CZ:Elections June 2012/Referenda/2

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Only the proposer of the referendum and Election Committee members may modify this page. Substantive modifications by the proposer after the referendum has been formally proposed at 'June 2012 Referenda' will invalidate the signatures of any current supporters, and require them to sign again. Comments should be placed on the Talk page.

Referendum: Import of material to Citizendium

Proposed by Anton Sweeney

A proposed referendum follows which does not modify the CZ:Charter. Under Article 37, a simple majority is required to have this referendum passed.

To support the establishment of a referendum on this issue, sign here.


Citizendium began as a fork of Wikipedia, but early on, it was decided that it should consist of original content, and unmodified forked articles were removed. Nonetheless, citizens were still free to import articles from external sources, under the guidelines available here (page was previously CZ:Import).

The importation of new material from external sources was prohibited by the Editorial Council in December 2010, when they passed Editorial Council Resolution R-2010-013.

Note that the process described on the Import page stated: "It's important to emphasize that this is an optional, voluntary method to allow contributors to solicit feedback on external articles. Contributors are free to import articles from Wikipedia so long as they follow our guidelines on the matter." (The link to 'Guidelines' is to the last version before the EC passed R-2010-013.)

Taken together, the Import and Guidelines promote a common-sense approach. In a nutshell: "Take useful, open-source knowledge, publish it here (with attribution), and improve upon it."

Obviously, the ideal is that we would have a sufficient number of contributors to always be able to produce original, high-quality authoritative articles. Unfortunatley, we are not in that position now and are unlikely to be in that position in the short to medium term.

The major problem with banning the importation of external material is that as we use the CC-by-SA licence, there is no impediment on any other project taking "our" material and improving it themselves - but should they do so (and they have), we cannot then re-import the improved version back to CZ. We are needlessly handicapping ourselves. Other open-source projects are not so handicapped, and can themselves import material from any other open-source projects, including, but not limited to, CZ.

This referendum seeks to address that by explicitly stating that imports are permitted, while encouraging contributors to improve upon such articles.

Proposed referendum

"The Citizendium community affirms:

  • the principles stated at CZ:About, namely that Citizendium "is an open wiki project dedicated to creating a free, comprehensive, and reliable repository of structured knowledge." and
  • the open nature of the project, as indicated by our use of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 licence.

The community therefore:

  • rescinds Editorial Council Resolution R-2010-013 of 12th December, 2010;
  • affirms that material that complies with our inclusion criteria may be imported into Citizendium, provided it is imported from a source either in the public domain or otherwise compatible with Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 licence;
  • encourages citizens who import such material to:
    • convert it to Citizendium standards and style, and
    • work to improve it without undue delay; and
  • affirms that where such imported material has not been worked on within 30 days of import, it may be removed, moved to userspace, moved to Cold Storage, or otherwise archived, at the request of any citizen."