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What is Wikipothesis?

Wikipothesis is your free online journal that provides for open peer review, interaction, and general comments. Unlike other wiki sites, articles are protected from editing by other users, locked to the author 30 minutes after first saving an article, and date/time stamped UTC/GMT. Wikipothesis provides the ability for authors to add comments below their original articles to amplify or modify their hypotheses.

Why Wikipothesis?

In 48 BC, the Royal Library in Alexandria, Egypt, succumbed to flames in what was probably an accidental fire. In that conflagration, centuries of scholarly work disappeared from our collective knowledge. Wikipothesis believes society continues to lose valuable knowledge because we only learn of ideas that make it past the gate.

The Gate: To promote a hypothesis in a field of study, contributors are generally required to be formally educated in the subject matter and the material must first be peer reviewed before it's released to a wider audience. Wikipothesis believes that individuals without formal education in a field and those with formal education, but whose material isn't accepted for publication, have developed hypotheses that could more rapidly advance our collective knowledge. Wikipothesis seeks to promote such hypotheses so that they may be debated and then accepted or dispelled. Even if a hypotheses is later proven inaccurate, it may prove valuable if it displays a new way of thinking that sparks new ideas.

Speculation, if done well, is art

What can be posted?

Anyone may post to Wikipothesis. Hypotheses may be about any topic, scientific or otherwise. There are the following stipulations:

  • Post only your own hypothesis or one you have legal rights to. If you can’t remember if you were the first to say/write something, you probably weren’t, so don’t post it here. If an idea was made known to you (even if you immediately repeated it), you must not post it here. You may publish someone else’s hypothesis if you obtain signed and dated permission from the originator(s) or their estate(s), if deceased. You must credit the originator(s) in your post.
  • The hypothesis should be new, except as outlined below:
    • You may post material to support or refute a hypothesis posted elsewhere on the Internet or in other media if you have new research or information that would place the hypothesis in new light. The supporting or refuting hypothesis must be your original idea and not a repetition of arguments already posted on the Internet or in other media.
    • Hypotheses that received little debate, that were never soundly refuted, and that quickly disappeared from the knowledge bank may be republished on Wikipothesis if you retain the publishing rights. In this case, indicate in your post when the hypothesis was published or released.
    • If you originated and released a hypothesis that was not widely promulgated and which was re-originated by another, you may post it here, even if it is now widely known.
  • Any minor expansion of a hypothesis already posted on Wikipothesis should be posted under the original post in the support or refute tabs.
  • If you post the names of contributors, please explain their role.

By posting on Wikipothesis, you legally represent that you are posting only your own idea or one you have legal rights to, that you have read and agree to Wikipothesis’ copyright notice (including the Wikipothesis definition of intellectual property), and that you agree not to infringe anyone else’s intellectual property (published or unpublished) as defined by Wikipothesis and U.S. copyright law. You also represent that you have read this page in its entirety.

What not to post

Just about everyone at one time has a new idea, but not all hypotheses are necessarily right for Wikipothesis. You should not post any of the following:

  • Another person’s hypothesis. Again, you must publish only your own hypothesis or one you have legal rights to; this also applies to the support, refute, and comment pages. You must not publish any hypothesis that is based on, related to, or derived from another person’s unpublished hypothesis, research, ideas, writing, or even their comments unless you obtain signed and dated permission from the originator(s) or their estate(s), if deceased. You must also credit the originator(s) in your post. Please read the copyright notice for more information. Note that the Wikipothesis definition of intellectual property is more stringent than U.S. copyright law. By posting on Wikipothesis, you legally agree to abide by our definition.
  • Not testable or does not explain a phenomenon. Some hypotheses are so speculative that there would be no means of devising an experiment (now or in the future) to test them, so they shouldn't be posted here. Also, don’t post a hypothesis that doesn’t explain a phenomenon. Example: a death star may be headed toward earth that may destroy our planet. While we can search for such death stars using telescopes, the statement that there is a death star is not a hypothesis; it’s a guess and does not explain a phenomenon. Some speculation may barely qualify as a hypothesis, but if it would inspire serious investigation, it may still be posted here.
  • Conspiracy hypotheses. Don't post a hypothesis derived from circumstantial evidence that can be readily interpreted in other ways or that is derived from firm evidence that can be interpreted in other ways. Such hypotheses often have an adamant jumping-to-conclusions quality, which removes them from being true hypotheses.
  • Badly referenced hypotheses. When you use references to support your hypothesis, post only references with data that is verifiable or logically argued and doesn't ignore sound opposing data. Your best strategy is to research the Internet and other sources for the source data. Also, don't utilize referenced material in a manner that doesn't represent the totality of the reference. Other users may point out instances where the contributor has misrepresented referenced data, or presented references where the logic if flawed or based on flawed data. There is a catch in that hypotheses by their nature are speculative. But if there are sound arguments refuting the hypothesis or data, the page will eventually be moved to the X- or WIG-Zone.

Rules of respect

When posting material on this website or making comments, you must do so with civility. Derogatory statements or strong emotion are not good substitutes for analysis. Use reasoning and support your statement through a line of logic. If someone posts something that goes against this rule, instead of hurling insults, simply point out what you believe are flaws in the post. If unsupportable statements continue to interfere by taking focus away from discussing a topic, delete the statements. Also delete the insults. When you use facts to back your point, be cautioned that if you lift data from sources that have not verified their data, they are not then facts and do not belong on this site. Other users should delete such unverified data.

This is also not the place to expound on topics that have nothing to do with this site’s goal or that have nothing to do with progress.

How to post a new hypothesis

Remember that this website is intended for everyone. Your goal is to explain your hypothesis so that the general public can understand and, hopefully, contribute or become interested enough to study the topic.

Create your page

You must log in to create or edit a post. For the Wikipothesis site (not including sister sites), only the originator of a topic page (or system administrators) can edit their post. Other users may edit the support, refute, and comment pages that appear next to the topic page. To create a new topic page (hypothesis), enter your hypothesis title in the search field then click the magnfiying glass icon in the search field or press Enter on your keyboard. If the title hasn’t already been taken, a message will ask if you would like to create the page. Click “yes.” A new topic page will be created.

The title of your topic page is what will appear in the Table of Contents. Your title should indicate what the post is about and make it easy for others to quickly decide if they want to read your post. Note that the wiki software doesn’t allow more than one topic page with the same title within the same site—even if the page is under different Table of Contents categories. To allow more than one topic page to use similar titles, add additional details in parentheses at the end of the page title.

Important! On the Wikipothesis site, your post remains editable until you first click the Save Page button. If you're just checking formatting, click the Show Preview button instead of the Save Page button. After you click the Save Page button, a timer begins allowing you 30 minutes to make any additional changes to your post, after which your post will be locked from further edits. If you're in edit mode, after 27 minutes, you'll receive a warning notifying you that your time is about to expire. Please immediately save your post! You then have three additional minutes to edit and save edits, and then your post will be permanently locked. The post will autosave 5 seconds before the 30 minutes elapses. After your initial post is locked, you can continue to add additional posts to the same page by using the Author Comments section of the page (this section will appear after you save your initial post). Each Author Comment also has a 30-minute limit to edit the post after you first click the Save Page button. Author Comments will appear below the initial post with the latest comment at the top. Each post will automatically be stamped with the user name/date/time (reflected in Universal Time Code (UTC)/Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)). The initial post’s date/time stamp will reflect the date/time when the user first clicked the save button; an Author Comment’s date/time stamp will reflect the date/time when the user last clicked the save button.

Remember: Before the 30 minutes runs out, you can go back and edit your initial post or Author Comment. To edit your initial post, click the edit tab. To edit an Author Comment, click the edit link next to the comment.

Note that every time you click the save button, a version of your post is saved in the history tab. For instance, if you make six small edits and save after each, six records will be saved in the history page. You can use the preview button to view your post before saving it to prevent a long history file where everyone can see your mistakes. Be aware that the first time you click the save button, your post is viewable under a section called uncategorized pages. If you don’t want anyone to see your post until it’s ready, prepare the post offline then post it in its completed form before you click the save button.

Summarize your hypothesis

Please begin your post with a brief, simple summary of your hypothesis (one line is preferable). The goal is to make the summary both short and understandable by the general public. Below the summary, elaborate and provide supporting evidence. Please use some means to separate your summary from your elaboration. For instance, use headings (“Summary” and “Elaboration”), or use a horizontal line to separate your summary from your elaboration (the horizontal line is available in the formatting toolbar, which appears in the edit tab).

Elaborate on your hypothesis by providing supporting details

After you summarize your hypothesis, distill your supporting data to its essence without rambling or adding information that’s only peripherally related to the hypothesis.

Your post should be concise, easily understood, and easily translatable into other languages. Remember, you’re seeking insight from the general public (and experts) regarding your hypothesis—so the public must be able to understand it. Some hypotheses require formulas, but if you use formulas, explain each one (within reason) so that the general public understands.

Refrain from using terminology, but if you do, please explain it in the most fundamental way you can manage. The easiest way to convey your idea clearly is to use description instead of or along with definition. If you find it difficult to simplify your hypothesis and be thorough at the same time, create two sections—one for the general public and one for those with a background in the subject matter.

A good hypothesis should show a line of reasoning, even if that line cannot as yet be fully supported.

Be lucid

If you cannot easily explain your hypothesis, it may be that you’re mistaking complexity or illusiveness for hypothesis. Wikipothesis is not accepting hypotheses that cannot be deciphered, as there is nothing to back them. A hypothesis that, once deciphered, made only a simple point didn’t then need those other points. If you post a rambling or indecipherable post, we reserve the right to delete it or move it to the WIG-Zone where others may try to figure out what you were trying to say.

Be light on references

We’re only interested in your hypothesis. Refrain from listing numerous references to build your case unless you’re careful to use only a few references you feel you must use. Also refrain from including data that is already known, even if you don’t reference it. We’re only interested in getting to the essence of what you’re adding to the knowledge bank. If your hypothesis builds on well-known hypotheses, theories, or facts, it will be obvious without having to reference them. The only exception is references to other hypotheses on Wikipothesis or recently published work not yet generally known.

Add your page to the Table of Contents

After you create a new topic page, the page won’t appear in the Table of Contents until you indicate under which category/subcategory the page should be listed. This makes sense because the software itself has no idea. To make the process easy, a Category box appears on each topic page in read mode (you must be logged in to edit the Category box). Detailed instructions can be found in the Help page. A topic page that has not been added to the Table of Contents will appear in “uncategorized pages,” which can be found in the sidebar under “Special pages.” A link to uncategorized pages also appears in the second paragraph of the Table of Contents.

Update your hypothesis

You should use the Author Comments section on a topic page to modify your hypothesis, and use the support, refute, and comment pages to debate your hypothesis. However, you may use the Author Comments section any way you choose. But if you use Author Comments for every comment you’d like to make, it may grow very long on the page and readers may be reluctant to scroll through pages of comments to get to the essence of any modifications to your hypothesis.

Join the discussion!

When you read a hypothesis, you will see several tabs next to the topic page. The support, refute, and comment tabs take you to pages where you can discuss the content of the associated topic page. These pages are editable by any logged in user.

Support and refute pages allow the Wikipothesis community to participate in distinguishing good from bad hypotheses by offering argument or evidence to support or refute a hypothesis or by suggesting an experiment to disprove a hypothesis. Debate also helps build new insight that may evolve into other ideas. Arguments for or against a hypothesis should be concise, brief, and easily understood by the general public. You may also ask a question of the hypothesis’ originator. If a response is not received within a reasonable time (about ten days), anyone may respond by posting a response below the question.

The comment page should be used for general comments that don’t fit in the support or refute pages.

The history page retains a history of all edits and deletions to every posts (a different history page appears depending on whether you were just viewing a topic page, or a support, refute, or comment page.

As with new hypotheses posted to Wikipothesis, any post on the support, refute, or comment pages must not infringe anyone else’s intellectual property as defined by Wikipothesis.

Will your hypothesis remain on Wikipothesis?

Wikipothesis retains the right to delete any post, particularly those that aren’t hypotheses, aren’t appropriate, or are already known on the Internet. A post may also be moved into one of the following categories (only Wikipothesis administrators may move hypotheses and their associated pages into these categories):

The X-Zone

The X-Zone is where hypotheses go that have strong arguments against them or that aren’t useful. The timeframe for the post to be moved is flexible and depends on the quality of the post and the strength of the debate against it. All pages will remain editable unless Wikipothesis chooses to freeze the discussion.

The WIG-Zone

Topic page content that isn’t a hypothesis (even loosely defined), that isn’t supportable, or that is a wild guess may be moved to the WIG-Zone. The timeframe for the post to be moved is flexible. The page content will be locked from further edits.

We reserve the right to delete the account and block the IP address of anyone who uses this site improperly.

Translate this website

If you would like to see this website offered in another language, please send your request using the Contact us link in the sidebar.

The Wikipothesis logo is a “living logo.” Some of the logo’s icons will be modified yearly to reflect successes by Wikipothesis’ users or other notable progress outside of Wikipothesis.

For additional details and help using this site, see the Help page.

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