The sum of all knowledge

Two old books on my balcony. One states “I tell you everything” and the other “world almanac” in German
Overview of our solar system explained in a German book from 1955
A list of technological inventions and which page they are explained in a German book.
An old map

Working in media

I inherited the same thirst for education from my parents but I also skipped university as we couldn’t afford it. So I started working right after finishing my A levels. I had to go to the army — which I refused and spent 15 months working for the Red Cross instead — and upon return I took a chance and applied at the local radio station as part of the news team. I had a knack for computers, having spent quite some time with my Commodore 64, and thus became the expert on the radio stations computer network.

Enter the WWW

This is where the big breakthrough happened: one day we got internet access and I got information a lot faster than any other news outlet in town. Before that, we got faxes twice a day with the national and international headlines.

The global library is burning

Except, it isn’t any longer. The web we have these days is in a sorry state. On the one hand we have the “social web” firmly in the hand of marketeers, bots and political propaganda. On top of that drowning in memes, reposts and funny things you already read in newsgroups in 1998. On the other hand we have the publisher web after 25 years still not being able to embrace the concept that you can’t control the distribution of your content once it is online. On the social web, knowledge is smothered by agenda and on the publisher web by ads and paywalls and contracts. Ever tried to look up some news from 12 years ago? Back in library days you were able to do that. On news portals, most articles are deleted after a year, and on newspaper web sites you hardly ever get access to the archives — even with a subscription.

Let’s keep the web library open and in great shape

I still want the web to be what these books meant for my father: the sum of all knowledge. The best humans can collect and via peer review and quality control archive for the next generation to come. The platform works, the idea is solid.

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