CassWiki is a project with the aim of organizing the most essential information discussed on the Cassiopaea Forum. It is maintained by volunteers among the Cassiopaea.org community.
History and context
The community behind the wiki ultimately has its roots in The Cassiopaean Experiment. It gradually formed as a result of the wide-ranging networking and research which began with Laura Knight-Jadczyk sharing and discussing her findings online. The forum could be said to be the heart of the online community: having been described as a "research forum", it's where we network and learn together, sharing information about and exploring various subjects.
After a decade, the forum contains enormous amounts of information – more than one can expect anyone to keep track of. Hence the need for a project to organize the most important information, providing an overview as well as pointers to further resources on different topics. The hope is that this will make it simpler for newcomers to our community to catch up on the work of past years – and more generally, that our combined learning will become more accessible to any interested readers. In turn, there is also the hope that in becoming better equipped, those interested in contributing will have an easier time doing so.
Beyond the forum, there are also other resources relevant to the subjects covered and worth describing and drawing upon. This includes (but is not limited to) a broad range of books. Another prominent example is the alternative news site Signs of the Times, which chronicles and analyzes the ongoing events in our world, with the aim of providing a more objective and comprehensive picture. SOTT contains a great deal of information relevant to many important topics, and as such is often linked to.
This is not the first of our online projects aiming to organize information and make it more accessible. There have been several past efforts over the last decade:
- The Esoteric Glossary is an old site which organizes information with a focus on more esoteric topics. Its contents have been incorporated into this wiki in revised form. The Esoteric Glossary can be considered a success, given its usefulness to many readers (particularly those on the Cassiopaea Forum) over many years. However, given the new areas of research delved into in later years, which it does not cover, it has on the whole become too narrow in scope.
- A site named Cassiopedia was a Wikipedia clone, with the ambitious aim of providing a resource the size of Wikipedia, though with a different approach: objectivity instead of neutrality, and more thorough coverage of topics of importance to this community. While some good original content was produced, the project never gained momentum and fairly soon fizzled out. In hindsight, the sheer size of the project was way, way too large.
- A later site also named Cassiopedia copied the contents of the Esoteric Glossary into wiki form. Unlike the aim of this wiki, the aim of the later Cassiopedia was limited to "expanding" on the earlier coverage while maintaining the same focus. The project never gained momentum, and it essentially remained an inactive, technically modernized clone of the Esoteric Glossary.
- Enpsychopedia was a wiki focused on psychological subjects, and among these mainly ponerology, psychopathy, and the Theory of Positive Disintegration. It also provided information on online predators, so as to allow people to educate and protect themselves. On the whole it succeeded in providing useful material on various topics – some new, and some having earlier been written for the original Cassiopedia.
Several important things can be learned from the earlier projects. A clear goal, at once open-ended and realistic, is important: it should neither be too wide in scope (e.g. a revised Wikipedia), nor too narrow, nor too fuzzy – and the overall purpose must be clear. Unless the goal is both clear and realistic, one cannot expect motivation and effort to be sustained. At the same time, if the goal is too narrowly defined, this will mean limited room for creativity, which also limits motivation and effort.
In setting up the aim of this wiki – giving an "organized overview" of the main subjects focused on by our community – we had in mind several concrete tasks that are part of the picture. Beyond these tasks, we don't have fixed expectations of the ways in which the goal will be achieved. There's plenty of room for the project to evolve, and plenty of room for creative expression. Whatever serves the overall aim is welcome.
The new aim in detail
This wiki has a broader scope than that of the previous, somewhat similar resources (with the exception of the first Cassiopedia). At the same time, we do not aim to provide a complete "encyclopedia" for all or even most of the subjects covered – primarily, we hope to cover "the big picture" of different subjects in a practically useful way, and then to point readers to additional resources for delving deeper.
The broader scope parallels the broadening of the focus of the Cassiopaea.org community over the last decade. Topics that have more recently entered the picture include (but are not limited to): health and diet, cognitive and behavioral science, neuroscience, information theory, and a variety of subjects within the study of history. As for "older" topics, our coverage builds upon the efforts of earlier projects, mainly the Esoteric Glossary and the Enpsychopedia.
Apart from the subject areas to cover, the way in which they are covered is also important. There are several complementary approaches that are part of the "method" used. These include, but are not limited to:
- Summarizing. Collectively, we've researched more, and explored more material, than we could expect any one person to do. There's a lot to convey the gist of, so as to give interested people a better chance to explore what we've found. It can be concepts, findings, or general information that is especially relevant; it can be works such as series of articles, books, or movies; it can be the terminology that has evolved as we've come to share a common understanding in key matters.
- Connecting the dots. Articles can go beyond merely describing individual topics, also making connections – both between more closely related subjects and across wide conceptual areas.
- Directing to further resources. Articles can collect links and other references to further resources concerning the subjects covered; in this way, readers can quickly find their way to the most important material and get more fully up to speed on a given subject. Recommended material can be articles or books, videos or interviews, fruitful forum discussions – or anything else that provides key information.
The first approach is common to all of the previous projects. The second approach was prominent in the Esoteric Glossary – but can be taken further on this wiki, as the wider range of subjects means that there are more dots to connect. The third approach is the part that is the most "new", and it reflects both the need to catalogue the useful information explored over the years, and basic practical necessity – it is a better use of time and energy to avoid duplicating good, pre-existing coverage elsewhere.
Becoming a contributor
This project is open to contributions. If you are a member of the Cassiopaea Forum, feel free to suggest any additions or improvements that come to mind. Forum members can also directly join the wiki as editors.
For general suggestions on ways to contribute, you can read the CassWiki:Contributing page.