Contribute Material to Arisbe: How and Why

By Joseph Ransdell, 1998.
Tweaks and sidebar added by B.U. 2011–12.



A standard form for submission of your contribution or for providing notice to the Contributions Committee of your intention to contribute will be made available here when the Committee itself is formed. During the period of initial establishment of Arisbe, though, you can use the e-mail facility below to send your contribution or your notice of intention to contribute to:

The value of Arisbe as a resource center is augmented with every such contribution.


Your contribution can be very brief or quite lengthy: anything from a critical comment or a point of information to a scholarly monograph. It will be integrated into the website at the appropriate place by hypertext reference, and you will yourself become a permanent presence—a standing resource—at Arisbe until such time as you wish your contribution removed. (This is the default: there is no automatic removal such as there is, for example, with usenet news messages.) You will of course want to bear in mind both the advantages and disadvantages of taking a standing public position in a universally accessible public forum that will be continuing in existence into the indefinite future.
   As the policy here is presently conceived, when the administrative arrangements for Arisbe are fully instituted, a Contributions Committee will check such a proposed contribution for presentational adequacy (meaning conformity to the style of the page to which it is a contribution) and appropriateness to the purpose of the website—which just means being of possible interest to members of the Peirce telecommunity as such—to maintain minimum "quality control". They do not normally assess its content other than to ascertain that it is relevant: critical control here is the responsibility of the Peirce telecommunity in general, not of an especially appointed editorial board.

Any contribution made here is subject to public critical response here by any others who wish to contribute in this way to Arisbe.

Sidebar: More on caretaking and critical control:

In "What is the Purpose of Arisbe?", beginning at "A peculiar consequence of the mode of being of the web as representative...."

and from "Peirce-Related Papers":

Arisbe in general, as well as [the Peirce-Related Papers page] in particular, is not designed for the purpose of filtering out materials in the manner of an editorial channel, such as a professional journal or refereed press, but assumes, rather, that this and other special editorial functions are performed elsewhere. The purpose of Arisbe is to provide and organize access to relevant resources, filtered and otherwise — access both to documents (in the multi-media sense) and to people — and to enable and encourage interaction with and among them. Thus critical control in the form of filtering is not supplied by the Arisbe website as a function of its management or support staff, except in the minimal sense implicit in decisions about relevance, though experimentation with various forms and methods of critical control will be encouraged and supported here, and of course the results of traditional editorial filtering will be made available here as extensively and rapidly as possible.
(Sidebar added by B.U.)
This standing liability to open public criticism is what makes special editorial assessment unnecessary: the editorial board consists of the telecommunity in general, any member of which has as much right and as much opportunity as any other to editorialize. Anyone who finds a supposed "absence of standards" is urged to supply these missing items themselves, explicitly and in application, by critically assessing whatever is found deficient in that respect so that others may know what these standards are. Failure to do so can reasonably be presumed to be evidence that the person has no relevant grasp of such standards themselves.
   Since all critical assessment is itself subject to criticism here ad infinitum, this could at times lead to a more rigorous philosophical reflection than we have become accustomed to heretofore in virtue of our practice of treating editors as uncriticizable for most practical purposes. But whether this proves to be the case or not, this policy has no immediate bearing on the question of the nature and importance of "peer review": Arisbe is not conceived or designed as an alternative to traditional journal publication but rather as a means of taking advantage of the opportunity which the internet communicational system offers of realizing the idealistic vision of a "community of scholars," which has not heretofore been a reality for any but a fortunate few with the economic means and the institutional connections that sustain the "invisible colleges" of the like-minded and well-positioned that have long been the only approximations to that.
   A plausible case could perhaps be made that it has heretofore been impossible in practice to establish the minimal communicational practices and arrangements for such intellectual communities except in a few situations of special privilege. It is no longer impossible, though, and the motivations animating the establishment and policies of Arisbe are to be understood with reference to this rather than to the importantly different considerations implicit in the tradition of peer review.

But what about crazies, practical jokers, gross incompetents, exploiters (advertisers, politicians, fanatics with questionable causes, etc.), and so forth?

Such people exist, and won't this policy contribute to an accumulating of trash at the site which will make it less useful to others? Needless to say, the problem has not gone unnoticed, and the short answer is No, it need not, if the content is reviewed by the Contributions Committee for relevance, with procedures for public retrieval even of the rejected submissions so that the Contribution Committee itself is criticizable in view of decisions actually made.
   The rationale for this will be discussed at length elsewhere on this site, though it should be understood that Arisbe is a public place and the sense of "publication" relevant here is more primal than the specialized, attenuated, and sometimes perverse sense that has accrued to the term in virtue of its 20th Century institutionalization within the hierarchical structures and practices of academia. Publication means, first of all, making something public, and the Arisbe website can perhaps contribute something to the recovery and rehabilitation of that more basic and vital sense of the term in due time.



This page is part of the Arisbe website
Page last modified by B.U. November 15, 2023, earliest on July 18, 2011 — B.U.
Last modified April 20, 1998 — J.R.

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