Welcome to all interested in developing 'The Red Pill', an 'alternative' Wiki. This grew out of the Wikipedia policy of not allowing new paradigm/fringe theories and ideas: "This is also not the place for "original research"—that is, new theories, etc., that haven't been supported by peer review." .
Before we allow posting of new articles, I think some important things need to be addressed:
- Will this Wiki use a category system? If so, what are the logical categories/sub-categories?
- Given the controversial nature of these subjects, is it wise to allow non-members to create and edit pages? The concern is primarily libel, and of course secondly that misleading information may be presented.
- What is the editorial guideline? e.g. Where is the line drawn for 'Red Pill' material...we have no need to replicate Wikipedia entries (though there will be obvious crossover, as some of the 'bigger' alternative topics and personalities ARE listed in Wikipedia).
Any thoughts on the above, and also other concerns/questions?
First off - this is a fantastic idea! I can't wait to be able to come here and have links to the latest research, or just have a theory explained to me ;)
In answer to your questions:
1) I think we should try to come up with some broad categories first off to try and help us structure the information. Then these would divide into sub categories and so on.
Only problem is I haven't really come up with good categories. Paranormal sort of describes so many things. And then how do you place items such as Astral Projection? EVP? ESP? Just as some examples. Specifics are easy to place such as a specific incidents such as the picture of the The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall which can go under 'Ghosts' and 'Paranormal Pictures' perhaps.
2) I don't think non-members should be allowed to create and edit pages. Otherwise we will get swamped with half baked theories.
3) I think you should get some regular editors that look at the latest entries and flag entries that look suspicious or that should not be allowed. Are we able to provide a link that lets someone alert the administrator that a particular entry has incorrect information even if they are not members? Apart from this I don't really know where to draw the line.
I know my comments are not much but I thought I'd just start it off!:)
I agree this is a fantastic venture.
As far as broad categories go' i'll throw these out there.
These only being a few examples.
4) Metaphysical studies etc..
Is this the type of form for broad categories everyone wants?
Adding to each with sub-categories and expanding as the need comes. Plus with the wealth of knowledge out there im sure they will grow and become a valuable resource for everyone.
Hi to All,
Like everyone else, I think the 'Red Pill, is a wonderful idea. If you don't carry this out, I'm certainly going to run with it.
I think if we decide to use a category system, then the ones in the current Grail poll just about sum up most of the alternative scene today. I think sub categories will develop on their own over time as users comment and authors complain because their pet theories don't quite fit into the top level categories.
However, I'm not so sure that catagories are really necessary. Generally, most encyclopedias aren't categorized. In fact, I think that in some instances they might be a hindrance to users. For example, if you were looking for information about Graham Hancock and you only looked in the alternative history section, you'd probably miss anything to do with 'Supernatural'. Just my feeling, but I think a really primo search function would be a better choice than categorizing, plus it would save a lot of work tagging articles for inclusion in different sections.
As for editorial policy, this is something that is really going to need a whole lot of thought and discussion if you want to get this thing right. I want to see the Pill succeed and be taken seriously outside of the alternative community. So that means yes, we need moderators to keep every harebrained tweeker from posting his personal insanity and bringing the intellectual level down to a cartoon level. Big problem is, does this mean we're now a 'peer reviewed' journal? Kind of goes against the grain just a little, doesn't it?
I don't have an easy answer to this but I think that it is the most critical decsion you'll make before the Pill is launced and everyone involved needs to join in this particular discussion.
Just my two cents worth. looking forward to reading more discussion soon,
First Round Summary and Feedback
Thanks for the comments. I think the current TDG poll does give a very good top level list of categories (perhaps others could be added though, such as 'alternative medicine' and similar?). The real trick is the sub-categories. In Ufology, you might have 'People', 'Cases', 'Objects', 'Theories' and so on, but which would be very different to one of the other topics. I guess we could just implement a top-level list of cateogries, but let the sub-categories grow organically, with some common sense moderation/editing to keep it sane?
The moderation issue is one I have faced on TDG from day one - how to present fringe theories which by definition are against the accepted norm, but at the same time exercise some sort of editorial restriction on what is presented (because you simply have to, there are some very strange people/theories out there). I think we just have to try and assemble some common-sense moderators who are open to new ideas, but who are also intent on not letting too much personal bias get in the way. One of the biggest problems will be dealing with people who are proselytising on behalf of an idea ('true believers'), because the information won't be presented objectively. Obviously, in terms of it being a Wiki then everyone can moderate to some degree...but there should be some sort of group rule on what is accepted.
First, I will contribute to some questions raised.
1.) As for categories, I agree with Chris that categories aren't really necessary. Most encyclopedias are categorised by letter only. But, if categories will exist, sub-categories should emerge with time as Greg proposed. I think it's better solution, as some subcategories could remain empty, and 'MISC' subcategories could grow unplanned.
2.) Regarding the controversial nature of topics, I think non-members should have liberty of editing. Anyone coming to the Red Pill should know about nature of it's articles, so if user is sceptic, he will just laugh, and not try to erase an article.
3.) I think that articles should always be marked as "theory", "unproved" or similar. I think there should be maximum freedom, but competent moderators.
As for personal opinions and bias, there should be no room for those on a Wiki. It should be objective as possible.
I hope this helps. :)
Greg's 3 questions...
Here are my answers to Greg's concerns...
1) I have been using Wiki for awhile now and I can't think of one instance where I searched by category. I just now went to a couple of Wikis and searching by category is horrific. The new thing is document tagging to improve searching. Tagging is kinda like a free form categorization. A good example is Dailykos.com.
2) I wouldn't sweat the libel. There is a good article concerning Wikipedia at Wired (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/wiki.html) that deals with these issues and how as a community, it is pretty much self-correcting. with the MediaWiki software, one can add a page to their watchlist and are notified when a page is modified. With the huge number of members on DG, I don't think this will be an issue.
3) I would let the community decide what is included in that if someone posts an entry on Swamp Apes and if it is repeated on Wikipedia, who cares? It is more content here. If you want to seed the entries, I would copy them (under GNU) and let the community have at it. Keep the duplicate entries will be impossible over time. Discluding entries will make make Red PIll a weaker site. I am a full advocate of going forward full blast!!!!!
In my job, I deal with a LOT of online social engineering projects (all advertising related - BooksForSoldiers.com is the largest) and the BIGGEST problem you wil have will be flame wars. Think Cassiopeans vs Vincent Bridges.
Making a start
Okay, thanks for the good thoughts Stormbear. I think the category issue, for me, arises at the beginning of existence...when there aren't many articles, so that people can still browse to see what's there. Perhaps I'm wrong though!
Can you fill us in a bit more on document tagging, how it's carried out etc?
We probably need to work towards a few goals so that we can begin working on this ASAP rather than drifting along. So, what are the issues? For mine:
- Categories or not?
- Information to be put in place before 'opening' to public (e.g. mission statement, rules).
Can we have quick thoughts on these, and then let's get cracking.
Objectivity and Adding Some Topics
As far as rules go Greg, Remaining oblective and not bias when writing a piece should be of utmost importance. Letting only members edit will be important too. We do not want anyone that disagrees wth something coming in a destroying a good article.
We should also try to get some subjects started before opening to the public. Drawing the public to an empty site seems like a bad move to me.
Just me thoughts.
Tagging and Starter Category Code
Tags are just like keywords in HTML metatags, but are inserted into the database with the article. I would get too worried over them. There has only been slight mention of them for use in Wiki development, but they will come because of their usefulness to RSS, but that is a year or so for wiki (wild-assed guess). Document tagging is only now popping up on cutting edge blogs and uber geeky, VoIP using, linux freak websites. Some links on tagging on a popular political blog (they just started using tags)...
ON CATEGORIES I am not that wild about categories because most folks tend not to browse anymore unless it it is on a shopping site like Amazon. I will go the browse route when I am just looking for new DVD titles and want to drill down past the top 5 releases of the week. Other wise I will search on title, director, or somthing else... but it is a search. If I go to WebMD, I never browse. Would hypertension be under "blood," "circulatory," "weight," "salt or "vast vegan conspiracy to keep me out of the red meat aisle?" No, I just search for hypertension.
That being said, browsing is important. And I do think it should be included because we should want to do everything reasonable to help users find information. Also, and I think this is key, a category directory (example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Browse) will let people see HOW we are different from other Wiki's and what makes us UNIQUE. here is how I would organize it... (Disclaimer: I am not saying this is the end all, please edit to your heart's content! This is just off the top of my head and is probably very disorganized)
Well, not perfect, but it is a start...
Addition of articles pre-launch
Agreed, we should aim to have a number of articles up. Also, get a few of the major subjects at least there, if sparse on information, so that people feel they have something to work with and will begin editing
Thanks for your detailed list. I'm not sure though whether we need to be so broad in our categories (e.g. astronomy). IMO, we will be presenting alternative theories and 'fringe' issues, and I don't think (again, just using astronomy as an example) the amount of material pertaining to that is worth issuing a full category for.
Instead, we are looking at covering the major areas of 'outside the paradigm' study. I think that necessitates a less orthodox category structure than one might expect (certainly, very different to Wikipedia) - at least in terms of making it accessible to the reader most likely to visit the Wiki. Perhaps also, to avoid claims of misleading readers about the scientific reputability of some subjects, the word 'alternative' should be an explicit addition to category names.
A rough idea of categories, that I can think of, would be:
- Alternative History
- Alien Life (covering Ufology to astrobiology)
- Mind Mysteries
- Religion (part of Spiritual, or separate category for actual religious organisations?)
- New Science
- Alternative medicine/health
- Esoterica/Occult (although could feasibly be split into 'alt history', 'conspiracy' and 'spiritual')
- Entertainment (e.g. comments about music and movies close to the communities heart...Internet site listing as well?)
The query to me is on sub-categories. Do you have second tier generic things like 'people', 'theories' etc as a rule, or alternatively should you have to drill down to get to them - e.g. spiritual/shamanism/people/Michael_Harner?
Thoughts on the above categories from everyone? Additions, edits, complete refutations?! ;)
p.s. Stormbear, we may be fringe...but 'honest politicians'? Some things just go beyond the pale of believability. ;)
Hi again, After spending some time reading the comments posted here and looking over a variety of wikis out there, I just thought I'd come in with some general observations.
Categories: I've come down in favor of them after all. There really is no reason not to have them. They will help users who just want to browse, and the more I think about it, the more I see that they really don't pose a problem for anyone simply searching for specific information. I do believe starting with simple 'loose' categories like the ones Greg has suggested is the best plan, while letting the more specific sub-categories grow organicaly.
Moderation: Truthfully, I don't think it's as critical as I first thought. The article about the Wikipedia at Wired was very informative. Articles in a wiki evidently are self correcting. It would seem that what moderators really need to be adept at is damping down flame wars, but not really censoring. As far as people posting just plain nonsense, I think that you might first, compose a set of guidlines as to what is acceptable for publication and second, appoint an editorial board to review articles that readers point out as being questionable.
Seed Articles: An excellent idea. Some starter articles to get people reading and editing would help to get the 'Pill' going. A suggestion; Greg, you're probably on good terms with a number of the leading lights in the alternative community. Could you get some of them to either volunteer to write an article on their particular specialty or at least allow us to use some of their published material to get things started?
Sorry I have nothing really new to contribute, but I hope that some of my thoughts might help expand some of yours.
Moving forward with changes. w00t!
Hi Greg et al!
I will mod the category code above with your suggestions and we can all see how that looks and go from there.
Thanks for all the constructive input, I think it really helps put out a better site.
Lastly, OK, maybe the Honest Politicians should go under a new category - Blatant Fantasies.
Doh, beat me to it!
Thanks for the changes Stormbear...I was halfway through it myself and when I visited the page to check on my categories I noticed that you had updated the list.
Your category/subcategory division is probably better than what I had in any case. I had 'People' as a sub-category within each field, which would have made for more accuracy but perhaps was overkill on the subcategories. Perhaps if we list people under both categories it will be the best of both worlds?
Also, should we list books under 'Entertainment'? Perhaps not the best title to go under, some authors may be a bit affronted.
Okay, as a way of testing the category system, here are a few probable entries. Where do they go?
- Graham Hancock
- Rendlesham UFO Incident (I think it would be good to have a grouping of things like this, for ease of browsing)
- Zero Point Energy
- The Orion Correlation Theory (Bauval's idea of the 3 pyramids of Giza as mirroring Orion's belt)
- The Conscious Universe, by Dean Radin (on scientific proof of psi)
Wondering also whether there should be a standalone category of 'Survival of Death', for reincarnation, near-death experiences, past-life regression, mediumistic communications etc.
Thoughts on all of the above (everyone else, feel free to chime in!). Thanks again for all your work on this Stormbear.
- Greg 22:28, 9 November 2005 (GMT)
People and Things
No prob on the help. Been a big TDG fan for years, hated when it went away for a time, but damn glad it is back.
I would keep people in a category to itself. If we do both, it is just that much more to manage.
I agree on the book thing, Entertainment should probably be "Arts and Entertainment." If the concern is scholarly books vs Harry Potter, we can always put up a Book Review section so as not to taint the rest of the site with titles like "Zahi Hawass' Guide To Dating Mummies - How To Get To First Base with Cleopatra" and other Hawassian nonsense.
Sorry, should have been clearer. I meant when entries are created, they could always be cross-listed (eg. Robert Bauval under Category People and Category Alternative History).
Okay, so what do we need to concentrate on to get started? Introductory/Main page, some starter articles, what else?
- Greg 21:38, 10 November 2005 (GMT)
On the to-do front, I think the main page, intro and housekeeping pages (policy, legal, etc) can be done as people begin populating the site.
Also, get the donations page (do you accept PayPal donations?) running along with merchandise links.
Uhh.. I am sure I will think of more later.
FYI - Wiki article on legal disclaimers
Okay, a helpful read. I think we should definitely put up a disclaimer, as well as an open invitation for anybody affronted by an entry to contact us. I think to start with we will have to allow anonymous input into articles, otherwise there simply won't be enough people to do the job. If things start going pear-shaped, then we could change over to a member-based system.
- Greg 23:38, 11 November 2005 (GMT)
Main Page Created
Okay, in order to try and get the ball rolling, I've created a basic main page to welcome new visitors. Stormbear - I've incorporated the top level categories we came up with (added also 'Survival of Death' due to the many topics within, such as psychics, reincarnation, NDE, PLR etc). I've left out the subcategories for now, until we get a feel for what we will need (and to avoid over complicating things for new visitors).
I'm hoping all is set up correctly and looks good to y'all...I'm in desperate need of a decent sleep and my head is not where it should be! Please point out if I made any glaring mistakes, errors of judgement etc.
Feel free to have at it and start creating, whether that is topic articles, or fleshing out the welcome and help pages.
- Greg 12:12, 12 November 2005 (GMT)
Okay, have spent a bit of time creating a basic category/subcategory structure that most visitors should be able to understand. Have also created a number of the copyright and 'about us' pages.
- Greg 13:44, 13 November 2005 (GMT)
Is it ok...
... to tell others who might be interested in writing the Wiki address?
Sure, the more writers the better...I'll have to get off my butt and get the rest of the 'front page material' (welcome etc) fill in before it all becomes too public though. Feel free to add anything yourself as well, as per the standard Wiki help information (remembering a lot of our audience won't know the first thing about formatting etc).
- Greg 00:47, 15 November 2005 (GMT)
I think also it might be a good idea to invite researchers, website owners etc to list information about themselves - as long as we point out that they should do so as objectively as possible, and that it likely that people may add/edit the entry in future. Having an entry in TRP would obviously be good promotion for many of these people, so it gives us a way of getting some content early on...and also they may be persuaded to hang around and post other entries on their pet subject.
- Greg 08:32, 15 November 2005 (GMT)
Finished admin entries
Okay, I've finished adding administration entries (though some are very basic). How about we start adding some basic articles to use as a base, before inviting the public on in?
- Greg 12:50, 18 November 2005 (GMT)
Get the ball rolling
A few articles would be ideal in my opinion. People will be more likely to visit the site again and again if the content is there. Some basic articles can will also give me people things to add to if they have insight on the subject.
Roll the Ball
I agree, I think all that's needed is some articles. Conversely, we could just invite people straight up to come in and write on subjects close to their heart. Feel free to add anything!!
Can we upload pdfs of books to the occults books section? Im going to take a wild guess ad say its copyright infringement. Just a guess though. If not can we add excerpts if they are referenced?
Probably best to not get into the PDF scene. Some are public domain, but it might become a headache to manage I think. Excerpts are fine, as long as they are not too long.
- Greg 00:16, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick response.
Great so quoting from a book when doing a write up on one should work then.
- Nick 5 December 2005
History and Archaeology category suggested
I'd like to suggest a primary category of "History and Archaeology" with subcategories of "Ancient History," "Egyptology," "Medieval History," "Classical Archaeology," "Prehistoric Archaeology," etc. Traveling writer 19:30, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
New Categories necessary?
The question is, do we need those categories? We are trying to cover the 'fringe' topics that aren't on Wikipedia - I'm not sure that we need to cover specific areas of history with categories? Can you elucidate a little on the need for those new categories?
Thanks for all your input on the Red Pill by the way...I'm hoping to dig in myself once I clear my post-Xmas backlog (the problem with taking time off to have a holiday!). Greg 07:06, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
My feeling is that the theories put out by Hancock, Bauval, et al. should be treated under the traditional headings of history and archaeology and not just "alternative history." I believe always labeling theories that deviate from the academic norm with appellations like that marginalizes them. In addition, I think it will help neophytes navigate the site better. Traveling writer 07:20, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the support, appreciate it. Actually, noticed the other day that you own solomonkey.us (I think, from memory?) - do you have plans of your own revolving around Brown's next book? Greg 11:41, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Re: Solomon Key domains
I actually own two Solomon Key domains: solomonkey.info and thesolomonkey.us. I may sell thesolomonkey.us. I might in the future use solomonkey.info but I haven't decided how. As an aside, I put your book on the top of my Amazon.com Listmania list Da Vinci Code: Pro & Con on Jan. 20. I hope it is of help in the sales department.Traveling writer 00:39, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I also just acquired solomon-key.com which had expired. Traveling writer 19:36, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Greg's Recent Posts
It appears that the 'Red Pill Muse' has moved you. Good work!
With Sub Rosa Issue 4 out, I finally have some spare time on my hands. At least for a few weeks! Greg 20:36, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Have you heard any further scuttlebutt about the Solomon Key coming out in May? Traveling writer 21:00, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Don't know if you liked my map idea mentioned on the front page discussion, but I found:
A plugin for MediaWiki to allow Google Maps to be embedded. I'm not certain it's suitable, but I'm thinking of setting up something similar so you can report ghost/bigfoot/etc. sightings geographically, perhaps with integration into a MediaWiki. -Colin 16:01, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to do some things with hauntings/ghosts/haunted places. Some could fall under folklore.. but other not and I see nowhere such would fit under the present catagories. Is this material that would fit here? sugarbeta
Re: A question
Sugarbeta, I know your question is intended for Greg and I apologize if it appears that I'm butting in, but I would suggest a subcategory of paranormal phenomena or ghosts under Folklore and Mythology or Maverick Science. As for folklore, it is defined broadly as a belief held by the "folk" (people). Folklore in no way precludes the truth or actuality of something. For example, there is increasing evidence as to the efficacy of some traditional folk medicine. Greg, what do you think? Traveling writer 00:27, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Re: A question
Not taken as butting in, input is appreciated. Folklore would work nicely for one I had in mind dealing with Black Shuck and the spectral dogs of Europe (I have some good material on that one). The subcatagories sounds good. I'm working on Newstead Abbey and Anne Boleyn at the moment. sugarbeta
Re: A question
I have created the subcategory of "Ghosts" under "Folklore and Mythology." Traveling writer 01:13, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks muchly! sugarbeta
There's probably room for two categories here - the one Hal created in Folklore, and then another under 'Survival of Death' (as 'Hauntings' or just 'Ghosts'?). On the comment about Paranormal...wonder whether it's worth creating this as a top-level category? What would go in it? Poltergeist, Ghosts...not sure of the boundaries of that category. What do y'all think?
On the "Death of a Knight Templar" article - I was wondering if the title should refer more to the subject matter,e.g. with the name of the person or similar? Just seems a bit ambiguous for anyone to find in a search with that title. I could be wrong though. ;) 126.96.36.199 14:32, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, that's me above...rebooted computer then forgot to login. Greg 14:33, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
well there is paranormal phenomena like say WillO'Wisps, then there are ghosts and haunted places. Vampire, zombie and werewolf lore. Lots of material, but it still will all fit as sub-catagories, plus it will help fill out the Mythology and Folkore catagory.
Yah, simpler might be better, maybe rename it "Alisdair Rosslyn Sinclair" or something? It would be quicker to catch the attention of readers who know who the Sinclairs are. sugarbeta
Regarding the title "Death of a Modern Day Knight Templar," it could be changed to "Death of a Modern Day Knight Templar: Alisdair Rosslyn Sinclair." I think that would give us the most bang for the buck in searches. And Greg, I didn't miss your use of the Southern U.S. term of "y'all" and unlike many, you even punctuated it properly. ; ) Traveling writer 15:49, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
The "knight" needs an "s" on the end. Also lol on the y'all from here in Georgia! sugarbeta
Howdy to Georgia. Just a grammatical point, it's only Knights Templar when speaking of the Order as a whole or more than one Templar. When speaking of a single Templar, it's Knight Templar. http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=knight%20templar Traveling writer 23:16, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Ha. I have grammarical retardation btw. sugarbeta
ah ha, I had wondered why everything was staying so big! Sugarbeta
Greg, I created a Wiki about The Solomon Key on your book's page at Amazon.com. I thought you may be interested in adding to it. And for anyone out there interested in buying Greg's book "The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key," here's the Amazon.com link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0875168167/thedailygrail Traveling writer 04:58, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
Greg, I am having trouble with an article "redirect" I tried creating of "Mythology" to "Folklore and Mythology." Can you help? Traveling writer 22:12, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
What sort of trouble are you having Hal? Seems to be redirecting fine at my end. Greg 22:19, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
I think the problem was in my cache. I cleared it and now it is also working for me. I fear I am technically challenged. LOL Traveling writer 22:36, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Save the Internet
Since there are now a fair amount of categories with articles in them, I think it might be a good idea to go and remove the categories that have no articles so people don't click on them and come up with nothing. What do you think? Traveling writer 11:47, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I would be wary of removing too much at this stage...although I agree that its a case of damned if I do, damned if I don't. I want the categories there so people can see the possibilities - at the same stage, I acknowledge that it could give people the feeling that the place is empty of information. I think that's more a pointer though that I need to get my butt in gear and get some stubs into the categories that don't have articles yet - because all the categories I added were on the basis that I thought they were important. So - in answer to your question...I will make a point of 'stubbing' the empty categories! :) Greg 13:05, 8 June 2006 (UTC)