How It All Works
|About Ill Bethisad|
This article describes the "Five Pillars" that constitute the philosophy behind how Ill Bethisad functions as a large group project. Each of the following pillars has evolved and been refined over time; some of them see greater or lesser usage.
QSS and QAA
The notion of QSS evolved as the need to "protect" early data from later outwriting was understood. Especially after our vision broadened to include more of the world, proposals would be made that only later were discovered to violate a preëxisting fact. Only diligent review of the Archive before accepting any proposal could avoid problems. We also didn't have a conveniet place where new Members could look for themselves to see if their proposals violated known facts. Though the need for a General Refernce was felt for a long time, and was asked for sepcifically in 2002, at that time, it largely fell to John Cowan and Padraic Brown to alert the group that something that had been written was being violated. Thus was born the concept of Quod Scripsi Scripsi (or in the Elevated Tongue: "Ό γέγραφα γέγραφα").
In essence, this fundamental governs how canonical facts internal to IB are to be respected as unalterable and governs how established facts may be overturned. Even when the proponent of a fact ceases to take part in the IB project, his contributions shouldn't be swept away. These facts as they stand may be contested by a later idea, but have precedence by right of seniority. Any alteration to an established fact must be discussed and generally accepted before the violation of QSS is allowed as canonical.
A recently defined corollary to QSS is the notion of QAA: Quod Assumpsi Assumpsi. It is defined as the "degree by which assumed information about unclaimed territories with no direct importance to anyone's work is protected." This principle works hand in hand with QSS, but is thought of more as the yin to QSS's yang: QSS deals especially with Member generated data, while QAA deals more with real world data that is applied to IB. While the latter is much more easily changed, it can not be whimsically waved away -- changes to QAA must also be made with care, as even those facts may impinge upon the work of others.
See QSS and QAA for a more thorough discussion and applications of this principle.
Ytterbion was a philosopher who, apart from a load of tedious twaddle (the bulk of almost every philosopher's corpus) came up with the interesting scheme of Spheric Creation where Creation happens within a sort of nested doll of created universes: the world we live in was created by who we call God, his world was in turn created by a greater divine being. The idea shares a lot with the much more recent notion of subcreation, wherein humans share in the act of God's Creation by in turn creating novel works of art, music or mythology as gifts to be given back to the One who gave us those capacities.
Ytterbion's notions on parallel creation, where the secondary world shares parallel developments to the primary world, are also cornerstones of activity within IB.
See Ytterbion's Rules for more on this principle.
Fiats, Ukases and Vetoes
Rarely used means of creating facts within IB, these various actions have had their legitimate place in the formation of IB's history. The Fiat is simply a statement which defines a resulting set of data as Existent. When Andrew decided that Brithenig and the Kemrese people would be a Good Thing to have around, they were called into artistic existence by fiat. Relatively few later facts were so created.
Fiats can work the other way, too. The Fiat of Rhiemeier, for example, wrote the whole existence of a culture, its language and people clear out of IB. Such an action has the interesting effect negating QSS, for the outwritten facts can not be later reintroduced, since that reintroduction would violate the earlier deletion.
The Ukase (a decree issued by an autocrat) is similar to the fiat, but is used to apply to a broad range of fact. Ukases were issued to allow for Nikolai Tesla's notions (whether they really work or not) to be functional within the reality of IB and to secure the position of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Veto is the outright denial of a proposal or prospective Member. The Powers That Be have never issued an outright veto, to my knowledge.
See Fiats, Ukases and Vetoes for a fuller discussion of the principle.
The Cycle of Proposals
Surely, the Proposal is one of the corner stones of how IB works. Also, I think it is one of the hallmarks of the decency and ethical behaviour with which we as a group comport ourselves. IB is currently worked on by about 20 active correspondents, and the group has had more than 40 Members share their input over the course of nearly 10 years. This can not be accomplished if everyone issues fiats and vetoes (one reason why those powers are generally reserved to the Powers that Be) or if no one can give up a little in order to gain a better result in the project as a whole.
The basic cycle one engages in when one has an idea is: Proposal ==> Discussion ==> Modification ==> Further Discussion ==> Acceptance or Rejection. In this way, an idea can be examined by anyone interested, and after a review of pertinent data, matters of QSS/QAA and general sensibility, can be accepted or rejected or sent back for further work.
A proposal is generally considered "accepted" as fact if it receives no discussion or comment.
See Cycle of Proposals for more.
The Ill Bethisad Wiki
The crowning glory of the Societad d'ill Bethisad is this very Wiki. The Wiki gives group Members considerable control over the materials posted via the system of proposals, and can better serve to protect early material from deletion or from being overwritten. We are better able to question, discuss and hammer out compromises in the public forum. Otherwise, IB could very easily degenerate into 30 different and competing visions. The Wiki also serves as a superior Archive to IB materials. Just try searching the Conculture "archives" sometime and you'll soon discover how futile the effort becomes when you don't have hours to spend on that herculean labour.
I think the IB Wiki is, in most respects, very professional looking and it is surely improving daily with the use of Templates and Categories.
About making and uploading flags
Older members have heard me say it before but I will repeat it for newer members: Please do not take flags, in toto or elements thereof, from the "Flags of the World" websites. These are not open source. At times in the past, flags have been uploaded that were not original and/or open source. If you can't find a free-of-use image to illustrate a flag (or any other images for that matter) just ask me or any of the other list members that are interested in infography instead.
IB doesn't have a single project coordinator or boss or director. Each Member goes about his own work, on his own schedule and in his own way, taking into account the will of General Assent and Consensus of the membership as well as the various systems in place to make the project run smoothly. That said, there are a few people who have had Curious Powers over certain aspects of the project, generally well in the background. These are the Gatekeepers, and are largely responsible for underlying organisation, website and wiki maintenance and conferring membership on an interested person (or revoking it from some spamming plonker). Gatekeepers are also responsible for handling the very rare situations when some territorial squabble rears its head between Members.
See Gatekeepers for more.
Other important articles to read: