Want to get started, but don’t know how?
Well, don’t panic!
If you’re new to Citizendium, we’d love you to dive “write” in, whether you’re an author or an editor. We don’t want you to be discouraged, but you may imagine we have extremely high standards. Certainly we aim for high quality, but we also want participation to be easy and as fun as possible. We know that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
What is the first thing you should do after you join? While you can do whatever you like (it’s a wiki!), we recommend two things:
- Start an article. How? Pick a topic. Then think of a good title for an encyclopedia article about that topic. Then go to Start Article, handily linked on your left–and do it the Easy Way™! Just write a paragraph or two introducing the topic neutrally, beginning with a definition of the concept, or a description of what a thing is notable for. We don’t mind very short articles, as long as they have a couple of sentences. They’ll be expanded later, trust us. Then…
- Edit someone else’s article. How? Find an article on a topic you are interested in or know a lot about. You can use the search box, or navigate alphabetically, or enter via “top articles” or workgroups. When you’ve found an article you want to edit, press the “edit” tab. Add a few sentences. It’s OK. They just have to be a reasonably helpful addition. They don’t have to be absolutely brilliant. Brilliance happens later.
Are you still worried? Seriously, there is no need for that. Let’s cover some main worries.
|Worry||Why I wouldn’t worry about that|
|The above two steps look deceptively simple. Don’t I actually have to know a lot more to get involved?||No. To start getting involved, all you have to do write and collaborate on articles. That is really what it’s all about.|
|I am a non-technical person.||Can you write e-mail? Then you can handle editing a wiki page.|
|I’m skeptical. I’ll never be able to figure out that complicated wiki markup.||Complicated wiki markup is generally not needed. Besides, you can pick it up by looking at what other people do. If you want the basics, look at the top of this page. It’s not hard. Trust us.|
|Subpages and “metadata”…I’ll never figure it out.||Then don’t try. Start with baby steps, and others will help you along the way. That’s exactly why we have an Easy Way™!|
|Isn’t this a waste of time? How can you catch up with Wikipedia?||The question is not “can we catch Wikipedia,” the question is “can we create enough content to be fully useable?” Once we have that, we will get users, because people can rely on our content. (The world could use a more reliable free encyclopedia, no? That’s why we’re here.) And yes, we’re confident we can reach that goal. We have a better operational model, one that draws lessons from the Wikipedia experience; we have added more words than Wikipedia did in its first year; and we’re accelerating. See Why Citizendium? if you’re still unconvinced.|
|There are so many instruction and policy pages! How can I ever read all that?||Don’t! Seriously, you’re not neglecting any duties if you fail to read all that. The only people who do are those that want to give advice about our standards. Everybody else flies by the seat of their pants, you’ll love it.|
|I’m no expert, and this is an expert project, right? I won’t fit in.||Why not? “” Experts and the general public work well together, shoulder-to-shoulder. How can it possibly work? Well, we can theorize all we like about that, but the fact is that it does! We want you here! We need you here!|
|I’m a professional, and this is an open wiki. Won’t I end up butting heads with amateurs, like I have on Wikipedia?||Probably not. Yes, we are committed to openness, but we aren’t Wikipedia. And if you butt heads with an “amateur,” it will probably be very polite, and as editor you have the right to guide decisions in case of controversy.|
See? No worries!
Do you want more introductory material? Then see Getting Started for a bunch of good links.
We don’t actually require notes, but they are nice.