| Echo of Freedom, Radical Podcast has a podcast related to this aticle|
Anarchopedia is a knowledge portal and online anarchist community. The project aims to build a multilingual encyclopedia, written cooperatively on the Internet, with a special focus on Anarchism and anarchist topics. This project is organized according to the means of unanimity, consensus, voluntarism, individual responsibility, and is founded upon the anarchist principles of direct democracy and autonomy. It is a GFDL corpus access provider
Nature of the Anarchopedia project
Significance of the name
The word Anarchopedia is composed of the term “Anarcho” (diminutive of anarchism/Anarchist), and of the term “pedia”, which comes from the ancient Greek paideia and meaning education (the project wants to be a kind of place to know, a base of knowledge of anarchism, even a place of exchange and studies on anarchism).
Anarchopedia means thus the idea that this encyclopaedia holds, by a whole of means (by the wiki), to allow the development of knowledge on anarchism.
Tally of work of Anarchopedia
Some of the articles were imported from Wikipedia, and had to be reworked. This is because it is not uncommon for articles on Wikipedia adopt pro-capitalist stances or to contain pro-authority bias, which are incompatible with the anarchist points of view.
Anarchopedia exists in various languages, including English, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, and others (but some little developed). A project exists or can exist for each language. A special multilingual wiki (meta Anarchopedia) also exists, and can be used for inter-language coordination.
Objectives of the Anarchopedia project
An anarchist encyclopedia, the purpose of it is to clarify the subjects, the topics, to which the anarchistic movement usually refers. Among others: the organisational means specifically libertarian, the actions or political theories suggested by the libertarians, of the history of the anarchists and anarchism, the social and economic questions, the anarchistic personalities and theorists, etc...
As an experiment in anarchistic management, Anarchopedia seeks to show how to create a successful website and a thriving community without resorting to social hierarchy as seen in other websites, while ensuring as much as possible the autonomy of the individuals and the groups involved in the project. This is what makes Anarchopedia different from other websites, and probably unique. The success or failure of this project will teach anarchists and political activists how to create Internet-based social networks according to anti-authoritarian principles.
Characteristics of Anarchopedia
The Anarchopedia project has specific characteristics which make it unique:
- The project aims to be an experiment in Anarchy and anarchistic management. The project is thus based on a Wiki (allowing a direct co-operative relation between editors and readers). A wiki allows creation and the modification by any person of any article. Wiki is a collective tool which makes it possible the anarchistic encyclopaedia to grow rich by work by each one and all, while specifying, while modifying or while adding to it of the articles. Anarchopedia does not have sysops (i.e. a power structure). All users have sysop permissions.
- Anarchopedia is not primarily intended as a “forum of discussion” (if not outward journey on yaff.net) nor a “Web directory”. Nevertheless, it is possible also to put comments on page of discussion for each article, at the time of dissent or for remarks about the treatment of an article. Anarchopedia is anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian.
- The articles of Anarchopedia are reusable according to terms' of the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). Thus, an individual or an organization can use the contents of Anarchopedia, while conforming under the free licence of documentation GNU. See Anarchopedia:Copyright.
- Anarchistic points of view / APOV: as far as possible, any encyclopaedic writing in Anarchopedia must represent one of the anarchistic point of view. The “neutrality of point of view” policy, such on wikipedia, is not considered too useful on Anarchopedia, because it relies on a central authority that should make decisions about the neutrality of an article and eventually carry out censorship when the article doesn't conform. Of course, it is perhaps difficult to arrive to an anarchistic point of view in all the cases. On Anarchopedia, the writing rules aim at being appropriate to the rational people, even if those are not always of the same opinion. The anarchistic points of view indicate that all the facets of a discussed point must be evoked according to these points of view, and that the article must in no way of declaring, of implying or of even insinuating, that one from the points of view is that which is correct a priori.
Operation of Anarchopedia
Modification of the articles
Concretely, each page of Anarchopedia has a button which any visitor, even those not recorded, can click to modify, to add or remove what it contains. Each one can also create new pages, causing the site to grow.
For the edition of the pages, the wiki syntax, a kind of very simplified HTML language, makes it possible to format pages and to create links between them.
Principle of Wikis
Anarchopedia and its parallel projects are of the free “WikiWikiWebs”. Created in 1995 by “Ward Cunningham”, Wiki draws its name from the hawaïen word “WikiWiki”, which means “quickly”. Developed originally by communities of free software developers, Wikis are dynamic Web sites, of which any visitor can modify the page which they are reading. Thanks to this characteristic, on Wiki, the limit between the reader and the author tends to disappear. The syntax of the wiki is much simpler than the “HTML”, and it is enough to a few moments to learn it (two apostrophes to put in italic, three to boldface, two brakets for a links), nevertheless a toolbar is included in the interface to simplify the use of syntax (by buttons).
Anarchopedia functions with the free software “MediaWiki”. The data of Anarchopedia (present in a database), all languages can be downloaded starting from the direction SERVER + /dev/db/ of each anarchopedia.
Monitoring of the quality of the articles
The MediaWiki software, like all wiki-software, includes features that make it possible to facilitate the consultation and the management of the site. It is thus possible to constantly consult the last modifications made to the whole of the site (new pages, new contributions, recent Modifications…).
In Anarchopedia, the participants add their contributions to those of the others. Thus, they correct the errors of other writers and work together on the topics possibly discussed by respecting APOV.
All the history of the contributions is preserved: successive versions of the text, authors, reasons for the modifications, dates. It can be consulted while clicking on the “history" button. This permanent device of safeguard makes it possible to return to the need to a preceding version. Thus, even in the presence of vandal, the encyclopaedia is not endangered.
The anarchopedians can specify which article they wish monitor for modification, often those on which they intervened. It is thus possible for them to periodicaly check the evolution of the contents of the articles which interest them. MediaWiki makes it possible to post the text modified between two versions, even if they are not followed.
The followed articles can thus be corrected if erroneous information entered, or if the quality of the article drops: style, orthography, poor presentation, lack of clearness, need for a synthesis of the data. This system of follow-up of the articles usually makes it possible to locate acts of vandalism, and to restore the preceding version of the text.
In the event of dissent on the contents of an article, an argued debate proceeds in the page of discussion annexed to the article. This discussion forms an integral part of the encyclopaedia, and its reading can be instructive on the delicate points to treat in the contents of the article. This page is accessible via the button “discussion”.
The contributors can optionally create an account with a name and a password, so their modifications can be tracked and their contributions attributed. Registered contributors can profit from a personal page and additional functionalities. In fact, the majority of the contributors are registered. There are currently some contributors in differents languages.
There is no “chief” in the project Anarchopedia, the project is entirely self-managed by its voluntary participants, and aims to be as decentralized as possible in self-management. To contribute to Anarchopedia, it is sufficient to read some of the internal documentation and possibly create an account.
An anarchistic encyclopaedia
Anarchopedia is an anarchistic encyclopaedia in the political sense of the term : its operation is founded on the autonomy and the self-management of Anarchopedians, and not on the authority (of some).
In this sense, it illustrates the famous saying of Pierre Joseph Proudhon : “Anarchy, it is the order, without the authority” (Confessions of a revolutionist).
On the other hand, Anarchopedia is the opposite of an “anarchy” within the meaning of a community struck by a state of disorder. Order is ensured by the individuals associated on anarchopedia.
Anarchopedians do not give orders to other anarchopedians. Mandates and tasks can be assigned to individuals during General Assemblies.
Anarchopedia and collective regulation
Why doesn't Anarchopedia break down ?
By its open organization and because of the absence of holders of authority, Anarchopedia can appear like a very fragile project, ready to be broken down under the attacks of vandals, or with being submerged by contributions in disaccord with a general consensus. Anarchopedia undergoes, from time to time, the effect of individuals who seek to degrade its contents, to even erase its pages. As for the them, they always showed less perseverance or persistence than Anarchopedians, so it is unlikely that they would be able to damage the project permanently.
On a final note, a report is essential: there are more Net surfers wishing to work for the interest of the realization of Anarchopedia, than people who seek to harm it.
Why take part in Anarchopedia?
With the first access, to devote time to Anarchopedia may not appear a particularly attractive activity. It is necessary:
- to experiment and learn the operating mode of wiki and anarchopedia,
- to show humility by accepting that its texts are modified by other participants,
- to accept that others can have another approach to a question that oneself,
- to respect radically different or opposite opinions which are often debated, under the Anarchist Points of view.
- to devote time to thankless tasks like the correction of the spelling mistakes or the errors of working.
The growing success of Anarchopedia led a great number of people to formulate a critical opinion on the reliability of the information presented in this encyclopaedia. The statute of Anarchopedia as a source of reference remains a subject of controversy. The principal objections are as follows:
- the absence of filtering of the editors according to their competences, which involves the risk of inaccuracies, and more generally the absence of a reading panel guaranteeing the quality of the articles,
- Such filtering, however, can create a false sense of security; readers will trust reviewers rather than use their own best judgement.
- the heterogeneity of the quality of the articles,
- the preference for the consensus of the editors after a reasoned debate, rather than for the argument of authority,
- anarchistic points of view, considered as an illusion or a political or cultural prejudice,
- the risk to seek the anarchistic consensus rather than the anarchistic truth, and to support the relativism in the name of the anarchistic Point of view, even if it means to tolerate unfounded speeches on subjects concerned with personal philosophy, or propaganda for groups for example,
- the anonymity of the majority of the contributors,
- the vandalism, supported by the open nature of wiki.
- We, of course, adopt an anarchistic form of government, however anarchism isn't perfect. Vandalism is just a small price to pay for an anarchistic semi-nation wiki.
- the risk to see groupings using Anarchopedia to make propaganda, or many geniuses autoclaimed to disseminate eccentric information,
- the systematic existence of skew in spite of the concern from the anarchistic point of view,
- apparent lack of responsibility and references compared with other encyclopaedias,
- skepticism on the capacity of Anarchopedia, considering its operation based on a collective regulation, to improve quality of the articles, even the prediction of an inescapable walk towards the mediocrity,
- a great number of articles are appeared as a compilation of rough information, without the effort of synthesis which should characterize an encyclopaedic text,
- the contents of Anarchopedia are closely related to the centers of interest of its contributors, from where lacks in the panorama of knowledge.
Extent of the Anarchopedia project
Albanian (sq) • Arabic (ar) • Armenian (hy) • Bosnian (bs) • Chinese (zh) • Croatian (hr) • Danish (da) • English (en) • Esperanto (eo) • French (fr) • German (de) • Greek (el) • Hebrew (he) • Dutch (nl) • Indonesian (in) • Italian (it) • Japanese (ja) • Latvian (lv) • Lithuanian (lt) • Norwegian (Bokmål) (no) • Persian (fa) • Polish (pl) • Portuguese (pt) • Romanian (ro) • Russian (rus) • Serbian (sr) • Spanish (es) • Swedish (sv) • Turkish (tr) •
The Anarchopedia project falls under a will to continue with “modern” means (Internet and wiki), the project of collection and organization of the knowledge on anarchism. The idea to gather the whole of knowledge on anarchism will be initiated by Sebastien Faure in the anarchistic encyclopaedia (1927), or by maitron in its works of history on the anarchists, and various anarchistic authors will gather documents or writings allowing a posteriori to carry out this base of knowledge on anarchism.
With the development of the Internet, several people developed knowledge bases on anarchism by Internet (bibliotecs, writings, daily bleed, etc).
Origin of the project
Wikipedia will be another knowledge base under development, they will be one of the bases and inspirer of this project.
Milos Rancic launched the Anarchopedia project (also as Anarchapedia) in September 2004, with multiple languages, differing from wikipedia in that every user is granted sysop status; thus launching a direct experiment of anarchy.
Anarchopedia started in "September 2004", the anglophone wiki in November 2004, and several other projects carried out thereafter.
- A parallel project, just in french language, and without sysop for all, was launched in november 2004 on zaup.org. that project merged with the anarchopedia project on 12 March 2005.
- A [Indonesian parallel project], just in the Indonesian language, was launched ??? on [???]. that project merged with the anarchopedia project on 17 September 2005.
- A [polish parallel project], just in the polish language, was launched in ???? on ????. that project merged with the anarchopedia project on 28 August 2005.
- A parallel project, just in danish language, was launched at august 11 th in 2005 on anarko.dk. that project merged with the anarchopedia project on 19 March 2006.
Other forms of diffusion of Anarchopedia
CD ? DVD ? P2P ? Papers ?
advance of Anarchopedia
Outstanding dates of Anarchopedia
Principal indicators of the advance of Anarchopedia
to be made, with the statistics…
In addition to this article, you can read some of the articles which intend describe individual aspects of Anarchopedia:
- Anarchopedia, itself
- Anarchopedia, purpose
- Anarchopedia, we
- Anarchopedia, policy
- direct democracy
- point of view (POV)
- large public wiki