Blogs:Dorje108/A short story about the origins of this site

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For those who are interested, this little story is an attempt to explain, as concisely as possible, the origins of this encyclopedia.

A short story on the origins of this site

Sometime in the year 2010 Dorje108 began editing articles on Buddhism on Wikipedia. Dorje liked editing the articles. Over the next several years, Dorje did a lot or research into the basic concepts of Buddhism (such as the Wheel of Life, Four Noble Truths, karma etc. Over time, Dorje basically rewrote some of these key articles on Buddhist concepts, as well as adding many new articles on Abhidharma-related topics. Things seem to be going well. Dorje was happy.

Then one day, another Wikipedia editor named John (not his real name) suddenly rewrote the article on the Four Noble Truths that Dorje had put so much effort into. Within days, most of the carefully-researched content that Dorje had added to that article was deleted. Then John moved onto another article that Dorje had worked on, and rewrote that in the same manner. And so on. Dorje was very sad.

Dorje left a message for John:

"Why are you doing this?" Dorje asked John.
"You are not following the rules," John replied. "Your articles are full of quotes and references from contemporary Buddhist teachers who are not academically qualified. Your sources are biased. Only academics can be trusted to be non-biased. Because...they are academics."
"I disagree," Dorje said. "I think that you are misinterpreting the Wikipedia editorial guidelines. Also, in your editing, you seem to be referencing obscure academics without providing the proper context."
"I disagree with your assessment," John said. "And my sources are better than your sources."

At this point, another editor on Wikipedia named Robertinventor noticed what was going on, and he said:

"Hey, wait a minute. I like Dorje's versions of these articles much better. We should revert these articles back to Dorje's version."

John disagreed, and much online discussion ensued between John and Robert. Other Wikipedia editors joined the discussion. Some editors agreed with John's approach. Some agreed with the approach of Dorje and Robert. Some editors were very understanding and said they appreciated both sides of the debate.

These online debates went on for some time, and formal online votes were held on key points of the debate. It seemed like each time a vote was taken, either each side had the same number of votes, or there was one more vote for John's position. In the end, the editors were unable to reach a consensus.

Dorje and Robert considered their options, and they realized that one of the great things about Wikipedia is that all edits are tracked and you can always access old versions of articles. Another great thing about Wikipedia is that you can export any articles that you wish, and import them into another site that uses the same software (as long as you give proper attribution to Wikipedia).

So Dorje and Robert set up a new site, using the same software as Wikipedia, and they then imported Dorje's versions of these articles into the new site. They also imported many other Buddhism-related articles (articles that were developed by many other Wikipedia editors, including John).

They imported about 1200 articles altogether. About 100 of these articles are articles that Dorje had helped to develop on Wikipedia. About 1100 of the articles are basically what you would find on Wikipedia, but Dorje and Robert are slowly reviewing these articles and making changes according to their understanding. They are also adding new articles as needed. Hopefully, additional editors will join them some day.

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See also: About the origin of this site