Collapse Network Wiki Proposal

What follows is a proposal for a wiki project. It has been drafted by members of the technology working group of the Collapse Network for consideration by all contributors to the Collapse Network as well as other related communities (e.g., Collapse Support), technically-minded or otherwise. We are taking feedback on a number of aspects of the project, so please feel free to voice any constructive feedback and questions, big or small.

If you’re only interested in giving feedback on the project itself, you don’t need to read the Technical section. Any questions or comments you have should be directed at Mike, Cairn, or JM in the CN wiki room on Riot/Matrix. To join the room, click “Explore” and search for “CN wiki,” or if you’re struggling, please ask one of us to invite you. We look forward to receiving your feedback!

  • We will be taking relevant knowledge that is generally available and framing it (loosely) within a context of pre-, in-, and post-collapse environments.
  • The wiki will not serve as a general educational guide. The wiki will assume a reasonable (secondary/high school or above) level of education, and will not be a replacement for general education.
  • While this wiki will necessarily incorporate information on individual preparation and survival, we envision it moving beyond that to also address collapse-oriented living as well as community and collaboration. For instance, a section might cover collapse-oriented careers or the diversity of skills needed to ensure community self-reliance and sustenance.

We propose that we organise a “topic of the week/month,” whereby said topic is discussed amongst the contributors before being written up properly in the wiki by a subset of contributors who agree to maintain those pages. Topics could be revisited as necessary, perhaps by workgroups, based on expertise. This would enable more detailed, accurate, and higher quality contributions, and would reduce the likelihood of any particular page being left in an unfinished state. Topics could also be “stress tested” by people not familiar with the subject matter, who would attempt to learn it and follow the practical guides. Feedback would then be given to the maintainers of that section in order to improve their usefulness.

At the same time, we would always welcome contributions by anyone, to any subject, at any time (within the agreed upon structure, of course). Having a weekly/monthly topic would not preclude contributors from making contributions and edits as they wish, as you would with a typical wiki such as Wikipedia. This would allow the knowledge base to grow quickly and dynamically, and any unfinished pages would be picked up eventually when they were selected as the chosen topic of the time.

In any event, we recommend that the topics are subdivided into small and discrete sub-topics to allow contributors to focus their attention and to produce useful and valuable standalone content in reasonable periods of time. For instance, the major topic of emergency preparedness would be subdivided into a number of smaller topics, such as backup electricity generation, respirators, and water purification. These sub-topics would be further subdivided. For instance, backup electricity generation might contain a section on batteries, another on portable solar panels, and so on.

For those unsure of where to put their contributions, we would offer a “parking lot” for new topics so that their place in the wiki could be discussed with others contributing to the wiki.

Ultimately, we are looking to create sufficient initial structure to spark contributions in valuable areas of knowledge while at the same time minimizing red tape as much as possible to encourage organic contributions.

A wiki is a collaboratively edited knowledge base website, differing from most other publishing platforms. The concept, first developed by Ward Cunningham, is straightforward: Wikis invite all users to edit or create pages; promote meaningful topic association by making linking intuitive and easy; and are not crafted by professionals for a target audience - but rather involve the users in the process of creation. The Wikipedia Wiki article and Cunningham’s book The Wiki Way cover the concept in greater detail.

The wiki would loosely address three separate (but not always distinct) stages of the collapse process, with near-term focus on the pre- and in-collapse stages. These give a rough idea of the contexts we want to frame contributions in, but they wouldn’t be strictly enforced and would be subject to change over time if deemed unsuitable or unnecessary.


This would serve as a resource for knowledge on sustainable living (e.g. permaculture, zero-waste, vegetarianism/veganism/etc.), emergency preparedness, retrofitting existing properties to be lower-emissions and more climate change resilient, health and fitness, current events (e.g. novel coronavirus and how to protect yourself against it), information on what the future might hold in particular geographical areas, etc.


This would serve as a resource for knowledge on surviving collapse - self defense, home defense, bugging in/out, survival skills (e.g. finding or generating potable water, gardening, hunting, foraging), etc.


Potentially where the largest amount of contributions would be made, this would serve as a resource for moving on with life following collapse, or indeed, preparing for collapse by living a post-collapse lifestyle in the present: farming, construction, woodworking, metalworking, cooking, textiles, basic electricals - all manner of essential skills, as well as some non-essential too: entertainment, dyeing clothes, etc. Essentially, it would replicate existing knowledge, but frame it within the context of collapse.


This section would contain information about the Collapse Network and the wiki itself as well as related initiatives, such as organizational documents, directories, user profiles/a directory of contributors, links to other resources, and miscellaneous items.

The wiki would further be broken into the following structure. It would take the shape of set of bookshelves. Each bookshelf would represent a category (e.g., permaculture, cooking, entertainment). Each book on a shelf would cover a particular aspect of the category: for example, the Permaculture bookshelf may include books such as “Introduction to Permaculture,” “Permaculture Principles,” and “Permaculture Design.” The Entertainment bookshelf could be broken down into various forms of entertainment, such as “Music” and “Board Games.” These could be further broken down into books in order to meet the complexity of the subject and the amount of information on it.

An example of this organisational structure is as follows:

  • Permaculture
    • Introduction to Permaculture
    • Permaculture Principles
    • Permaculture Design
  • Entertainment
    • Board Games
      • Chess
      • Draughts
    • Card Games
    • Music
  • Textiles
    • Spinning
    • Weaving
    • Dyeing
  • Publishing
    • Bookbinding
    • Printing

Ideally, the following aspects of a topic would be covered:

  • History
  • Introduction/core concepts
  • Practical guides
  • Science/technical
  • Further reading
  • Glossary of terms

By organising information in this way, it becomes accessible to a wide range of people. A young student, for example, would benefit from the history, introduction, and further reading sections, in order to enrich their studies. An engineer or DIY-er would benefit mainly from the practical guides section. An aspiring scientist or engineer would benefit mainly from the history and science sections in order to develop new solutions and refine existing ones, advancing us technologically and otherwise.

As with the overarching structure of the wiki, this would be subject to change as needed, but the wiki would initially be set up in this manner in order to allow structured contributions to take as soon as the wiki was up and running.

The wiki would make use of a small range of features to make it easier to use and navigate. Some examples are listed below:

  • WYSIWYG editor, or a live preview, to assist those who prefer not to write in Markdown
  • Permissions and page locking, to lock down pages as required in order to prevent abuse and ensure quality contributions
  • Multi-language support, for eventual translations of the wiki
  • The ability to export the wiki, in part or in full, in various formats such as PDF and ePub, in order to facilitate easy sharing, printing, and distribution of information
  • Discussion pages for each page of the wiki, to track progress and talk about any additions or changes that need to be made

The wiki would be designed in such a way that it could eventually be exported to sharable formats such as PDF and ePub, as well as printed and published as a physical book, either in individual categories or in full, depending on the amount of content. For example, a PDF of the entire Permaculture section, or just its “Introduction to Permaculture” book, could be downloaded or printed, as needed. Furthermore, the wiki content in its entirety could be downloaded to a computer or storage device for backup and offline usage.

To avoid fragmentation of information, the wiki would firstly be written to a reasonable level of completion in US English. Logistically speaking, sections could later be frozen, shared with translators, and adapted into other languages - initially lingua francas such as French, Spanish and Arabic - before being merged back into the wiki. This would create a good balance between being accessible to a large amount of the global population, and the information in all versions being of reasonable quality.

The contents of the wiki would likely be licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 or 4.0.

The wiki content will be for informational purposes only. It will not constitute medical advice or other professional advice. If you choose to use any of the wiki content for any purpose, you will do so solely at your own risk.

Such disclaimers will be mandated throughout the wiki, to clarify use for any users. Guidelines on what requires a disclaimer will be released following this consultation period.

Docker will be used to deploy services, in order to make them easier to manage on one server, and make them portable.

Contributors could opt in to hosting backups and/or mirrors of wiki content.

The backend would be either flat-file or git, so that the wiki contents can be easily exported, either to other formats via Pandoc, or to other wiki software should the software we initially choose eventually become unsuitable for our needs.

Our ideal wiki software is well maintained with a fairly active development team. It is extensible, yet also lightweight and easy to maintain, such that we’d have a shot at supporting it ourselves if its development ceased. The strongly preferred storage method is either flat-file or git-backed.

Current identified options: - Gitit - Gollum - Ikiwiki - MoinMoin - Oddmuse - sourcehut

We’re looking for a hosting provider that is reliable, flexible, and of course, affordable. Currently we’re leaning towards using a VPS, so that we can host other services on the same server or instance later on if we wish. It must support Debian-based Linux.

Current identified options: - Hetzner - OneProvider

The ideal management system would take away the complexity of using the command line to manage the server, whilst still providing as many of those functions as possible. It would also be stable, actively maintained, and secure.

Current identified options: - OpenMediaVault

  • wiki/proposal.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/02/09 03:26
  • by kill-switch