See the Interpedia page for notes about why the Interpedia project has not been made obsolete by the Wikipedia or by search engines like Google.
The Interpedia was an idea ahead of its time. But perhaps that time is coming. In the heyday of the Interpedia Mailing List, early in the last decade of the previous century, hundreds of people received a vast amount of mail about the idea of an Internet encyclopedia to be called the Interpedia. But the Interpedia Project died of neglect shortly after the comp.infosystems.interpedia newsgroup was created. What went wrong?
Well, the project was always an uneasy union of two incompatible groups, those who saw the project as essentially one of writing text for the encyclopeda and those who saw the project as essentially one of writing software to function as an encyclopedia-like interface for the whole Internet — something like the World Wide Web, which began as a small software development project and became an interface for the whole Internet. The success of the WWWeb may have been a factor in the failure of the Interpedia project, but a lot of blame probably attaches to the author of this web page who became suddenly and seriously silent after finding the proposed software development more difficult than he had imagined.
The web has been unbelievably successful, to the great credit of its originator, Tim Berners-Lee, aka Timbl, but many people are still not satisfied with the web, which makes makes it hard to find certain information that the Interpedia would have made easily available — though subsequent Internet encyclopedia projects demonstrate the converse, that encyclopedia format can make difficult what the web makes easy. These more recent Internet encyclopedia projects are all embedded within the web — which also includes the very commercial, but now free, Encyclopedia Britannica, — but of course there is nothing encyclopedia-like about the web itself nor its browsers, none of which provide an encyclopedia-like interface.
The web resembles instead a labyrinth or maze, a kind of puzzle, but a puzzle made useful and even lovable by the addition of search engines, which were not part of the original design. Regardless of how often you use search engines and how much you benefit from their existence, you probably recognize the limitations of keyword searching, which can be terrribly frustrating e.g. when the name of what you are looking for is composed of very common English words such as those on the search engines stopword list.
Many new projects such as the Semantic Web are attempting to drag the WWW into the 21st century either by reducing the need for search engines or providing structure to make search engines work better. But perhaps something with a more encyclopedia-like interface would be better — perhaps the Intepedia software is needed. Perhaps, with better computers, years of networking experience, many new information retrieval algorithms, and an enormous amount of open-source software to draw on … with all that, perhaps the Interpedia software is now possible .
Despite the almost total absence of visible Interpedia development, some development work has been going on quietly in the background for years, mostly as side-effects of other projects None of this work is good enough to be made public yet, but it is probably time to put up a web page or two and start another mailing list, this time with much more explicit goals and a real development plan. Bookmark this page and check it occasionally, and you should see signs of progress.
See also the only other existing Intepedia page , which summarizes some of the good ideas which floated around the old Interpedia mailing list.
The old Interpedia project was actually not a project but a Technological Fantasy — visit TechnologicalFantasies.ca for more information. The old Interpedia mailing list and this web page are MemeticFlowers — visit MemeticFlowers.ca for more information. The Interpedia was not intended merely as an encyclopedia-like interface to information on the Internet, but as an interface to all Internet users and all Internet activity, including offline social activity, and was therefore intended not not just as Information Technology but SocialTechnology. Visit SocialTechnology.ca for more information. See also the CASA Proposal and CASocialActivity for more information about Computer Assisted Social Activity.
Related Web Pages are:
The main Social Technology page.
FindCompatibles , the key page, with the real solution to all other problems explained
Technological Fantasies , a page about future technology
Practical Immortality , not the immortality of the body, nor making a copy of the mind in a machine, but actual transfer of a person, personality, memory and consciousness into a supercomputer
Social Tech a page about Social Technology, technology for social purposes. I think I was the first person to use this phrase on the Internet, quite a long time ago.
Roughly corresponding to these web pages are the following blogs :
FindCompatibles devoted to matching people with friends, lovers, jobs, places to live and so on, but doing so in ways that will actually work, using good math, good algorithms, good analysis.
Technological Fantasies devoted to future stuff, new ideas, things that might be invented or might happen, such as what is listed above and below.
Practical Immortality yes, practical immortality. Don’t write this off as insanity, please. See the first entry in the blog first.
Sex-Politics-Religion is a blog about these important topics, which I have been told should never be mentioned in polite conversation. Alright that advice does seem a bit dated, but many people are still told not to bring up these subjects around the dinner table.
I believe I was the first person on the Internet to use the phrase Social Technology — years before the Web existed.
Those were the good old days, when the number of people using the net exceeed the amount of content on it, so that it was easy to start a discussion about such an upopular topic. Now things are different. There are so many web pages that the chances of anyone finding this page are low, even with good search engines like Google. Oh, well.
By Social Technology I mean the technology for organizing and maintaining human society. The example I had most firmly in mind is the subject of FindCompatibles , what I consider to be the key page, the one with the real solution to all other problems explained.
As I explained on my early mailing lists and later webpages, I find that social technology has hardly improved at all over the years. We still use representative democracy, exactly the same as it was used in the 18th century. By contrast, horse and buggy transporation has been replaced by automobiles and airplanes, enormous changes.
In the picture below you will see some 18th century technology, such as the ox-plow in the middle of the picture. How things have changed since then in agricultural technology. But we still use chance encounters, engagements and marriages to organize our home life and the raising of children.
I claim that great advances in social technology are not only possible but inevitable. I have written three novels about this, one preposterously long, 5000 pages, another merely very very long, 1500 pages. The third is short enough at 340 pages to be published some day. Maybe. The topic is still not interesting to most people. I will excerpt small parts of these novels on the web sometime, maybe even post the raw text for the larger two.
This site includes many pages dating from 1997 to 2008 which are quite out of date. They are included here partly to show the development of these ideas and partly to cover things the newer pages do not. There will be broken links where these pages referenced external sites. I’ve tried to fix up or maiintain all internal links, but some will probably have been missed. One may wish to look at an earlier version of this page , rather longer, and at an overview of most parts of what can be called a bigger project.
Type in this address to e-mail me. The image is interesting. See Status of Social Technology
Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2009, Douglas Pardoe Wilson
I have used a series of e-mail address over the years, each of which eventually became out of date because of a change of Internet services or became almost useless because of spam. Eventually I stuck with a Yahoo address, but my inbox still fills up with spam and their spam filter still removes messages I wanted to see. So I have switched to a new e-mail service. Web spiders should not be able to find it, since it is hidden in a jpeg picture. I have also made it difficult to reach me. The picture is not a clickable link. To send me e-mail you must want to do so badly enough to type this address in. That is a nuisance, for which I do apologize, but I just don’t want a lot of mail from people who do not care about what I have to say.