From Issuepedia
Revision as of 16:55, 18 August 2007 by Woozle (talk | contribs) (Mission: protective shields around the truth)
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Issuepedia is the encyclopedia of issues, analysis, thought, and opinion. As with Wikipedia, anyone can edit; unlike Wikipedia, we encourage opinions and rants as well as carefully considered analysis and purely factual writing.

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.

Issuepedia's immediate functions are:

  • 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 forum for further discussion
  • to provide a central collection point for information about other decision-making tools
  • Reclaiming words which have been misappropriated
  • Calling out praise or condemnation, as appropriate, whenever a person or group does anything praiseworthy or contemptuous:
    • The Issuepedia Wacky Award
    • now taking suggestions for a name for a page about good stuff; maybe the name will suggest itself when the first item comes along?
  • 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

Issupedia's goals include:

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.

(See Dispute Resolution Technology for further discussion.)

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.

Site Role

Or, how Issuepedia fits in with other similar projects

  • Issuepedia draws upon the more complete and (more or less) unbiased information in Wikipedia, and possibly anecdotal and practical information in HTYP. Issupedia's job is to extract the "bones" of the issue from the surrounding "matrix" of related facts, opinions, and arguments in Wikipedia and elsewhere.
  • Wikipedia, while generally not regarded as authoritative, can be thought of as reasonably thorough and even definitive; if anyone disagrees with its statements on any given subject, there will almost certainly be discussion to that effect on the "talk" page. No significant stone will be left unturned, and many insignificant ones will be checked as well. Wikipedia may not have all the facts, or even have them all correct (though it generally does a pretty good job), but it can at least be a guide to what pieces of information there are which might need verifying and where one might find more definitive information. Its only flaw, for our purposes, is excess: there is much information which, though clearly on-topic, is not relevant to any issues under discussion.
  • Campaigns Wikia is geared towards information about particular political candidates. As such, it will have a lot of useful information upon which Issuepedia can draw. It differs from Issuepedia, however, in that the latter is geared towards general discussion of issues; discussion of current candidates is a part of this, but not the whole picture.
  • Wikicitizens (currently in discussion/planning phase) will allow groups of people to coagulate around points of view on which they can agree, and then eventually to engage in inter-group negotiations to create voter blocs on particular issues (etc.)

User Roles

This section seems a bit stodgy and may be outdated, in view of how Issuepedia has evolved. To be re-evaluated when time permits.

Users of Issuepedia (including both readers and contributors) have various different roles to play. Users are not restricted to choosing a single role, but it may be helpful to keep in mind which role you are playing at any given time:

  • A reader reads articles in Issuepedia in order to find what information may be available on a given issue or other topic, but does not contribute content or editing
  • An editor examines existing contributions and makes improvements to accuracy or clarity, where needed
  • A researcher compiles facts and opinions from other sources and reports them with (more or less) neutral point of view
  • A pundit* is someone who states an opinion. Although the opinion should be clearly labeled as such – Issuepedia recommends the use of a section header entitled "Opinon" or prefixed with the word "Opinionated" ("Opinionated Statement", "Opinionated Summary"), the body of the opinion may be phrased in factual terms ("This action is just plain wrong!"). The point is not so much to convince anyone of the expressed point of view as it is just to "weigh in" that this is what you think.
  • A debater* is someone who examines the known facts relating to a given issue, and uses that information to argue towards a conclusion. Such writings may also refer to opinions, but mainly as a way of gauging the relevance of an issue or as a launching point for the discussion ("Person X thinks such-and-so; I've looked at the evidence, and here's what I see.") Issuepedia does not yet have a recommended format for writings of this nature, though prefixing the article or section's title with "Thoughts on" should make it clear that the writing contains both opinions and analysis.

* I'm using these words until I think of something better

There may be other relevant roles I haven't thought of yet.


As of this writing, Issuepedia is solely administered and mostly written by Woozle, who invites others to participate. Issuepedia is hosted on a dedicated server whose primary function is hosting images for, Woozle's online store (and wiki), which pays all the hosting charges; to support Issuepedia, please feel free to mention (and Issuepedia) to others. We also accept donations via PayPal, should anyone want to encourage Woozle to put more time and effort into Issuepedia.

And yes, I need to do some banners and buttons.