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Welcome

Who, what, where, when, why, how. These are the questions behind every facet of human life. Every story, anecdote, fact, argument and opinion exists to answer these questions. Welcome to Liber Omnia: The Book of Everything, an ever growing store of all human knowledge. A storehouse for answers to these questions.

Please look around. If you have a question hopefully you'll find an answer. If you know something we don't, please add your knowledge for the next seeker. A reasonable place to start is the index.

Table of Contents

1 Rules

The core rules of Liber Omnia are few and simple. Common sense and politeness rule the day.

  1. Respect in all things and at all times. Liber Omnia is a collaborative project. People of many backgrounds pass through this site. They all have different customs and social expectations. Starting from an antagonistic frame of mind leads to fights and disappointment. Starting from a respectful frame of mind leads to cooperation. We are all human and we all make mistakes. As long as we mean the best and are respectful to each other we can achieve great things together and overcome the inevitable disagreements.

  2. All improvements are good improvements. Everybody knows something worth including in Liber Omnia. Everybody can make a contribution to create or improve an article. We'll turn no improvement away. We will work with all well meaning contributers. We may disagree, but we will discuss and those parts which are agreed to be improvements shall be adopted to allow the discussion to remain focused on that which is not yet agreed upon.

  3. Points of view are as valid as they are supported. Everybody has opinions, however not all opinions are equally true or equally valuable. The value of an opinion or point of view lies in the supporting evidence and argument. Liber Omnia has space for many different points of view on any issue. Disagreeing with a point of view is not grounds for ignoring or excluding it.

  4. Knowledge has custodians, not owners. Much in the way that one cannot exclusively own a piece of human knowledge, one cannot own anything on Liber Omnia. If you are enthusiastic about a topic then please make that enthusiasm known; create, improve and maintain. Be a caring custodian for the plot of human endeavour you care about. Clean up the messes, keep discussions amiable and productive and share your piece of the garden such that other may enjoy and make their contributions.

2 Articles

The central focus of Liber Omnia are the articles. This is where the knowledge is curated for the enjoyment and edification of all peoples, current and future. Though articles will tend to follow a particular pattern suitable for the subject matter there are no hard and fast rules. The most important goal when forming an article is to make them useful and reasonably organized.

Dictionary entries, fact articles, stories, mathematics and comparison articles will all have different formats suitable to the specific matter. Consistency between articles of the same type is preferred where possible, but a better organization need not be weighed down by the inertia of already existing pages. Though articles are mostly free form there are some guidelines to keep in mind.

  1. Completeness. Liber Omnia strives to contain all of human knowledge. The best way for an article to help in this goal is to contain all there is to be said on the topic. There is no limit to the depth which an article can dive into a topic. Should the article become unwieldy it might be advised to divide a single large article into a summary article and then other articles on a particular piece of the topic. This makes it easier to find a piece of knowledge and to know when something is missing.

    Each article would be well served by having a section for unanswered questions. At some point in the future somebody with a lifetime of experience will wander by and have an answer to some unanswered question, but without explicit evidence it's missing they may pass on through without realizing that they know something of great value. If you reach the end of your seeking with questions remaining then contribute to those who come after you by asking before they do the same.

  2. Always clearly state the point of view. Most pieces of human knowledge are not simple dry facts with a single agreed upon interpretation. In Liber Omnia there is room for all interpretations. However, it must be clear at any point of time from which point of view the text is written. Unless otherwise stated all of an Article should be written from a neutral point of view. Where there is disagreement between schools of thought or cultural interpretations, the text written from a non-neutral point of view should be clearly marked as such.

    Failing to mark the point of view leads to confusion on the part of the reader. Knowing the point of view brings the necessary context of the beliefs related to the point of view in question. Clearly labelling sections as such allow the reader to better understand all the points being made.

    Non-neutral points of view are biased, but clearly labelled bias is not intrinsically a negative thing.

  3. Diagrams are preferred over pictures. A picture is said to be worth a thousand words. That is undoubtedly true, but a thousand hazy words are less desirable than five hundred precise words. A picture of a hammer could be said to be those thousand hazy words. What features of the pictured hammer are core to the tool? Is it still hammer if it doesn't have a wooden handle? Is the hammer face worn or intended to be that way? All of these questions can be simplified by using a diagram instead of a picture. The diagram is easier to read and only shows significant elements.

    Make no mistake, if only a picture will do then a picture is called for. Should a diagram be better but unavailable, then a picture in its place is better than a blank space.

  4. Relevant knowledge is things people want to know. Liber Omnia has the capacity to grow indefinitely. The only limits on content are to what people would desire to see. If some knowledge would be desired by somebody a hundred years ago or a hundred years from now then that knowledge should be included in Liber Omnia. Irrelevant knowledge is kept out only to ease the burden on those seeking knowledge.

    History has shown a great variety of otherwise mundane knowledge to be of great interest a hundred years after the fact. The design and operation of antique tools is of great interest to those studying the evolution of technology. Ancient recipes and sketches of daily life have provided us a glimpse into the ways our ancestors lived and not only how the world has changed since that time, but how certain things came to be as they are today. Mundane, workaday knowledge is just as valuable as any massive tomb of aristocratic history. It is equally valuable, but much less often preserved and shared.

    Practical knowledge is also quite valuable. One might read a book on cooking, see all the recipes, read descriptions of all the techniques and yet be utterly unable to cook. Every area of human endeavour has been written down in books which skip the tricks of the trade which make things truly work. Liber Omnia wants these tricks because they are keystone pieces of knowledge.

  5. People are notable if they play a significant role in notable events. At the time of this writing there approximately 7.2 billion people on this planet. As much as each is a worthy and interesting addition to the history of humanity only a very few will ever gain notoriety. Liber Omnia has a simple test to determine if a person is sufficiently notable to take a place in these annals. Put simply, a person is worthy of an article if, and only if, there is also some other worthy article in which that person played a significant and visible role.

3 How Liber Omnia Differs

Liber Omnia differs from Wikipedia and similar sites primarily in its inclusiveness. Most things worth knowing aren't waiting to be cited from academic works. Many subjects have multiple points of view and it's both difficult and limiting to pretend otherwise. Digital resources have few limits on size so there is little reason to remove topics which are considered irrelevant.

Liber Omnia aims to include the entire web of human knowledge. This includes not only those things which are objective and published, but also those things which are subjective and born of hands on experience. Facts, arguments, stories and anecdotes all have a place here.

However, Liber Omnia is also, first and foremost, a book. Animations and videos and sounds are intentionally excluded for this reason. Liber Omnia is intended to be widely available, whether this be printed and bound, viewed on an eBook reader, read on the web or edited using a basic text editor. Fancier media formats tend to pass like fads, the printed page is timeless.