Principia Cybernetica Web

Submitting Nodes for Inclusion in Principia Cybernetica Web

We invite you to write new nodes to add to the existing texts in Principia Cybernetica Web. Nodes are reviewed, electronic publications, which must be submitted to the PCP editorial board for approval. Best is to first make a short proposal or draft version of what you would like to discuss, and send it to cybernetica [at] for feedback.

If you just want to make a quick comment about an existing document, you would better write an annotation to that document. Annotations are not reviewed: everything entered there is immediately published (really stupid or irrelevant comments may still be deleted afterwards). However, annotations do not have the same status as normal PCP nodes: they are not included in the "Table of Contents" or "Recent Changes", (though they can be found through the searchable index). They belong to the category of "discussion nodes", rather than the default "consensus nodes" or "individual contribution nodes" (see Consensus Building). If you check the list of user annotations you will see that few annotations are really detailed, well-formulated and well-thought out texts. They are mostly one-line comments, links, tests or questions, and are not of the same level of quality as other nodes.

In order to qualify as individual contribution nodes, texts submitted to the board must be in the general PCP spirit, and discuss topics related to those that are already there. For inspiration, look at the nodes that are still empty: perhaps you might like to write a discussion of that topic? They should ideally also fit into the PCP hierarchy (i.e. have a specific "Parent node" of which they are the "Child"; if no appropriate parent exists, you can suggest one, under an existing parent, etc.). They should also have the typical format of PCP nodes: discuss a single idea in some detail but not too long, and provide many cross-references to other concepts used in the discussion. The style should be objective or scientific, yet easy to read. Look at existing PCP nodes for examples.

PCP web is not a medium for publishing journal-like papers. It is more like a continuously expanding and improving encyclopedia of fundamental ideas. We prefer short, in depth articles in a dictionary-like or encyclopedia-like style, treating basic ideas on the intersection of cybernetics, systems, evolution and philosophy. If you want to write longer discussions, you should better split them up in one parent node and several children (or grand-children). The better and more in line with the general PCP aims the node is, the more prominent a place it may get in our Web. The average PCP node is at present read some 800 times per year, which is more than most papers in scientific journals, so it is worth the effort to clearly formulate and publish your ideas in this way.

New nodes can be based on existing texts that have a nodelike structure (see the Web Dictionary and the Memetic Lexicon as examples). However, these texts should obviously be either unpublished or have copyright waivers (for example for "out of print" books, such as "The Macroscope", the copyright usually returns back to the author). On the other hand, we don't mind material that is adapted from or similar to already published material (e.g. papers), as long at it is not literally the same.

Texts can be submitted in ASCII, HTML or RTF (MS Word), preferably with minimal formatting. If not submitted in HTML, please indicate which words should be linked to other nodes in or outside of PCP Web. For texts longer than a few lines, please divide in paragraphs and if necessary in subsections with adequate headings. Please avoid fancy layout or color schemes: clear and simple is preferred. Figures and other illustrations are welcome as long as they are directly relevant, and not too large in byte size.

Copyright© 1997 Principia Cybernetica - Referencing this page

F. Heylighen,

Mar 26, 1997


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