Pete's Proposal

originally posted to the OGM list on 2023-03-23

Hey, I have a proposal. I observe that we have trouble discussing and choosing topics beforehand, and in part, I believe part of the challenge we face in doing so is that we don't have a common vocabulary and understanding of our shared interests.

So, imagine a book called "OGM Topics: Towards a Safer and More Equitable World", or whatever better title we might come up with.

It is an edited volume -- a collection of scholarly or scientific chapters written by different authors.

In this book, each chapter might have several authors - a few folks with subject matter expertise, and maybe one or two who specialize in the tone and voice of OGM, or who are shadowing the main authors to gain experience, or whatever.

The goal would be to have settled, recorded overviews of our usual topics, such that when we ask ourselves, "what should this week's topic be?", we have language and background from which to choose.  (Or to choose a new topic, which might spark a new chapter in the book.)

Sample chapters (see note 1 below):

  • The war in Ukraine: The war has caused a humanitarian crisis, with millions of people displaced and in need of assistance. It has also had a significant impact on the global economy, with energy prices rising and supply chains disrupted.
  • Climate change: Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our planet today. It is causing extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and changes in plant and animal life. These changes are having a devastating impact on people around the world, and they are only going to get worse if we do not take action.
  • The rise of artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence is being used to develop new technologies that have the potential to improve lives, but it also raises concerns about its potential to be used for harmful purposes.
  • The growing inequality gap: The gap between the rich and the poor is growing wider, which is creating social and economic problems.
  • The erosion of democracy: Democracy is under threat around the world, as authoritarian leaders consolidate power and restrict civil liberties.
  • Poverty and inequality: Poverty and inequality are major challenges that we face. Millions of people live in poverty around the world, and many more are struggling to make ends meet. We need to work to create a more equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
  • Environmental degradation: Environmental degradation is a major issue that is causing harm to our planet. We need to work to protect our environment and to ensure that we are living sustainably.

There might be a small editorial team, responsible for "gardening" the topics, making sure the chapters are well-constructed and up-to-date, and who manage the book's overall style and direction.

Who might be the publisher? Jerry? OGM? Jerry and OGM? The OGM Publications Department? We can figure that part out.

Now, since it's the 21st century, you may have already guessed that I'm really imagining a website (, rather than an actual book, but I wanted to evoke the format and style of the website as similar to the old, printed "edited volumes". (Sometimes I miss university library stacks, ::sigh::.) Of course, should we desire, we could turn the material into a book (ebook or printed) as well.

I would be happy to lead the technical publishing of OGM Topics. I would use Massive Wiki as the publishing platform, and authors could choose whatever writing tool they wanted (MS Word, Google Docs, Obsidian -- even typewriter, if you're so inclined).

If you're a Massive Wiki aficionado, you'll know that the extant wiki websites all look pretty much the same, but we could develop our own theme for the Topics website.

What do you think? Would you help build such a thing? Would you use such a thing?

Note 1: List of topics was generated by Bard, from the prompt "what are some important current event topics for a person interested in making the world that's safer and more equitable?"

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