The 2006 media coverage about Citizendium, the planned "academic" Wikipedia competitor and replacement has, like the site, faded from most people's memories. Largely because Citizendium uses an academic model of producing knowledge (credentialism, bureaucracy, etc.), it never gained the momentum Wikipedia did. While Citizendium has grown by about 5 or 6 thousand English articles annually (2007 - 2010), its growth has been linear compared to Wikipedia's enormous growth during the same time frame (over 400,000 more articles 2002 - 2005). Now that Larry Sanger has left the project as planned following the charter ratification, its new leadership has announced that Citizendium has "an urgent need for funds to pay for hosting our servers." There's been a discussion among Wikipedians this month over whether Wikimedia Foundation should throw the project a lifeline, especially after Sanger reported Wikimedia Foundation to the FBI for allegedly disseminating "obscene visual representations of the abuse of children." Opinion seems to be running toward helping out CZ, kind of like Mark Zuckerberg donating some cash for Diaspora. Do you consult Citizendium, and/or do you think it's worth saving?
Andrea James is a writer, director, producer and activist based in Los Angeles. Her work often focuses on consumer activism, the free culture movement, exogenous mysticism, humor, and LGBT rights.