Archive:What's Your Message?

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What's Your Message?

It seems that everyone has a blog these days. Everyone has a Message they want to get out to the world.

So the Citizendium has a challenge: sum up, in 5,000 words or less, what your One Message is. You want to change the world? Explain how. You want to enlighten people about vegetarianism, or Christianity, or the Iraq War, or war and peace generally? Have at it. You think you know the secret of happiness, or the purpose of life? Please tell us. Do you have some deep truth about God, evolution, ethics, art, or some other very important topic? Try to convince us.

This is your open letter to the world, posted in a serious venue: the Citizendium.

There are two basic rules, though. First, you and only you may write your message, and you can write only one piece, so make it good. Second, it cannot be abusive. You may calmly criticize political and religious figures to your heart's content, but you may not be abusive, even to them. We will have project moderators who will be empowered to de-link and if necessary delete messages that are abusive.

How to Join

The first step is to become a Citizen. While we allow non-Citizens to submit articles for What's Your Article?, only Citizens can post messages. Once you're a Citizen, you simply list your message yourself; just edit this page.

Why post your message here?

Probably the main reason to post your message here is: it's a forum for the ages. It's not like your blog. It's not like a mailing list. It's a record of the essentials of what you want to say to the world--posted alongside other significant statements by many other people. The result is sure to be absolutely fascinating.

We want What's Your Message? to be the location where you go to "take your stand." It is the record, for the whole world, of what is most important to each individual.

This is a lot more important than MySpace and YouTube.

What kind of message is this?

In 5,000 words or less (it can be much less), you explain how the world needs to be changed, if you were "monarch for a day"; or how you want to enlighten the world; or what the secret of happiness or the purpose of life is. In short, what is the single most important message that you would want to convey to all of humanity? Make it good.

This should be a relatively stable message, one "for the ages." It can be entirely replaced only once per year. You can edit your existing message to make sure it stays maximally relevant and current, but you can't simply start over from scratch on a regular basis. So pick your topic carefully.

This is one place on the wiki where neutrality is not expected. You can be as utterly biased and argumentative as you like. You can also post your own original research and reasoning. This is your opinion. Others will understand that.

If you simply want to write an expository introduction to a topic, please make your contribution on What's Your Article?

More essentials

  • Abuse is absolutely forbidden. You may not use this as a forum to heap abuse upon any group or person. Rational criticism is of course permissible, but insults, over-the-top harangues, and bigotry are not.
  • Sorry, we can't link to messages that are hosted elsewhere. If you want your message posted here, you're going to have to become a Citizen. This helps us ensure that there is only one message per person, after all; it is the world's central clearinghouse of our most important thoughts.
  • You can, of course, post your message elsewhere, e.g., on your blog. It's yours, after all.
  • License. You specify the license. If you do not, we will treat the message as being exclusively copyrighted by you.
  • Language. The message need not be in English; it can be in your native language. Since we are alloting the opportunity to include exactly one message to everyone in the world, schreiben Sie doch auf Deutsch--ou en français--or whatever language you feel most comfortable in. Be sure to use the appropriate language category if the language isn't English, however.
  • Translations. If your message is not in English, you may post a translation into English (or other languages), if you wish. Only the original message may be categorized--except for special translation and language categories.
  • The message must be entirely your own work. That's our rule. It may not, of course, be plagiarized from anywhere or taken from any copyrighted source unless you have the right to republish it with the Citizendium.
  • The message must not contain any profanity and must be written in a "family-friendly" fashion.
  • Individual authors only. No joint authorship, please.
  • Business owners may write messages about their businesses. Note that you may not do so in the main Citizendium article area; see Policy on Self-Promotion. Note that only individuals with biographies, not businesses or other corporate entities, may write messages.
  • You may write your message about yourself. This project does not have a "notability" or "maintainability" policy. Note that you may not do so in the main article area; see Policy on Topic Informants and Maintainability.
  • External links (including links to your own writings) are permissible.
  • If you attempt to create a fake identity to promote your business, other interests, or causes, and we find out, we will very loudly and publicly "out" you, and remove your contributions (all of them) from the database.

Violation of these policies, and of other policies yet to be worked out, may result in the summary deletion of your message and the blocking of your account. But don't worry--we're reasonable.

Placement and formatting

To begin with, you make your message a subpage of your Citizendium user page. Subpages are created with a slash. For example, Larry might put his message on User:Larry Sanger/My message. You can use a descriptive title, of course.

Note, if the project is adopted, we will probably put messages in a new, special namespace.

Here are some anticipated standard sections:

  • Title
  • Byline (your name, linked to your user page)
  • "Rough draft" template, if applicable
  • The main message text
  • End matter (e.g., notes and bibliography) if applicable (not required!)
  • Special categories (see below)

Once you're done with a complete draft (at least), you can link to the message from this page. Won't this page get long? Probably. When necessary, we'll find ways to divide it up.

The Citizendium community hasn't adopted this initiative yet. But if you like, you can start writing your message now--consider this a test phase.

Special categories

Categories are used in MediaWiki software to group messages. What's Your Message? will use, and develop a full listing of, the following special categories:

  • Category:WYM should be placed on all What's Your Message pages.
  • Unfinished Draft, Rough Draft, or Final Draft. In other words, how far along the message is, in the opinion of the author. Example: Category:WYM Rough Draft
  • Corresponding Citizendium workgroup. Example: Category:WYM Philosophy. You may not tag messages with regular workgroup categories.
  • Geographical location of author (U.S. states, countries, and other geographical entities that users list). Examples: Category:WYM Marylanders, Category:WYM Australians
  • Language. We accept these messages in any language. Please mark appropriately if not in English. Example: Category:WYM Français
  • License. This category will, however, be generated by a template that you place at the bottom of the message. (Template list forthcoming.)

Talk page comments and formal replies

Other Citizens may offer their own comments on talk pages. Such comments must, of course, conform to Citizendium Professionalism standards. Such comments may offer advice, but generally they may not make demands. Since the messages are the personal, unedited work of a particular Citizen, the author is the final authority about his or her own message, and commenters must respect this.

Citizens may act as their own message page moderators. If you wish, you may delete any comments on your own page. You may not, however, edit other people's remarks. You either leave them alone or delete them.

Unlike the case with What's Your Article? you do not have the right to make a formal comment in reply to a message, unless the author of the message is open to such comments. And in that case, the author may make a single "reply to critics," and that is the end of it. (We will have no more elaborate debate mechanism.)

How is this related to the Citizendium and its main goal?

What if we gave people a forum in which they could "lay their cards on the table"? We give you a venue where we are all encouraged to say, "This is what I want the world to know; this is what we need to do, or how we need to change." We think there's a need for What's Your Message? There isn't a central--and credible--place where you can go where you can read and compare definitive statements from credible, identified people.

The Citizendium is organizing this project quite frankly as a way to promote the larger Citizendium project, no more and no less. We do not believe that these messages will constitute reference material, and it is not likely we will link to any of them from our main article space. But we feel that a lot of people will want to get on board to work on their messages. We hope they will, once they have their Citizendium account, be moved to improve the world further--by working as part of a credible, innovative wiki reference project.

The future of What's Your Message?

It's entirely possible that, in the future, we will move all messages to a new content management technology, separate from the wiki. For now, however, a wiki is what we have. Besides, we like the fact that it gets people into the Citizendium fold!

The Messages

<Ro Thorpe>, World Alphabetical Time
How it could be the same time all over the world.
<Karsten Meyer>, Zahlentheorie
Über das interssante Gebiet der Zahlentheorie, aber besonders der Primzahlen und Pseudoprimzahlen (Deutsch).

Listing format:

<your name>, link to message (on subpage of your user page)
One sentence expressing the main thesis or topic of your message.

See also

This page may need to be translated into other languages.

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