is a free content reference work and collaborative annotation tool for making sense of complex topics. It is written collaboratively by volunteers using custom wiki software. The principal goal of the project is to establish and describe writings, claims, and questions which underlie subjects of interest to humanity.

Welcome [edit]

We are glad to have you!

Basics [edit]

Idealogs is a wiki. It is a collection of articles that anyone in the world can edit. The content of these articles are available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. You can create an account to edit articles, but doing so is not necessary. The success of this project is dependent on a community of dedicated volunteers who believe in our mission.

Specifics [edit]


There are four types of articles in in this wiki, each representing a different component of a controversial topic:

  • Writings: these are the primary sources that people publish on the topic in all different types of settings, e.g. academic journals, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc…if it’s the written word and contains something worth reading, then we catalog it on this site in a wiki article and annotate it.
  • Statements: these are the claims that derive from the writings that are already cataloged on the site. We catalog each individual claim in a wiki article which summarizes the best proofs from our primary sources.
  • Questions: these are the questions that derive from two or more statements that contradict in some way. We catalog each question in a wiki article which defines the question, and establishes the different answers that exist to
  • Subjects: last but not least, when a collection of writings, statements, and questions (WSQs) begin to coalesce around a single subject, then we create a wiki article which is a literature review of the most important WSQs that one needs to study into to understand the subject.

Theory [edit]

Learning does not make one learned: there are those who have knowledge and those who have understanding. The first requires memory, the second philosophy.

Abbé Faria, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Idealogs is a project to create the world’s first reference work of understanding, also known as a synesiary. This is similar to–but critically different from–a reference work of knowledge, also known as an encyclopedia.

Knowledge (n.): acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition.

Understanding (n.): a mental grasp; comprehension.

Source: Merriam-Webster

The key distinction that differentiates a synesiary from an encyclopedia–and all other types of reference works, for that matter–is that the synesiary’s purpose is not to give the reader the answer, but rather to define the question so that the reader can come to their own conclusion. In practice, that means

  1. providing all the primary sources in an easily-accessible manner, and
  2. spelling out the major claims and their significant proofs.

In doing so, we are then able to construct interesting, well-defined questions for which we subsequently do our best to lay out the current state of the debate.

The ultimate goal is to provide the reader the bare minimum amount of information necessary to understand the subject on their own. Note, however, that simply reading an article will not lead one to understand the subject. A well-written article in a synesiary, therefore, is one that pushes the reader to grapple with the primary sources and consider the relevant proofs on their own such that they have the tools necessary to come to their own conclusions. For further reading, see the articles on synesis and reciprocal linking.

Documentation [edit]

You can find documentation for how to use Idealogs here.

Terms of Service [edit]

You can find our Terms of Service here.

Privacy Policy [edit]

You can find our Privacy Policy here.

FAQ [edit]

You can find answers to frequently asked questions here.

Technology Stack [edit]

Idealogs is only possible due to some incredible open source projects.

  • Web framework: Django
  • Caching: memcached
  • Database: PostgreSQL
  • Task management: Celery + rabbitmq
  • Server: nginx + gunicorn
  • Container orchestration: kubernetes
  • Markdown engine: Pandoc, with help from Pandoc-Sidenote
  • HTML post-processing: Beautiful Soup, Bleach
  • Diffs, Patching: Diff Match Patch
  • Search: Elasticsearch
  • Metadata: Zotero
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