I'm making progress on the Helping Friendly Book. I've purchased the webspace from 1and1.com. I should be using Lyle@helpingfriendlybook.com as my main e-mail soon. It's long, but memorable. The concept of the Book comes from a song by jam band Phish's lead singer, Trey Anastazio. In Trey's myth, a peaceful people called the Lizards are given a book by their god Icculus. The Helping Friendly Book contains all knowledge and "the ancient secrets of eternal joy and never-ending splendor." The theft and retrieval of the Book form the narrative of Trey's first album, The Man Who Fell Into Yesterday. I think a Helping Friendly Book would be a very handy thing in these desperately unhelpful and unfriendly times. Unfortunately, I'm not Icculus, so the best way I could think to make this happen was to rely on the wisdom, experience, and insight of many. The Helping Friendly Book is based on the online forum, with people posting material and noting where in the Book it should go. Superimposed over the forum is an editing program, where members (people who logged in with a name and valid e-mail) can discuss posts, suggest edits, and come to a consensus on them using a moderated chatroom system. The editing program will display the current book from the content and the edits, and the Helping Friendly Book can be browsed by anyone or printed out. All material is under copyleft, as part of the agreement to participate in the project.
This project is inspired by www.Indymedia.com , www.wikipedia.org , www.dancingjesus.com , and www.cvillenews.com . Like those groups, I'm hoping to carve out some public space on the internet with some value to humanity. I think there's room on the internet for a little spirituality, philosophy, creativity, and helpful everyday hints without a commercial motivation.