IndyWiki: Web3 Native Tinkerable Wiki. You do not go to some place to collaborate using a Wiki.
Bootstrap self-organizing writing communities with IndyWiki, the simplest possible constellation of "web native" P2P capabilities to facilitate deep conversation, mutual learning, and co-authorship. Every author has their own personal wiki, which is shareable either publicly or privately and collaborative within trusted peer networks, who write and learn together on their own(ed) networks.
Introduction: IndyWiki in a Nutshell
Every author on IndyWiki has their own personal wiki, which is shareable either publicly or privately and collaborative. IndyWiki empowers writing communities to collaborate in trusted peer networks who want to write and learn together on serverless infrastructure powered by the distributed web.
IndyWiki, or Wiky for short, is the foundational component of an actively developing architecture: IndyVerse, which will be an engine for the ‘symmathetic’ writing of hypermedia (see the following section for a discussion of tools for thought and the practice of learning together by writing together). The intention is to bootstrap self-organizing writing communities, using the simplest possible constellation of “web native” P2P capabilities, to facilitate deep (multithreaded) conversations, collaborative sensemaking, mutual learning, and co-authorship, because we see as this as the necessary foundation for all communities who want to learn and create together.
IndyWiki is the primary component of this larger work, because the wiki is the simplest possible medium of nonlinear symmathetic writing. In the most simple terms, the scope of IndyWiki is to bring the wiki to Web3. IndyWiki provides a personal-first wiki experience while facilitating P2P collaboration with a keen eye on the horizon of interoperable protocols and the development of interpersonal tools for thought.
Wiki 3.0: The Next Generation of Hypermedia
The wiki revolutionized Web 2.0 by showing us how it was possible to collaborate online. Wiki provided the world a way of writing together, a collective writing experience that transformed the way humans read, explore, and produce hypermedia. This of course was all facilitated by enormously costly and vulnerable centralized servers, which ‘users’ are indebted to flock to for their services. Web 3.0 invites us to transform this scenario: Creators connect directly with each other, writing and sharing content, collaborating with trusted peers, associating freely in teams without surrendering the fruits of their intellectual labor to any outside authority.
In the Web 2.0 ecosystem, wikis are based on relationships among documents, whereas IndyWiki is based on relationships among people. And IPFS catalyzed this paradigmatic leap beyond the static “view from nowhere” into the author-centric multiverse. The necessary foundations are now secured so that authors can interact with one another through the interactive medium of their own “web native” personal-first wikis, and we see how this will encourage people to connect their knowledge through live, co-creative interactivity. Let’s liberate the wiki and set the co-creativity of human beings free!
Constructive Criticism: Evolving the Mediums
IndyWiki is decentralized. Every individual is their own host and hub, and they can connect freely with trusted peers in collaborative networks. This peer interactivity transforms the way that knowledge is synthesized. You can ask anyone that you collaborate with: What do you have on any specific topic? And any page that you work on, that is in front of you, you know its provenance, who is responsible and accredited for that writing.
Communities have worked hard to push the limits of their tools, but the disintegrated state of markdown/graph-based software means that people with different knowledge bases cannot interact very smoothly, and this limits our ability to learn and write together. So for example, you have your Obsidian, and I have my own, but I cannot ask your Obsidian: “What do you know about x?” Thinking about the relationship of graph databases to hypermedia, you see that the bi-directional links, or hyperlinks, that form the basis of the wiki medium are actually embedding a graph-like structure of relationships into the texts themselves. We appreciate the wiki medium as breakthrough technology and seek to accelerate its evolution.
We want to make knowledge exchange and synthesis more fluid, so with IndyWiki everyone has a full knowledge graph of what they have written, and those personal knowledge bases can be shared and engaged in group collaboration. When someone shares their work with a trusted peer, both parties have an immutable record of that exchange, so we see the provenance of ideas as it is recorded in the open.
Let’s take another example: Google Docs do not allow for discoverability. You are just stuck there —you cannot see other documents or discover more of what that author has written. You can’t tell how many people have read a document, and there is no model for progressive engagement. On the other hand, IndyWiki facilitates the co-creativity and discoverability of emergent communities.
Inspiration: Tools for Thought
The IndyWiki project emerges from a long empirical epistemological adventure of developing tools, or mediums, for thought that serve to “augment human intellect.” The dream that began as early as the 1960s to design for interpersonal computing to “change the thought patterns of an entire civilization” continues today with renewed energy catalyzed by the recent advances in P2P technology, especially the development of IPFS, The Interplanetary File System.
See Michael Nielsen’s excellent work, “How can we develop transformative tools for thought?” and Gyuri Lajos’ “Augmenting Tacit Awareness” for a deeper exploration of this philosophical background and the status of our ongoing cultural revolution. To be brief, this work is the result of lifetimes of devotion to mnemonic mediums that support the cultural evolution of natural, human intelligence. We are inspired and guided by Michael Polanyi’s appreciation of our natural affiliation as communities of thought, by the tradition initiated by Teilhard de Chardin, and by the living tradition of Peace through Culture.
Technical Overview: What's it built on?
IndyWiki carries the classic nonlinear, collaborative writing experience of the wiki into the Web3 era. It is built with AppRun and OrbitDB and deployed with Fission, the distributed framework built on IPFS for “web native” applications that integrates passwordless authentication, content addressing, unified storage, cryptographic authorization, portable computation, and digital security.
The Purpose: Interpersonal Hypermedia
The present state of distributed technologies provides an excellent foundation to accelerate the possibilities of interpersonal computing.
IndyWiki provides the basic functionality that one expects from any wiki software: the ability to contextualize content by the collaborative writing of nonlinear hypermedia. Wielding the advantages of the P2P tech ecosystem, we are designing this project to go further. We utilize the authentication and authorization protocols provided by Fission to secure collaborative work among trusted peers. Every author on IndyWiki has their own personal wiki, which is shareable either publicly or privately and collaborative. IndyWiki facilitates writing communities to collaborate in trusted peer networks who want to write and learn together on serverless infrastructure powered by the distributed web.
We seek to facilitate the mutual learning experiences of creative teams and communities of thought and encourage the practice of collaborative research, holosubjective sensemaking, and co-authorship.
The Origin Story: Years of Dedication
IndyWiki hasn’t just appeared from nowhere, but this is the result of many years of dedication on the part of its founder, Gyuri Lajos, who is the primary developer of IndyWiki. IndyVerse has been a labor of love, hard-won by a lifetime of experience, philosophical reflection, and dedication to software development.
IndyVerse: The Adventure Continues!
IndyWiki is only the beginning. This element is abstracted from a larger architecture based on interactive, notation to capture semantic/intent as we write called TrailMarks that is really the paradigm shift in writing technology. Our vision for IndyVerse is not only about producing bodies of texts, like a wiki, but empowering creative teams to engage in the art of emergent conversations that produce ideas, writing, and decisions. To converse, derived from the Latin conversare, means literally: "to turn round with," or to “come together” in order “to turn” around . . an idea or a text. We care about human beings circumnavigating, exploring, and generating bodies of texts, as this is the basis of all association and all communities of thought. And we care about contextualization, escaping the isolationism of the text and of the thread. We understand how the text and the thread can inform and contextualize one another, and that is our ultimate goal for IndyVerse. We seek to liberate co-creators from “the infinite feed,” by facilitating multilateral emergent conversations that are productive, that write and create and learn together throughout an ecosystem of free association.
The IndyVerse Team: Resources for the Road Ahead
We wish to express our gratitude to Protocol Labs for facilitating the Browser 3000 Hackathon! For us this has been about galvanizing the opportunity to present our ideas, our work, and our intentions. All the work we have been doing, especially that Gyuri Lajos has been doing for so long has all been to align a novel combination of capabilities in order to jumpstart the co-evolution of InterPersonal Computing on the Permanent Web. Our heart is fully in this game, and we are calling for help.
By working hand-in-hand with communities that are literally aching from the state of communications and collaboration technology today and by joining forces with the pioneering organizations who have been driving this technological revolution, we hope to gain the support that we need for this project to persevere and succeed. We are calling in financial and human resources with the intentions of: Setting up projects on Open Collective. Applying for the Protocol Labs microgrant. And after shipping IndyWiki and refactoring the pilot components of IndyVerse, following up by applying with a Development Grant from Protocol Labs.
Our ambition for IndyVerse is to be a catalyst for change, transforming the Internet into the MetaVerse that we all desire to see, to usher in the Age of Significance through the intellectual art of interpersonal computing, to be for Web3 what Wiki was for Web2.
Gaining support would be the best thing that could happen for us and, we believe, for Web3 itself. 💖