Issuepedia:Mission

From Issuepedia
This page is in need of updating. The focus of this content having been clarified by making it a separate page, some improved organization should now be possible.

Overview

Issuepedia's mission is to aid in the process of making decisions, starting with larger issues (which do not need to be compartmentalized) and gradually developing techniques for working out more immediate disputes.

Goals

Some particular goals emerging from this:

  • to provide a forum for rational discussion of contentious issues
  • to place protective yet transparent shields of verifiability and accountability (among other tools) around the basic truths upon which our civilization is built
  • to document (and to be a central library for):
    • significant issues
    • opinions held on those issues, along with any available reasoning or background necessary to understand those opinions
    • analytical tools available for attempting to reach a reasonable decision on such issues
  • to provide a central collection point for information about other decision-making tools
  • Reclaiming words which have been misappropriated
  • Challenging readers to express viewpoints opposing those which currently predominate on Issuepedia (or anywhere)
  • Providing an outlet for Rampant Paranoia, so we can get those nagging doubts out of our heads and (hopefully) start proving them wrong

Issuepedia aspires to:

Issue Encyclopedia

Being a wiki, Issuepedia allows anyone to edit or create any article; Issuepedia's goal is to guide this process towards a comprehensive encyclopedia of issues and opinions, in much the same way that Wikipedia (which uses the same wiki software) has become a valuable comprehensive reference work for factual information purely through volunteer efforts.

In traditional formats (such as face-to-face discussion or written editorializing), any argument has always faced a compromise between thoroughly informing and sticking to the point. There is also a similar conflict between the goals of discovering the truth and making a convincing argument.

By providing a location where points of argument (and agreement) on any given issue can be documented and referenced, Issuepedia hopes to eliminate much of the endless circular arguing and side-tracking which has always plagued such discussions. The relatively new (c.1990) technique of embedding hyperlinks within a discussion or argument makes it easier to provide complete source materials and thorough explanations without getting into a side-track and possibly losing the thread of the main thought, while wiki technology makes it possible for casual, non-technical users to participate in this process.

See Issuepedia Technology for further discussion of Issuepedia's technological work, or Dispute Resolution Technology for technology specific to unraveling disputes.

Documentation of Opinion

Although Issuepedia ultimately aims to back up all opinions with reasoning, the fact that someone holds an opinion may be sufficient grounds for including that opinion, especially if the opinion is widely held or is held by a group who makes efforts to have their opinions known. Documenting such opinions makes it possible to begin the process of determining who agrees with that opinion, what arguments exist to support or weaken it, and ultimately whether or not it should be taken seriously.

Issuepedia also has a policy of allowing reasonably sound opinion to stand without qualification, based on the idea that the truth will gradually emerge by a successive-approximation process called Reinforcement by Contradiction.

Shelved Projects

The Issuepedia Wacky Award is probably still a good idea, but in order to be worth the time-investment, we would need to do some publicity for each award (issue press releases, post on social networking sites, etc.).

I had planned to balance the negativity with some sort of positive award (tentatively named The Issuepedia Member of Civilization Award), but that's a much more difficult call. (Possible nominees as of mid-2008 were Keith Olbermann, Chris Dodd, Ron Paul, Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow.)