declaration of knollers’ independence and rights

After now over 2 years of Knol experience, and after some controversies, discussions in the Bulletin Board identified the crucial need of a “Declaration of Knollers’ independence and rights” (or whatever other way to call it).
Here is a draft, that we have been proposing for discussion for several months, and which might still need editing,

1) Purpose of the declaration and statement of principles

All knollers are equal in rights and duties.

(*) the appelation given to Knol authors in this “Chart”.  
The credibility and future of Knol as a knowledge dissemination vehicle
that us authors and readers value so much would be highly menaced
if it does not work as an open community which practices must
respect and ensure the following principles:

  • The knol authors independence from any person or group,
  • The dissemination of the widest choice of knowledge topics to readers.
  • The freedom and equal rights between knollers,
  • The right of privacy for knollers,
  • A democratic system of decisions. 

2) About the authors

2.1 Privacy
What an author brings to Knol is, more than anything, his / her own writing, from which comes his / her audience.
An author’s Knol identity and recognition rests on this contribution, independently of the person.
His/her privacy has to be respected, drifs affecting some social networks should be avoided. It is his/her exclusive choice to display or not public information about him/her, including his/her own name. Not to promote one’s own person cannot be deemed as a perversion.
2.2 Fairness and independence
No author and no inside or outside group shall claim, or even less attribute itself in whatever way, rights, privileges and powers over other authors.
Autocratic, elitist or discriminating attempts can only discourage authors and damage Knol’s credibility to readers.

Independence in the choice of topics

As long as the related knols fit the Knol’s Terms of Service, and Human ethics, the choice of topics is fully open.
Are all welcome:
    * Academic, professional and specialized contents
    * As well as general public and general interest ones,
    * Or small “niches” of knowledge
    * Or maverick thoughts
No subjects are considered more or less noble than others.
Also, metric has its importance, but is not the only criterion of value for a knol.
No star system should stiffle humble efforts and creations, which are highly desirable and welcome. 

3) About democracy and interventions

 Some knol contents or lacks of content can be blatantly inacceptable, in reference to the Terms of Service and to the basic ethic. There is already a way to signal (flag) them.
Further guidelines that would limitate or orientate author’s works would be hardly compatible with the freedom of creation.
They could be conceived only if they would:
  • Leave enough flexibility to authors to adapt to evolutive situations and to bring their creativity
  • Be democratically defined among knollers, and between knollers and Google Knol. 

4) Summing it up:

Cooperation, equal rights and author-based Knol Spirit. 

Should be highly praised anyone who takes initiatives to: 
  • Help knol authors in their work,
  • And / or facilitate access to knowledge by readers,
  • And / or promote Knol as an activist,
On the other hand, to take authors under the control of a few who would create dominant situations, and / or who would unilateraly dictate work directives for knol authors, would be negating the author-based Knol Spirit. 

Scope of this declaration 

This declaration intends in no way to supersede the current Google Knol terms of service and notably Google Knol content policy, which always predominate.
Google will have to be informed once this declaration become definitive, as the owner of the platform and in order that its Terms of Service if they evolve would not contradict that declaration but on the contrary would integrate some of its elements.
Well, this question is open, within the general issue of how to harmonize and make efficient the relations between Knol and the knollers. 

First comments 

the most inside point for our team and the first to discuss I think is a democratic system of decisions.

as SKS said : discussion solves everything,
and I think we all agree to this, it’s the cradle of democracy .
but discussion takes time . what if there is not enough time ?
btw. if there are different interests, we can solve this by different groups 
Yes, some special interest groups have their own reasons not to want a fully “open” Knol.
For clarity, they should express their opposition, but I’m not too sure they are ready to do it, maybe they feel a bit weak on the argument side which they hide behind a “we are the big guys” posture.
I even wrote, in some comments to them, that they would be welcome to bring contributions in the interest of Knol. But those comments were either ignored or …suppressed, which I consider quite telltale.
So let us advance with those who want such a democratic and equitable Knol.


Three recommendations
1. This is not a regulation treaty endless rules and heavy to read.
2. Maximum “much in bit” and a few buttons “many functions.”
3. Beware of censorship.



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