The World's First Open Source Think Tank Empowers Ordinary People and Challenges Special Interest Politics

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The Wisdom Project combines the free exchange of open source politics with discussion board and wiki technology to create an idea development environment unlike any other. Using specially designed tools, members identify, develop, and publish solutions to real world problems. Building upon the open source political movement, the Wisdom Project aims to foster practical wisdom while remaining immune to the ideological bias and special interest influence common in privately funded "closed source" think tanks.

The Wisdom Project (http://www.wisdomproject.net) combines the free exchange of open source politics with discussion board and wiki technology to create an idea development environment unlike any other. As founder Matthew Ready says, "Every internet forum is a type of think tank where great ideas are expressed every day." What is unique about the The Wisdom Project is the sharp focus on identifying the most important issues and the use of tools to help extract and refine the best nuggets of wisdom from the open discussions. Ready says, "I think of the project as a 'wisdom machine'. Just as a cider press extracts apple juice from raw pulp, our goal is to extract wisdom from free and open dialogue."

The Open Source model inspired the Wisdom Project to operate in fundamentally different ways than most modern think tanks. Unlike most think tanks which are classic closed source "invitation only" systems, The Wisdom Project invites anyone and everyone to enter their forums and present their arguments and solutions. Members then work together to evaluate the quality of the commentary and the solutions offered using a simple system of judging the "wisdom" of individual posts. Post ratings are then used to identify the most promising solutions and to calculate a 'wisdom rating' for each active member. Ready says, "Our tools help us easily identify the best contributions to our dialogues and the people who most regularly make those contributions." The system is unique and it encourages accountability. Ready explains, "Our post rating system discourages the juvenile antics common on most internet message boards. As a result, we are building a membership culture of healthy, energized, and creative thought."

One of the ironies of traditional think tanks today is that they often have little inclination to question their assumptions. As Wikipedia describes, many think tanks may be "little more than tools for propaganda." Ready adds, "The purpose of many think tanks is not to figure out how to solve problems, but rather to figure out how to promote their ideology. When you are watching Fox News or reading the New York Times editorials, the arguments and solutions you hear about are not always the result of individual inspiration. Often, those ideas are born in privately funded think tanks and force fed to the public through sympathetic media outlets." The Wisdom Project open source model guarantees that any and all ideological premises are open to examination.

We have two fundamental challenges as a society. First we need to find the best solutions to our greatest problems. Second, we need to all agree upon those solutions and implement them. The Wisdom Project is built to help us achieve both these goals. "The most basic tool for the promotion of wisdom in a society is free speech," says Ready. "I believe our most profound problems can be solved if we shift our energy away from ideological warfare and sincerely focus our attention on building a better world. We need to foster genuine substantive dialogue. Let's not bombard people through one-way media, rather let's engage people in quality discussion. Encourage people to think! If someone believes a national sales tax really is the solution to our nation's problems-or that gay marriage will lead to the collapse of civilization, then let's talk about it in a totally open forum. You foster wisdom and solve problems by encouraging people to think, not by telling them what to think."

The Wisdom Project is already working on its first official report from one of its more active think tanks to date: Think Tank USA. The focus is upon 4 essential national issues: Identifying the most important problems in the USA, analyzing election 2004, improving education, and assessing the impact of legalized gay marriage. Ready expects the content and quality of their reports to rapidly improve as they continue to enhance their tools and attract more participants to the forums. He says, "Everything about the project is an open source work in progress. Anyone who has ideas to how we can do this better is encouraged to join the effort."

The long term goal of The Wisdom Project is to maintain an active think tank for every important issue, whether it is regional or global, spiritual or philosophical. Ready says, "There is no limit to how these tools can be applied. Every city and town should have a think tank forum where they can discuss their most burning issues. Eventually, I believe open source think tanks will pick up where Town Meetings stop and draw people back into local and national discourse. Through open dialogue we can build consensus and work together to solve our greatest problems."

About the Wisdom Project

The Wisdom Project is a website located at http://www.wisdomproject.net. Founded by philosopher Matthew Ready, members work to fulfill the true promise of the think tank concept by using an open source model. The purpose is to foster wisdom and develop solutions to our most urgent problems. Whether or not that goal is accomplished is entirely up to you. Anyone interested in participating in the world's first Open Source Think Tank is encouraged to visit http://www.wisdomproject.net.

For information or to schedule an interview please contact Matthew Ready at wisdomproject@gmail.com or call (360) 477-1447

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