CZ:Objectivity Guidance

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The Citizendium welcomes contributions in all fields of knowledge. That said, the Citizendium management team prefers articles that are objective and remain free of advocacy, advertisement, and sensationalism.

How might an ideal author write objectively? Here are some suggestions:

  • Be factual. An author would make immediate corrections to information found to be incorrect, and would not omit key facts to change how something seems.
  • Avoid loaded language. Loaded words are those that may influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes. Name-calling is a classic example of loaded language.
  • Use good sources. The best sources are mainstream and reliable. An author may sometimes accept non-mainstream sources for its references, if those sources are reasonably transparent and offer a publicly available mission statement and ownership information. Avoided would be sources without a transparent mission or known ownership, because such sources are commonly used for purveying intentional falsehoods, conspiracy, propaganda, extreme bias, and disinformation.
  • Not hiding dissent. Articles could try to represent dissention fairly, and not take sides. In cases where dissenters are a small proportion of all people involved, it is okay to mention that. In fact, not all dissent might make it into the main article but could be talked about on the Discussion page only.
  • Distinguish facts from opinion. We do not expect people to write as if they were an emotionless robot, never able to express an opinion. The key to expressing opinions or emotions in knowledge writing is to admit what they are quite clearly and not try to pass them off as any one else's truth. If you wish to include personal opinion in any of your writing here, please just own it; sign your name and the date using the ~~~~ symbols.

Articles in The Citizendium are potentially subject to the same biases that occur in journalism. Thus, I urge all our authors to become informed about the signs of potential biases and avoid them, both in their choice of words and in the sources for articles. I offer as further guidance the detailed assessment methodology of the Media Bias FactCheck website.

I also recommend The ten commandments of good historical writing[1] to all contributors.

Pat Palmer, Citizendium domain-name owner. (talk) 21:56, 18 August 2020 (UTC)


For reference, here is the former verbiage about objectivity, which also still provides useful guidance.