Delighted to see Witness taking shape before my eyes! Good work, everyone.
I wish to draw everyone’s attention on two things before the opening date is upon us: format conventions for Witnesspedia articles and the onboarding funnel.
In my own contributions, I tried to stay close to an encyclopedia format. This includes:
Start each entry with a definition, for example
Reading the Room, usually abbreviated in REDR (pronounced “redder”), is a martial art based on situational awareness, strategy and hand-to-hand combat.
and only after that start to discuss, tell its story etc.
Use sections, for example “History”, “Economic policy”, etc.
Use links for words that should have their own encyclopedia articles, for example:
The first founding principle is the danger zone . It is the area of pre-Sundering research at the intersection of economics and anthropology. This was spearheaded by scholars such as Marcel Mauss, Karl Polanyi, Albert O. Hirschman, James C. Scott and David Graeber.
Links go to other Witnesspedia entries (example: the Pluriversity project), or to Wikipedia (example: Marcel Mauss), or even to nowhere when I think someone should make a Witnesspedia entry at some point.
I am open to any convention. Someone should write one, though, so that, when the wiki is open to contributions, it does not become too much of a mess.
@nadia always says that it is a challenge for people to find the way they can best contribute, and that the challenge is greater the richer and more complex the project. The entry on aethnography gave me the idea to make a funnel where people would be guided to task lists (or to people in the team who are overseeing parts of the project) depending on their skills and interests. This would happen in a quasi-RPG way.
The idea is this. If you are an economist, anthropologist or social scientist, you would be invited to join the ranks of the aethnographers of Witness. You can choose whether to act in the capacity of a theor, an augur or an incanter
- Theors are comfortable with abstract models. In the WBA, they propose and discuss alternative value theories, check the main models behind the different districts, and so on. For example, in the Covenant, the theoric mode of production is a monastic economy. Theors are supposed to debug it.
- Augurs are good at real world data and applied analysis. In the WBA, they flesh out the models with information that makes them “come alive”. For example, in the Covenant, the monastic economy is unresponsive to demand-side force. Augurs come up with a mechanism to absorb that force, namely the ecosystems of capitalist companies that make knockoffs of the super-high quality goods made in monasteries.
- Incanters are agents more than analysts: entrepreneurs, civil servants, managers, politicians, activists. In the WBA, they populate Witness with companies, institutions, movements etc. To stay with the example of the Covenant, they can flesh out things like the markets most likely to be served by its capitalist companies, the management culture in Ordo Operarum, or the how the swarm of AI brokers around the Institute for the Works of Religion.
However, we also want to welcome SF fans and creative people at large. Should we add a fourth figure? And which one? Or maybe this idea of a funnel is wrong?