Saturday, November 17, 2007

Introducing the WWNCW

I am proud to announce a new website: The World-Wide Nudist Collaboration Wiki.

What is a Wiki?
A wiki is a website that YOU can edit. Just imagine - if you don't like a page, you can change it. If it's out-of-date or inaccurate, you can update it. The entire site is yours to build and tweak to your liking. (Well, except that you share it with everyone else too...) Wiki's can do powerful things. A perfect example is Wikipedia, the biggest, most up-to-date, most multilingual encyclopedia in the world. Go ahead, browse around. People just like you made ALL of that! Another great example is WikiHow, the how-to site for just about everything. However, these sites are geared towards providing information...

Another ideal use for a wiki is to collaborate. That is why they are used in many companies and for other BIG projects where people are located all around the globe. Most open-source projects, such as Ubuntu and OpenOffice, use wiki's to collaborate. My workplace, which makes safety-critical systems, uses a wiki. If it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for nudists as well.

Nudists, who are normally secretive about their activities and keep to themselves in small groups, really need to work together on some bigger goals. Goals such as: keeping or improving freedoms, promoting a clothing-optional lifestyle, and expanding clothing-optional areas. There is currently no framework for working together on these goals, except that we rely on a few organizations to do it for us. They win some, but lose more -- they need our help!

So what happens when everyone gets the freedom to change things? Some initially thought it would be disaster, but they have been proven wrong. The Wikipedia, the most popular wiki in the world, lets even unregistered users make edits. The fact is: 99% of people are genuinely good. They make positive edits, and easily outnumber the 1% who might cause trouble. Nudists also have this quality, which is why almost all nude-friendly places are safe enough for women, children, and the elderly.

A real-word example of crowdsourcing might be this: A town that needs an animal shelter, and a mayor who can't afford to build one. The mayor tells everyone in the town what's needed and asks for help. The crowd would then work it's magic... An architect might volunteer to make a blueprint. A few people might donate some spare lumber. People might do some fundraising and donate some money for whatever other supplies are needed. Construction workers might volunteer their time to putting it together. The animal lovers might volunteer to run it. What is the end result? An animal shelter, completely built and run by volunteers. As you know, nudists have an extremely broad range of talents, and there are certainly a lot of them out there. Just imagine what could be done if we crowdsource to them.

WWNCW Design.
The site is a hierarchy of "webs". The upper-level webs represent a large and specific geographical region, such as a nation or state. The lower-level "regional webs" represent a local club, beach, resort, or any other nudist venue. The WWNCW is NOT meant to replace an existing website, but is instead a valuable addition where the members can do updates and collaborate. All of these webs are completely customizable by anyone.

WWNCW Features.
  • A calendar system, where events can be listed on other calendars. (For example, you can show all your favorite groups calendars and friends calendars on your homepage calendar, or show all regional events on a state-wide calendar.)
  • A project and task management system. Projects are defined, tasks are added, people can sign up for tasks or assign them to someone else, and each users tasks are displayed on their homepages as a reminder.
  • A bare-bones forum, where people can add their own topics and easily post comments.
  • Polls, so people can vote on issues. This is ideal for making choices such as "Should we lobby to change this law?" or "Is the resort's pool too hot, too cold, or at the right temp?"
  • Each region gets their own "web" with the above features that they can customize as much as they want.
  • Each user gets a homepage similar to a social networking site. Mine is WikiAdmin. On it, I keep a calendar of where I'll be, and that also shows events from MazoBeach and from my friends (so I know if they'll be there too!) I also have a reminder of all the tasks I'm signed up to do, and a place where people can write messages to me.
  • Anonymity, just in case you don't want to reveal your true identity. Email addresses are never shown to anyone, and you can choose any WikiName you'd like.
  • Everything can be edited by anyone (almost), so they can add their own features and organize things however they want. The features and framework above are mostly created by me - which shows that you can build just about anything into the wiki.
WWNCW Issues
First is that I paid $200 for 2 years of hosting from a great company called Dreamhost, but it's shared hosting. With all the processing that the wiki needs to do, it ends up being somewhat slow during the evening hours. I'm doing what I can to speed it up, and am willing to switch to a better hosting plan when the site gets more popular.

I hope it DOES get more popular. The more people that use it, the better it becomes. That's an issue right now -- there's not enough people using it yet. There's only a few regional webs defined, and they're waiting for activity. You're regional webs aren't represent yet, because you haven't asked for them. Get the word out - because the more people that join in, the better it gets for everyone.

Join In!
The wiki is a powerful tool because it's driven by smart people, and I believe that a large group of smart people can really make a difference in things.

Improve freedom: Nudist lawyers can help out in legal matters, such as lobbying for change or supporting cases where nudity is involved. There is some serious organization involved when trying to change a law -- and the wiki can handle it. (Even if rallies, protests, or abundantly contacting congressmen are involved.)
Improve safety: If your a woman, it would be nice to know in advance if someone you trust will be at the beach. The regulars can keep the beaches safe by volunteering to do patrol and keep an eye on things. This can be scheduled so that everyone knows who they can contact if something happens.
Improve accessibility: Nudist nurses or doctors could arrange to accompany the elderly if they'd like to go and have trouble going. Also, volunteers could escort newbies to the beach or resort if they have some initial fears about going, or at least act as a contact for questions.
Improve knowledge: People know what events are at the clubs, beaches, and resorts, and know what ones their friends will be at -- all without hours of phone calls. This is the easy way to plan the perfect weekend with your friends.
Improve organization: People also know what tasks need to be done, and have the option to help out with matters and voice their opinion.
Improve whatever needs improving: The wiki can flex into whatever you want it to, and handle needs that we can't yet imagine.

Please join in and help out!

- The Academic Naturist, WikiAdmin of

WWNCW: Background and Modivation

I have a unique talent... Somehow, I'm able to learn a whole bunch about any topic, and figure out exactly what it needs -- and then make it. I have a genuine motivation to make the world a better place, and a whole bunch of knowledge about algorithms, patterns, logistics, models, and theories. In my field of study, we analyze and solve problems in a wide variety of disciplines. It seems that any problem can be modeled, and then can be solved using the model's ideal solution. However, this one is a bit fuzzy. Things don't exactly fit into the models, so there's a lot of fuzzy logic, assumptions, and guess-work that needs to be done. This is also a skill that I have -- accurately making predictions and weighing importance. (Understanding these really help with that...) I'm known for the ability to find a really creative solution to a problem which works surprisingly well. Lucky for you, I'll be doing more writing this winter!

In studying nudism, and the social webs of nudists, I found a few issues that seem to be common:
  1. Nudists are happy to laze in the sun all day.
  2. Nudism is very traditional, and done in traditional areas.
  3. Nudist groups are fairly introverted (and keep to themselves / secretive).
Numbers 1 and 2 mean that there is little change in nudist resorts. They are "graying" because they haven't changed with the times, and haven't really broken number 3 yet. Many resort owners will argue that they have changed with the times, such as making a brand new massage parlor or installing the latest video games. However, they're still living in a slightly-improved "web 1.0" world when we're at "web 2.0". This is a topic which I'll be covering in a later series - "My Future Nudist Resort".

Instead of working towards a common goal, it seems that nudists would prefer to seclude themselves and enjoy lazing in the sun with their close friends. I believe this is why the AANR really hasn't done much in the last couple of years, the FBA or ANF haven't taken any of my suggestions or updated their pages based on my emails (details about that are at the end of my Australia Story, also a later series), and even the INF hasn't done a whole lot recently. You'd think that organizations which cover giant areas or land or the whole world would be a lot busier. On the flip-side is the NAC, which is an excellent freedom fighter! However, it's not that big of a group, so their influence is limited. (I sincerely hope that they decide to use the WWNCW to make their efforts easier to organize and more influential -- the site would be the perfect tool for them!)

I don't intend to take away anybodies sun-bathing time, but instead make use of the other times such as darkness, winter, time at home, and possibly even down-time at work, when the nudist is alone and day-dreaming of the next trip to the sun-bathing area.

There are also some good qualities that I'm betting will be the driver of change:
  1. Nudists are genuinely good people.
  2. Nudists support nudism and would like to see it expand.
  3. People in general are becoming more tech-savvy.
So why don't people become activists? It's because their stuck... First, nobody can cause a revolution by themselves, and the people that try normally result in negative publicity for nudists and new laws. Many don't even try because it would easily damage their reputation. That is understandable -- it's what holds me back too. Second is that they find it difficult to work together. They can't put an ad in the local paper: "Nudist seeking nudists for revolution, call me at ..." because this would also damage reputation. Working together in person as a group is great, but it's difficult to gather many people and difficult to coordinate with other groups. That is why many nude protests are fairly small in size. The textile world is huge, and we're just tiny secluded islands.

I believe that the fundamental bottleneck for the "free body movement" is mass collaboration.

The best tool that is currently provided by any big nudist website is a forum. Forums are great for chatting, but aren't so great at collaboration because they only let people talk in pre-defined topics. The only nudist wiki's that exist are simply for information, which doesn't help much either. We needed a better tool to break this bottleneck! So, I created one...

A wiki, as I've discovered, is THE BEST tool for collaboration, assuming that it is set up for it (instead of for information) and is easy enough to use by common people. The WWNCW is geared specifically for mass collaboration at any geographical level among anyone. Also, it's users can remain anonymous and help out with tasks that won't compromise their anonymity. This tool can harness the three positive qualities above: Tech-savvy nudists can moderate, improve, and promote the tool, and genuinely good naturists can volunteer to help out with regional projects. The result will be organized positive change, which is what we all wish to see.

A bonus, partly to get people to use it, is the social network part of the wiki. Everyone gets a homepage and can tune in to what their friends are doing -- which is a simplistic version of "myspace" or "facebook" that is specifically for nudists. This form of information sharing is great because it allows people to meet up easier and keep in touch with friends no matter what the distance. A week of internet-based coordination among friends can lead to an extra fun weekend at a resort or beach!

Welcome, naturists, to Web 2.0! It's your turn to change the world.

Update: I almost forgot to include a link to some of my original inspiration.