CZ:Introduction to CZ for Wikipedians

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Welcome Wikipedians and ex-Wikipedians!

Many members of Citizendium have experience of editing at Wikipedia, and have joined this project to try a different model of content development. We want to welcome you here to help us create it.

Before you start boldly contributing, please read this document. Many of Wikipedia's policies either do not apply here or have been modified.

You might enjoy perusing We aren't Wikipedia.

If you wish to import material from Wikipedia, see Article Mechanics and How to convert Wikipedia articles to Citizendium articles.

Why Citizendium?

In the past, The Citizendium experimented with multiple collaborative models, and not everything was successful. We have now revised The Citizendium's purpose and goals. Read about who we are in 2022.

Differences in style, approach and tone

You're probably used to well-developed Wikipedia articles being divided into many short sections, full of bulleted lists. Some are written in dense prose that shows off erudition more than really introducing a topic.

We don't like to speak "encyclopedese." Rather, we want Citizendium articles to be lucid, highly readable introductions written in compelling, narrative prose. This doesn't mean our articles will have less information or be more lightweight. It means we simplify the difficult, engage our readers, and allow a narrative voice to come through.

For further information, see Article Mechanics. You might also want to have look at Sage advice on writing CZ articles, and our list of ready-for-reading articles.

New practices

  • Wikipedia attribution template. If any content of an article at Citizendium came from Wikipedia and you aren't the sole author of that content, add {{WPAttribution}} to the top of the article (below {{Subpages}} if it's there). This adds a link to the corresponding Wikipedia page. (You don't need to do this if the page is already marked as an External Article.)
  • If you are the sole author, please make it clear on the relevant talk page and post a link to the Wikipedia article history giving evidence of such. The {{WPauthor}} template has been created for this purpose.
  • Workgroups, Workgroup Category Tags, and Workgroup Recent Changes. Anybody can edit any article, but we still try to assign every article to one or more Workgroups even if those are not very active.

See We aren't Wikipedia for other new practices.

Acting professionally

Our professionalism policy is our cornerstone behavior policy and is about our intent to create — and enforce — a respectful, pleasant, and productive working environment.

  • Part of behaving professionally is signing with your real name on the wiki. You need not worry about your real name showing up all over the Net from CZ pages, since we use robots.txt to prevent that.

At Wikipedia and in Citizendium, everyone has the same role when it comes to making judgments about article content.

2020 Update: Officially, we don't have Constables these days; but our sysops monitor the Forum and the enquiry form (Google Account required). This is not yet codified as policy but is what has evolved in practice.


In the past, we made a special role for experts. We do very much value expertise and ask our authors to advertise their skills and knowledge on their User page. To edit, editors must work shoulder-to-shoulder with other authors, bringing evidence regardless of professional background.

2020 Update: The role of Editor in Citizendium has, in practice, receded due to the low participation rates in recent years. All writers, whether technically identified as Editors or not, collaborate side by side as equals.


What can authors do? Almost everything. Authors can start articles, edit existing articles, talk things over on the talk page, and much else.

Asking for help

Questions can be asked in the Forum or from Citizendium's "community managers" or "Sysops". Our managers and sysops oversee adherence to basic policies, settle behavioral problems, and address content problems only if there is a violation of policy. They also review applications and create new accounts.


Any type of open content licensed images are allowable and preferred, although images from Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Commons and other image banks must pass a two-pronged test before you upload them to Citizendium. Fully copyrighted images are allowable in Citizendium if you place proof of permission in a Permission subpage of the image's talk page.

All images lacking clear copyright data are subject to speedy deletion by constables acting on their own recognizance. Citizendium editors will not nominate articles for approval if the status of their images is unclear.

See Images Help on Copyrights.

Article inclusion policy

We do not have a "notability" criterion for article inclusion, as different authors have very different views on what is notable. Citizendium's Article Inclusion Policy allows an article to be deleted by editorial decision in cases where all three of the following criteria are met: a) it has significant weaknesses; b) that deleting its content would remove nothing of importance from the project; and c) that the article is unlikely to be improved as there is no active interest from any member of Citizendium in developing it.

Don't spill alphabet soup!

We wish to avoid having an insular, unintelligible community. Accordingly, we don't use neologisms like "NPOV" and "POV", "RS", "FWIW", and "OR". Just use plain English on top of wikilinks or post them in full. In our informal discussions, however, CZ and WP are permissible.

And from Citizendium to Wikipedia

Since Wikipedia changed its license to CC-BY-SA 3.0, it can use material from Citizendium. A workgroup has been formed there, WikiProject Citizendium Porting, to coordinate this.

Further reading

Citizendium Getting Started
Join | Quick Start | About us | Help system | The Author Role | The Editor Role
Essentials | How to start a new article | For Wikipedians | Other
Getting Started Organization Communication Technical Help Initiatives
Policies Editor Guidance Content Guidance Article Lists Governance
Welcome Page