SharedKnowing -- SharedKnowing


About SharedKnowing
English (USA)

Well-reasoned, polite discussion of the nature of online knowledge production communities, with special but not exclusive focus on community policy (production, governance, management) questions; "the new politics of knowledge" broadly speaking. Read more.

To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the SharedKnowing Archives.

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About the SharedKnowing Mailing List

SharedKnowing is a mailing list for both discussion and announcements, not specifically affiliated with any project, but hosted by the Citizendium.

Purpose of the list

Well-reasoned, polite discussion of the nature of online knowledge production communities, with special but not exclusive focus on community policy (production, governance, management) questions; "the new politics of knowledge" broadly speaking. Though participation is by no means restricted to philosophers, we would like the list to have a more theoretical or philosophical focus, as opposed to being concerned with the specific minutia of specific communities (such as Wikipedia).

The collaborative knowledge community component of the list is important. It is not a list about Internet communities generally, much less the Internet generally. It's about Internet communities that are both collaborative and aimed at compiling knowledge.

This is a neutral forum which persons with all manner of cyberphilosophy are encouraged to join. While hosted by Citizendium, the list otherwise has no special relation to or official support of Citizendium.

How to subscribe and unsubscribe

To subscribe, simply click here and put in your e-mail address, and hit "Subscribe" button. You should receive a mail from the mail server. Follow the link provided, click on "Subscribe to list SharedKnowing", and you're done. Note that you can subscribe to the digest, which includes all list mail in one daily message. It's a way to keep your inbox clean.

To unsubscribe, click here and enter your e-mail address (the one you entered when you subscribed). From that page, you can have your password sent to you, which you'll need to unsubscribe yourself.

Please don't ask the listowner or moderators to unsubscribe you, unless you're having unusual trouble. If you can get yourself on the list, you can get yourself off.

How to post

Once you're subscribed, send your mail to: Warning: this will be sent immediately to many people and then be available online for all eternity! Don't say anything you wouldn't want grandma to read!

When will the discussion start?

We will give people a chance to get on the list before we start discussing. It should start up in mid- to late October. Until then, everyone will be moderated. After that, everyone will be unmoderated all at once.

Who should join

The list is open. It is especially recommended for everyone who likes to think deeply about collaborative Internet knowledge communities. We would like to gather together professors, students, independent scholars, and intellectuals generally, from every discipline and profession, who are thinking about this nest of problems. This includes

Students enrolled in related courses, and their professors, are encouraged to join. But this is not a strictly academic list, of course.

Core and example questions

Here are some questions the list is apt to take up. There are no doubt many other examples, but this is a long list to give new contributors a good idea of what we might cover:

Note: the fact that Citizendium has taken definite policy positions on some of these questions does not mean that Citzendium's positions will be presumed correct. This list is officially independent of Citizendium.

Relevant and irrelevant Internet communities/websites

Relevant to the list: Wikipedia, Citizendium, and other wiki nonfiction writing projects; mailing lists, Slashdot, Digg, Usenet, and other discussion forums, insofar as these are used to share information and build knowledge;, StumbleUpon, Mahalo, and other link collection and bookmarking projects; Project Gutenberg,, Google Books, and other book/archive digitization projects; many user-built scientific and academic projects such as Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Perseus Project; some ratings and consumer websites, including, insofar as they include an attempt to create reliable user-generated information; Google Earth, insofar as it is participatory.

Less relevant to the list (their purpose is not knowledge first and foremost): MySpace, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and other social network websites; MoveOn and other political action communities; eBay, craigslist, and other sales websites; mashups, like WeatherBonk, which do not have a significant social component; most media file exchange services; Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other 3D virtual worlds that do not have any clear educational purpose.

Discussion of the latter could be on-topic, if they indicate something interesting about knowledge communities.

Other encouraged posts

In addition to discussion, certain announcements are also encouraged. For example:

Subjects that will be deemed off-topic

To help the list retain a certain focus, several related subjects will be deemed off-topic, unless they can be directly tied to the more central topic of the list. Off-topic subjects include:

Occasional posts and announcements about such ancillary topics will be tolerated, but extended discussion of them will not.

Listmembers will have the opportunity to vote to restrict or expand the list scope, but these will be our initial parameters.

List rules

The list will be unmoderated, except if, in the judgment of the listowner or moderators, a person's contributions warrant turning on that person's moderation flag. While you may feel free to discuss mailing list moderation as a general topic on this list, rest assured that the list itself will not change its policy on this point. The listowner recognizes a very broad right to freedom of thought, but does not recognize a blanket right to say whatever you damn well please, even if it is flame-bait or extremely off-topic.

If a person's messages are moderated and then rejected more than three times, then the listowner reserves the right to eject the person altogether. You have been warned. Our moderators have better things to do than handhold hotheads.

The following are some rules of behavior. This is all elaboration of one injunction: be kind! Obviously, we have erred on the side of detail:

List Management

The listowner is Larry Sanger, editor-in-chief of the Citizendium and co-founder of Wikipedia.

Sanger will be asking for volunteers to help moderate the list. Moderators from outside the Citizendium community are especially encouraged to apply.

"Plebiscites" about list policy may, occasionally, be called, but the listowner reserves the right to determine list policy exclusively. The listowner also reserves the right--only if necessary--to act as "the court of final appeal" in resolving personal disputes. Yes, it's a benevolent dictatorship. (Discussion of the notion of benevolent dictatorship is very much fair game.)

Moderators are instructed to include the full text of a person's message with the rejection notice, so that it can be revised and resubmitted.

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