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Author Topic: WikiProject Citizendium Porting  (Read 19097 times)
John Stephenson
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WWW
« on: June 26, 2009, 04:34:00 UTC »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Citizendium_Porting

This page includes a list of approved articles that might turn up in some form on Wikipedia. They even have a logo. It's mentioned, along with CZ, here:

http://blog.wikimedia.org/2009/06/30/licensing-update-rolled-out-in-all-wikimedia-wikis
« Last Edit: June 30, 2009, 03:29:01 UTC by John Stephenson » Logged

Paul Wormer
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2009, 08:57:20 UTC »

To say it understatedly: I'm not enthusiastic about this WP initiative. How will we ever get a high Google ranking when they do that?  Take my CZ article about Cauchy, for instance, it now is number 1 (as WP article), while it is at the bottom of page 15 as CZ article.
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Caesar Schinas
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2009, 09:39:24 UTC »

Me neither, and I find it a significant disincentive for contributing to CZ.
But we can't really change our licence now...
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Joe Quick
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2009, 14:02:26 UTC »

All the more reason to focus on bringing articles to approval and filling in subpages.  Wikipedia covers most topics that we could ever hope to have and they will be able to copy them.  But we offer more than they can.

We have:
(1) Subpages go a long way in contextualizing a subject.
(2) Generally, we have better-developed bibliographies.
(3) Though some of the importers at WP blame us for having original research, we don't really.  But we do have the ability to synthesize in original and helpful ways because our articles (at least the approved ones) are overseen by people who know how to separate the wheat from the chaff.
(3) Our approved articles hold the promise that they've been checked by such people.

Anyone will be able to go to Wikipedia and find content that originated on Citizendium, but the inherent unreliability of Wikipedia will remain because as soon as it is copied over, it becomes unstable again.  The material immediately loses the added value that our editorial process contributes because there's no guarantee that at any one moment it hasn't been damaged by a vandal acting maliciously or a well-meaning but misinformed or confused twelve-year-old.  We do need to make sure people know as much, however.
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Caesar Schinas
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2009, 07:13:39 UTC »

All the more reason to focus on bringing articles to approval
Less reason, surely. If they're only going to copy Approved articles, we can reduce the amount they copy by Approving less articles. (I'm not saying we should do this, but I'm saying that I don't see how this is a reason to approve more articles.)
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Paul Wormer
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2009, 07:22:48 UTC »

All the more reason to focus on bringing articles to approval
Less reason, surely.

Caesar's response crossed my mind too.
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Peter Schmitt
Citizendium Council
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2009, 09:20:00 UTC »

I haven't studied the mechanics of Google's page ranking, so I don_t know ...
But would not links from WP help to improve page ranking?
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Eugene van der Pijll
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2009, 12:28:21 UTC »

Me neither, and I find it a significant disincentive for contributing to CZ.
But we can't really change our licence now...
One reason that Larry chose this license for CZ was to be compatible with Wikipedia:

"...it seems likely that our choosing a commercial license [like CC-by-sa] would lead to a more vigorous exchange of contributors between Wikipedia and the Citizendium, something that could help us considerably.  There is no good reason to think it will harm us."
(http://www.citizendium.org/czlicense.html; it's a good essay, read it!)

Personally, I still agree with that completely.

I haven't studied the mechanics of Google's page ranking, so I don_t know ...
But would not links from WP help to improve page ranking?
Only if they are interwiki links. Normal links on WP have "nofollow" set, which (in my understanding) means they do not contribute to the ranking of the target page/site. Interwiki links are not nofollow.

If you add a link to CZ to a WP article, be sure to use the following syntax: [[Citizendium:Ancient Celtic music]] ... don't use the complete address like this: [http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Ancient_Celtic_music]
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Joe Quick
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2009, 14:00:46 UTC »

All the more reason to focus on bringing articles to approval
Less reason, surely.
Caesar's response crossed my mind too.

But approved article set us apart.  Our unapproved articles aren't really any different than standard Wikipedia articles because they remain open to editing by anyone who has joined the project.  I'd say the average contributor around here is a little more careful about editing topics he is not sure about and vandalism is much less of a concern, but even so, the article could conceivably be damaged at any moment.  The same is true for our draft articles, but not for the approved versions.  Approved articles carry a stamp that doesn't necessarily guarantee perfection but does guarantee that the contents have been checked and confirmed by someone who is in a position to judge its quality.

Sure, people can still copy the content of our approved articles.  Hopefully, people other than Wikipedia authors will start doing so too.  When someone copies an approved article and does not make it open to further changes then our editorial guarantee kind of comes along with it.  But when it is thrown open to modification by anyone who comes along, then the editorial guarantee instantly vanishes.  That's part of why the people porting content over to Wikipedia have a stipulation that one should copy "from the Citizendium article's Approved version (not the Draft version)" and why they have a column on their progress chart for when the article was "last synced".  Our approved articles are the source for their reliable information and therefore for their readers too.

Besides, I didn't get involved in Citizendium to be associated with the most famous wiki website or to get attention for my insightful prose.  I joined because I feel that the world needs a more reliable information resource than Wikipedia that is equally accessible and open.  Our unapproved articles are really no different than their Wikipedia counterparts (most are less-developed, actually) because they don't carry the editorial stamp of approval.  I could write an article on [[completing the square]] and it would probably be fine because I've been teaching the method to my tutoring students successfully, but without approval I wouldn't trust my own composition as much as I would trust something I find in a text book or a mathematics journal.  If I, or anyone, wrote that article and a mathematics editor approved it, I would feel confident that it is accurate and that it provides whatever insight one needs to understand the topic.  Even the fully developed articles that have not been approved yet do not carry that guarantee, and for that reason, tey are inherently just a little less reliable.
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Paul Wormer
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2009, 15:43:15 UTC »

Joe, you forget one thing completely: we all like to be read. How are we noticed and will be read? By a high Google ranking. Why do  most of our articles have a low Google ranking? Because the corresponding WP article is already  at the top.

You may argue that the CZ articles copied to WP will be useful to the public, because almost by definition they rank high. You may say that it doesn't matter under which flag one's article is read. But that would mean that we  ourselves would better  write under the WP flag.  Most of us have been there (literally and figuratively) .  Also, all the usual WP diseases will infect  the articles that are copied from us: arrogant comments by nitwits, changes by people too lazy to read the article, edit wars, etc.  (Vandalism is the least of the things that bothers me).  For instance, as I wrote  earlier, they copied Augustin-Louis Cauchy (and left out the hyphen which annoys me  right there,  because I looked into that and his first name is with hyphen) and they changed quite a few  more things in the article that irritate me.

As far as I can see,  the only thing we can do is (I quote) "fight fire with fire and copy the better WP articles to CZ".
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Howard C. Berkowitz
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2009, 18:34:27 UTC »

All the more reason to focus on bringing articles to approval
Less reason, surely.
Caesar's response crossed my mind too.

But approved article set us apart.  Our unapproved articles aren't really any different than standard Wikipedia articles because they remain open to editing by anyone who has joined the project.  I'd say the average contributor around here is a little more careful about editing topics he is not sure about and vandalism is much less of a concern, but even so, the article could conceivably be damaged at any moment.  The same is true for our draft articles, but not for the approved versions.  Approved articles carry a stamp that doesn't necessarily guarantee perfection but does guarantee that the contents have been checked and confirmed by someone who is in a position to judge its quality.

It's more than just approved versus not-approved. When the Editor  (and sometimes Kop) resources are available and the process is working, there are articles that are not just in some form of draft, but with known problems. These articles are not on their way to approval, but are in trouble -- perhaps fixable, but CZ is aware there are problems.

Cold Storage is an extreme case, and, if the license  doesn't forbid copying them, it should. There's been discussion of a new namespace for articles that have not been deemed to meet minimum quality; userspace isn't ideal when the author leaves or others might fix them.

At the back of my mind, I'm wondering if there might be a means -- and any utility -- to control over moving things from status 2 to status 1. This doesn't necessarily require a subject matter expert, but an experienced contributor with a good eye. While Hayford and I have some stylistic differences on what should go into a lede, I would accept his opinion that, say, "cruiser" or "destroyer" are not ready for 1, simply on flow reasons. (as an aside, I happen to think they are excellent articles, always subject to improvement, but will never get to Approval unless we get more Military editors). I'd be comfortable getting an opinion like that from an Author or Editor that's been around a few months, has made a number of edits, and has contributed articles.

Indeed, what are the practical differences between being status 2 or 1, except, perhaps, AOTW eligibility?  We should think about whether this is a useful distinction, and, if so, how to make use of it.
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http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/User:Howard_C._Berkowitz
Could you be writing an article rather than arguing here?
Eugene van der Pijll
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2009, 19:18:00 UTC »

Cold Storage is an extreme case, and, if the license  doesn't forbid copying them, it should.
The license doesn't and can't forbid copying. Any text in CZ is owned by its author, who licenced it CC-by-sa by contributing it here. It cannot be relicensed by anyone else, so only the original contributor can forbid copying a text.
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Hayford Peirce
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2009, 19:18:44 UTC »

I think that, like pornography, the difference between "developing" and "developed" is impossible to define, except by individual subjective judgments. I think that my article about http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/The_Oldest_Confession is pretty much a developed article, since it's probably 3,000 words long, has 21 footnotes, and now has *all* important info in it. Compared to the WP article about the same subject (which doesn't even exist except as a brief article about the *movie* version) it's as developed as if it were chiseled in stone. On the other hand, there are *still* some minor quotations and footnotes that I'm going to put into it in the next day or so, so that in that sense it really isn't finished yet, and could therefore be called "developing". As far as I'm concerned, it's like the old lawyerly dictum about the "distinction without a difference."
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Joe Quick
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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2009, 19:35:38 UTC »

You may argue that the CZ articles copied to WP will be useful to the public, because almost by definition they rank high. You may say that it doesn't matter under which flag one's article is read. But that would mean that we  ourselves would better  write under the WP flag.  Most of us have been there (literally and figuratively) .  Also, all the usual WP diseases will infect  the articles that are copied from us: arrogant comments by nitwits, changes by people too lazy to read the article, edit wars, etc.  (Vandalism is the least of the things that bothers me).  For instance, as I wrote  earlier, they copied Augustin-Louis Cauchy (and left out the hyphen which annoys me  right there,  because I looked into that and his first name is with hyphen) and they changed quite a few  more things in the article that irritate me.

Actually, I meant to be arguing something very different.  I think it is an important point that those things cannot happen to our approved articles.  It doesn't matter if Wikipedia copies the content of our approved articles, because our approved articles are still better: they will not succumb to the typical WP diseases.  But we need to let people know that.  And we need to focus on getting more articles to approval if we are going to brag about the value they contain that Wikipedia can't hope to achieve.

And you're right, we need more readership.  We really need someone to be focused on communtiy building and promotion to the public.  I had an idea to compose an open letter introducing Citizendium to college and graduate students that could be submitted to student newspapers all over; does anyone want to help?  I think Larry envisions those things as part of his job, but I don't know how much he's been doing recently.  It should probably be someone's full time job. 

I don''t see any reason not to bring good Wikipedia articles into Citizendium.  Some could even be approved with minimal adjustments.  The only question is whether we value approved articles more than original content, because if we approve essentially external articles, then there will be much less motivation to write our own from scratch.
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Howard C. Berkowitz
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2009, 19:49:01 UTC »

Cold Storage is an extreme case, and, if the license  doesn't forbid copying them, it should.
The license doesn't and can't forbid copying. Any text in CZ is owned by its author, who licenced it CC-by-sa by contributing it here. It cannot be relicensed by anyone else, so only the original contributor can forbid copying a text.

Does the license forbid putting the text in storage inaccessible to the public? "Freedom of the press" doesn't require the printer to print anything anyone wants.
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http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/User:Howard_C._Berkowitz
Could you be writing an article rather than arguing here?
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