Let’s build a free “indiscriminate collection of information”

I.E. What Wikipedia is not

Why do it?

Because if scientists are looking for a unified theory of everything, why don’t we create a compendium of all knowledge?

Besides this, Wikipedia has seen as string of deleted articles (of disputable noteworthiness) which are summarily overriden if restored by admins or other members with greater standing. Anonymous contributions, while still significant, aren’t valued as much. This wasn’t the case just a few years ago, where a significant portion of all edits came from anonymous contributors. Better yet, those were the days where individuals were willing to contribute without personal recognition, save for an IP address in the article history.

Ironically, Wikipedia’s own popularity is making anonymous contributions, it’s original backbone, cumbersome. This is tragic, since I’ve only bothered to login to Wikipedia just a few times. And if I’m not doing it, I know legions of others must be the same.

By the same token of what Wikipedia is, if it’s not a “Community”, Democracy, bureaucracy, battleground, anarchy nor my web host, then what it is, isn’t nearly good enough.

Wikipedia is not “free”

The collection commands a high price as the entire project is not knowledge for the sake of knowledge. It’s knowledge for the sake of recognition and self praise, often, at the cost of anonymous contributors.

While I can’t fault Wikipedia alone for this, by contributing and encouraging contribution to this project, we have, perhaps irrevocably, bound many aspects of knowledge to an intellectual prison.

Knowledge, Information, Data or what ever else you want to call it, isn’t “free” until you have unbound the hands of the user, contributor and distributor. Your opinion of what entails “freedom” does not diminish the true definition of the word.

Wikipedia is a religion

People obsess over its nuances as to its place in references. It contains innumerable contradictions (a byproduct of many cooks spoiling the broth etc…), theories as to its worth in a free (as in to criticism as well as praise) society. While these by themselves wouldn’t purely constitute religion, the arrogance of certain admins as to what knowledge is significant (especially when it comes to pet subjects) is almost insufferable.

And it has become ridiculous.

There are many such instances where the notability of the subject has not changed at all since its inception, only the number of instances it is used which shouldn’t have been a measure of notability as, by Wikipedia’s own admission, notability isn’t a function of popularity.

The article on bbPress, for example, was deleted as not being notable. Yet here it is now, created and contributed to. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s deleted and recreated several times more.

Behold the non-Anarchy, non-Bureaucratic and non-Democratic process at work.

Further proof that it’s a religion: Wikipedia allows non-sourced content all the time. Yet only deletes those articles which draw attention. Like the priest who swats away legitimate criticism for fear of debasing the whole premise, admins and plenty of users are more than willing to stick a banner questioning notability and walk away.

“Being bold” may result in countless reverts. Since “consensus through discussion” is double speak for a plutocracy that ridicules dissent by removing knowledge wholesale.

Looks like religion to me.

What Wikipedia could have been…

An archive of knowledge that should belong to none; that should simply exist as knowledge. The accumulated net worth of a species.

If each person contributed everything they know about any chosen topic to the universal collection of knowledge, the benefit for humanity would be almost incalculable. But let’s not lament on that now.

Let’s begin now– it’s not too late — to pick up the mantle to a truly free fountain of knowledge. An archive of everything.

There is an origin to a project that could be very promising in this vein.

6 thoughts on “Let’s build a free “indiscriminate collection of information”

    • I was only too happy to feature it! :D
      It’s even on my blogroll.

      It’s a shame the wiki’s getting spammed. I was wondering if you would be moving it to a standalone installation at some point. Probably running mediawiki?

      I came across NearlyFreeSpeech a while ago (I may have emailed you about them, but I can’t remember). Aside from a few drawbacks, they seem to allow virtually any kind of content. The pricing is quite attractive as well.

      • I’d love to move Set Free to a standalone installation.

        I chose wik.is because it was a free solution based on open source software hosted by the developers. Also, it doesn’t show ads.

        However, if someone wanted to donate some server space to host Set Free, I’d be open to moving it.

  1. Pingback: Wikipedia Beta « This page intentionally left ugly

  2. Checkout Freebase.com, a collaborative structured database of any and all of the world’s information. It’s licensed under a Creative Commons license and has no notability requirements.

    • Hi Benjamin.

      That does indeed look like a fine collection of information. The premise also seems to be more structured than Wikipedia. I’ll have to check it out more closely.

      Thanks for sharing!

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