How to run a writing contest for building Witness?

We have been thinking about how to make participation in building witness more accessible for more people.

One way in which we are going about it is through a card game. That is coming along nicely and you will be able to test play it soon.

Another idea that have been bouncing around is to run a kind of “writing competition” to create stories that make the experience of living in one or more distrikts of witness come alive. We want to ensure it is inclusive, while ensuring that the stories that do come out honour the mastery of writers whose work we love and respect.

Writing is a craft, and not everyone can start from a “blank page”. So, we could:

  • commission a small number of creative pieces from authors (authors are paid)
  • then invite people to remix the ideas/stories to create new ones (“best” entries win prizes)

IFTF did something similar a while back.

What do you think, good idea? Which authors would you invite to write a paid piece?

Would you like to write a piece? If so, what would be a fair rate to pay you for this work (no longer than 2 A4-pages)?

Tell us in a comment below! (you will need to create an edgeryders account to do so)


I think it is a great idea. @yudhanjaya should be -of course- one of the writers.

I was thinking that we could even work with two levels. One for original stories where writers based on the wiki- information available provide a story.

And one along the lines of your proposal. Which writers to invite - besides @yudhanjaya- I find difficult, but why not launch an open call on a dedicated platform and choose the best ones for making those creative pieces?


I think that sounds great and we even have a small budget for paying the authors and awarding prizes. @ChrisFarnell - would you be up for discussing this? I think you are best positioned to shape the call/announcement. If so let’s agree with @ivan on a chat asap?


That sounds great. I’m just dipping into emails today before taking a day off for the end of the school holidays, but totally up for talking about this next week.


Yes, great idea!

And… I am also surprised by the wording of this initiative as a writing contest, because isn’t this exercise of building Witness already an invitation to a writing contest about life in this imaginary world?? I took it as a serious one and took time to write stuff here. (Some more stuff is coming up soonish)

(edit: I originally wrote some criticism about the marketing of Witness world building, which I think is a great initiative but not getting enough attention which I think it deserves. But decided that the criticism is too harsh since things are moving forward, while I have been away for weeks at a time and not paying enough attention myself…) And from that perspective: good idea to make this project more known and accessible.

The content of Witness is thoughtful and encompassing, but a bit too scholarly at times? Maybe we need more methodical “marketing”… and maybe a marketing focus plan or vision exists that I am not aware of? Making it accessible for more people. One question is, what’s the nature of the world building and the analytic activities going on? Who is the target audience? Is the audience expected to join in and contribute, and how much? How is this process facilitated and by whom? Is it for economists? Scifi fans? Someone else?

Maybe Edgeryders is keeping too low a profile in general? Concentrating on research, which is important of course, but how to make these discussion appealing and easier to enter, for those who are not yet initiated?

Hey you :slight_smile: Hope all is well at your end?

I saw the piece! It looks good, want to get into it and leave some thoughtful reflections…

So what you point to is part of the reason why I thought it might be nice to frame an invitation this way.
You know that game where you fold a paper into a kind of accordion, and then one person writes something, folds it away and the next person writes and so on. Then at the end you get an at times surreal story?

I had in mind something similar except you actually see what has been written before @dkaplan and plurality university have a lovely format which you can have a look at here:

I think the codebase is open source so maybe we could build an instance for this? What do you think? @owen this might be a good solution for the documentation even?

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Very interesting comments. I have a board/card game hybrid that works quite like you described, designed in 2018-2019 but could use more development. Could that game, and Il Orb Werte (Libro Werde distrikt) be connected or included in the Witness card game and other developments?

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