Wikipedia Founder to Unveil Citizendium

    October 19, 2006

Wikipedia founder Larry Sanger plans to unveil Citizendium, a Wikipedia facsimile that adds user registration and editorial control.

As opposed to Wikipedia, which offers a no-registration free-for-all area in which users can edit and create articles, Citizendium will offer a more controlled encyclopedic environment. Users will still be able to create posts, but will have to register with Citizendium prior to doing so. Registration will allow Citizendium to post the real names of the users involved, helping to keep would-be rowdy posters in check. According to Sanger these practices will improve upon the Wikipedia model by eliminating users who post obscenities or biased information. Said Sanger:

Wikipedia is amazing. It has grown in breadth and depth, and the articles are remarkably good given the system that is in place. I merely think that we can do better.

In addition the new site will employ volunteer editors who will have final say over what is and isn’t accurate. The volunteer editors, whom will be called Constables on Citizendium will serve to oversee articles posted on the site. The Constables will be established experts in their respective fields, and will check the accuracy of posted information rather than the content or form. Sanger commented on the notion of the Citizendium Constable:

These so called constables will play a similar role to administrators in Wikipedia, but they will not be able to make decisions on how articles read. The editors will be responsible for making decisions about content but they will not be able to ban people.

The Citizendium interface will be very familiar to that of Wikipedia, as Citizendium will be a progressive fork of Wikipedia. Citzendium’s databases will actually be populated with Wikipedia articles at launch, but will differ over time as users of the sites add and modify articles and each topic in different ways. An invitation-only pilot version of Citizendium will launch sometime this week, but there is no announcement yet as to when a final version of the site will be fully available.

Wikipedia currently boasts more than 2 million articles in 229 languages. The site attracted 33 million visitors last month alone, which represents a 162-percent increase over the same month a year ago. Said

There are a number of problems with the system that can be solved, and by solving those we can end up with an even better massive encyclopedia.

[via ZDnet]

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*Originally published at TechFreep


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Mike Zazaian is the Editor-in-Chief and Webmaster of, an online publication dedicated to daily technology and science news. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he majored in Film and Video studies with a sub-concentration in screenwriting. While only a minority of Mike’s formal education encompassed the technology field, he has worked as a web developer, a freelance web designer, and has been a tech enthusiast for the better part of his life.