I just sent the following letter to Jim Butler and Elias (Tom Veitch) from the Daism Forum about an idea I've been thinking about for years. If anyone else out there is interested in this kind of project, let me or them know.
Dear Jim and Elias,
Recently I saw a post on the Daism forum about the Wikipedia entry under "Adi Da" and the controversies surrounding its editing. I also notice that the Wikipedia entry has been slimmed down and toned down, which may be appropriate in some respects, but brings to my mind an issue which has been percolating for years in my mind. Which is that there is no organized, researched and edited account of the critical views of Adidam that have been posted over the years. Lightmind's Daism Research Index is a decent resource, but it is not easy to find a quick overview of the full "alternative view" of Adi Da and Adidam.
What comes to mind in looking at Wikipedia's format, which I greatly admire and use quite often, is that it provides a model for the kind of resource guide that could greatly help people who are looking for an alternative view to the story Adidam puts out. The hyperlinked format of a general summary that branches into distinct areas composed of individual topic articles would allow people to explore the material gathered about Adidam to whatever depth they wish while not missing the main gist of the unwritten history of Adidam. Likewise, this format allows for multiple writers and editors to work on pieces and parts of the entire project without sacrificing the integrity of the whole. Individuals with specific knowledge of specific areas of Adidam's structure and history can contribute and add their knowledge to this resource bases, and teams of editors can verify and edit as the material requires for accuracy and style. In this way a more professional presentation of all the material about Adidam can be made which counters the ongoing efforts to discredit critics of Adidam as mere rumor-mongers.
I like the aspect of Jim's work on Wikipedia which tries to separate fact from opinion. I think opinion and interpretation has a strong place in the project I'm thinking of, but it needs to be separated out and placed in a different section in order to preserve the strength of the facts. For instance, my suggestion that Adi Da suffers from NPD is an opinion, not a fact. The facts that support that opinion have to be presented separate from the opinion, and the NPD argument can then be presented in a section devoted to interpretation and opinion about Adi Da, which relies on those facts. Likewise, arguments in favor of Adi Da can also be presented, but they have to be made consistent with the facts.
I know I've said I'm not much interested in writing about Adi Da anymore, and that is certainly true in the sense that I don't really think I have anything new to say about him. But I do feel that it would be important to finish up what I started years ago by leaving behind some kind of living record of the Adidam experience, positive and negative. And I wouldn't want to limit that to just my own contributions. So many people have said so many valuable things about Adidam that I think a full record would be important to leave behind.
So what I'm suggesting is that we find a way to create a Wikipedia-like hypertext online document that allows not only us, but many others to contribute to a full historical record of Adidam, in as much depth as people can build up over time. I'd certainly be willing to volunteer as both an editor and writer, and I think the two of you would certainly be valuable assets in such a project. I'm told that Wikipedia's software is all Open Source and freely distributed, so it might be relatively easy to obtain and use. (Try mediawiki.org). If Elias could host this project on Lightmind, and make it known that it will be open to contributions from the public at large, I think we could at least begin this project with a minimum of difficulty, and simply let it grow over time. There are many people who have contributed to the Forum over the years who would probably be happy to serve as writers and editors. In fact, if it takes off, we could even devote a forum to discussion of the "Adidapedia" to coordinate the writing and receive feedback. In this way the project could be built up and refined over time into a very professional and highly accessible resource, with links to the Daism Research Index at every appropriate level.
What do you two think? Jim's work with the Wikipedia has been excellent, and he knows the format well, and Elias' site and personal experience and contacts are also invaluable, and many others such as XD could make valuable contributions. Even a few old-timers might be nudged out of the closet to make a few contributions if only to set the record straight.
Any thoughts on this?