The DE differs radically from all traditional encyclopedias so far – including Wikipedia. It enables productive exchange of opinions on controversial issues that raise strong passions.
The basic idea of the encyclopedia is simple:
There can be as many articles on the same subject/headword as there are different views. The writers are encouraged to express their views as distinctly and sharply as possible. Objectivity will be achieved by the possibility to evaluate opposite views side by side.
The users compile panels consisting of articles representing different, even opposing views and moderate debates based on them.
There are two main themes:
1. Human path – the history of humankind.
2. The history of the nation.
Each participant, opinion group or scientific school leads the discussion in its own way. The discussion takes place in special theme encyclopedias, personal debating encyclopedias, and on platforms.
The project needs a technical platform with certain basic features:
1. Archives of the DE
- Private persons under their own name
- Institutions – e.g. states, parties, associations, companies, organizations, bureaus
The users will have their own profile pages with photographs and informal introductions of themselves. In addition, the profile pages contain statistics of the users’ activities in the DE and the feedback they have received.
Writings, Speeches and Videos Uploaded by the Users
- Statements meant for debate panels. They have limits of length, for example:
– Micro theses – 350 characters / 2 minutes
– Theses – 3500 characters / 10 minutes
- Articles. More comprehensive statements, the maximum length of which is, for example, 20 sheets / 1 hour.
- Statements intended to the Annua Review of the Humankind’s Self-knowledge.
The users can share all the statements uploaded in the DE on their own pages and on debate panels started by them. They can also comment the statements in the archive. When the users show their liking (”thumbs”), they weigh not only the content of a statement but also the debate culture shown. Other users can also donate some amount of money to a writer whose article they value (see The Users’ Possibilities to Make Money)
2. Debate Panels
Every user of the DE can start a debate panel / panels. They have the following characteristics:
- •There are 2 to 5 opening statements in a panel representing different – preferably opposite – stands or opinions on the topic in question.
- The opening statements can be self-written or copied from the archives of the DE.
- •There are limits of length for the statements (see…). Longer statements (articles) can be used as an opening statement by making summaries of them or by taking quotations from them.
- selects the opening statements,
- invites and selects the participants for the panel, either personally or via a public invitation on the message board,
- •moderates the discussion, monitors the manners of discussion, structures the discussion, decides whether it is practical to divide the topic into subtopics, and decides when to close the panel,
- dismisses a heckling participant when necessary.
3. The Users’ Personal Pages
There can be three kinds of personal pages:
- •Theme Encyclopedias focus on some specific topic. They can be founded by an individual, a group, or an organization.
- Platforms are associations of the like-minded. They can be based on, for example, a party or electoral platform, views of a school of thought, or a single opinion.
- Personal Debating Encyclopedias are pages of an individual person. By time, they form a kind of summary of the user’s interests in as well political and world-view questions as in the field of culture and leisure activities.
Founders of personal pages can pick up material on their pages from the archives of the DE – debate panels or individual statements, for example – and add external links, reading lists, etc.
An essential technical feature is the users’ possibility to structure the contents of their sites – to organize it into topics, subtopics, and side topics.
The founders have the right to decide who may participate the discussions on their sites. They moderate the discussion and are responsible for ensuring that inappropriate comments and troublemakers are removed from discussion.
Besides, in the framework of the personal pages, it is possible to pursuit publishing and other kinds of business activity and to arrange live happenings, webinars, and educational courses.
- An example of a theme encyclopedia: our proposal to Sitra ”Finland 100 years – towards honest Finland”. ”Suomi 100 vuotta – kohti rehellistä Suomea”.
4. State of Humankind’s Self-knowledge – Annual Review
Compilations of the articles intended to the annuals can also be published in a variety of anthologies, as well in the internet as in print, e.g. via online publishers. Schools, school classes, educational institutions in general, hobby circles, political parties, working communities, NGOs, governments, for example, can publish their own annuals.
(See the article (In Finnish) What will there be after the Worldwatch Institutes State of the World Annual Review?)
In order to function properly, the DE needs a jury that supervises the debate culture. Ideally, the jury would consist of representatives of parliamentary parties and judicial authorities, academic researchers, opinion leaders, and citizens who have shown exceptional sense of justice in the debates within the DE. The jury could resolve dispute cases and give recognition awards for just debate culture and notes for the absence of it. It should also have a right to shut down user accounts.
The jury, or at least a part of it, could be elected through a general ballot. Each language area should have a jury of its own.
6. Local Clubs
Successful social media platforms, such as Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter, are unable to start local clubs that organize ideologico-political debates or debates on worldviews in general. On the basis of the DE it would be quite appropriate.
The local associations could organize not only real-life discussion and study events but also leisure and business activities. They could also act as financial institutions. In the local banks it would be possible, for example, to use micro credits as a means to support the local businesses or persons who are in need of some kind of help or deserve incentive.
In this project, it is possible to build a global network of local clubs, which provides a seedbed for many kinds of start-up businesses.
7. How Does the Project Make Money?
Unlike on many ideological internet sites, this project favors advertisement and all kind of collaboration with business.
The user loyalty provided by the ideological basis is of great benefit especially in getting ad revenues. At its simplest, this means: “If you’re going to shop online anyway, do it through our site.” Ads can be set up on the site with this in mind.
The DE should also have an affiliate network of its own. The Finnish Bonusway (https://www.bonusway.fi/) may serve as an example of this. On Bonusway, consumers are entitled to bonuses when they make purchases from the affiliate online stores while being logged in the Bonusway service. In the DE, the bonuses from online purchases woud be divided between the users and the project management (for example ”DE Ltd.”). It is essential that the users can choose who they want the bonus to target (all for the project or the major part for some personal debating encyclopedia, platform, or theme encyclopedia).
The DE is not going to sell user data.
Other Business Opportunities
In principle, all legal business made in the internet suits this project, especially the following ones:
- Philosophical cultural travelling: hotels and resort villages, which organize debate events according to the principles of the project besides their normal business.
- Chain of cultural cafes, pubs and restaurants on the basis of franchising.
- Publishing, especially textbooks for all levels of education – they would be debate anthologies on various topics compiled from the archive of the DE. (In this case the writers of the texts selected in the anthologies would also be entitled to compensation.)
- Traditional media (newspapers, magazines, free newspapers, websites, TV and radio stations, may they operate on global, national or local levels).
- Educational applications. E-learning.
- Combining various forms of physical exercise to debating events.
- Local services.
- Selling and bartering of goods and services, renting holiday residences, organizing rideshares, auctions, lotteries, etc.
8. The Users’ Possibilities to Make Money
Persons who appropriately defend views they consider important or moderate discussions wisely can also earn well. This possibility is provided to average Joe or plain Jane, unaccustomed to writing, as well as to professional journalists.
The users should get the major part of the ad revenues of their pages in the DE. (See How Does the Project Make Money? / Ad Revenues.)
Paid likings, e.g. “roses”
By pressing “rose buttons” the readers can donate some amount of money (for example five cents, one euro or some larger sum) to a writer whose article they appreciate. There will be these kinds of buttons in connection with every statement of every user.
This feature could be put into practice with the help of some kind of an APE payment solution or by collecting points to one’s own DE account.