS button or feed on any page here. How are the search engines being pinged for changes ? Claus Bruentrup 12:38, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
TLDR? Christine Bush 19:54, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds that it is needlessly inflammatory. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.)


@CitizendiumTest can certainly be deleted - will do that. The other account is held by a former member of the project. As for keywords - I can think of a way to get the names of the workgroups a page is listed under added under hashtags, but cannot otherwise think of an easy way for keywords to be identified and hashtagged. (I have no access to the MediaWiki installation anyway, and we still have emergency technical support only.) The workgroup way would involve a fair bit of work, but I'll try to look into it. John Stephenson 18:30, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for deleting @CitizendiumTest when you get to it. I like the idea of leveraging the work group information as described, but I presume you take action based on direction from Managing Editor. The hash tag subpage I've introduced would have to be approved, implemented, and used before it could be meaningfully incorporated into the sharing process.

Google Analytics

We still have this, as far as I know. A trawl through the forums reveals it was set up by Jess and Joe, who have both left the project. If it's still active, presumably they have the keys. John Stephenson 18:30, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

   Thanks. I'll see if I can contact them. Christine Bush 19:32, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Putting It All Together

   Once we start systematically tracking traffic, conversions, citations, trackbacks, microblog circulation, and other variables not included here (AdWords, print advertising, mobile usage, apps), then you can start developing meaningful profiles of potential users. And with an informed profile, you can craft an effective promotional strategy. This is how the modern web works.

    If we spent half as much time investigating how people find us as we do verifying the identities of the few who do, we would have a much better understanding of where to encourage participation. Christine Bush 18:29, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

I respectfully differ, CZ doesn't need a flood of potential users. It's a credible "serious" site with a respectable page rank of 5 and has to maintain its USPs without being taken over by SEO mafias (with 1000's of fake accounts) like most other Wikis have. Claus Bruentrup 12:38, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Please stop twisting my words. I did not say we "need a flood of potential users." I suggested we could develop quantifiable metrics as a basis for finding authors. If you want to dispute that we need authors, please do that. Fear mongering is not constructive.
The use of jargon under the guise of keeping comments "short and focused" is an effective, sometimes intentional, method of constraining participation only to those who understand it. As a member of the Council, I want to be on record here as encouraging participation and invite everyone to kindly explain jargon before using it to share your views. Christine Bush 18:51, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Did I attribute "we need a flood of potential users" to you ? I was disputing your proposition that we need to use those metrics to profile "potential users" to encourage their participation as authors. What are the privacy implications if CZ uses them to profile visitors, the CZ:Privacy_Policy is limited to Google's usage of Google Analytics data to prepare reports for CZ, and Google can effectively do anything else it wants with the raw data ? Claus Bruentrup 11:34, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

The modern web

  1. Get your customer to the door. (Search Engine, Social media, Email marketing, mobile apps)
  2. Get your customer through the door (Content, on page tweaks)
  3. Keep your customer on your site (content, internal search engine, cross promotions).
  4. The Money Page (not that off-putting orange banner in micro-text) Claus Bruentrup 12:47, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
   This is a succinct formulation of the concept of "stickiness" which was in vogue about twelve years ago when the web was still primarily thought to be a platform for sales, browsers didn't all have tabs, and users didn't consistently know how to use them. I dispute attributing this approach as modern.
   This four-step game plan does seem to accurately represent much of what we have been and are presently doing. So if we want to continue not growing a customer base, this works. I want to see our content included in the larger discourse of the web and I want to be able know how well that is happening.
   What color would you like the referenced banner to be, and what text size would you prefer? It isn't an ad, we can change it. Christine Bush 19:22, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
With all due respect, since CZ doesn't seem to be doing well in #1, discussion on the other points is academic.Claus Bruentrup 06:31, 22 October 2014 (UTC)