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MEMEX - Exchange & Darwinian survival of ideas. (Ref: i1401)

This department would maintain databases of ideas submitted by the People. Literally anything anybody wanted to send. Cacophanous certainly but useful. The submissions would each have as many searchwords assigned as appropriate and be put in a searchable database which would be on the Web. Obscene items etc would be on a parallel database, also on the Web. Every idea would be available for the public to comment on and rate in usefulness or importance. Government departments and literally anybody in the world would be able to use the entries for anything they wished. The premise for this is that it is a repository for ideas that the givers cannot make anything of, or wish to give away, or wish to get discussion of, or wish to get government action on and cannot find any other avenue for. As a completely searchable database it also means duplication of ideas etc can be avoided. If the department's civil servants had useful information to give about an item they would annotate it themselves in a secure way so that readers would know the information was from a trusted source. Rating ideas according to popularity and importance would enable 'Darwinian fitness' to contribute to the spread of the ideas. This is not the full Memex concept but not too bad. A Government department which is a think tank for people not for a party line. An Idea bank.

Slashdot have probably perfected software for this already.

MEMEX - an outline (Ref: i1402)

What are YOUR ideas?

How can YOU make yourself heard?

How can YOU make a difference?

You have ideas, some of them unique. Your ideas are as likely as anyones to be worthwhile, but your voice is probably not heard, your ideas are wasted and your views carry no weight. This can be because you do not have any personal power to make yourself heard, or you have no means, or no time. Policies of government, your workplace or some other agency may prevent the expression of your ideas. Traditional media such as newspapers, television, books and radio are all constrained by space, money, editors, politics and the law, from spreading the views of everyone impartially. We are all constrained as to what we read, watch or listen to, by time, money, inclination, politics, and access limitations. In short, all our information and communication is hampered by something, whether deliberate or accidental. Ideas are not disseminated on their individual merits but on many other criteria, all of them selected by someone other than the idea's originator.

The aims of Memex are to :

Spread ideas that would not otherwise see the light of day; Spread ideas so that, if they truly merit it, they achieve sufficient weight for action to result; Gauge public opinion; Test practicality, validity and morality of ideas by the widest possible discussion; Stimulate the creation of new ideas;

Spread views and ideas without the interference of any form of filtering or censorship, deliberate, accidental or incidental

HOW can Memex get your ideas listened to?

Attached to this explanatory sheet is a list of ideas. Add your contributions. Send copies of the whole new document to as many people as you like or can afford.


For your ideas to stand any chance of being propagated, at least one of your recipients must think this document is worth the trouble of copying. For each of those people the same applies, ad infinitum. The greater the proportion of people in each cycle who are interested, the faster and further your ideas will be spread and the longer they will be in circulation. Consider deleting someone else's item only if the whole document is getting far too large. Remember that others will have the opportunity to delete your contributions so to be heard you have to allow others to be heard as well. Delete an item from only one of the copies you intend to send. Keep the format simple so that people without anything but a pen can participate. If your copy of Memex has a hand written item, if you can, do everyone a favour by typing that item before sending the next round. Include an idea even if it may make money for someone else if you cannot turn it to your own advantage for whatever reason. You at least will have the private satisfaction of knowing that your idea really did have value. Include ideas of the greatest possible quality so that they will be of the greatest possible interest to strangers. Make ideas or views provocative, say the un-sayable, but remember that giving too much offence will cause the instant extinction of your contribution because your recipients will delete the item or ignore Memex altogether. Keep everything anonymous to avoid repercussions, ill-will, embarrassment etc. If you are not interested, or cannot continue the existence of Memex yourself, then leave this copy lying around somewhere where someone else may pick it up: on the bus, train, tube, station, doctor's, dentist's, bus stop, newsagents. Keep it as cheap as possible: hand deliver copies, reduce print size to get more on each page, send second class. Pack your contribution with detail, in as few words as possible in order to keep the use of paper and the cost down. When your reaction to an item is 'exactly', 'of course, why didn't I think of that' or 'brilliant' then write to the people who may be able to implement the idea separately, such as your MP, doctor, town councillor, judge or local manufacturer of similar widgets. If you think Memex could be successful then consider starting specialised versions yourself such as for environmental issues, for politics or for local town issues. Send copies to people who do not know each other, to people of all types, social statuses and interests. Send a copy to the person everybody at work says is boring, and to the airhead, and one to someone you know nobody ever listens to. Send copies randomly, to strangers, to all ages, all social groups, to women, to the unemployed, to non-computer people, to movers-and-shakers, to all geographical areas, to country as well as town, to far-flung places, to the Zwierzanskis and Patels as well as the Allans and Browns. Spread Memex abroad by sending it to foreign friends or by translating it into other languages before sending it. If you think of people to send Memex to, then decide it is too expensive to do so, how would you actually spend that money otherwise? If for fun, then enjoyably? If wisely, then how much more wisely? If you spend the money neither enjoyably nor wisely, never mind both, then why not waste more of your surplus cash sending out twice as many copies?

Above all, be altruistic, give something for nothing.

If Memex is a good enough idea and implemented well enough it will eventually acquire a critical mass, spread of its own accord and get talked about in the office and the pub. At that point YOUR voice will be heard! The real will of the people will be revealed in a way those in power cannot deny or ignore. In addition all the most brilliant and previously wasted ideas of ordinary people will have a chance of coming to fruition.

A seed list of ideas can be seen here.

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