Common

Common is a community.

We're working to create a new kind of common knowledge—one that embraces complexity, uncertainty and change.

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Who we are

We're a small, international group of regular people from diverse backgrounds. What we share is a belief in common knowledge, and a hope that new approaches to collective sense-making can help us build and scale a common perspective on the world we live in.

What we do

We use new technology to create maps of the information landscape. Our maps—called Common Pages—are a new kind of document where knowledge is code. Our common knowledge base is literally a code base that generates a map of everything we think we know, together.

How we work

We work like an open source project. Anyone can contribute, but each page has a committed working group that coordinates contributions. Our source code is public on Github, and we hold regular public meetups to review the research and design for each page.

Featured Page

Common COVID-19

The need for a new approach to common sense-making has never been so clear. Throughout 2020 we've used the COVID-19 research space as a proving ground for our community process. The COVID-19 page references nearly 1,000 key studies into the virus, the disease, transmission, testing, and more.

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Read

Common Pages

Common Pages are composed from simple elements that each serve a specific purpose in the sense-making process. Elements link together to create a network that is as easy to explore as a map, and as natural to read as a normal document.

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Concepts
Claims
Disputes
Questions
References
Write

Common Sources

Common Pages are written using a simple notation called Common Source. Common Source is similar in complexity to markdown or wikitext, but designed with a different philosophy. It's all about making sense at scale. It helps us to write in a way that helps others to think for themselves.

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Meet

Common Places

Common Pages are not exactly crowd-sourced. They're coordinated. We're online everyday in a public workspace. We also meet at least once a week over Zoom to discuss research and design, and to plan for the growth of our community. Our conversations are totally informal, but they're open to the public.

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Common Questions

Is Common a company?

Technically, but not really. Common runs on technology that was created during a software engineer's sabbatical. It was originally called Claimspace. There is a company of that name, but it's dormant. The technology itself is nothing without a community of people who love making common sense. If Common is ever a company, it will serve as a caretaker for our community.

Is Common sustainable?

Sort of. Common is a labor of love. It's funded by the original founder. We have a small, dedicated staff, and we keep our expenses low. If our expenses grow, it will be because our community has grown. If the our community grows, we're optimistic that we'll find a way to create opportunities to support and sustain our mission for the long haul. See above.

Do I have to be technical to contribute?

No. The most techically complicated things we do can be done by almost anyone. But if you want to get your feet wet without learning anything new, there are still many ways to contribute. Send us a note and we'll show you how to send links and feedback on our pages.

Do I have to be an expert to contribute?

No. Experts are welcome, but what we're doing does not require expertise. All around the world non-experts are navigating information that's beyond our individual expertise. There's an enormous amount of duplicate effort. In our community, we coordinate that effort.

Is Common a source of truth?

No. We capture work that we've done while thinking for ourselves, and we share it to help others think for themselves. Common is for seekers, and the seeking doesn't stop here.

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One of us?

We still have a lot to do for COVID-19, and we're actively developing a page for Vaccines. If you would like to create and lead a new page, we'd love to hear your ideas, particularly when it comes to health, nutrition, fitness, and evidence based medicine.

If you're curious, drop your email address below and we'll send invitations to our Slack and Meetups so you can get a feel for how we work.

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