Imagine all the encyclopedias in the world, connected into one decentralized network, the way all the blogs are loosely connected. You've heard of the blogosphere; now, we’re building an encyclosphere.
"No small group of elites deserves the power to declare what is known for all of us."
Dr. Larry Sanger, Co-Founder of Wikipedia; Founder & President of the Knowledge Standards Foundation
The Knowledge Standards Foundation, a non-profit, is busy organizing OSS code and studying how to design an encyclosphere. We’re a global group of volunteers creating the standards and tools for the future encyclosphere. We’re making a network, not an app.
The Knowledge Standards Foundation was founded in September 2019 by Wikipedia ex-founder Larry Sanger and a growing team. We are located in central Ohio and have applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. We are very serious about our founding principles.
A key activity that began in 2021 was an ongoing months-long conference/seminar about free, decentralized networks. Another good place for participation are the forums, which specialize in relatively long-form discussion about decentralizing the Internet but particularly about decentralizing encyclopedia articles.
For both technical development and funding, we rely on donations from the general public: individuals and families.
We will take donations only from individuals and foundations (not for-profit corporations or governments), and we will carefully review the sourcing of any large donations. We are also committed to keeping the encyclosphere every bit as politically neutral as the blogosphere or the DNS (website naming and locating) system.
Redistribution of information & removal of gatekeepers has become a moral imperative.
The encyclosphere will be the universal network of encyclopedias—an ownerless, leaderless, centerless knowledge commons. Like the blogosphere, it will be a decentralized series of “feeds,” but feeds of encyclopedias and individual articles posted anywhere online.
Data from these feeds can be aggregated by different services, then developers will use the aggregated data to build encyclopedia reader apps, with none being privileged or “official.”
An encyclosphere (this word is our neologism) is a decentralized Internet network of encyclopedias. Think of how blogging works. Whole blog farms, individual blogs, and individual blog posts are organized in useful ways in a network called the blogosphere and its defining technical standards, RSS and Atom, right? So also, we propose to organize collections of encyclopedias, individual encyclopedias, and individual encyclopedia articles in an encyclosphere, defined by brand new technical standards. There is more to it, but that is it in a nutshell.
Minifeed is a lightweight, high performance, easily customizable WordPress theme with enhanced privacy created by The Knowledge Standards Foundation.
The Foundation faces a difficult task: to get publishers and developers to agree on a set of technical standards (concerning article formatting and metadata) that will make it possible for the encyclosphere to come into existence—but, most importantly, to do so while remaining free of undue influence by any corporation or government.
But what about funding? He who pays the piper calls the tune, and while it seems it might be possible to get funding from a number of different competing corporate sources, those sources might seek to privilege their own needs over those of the general public. For this reason, the Foundation will reject all funding from corporate and governmental sources. We will accept funding from individuals, to be sure, and we hope individuals will form a solid base of financial support of the Knowledge Standards Foundation.
What we want to build is not a product, but a centerless network, a public knowledge commons defined strictly by standards, that will, like the internet itself, hit critical mass and take on an independent life of its own. This will empower the ordinary person and undermine tyrants. Do you want to see that happen? Then support the Foundation with your time, with your talent, and with your treasure.