I’ve recently got permission to be an author in Citizendum. I’ve already described how the medical part of Wikipedia works. Now, I’d like to present some of the processes of the health issues in Citizendum. First, some notes about the system itself. In Citizendum, authors can edit the articles (like me), but an editor has to approve it to make it visible for the readers. At this moment, there are 27 authors and 29 editors in the health science category. They’ve created plenty of checklist-generated categories to make sure that the articles are divided into sections:
What does, for example, developed article mean?
These are Health Sciences Workgroup articles, which have been checklisted, and which are complete or nearly so. They have not been approved, however. They are not merely copied from Wikipedia, or some other source, but have been significantly changed so that our copy is either original, or importantly different from its source. In other words, they are internal articles.
It’s complete or nearly so. Ok, I took 2 examples. Erythropoietin and irritable bowel syndrome. The first one, in my opinion, is far better in Wikipedia than in Citizendum. The developed article in Citizendum only has two more references, but has fewer and shorter sections. The only changes in this article during it’s Citizendum career were a copy-paste and fixing the references. No external link, no image, no infobox.
The second one has been improved with 8 references and some of the sections are better, but I wouldn’t be so brave to say that it’s importantly different from its source.
Look, I’m working on Wikipedia to create a great medical database for laypeople. To create a universal resource of knowledge. If it’s called Citizendum or Wikipedia, I really don’t care. The members of Citizendum and mainly Larry Sanger have always told us that the approving system of their site is much better than the one of Wikipedia. If we take a look at these examples, then it’s not true.
I know, there are much more contributors in Wikipedia, and Wikipedia has at least 2 years of advantage, but what I’m criticising now is the system itself. If they fail in the first part of the way, then what to expect from the future. I didn’t apply for becoming an author in Citizendum to find ways how to criticise them, but to find out how to organize the two projects’ medical works. How to help each other.
In Sanger’s project, there is no manual of style for the medicine-related articles. In Wikipedia, there is one. It’s obvious that Citizendum doesn’t want to compete with Wikipedia in the number of atricles. As it strikes me, their only aim is to provide quality content. So the first task should have been a line of manuals created to organize authors and to help editors how and when to approve an article.
Anyway, I don’t know how authors can be convinced to edit articles if those changes have to be approved first. Many of the authors now have only a few edits on their own user page or have no edit at all. If they want to create reliable content, then it can also be done in Wikipedia with proper and perfect references. If they want to create content for experts, then what about the medical wikis created by specialists for specialists?
In my opinion, like that, they have no chance, but believe me, I’m one of their biggest fans.