I’ve just posted a major new announcement on the Citizendium-L mailing list. It’s just plans, and we won’t do press releases about plans.
Here are the highlights, divided into governance and content changes.
Governance changes: we’re going to start enforcing the separation of powers (e.g., constables cannot be on the Editorial Council); I’m going to spend less time on day-to-day controversies; I will have a “veto power” over Editorial Council and Constabulary decisions; the role of the Editor-in-Chief is otherwise clarified; the Executive Committee will be starting up a new regular voice meeting; if the Editorial Council agrees, we will allow all members to exercise nearly the same authority the Chair has; authors will join the Council; we’re going to pursue a cool new initiative called the Big Invite; we are going to establish a Judicial Board independent of the Constabulary; the Constabulary will regularize its rule-making process; I’m going to start recruiting, outside the CZ fold, for the CZ Advisory Board, which will approve the Citizendium Charter and select the Board of Directors of the Citizendium Foundation; we’re going to get a Personnel Manager on board (if possible); and we’re going to actually have a “job listings” board for volunteer positions.
Content changes. We’re going to start a whole passel of new subprojects, devoted to: annotated Web links; annotated (non-Web) bibliographies; categories (subtopics, supertopics, related topics); catalogs (almanac-type information in tabular form; see e.g. [[catalog of religions]]); galleries; expert (curated) articles with bylines; debate guides; and news guides. These are going to live on subpages of main namespace articles, with links to each of the subproject pages at the top right of all CZ articles. In time, the software is going to have to be changed, and the subproject pages will be linked from a third column. For these subprojects, we’re going to look for project coordinators. In addition, we’re going to be doing some more “Big” initiatives. We’re going to start asking editors to rate articles on various measures, using an expanded Article Checklist, and we’re also going to delete all (or most) “External Articles.”
All this is going to take a lot of work, but I’m putting my gloves on and getting to work.
Here’s the introductory section.
I’m writing to announce a set of major new initiatives and changes to the project. Call it Citizendium 2.0. In the coming months, I wish to radically expand the scope of CZ and, at the same time, change the way that the project is managed — and the way I personally work on the Citizendium.
For this, I am going to need your help this summer. I’m going to need a lot of help. If you pitch in, though, I can guarantee that we are going to accomplish a lot of very exciting things. I am constantly in awe of what self-starting volunteers can accomplish. But I am also aware that I’ve got to take the lead on a lot of things, or it just won’t get done. So I’m committing myself to you, here and now, to work very hard on making these things happen.
This mail is very long, but for anyone who cares about the project, very important to read. You could think of it more as a project planning document than a letter, but I’m presenting it in the form of a letter because I want to make it very clear that this is my own view, and that I encourage dialogue about what I have to say.
I have interspersed links to Forum pages where we can discuss the various plans and proposals. As we approach implementation (in the various ways in which implementation can be achieved), I will be reminding you of the issues so that we can have plenty of feedback.
We have grown considerably from the first few months, and I believe we have reached a level of membership and activity that makes many new things possible. Moreover, as I’ll explain, everyday responsibilities that I have been trying to manage personally must be handed off to trusted and qualified individuals. Also, I pledged last September that in six to twelve months, a Board of Advisers would be adopting a Citizendium Charter that would formalize the governance of the project. So we are running up against my promise’s deadline.
What brought all this on? Mainly, time away from the project in
Friends might caution me against trying to do too much all at once, but I think that bold and sweeping new initiatives are sometimes the only way to get certain things done and to generate the excitement and shared understanding that a truly significant change is indeed underway. And I think I have not, in the last few months, always provided the sort of proactive leadership that the project needs if it is to fulfill its maximum potential.
In coming weeks, to help make these plans a reality, I will also be working a great deal on policy matters with the Executive Committee, the Editorial Council, the Constabulary, many different individuals, and of course the community as a whole. I will be adding much material to, and asking for community feedback on, the Policy Outline. It will be not so much changed as expanded and clarified.
Therefore, here is a broad plan for the initiatives that I intend to spearhead, starting immediately. Don’t be surprised if, in July and August, these changes start coming one after another; that’s my hope, anyway. I intend to pursue these goals with gusto.