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Compendium

Mission statement: methods and goals

Using a Q&A format, this page will attempt to answer some of the questions you might have about NoBleme's 21st century compendium's goals and methods. Instead of needlessly going deep into detail, it will be a series of simple questions with quick answers. Any further questions you have can be answered by interacting with NoBleme's community on our IRC chat or Discord server.

Table of contents:
What is a compendium?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a compendium as being "a brief summary of a larger work or of a field of knowledge".

NoBleme's compendium fits this definition, as it has a focus on quality over quantity. Consider it a brief summary of the near infinite topic that is 21st century culture.

What will I find in this compendium?

A documentation of elements of 21st century culture.

The hyperconnected era ushered in by the advent of the Internet altered both mainstream and underground culture in many ways, which this compendium tries to document as much as possible. Several different types and categories of contents are covered by the compendium. Special attention is given to three types of contents in particular:

Memes have become an unavoidable source of entertainment and amusement, or sometimes controversy and confusion. Memes are documented with a focus on fun, featuring image and video galleries showcasing how entertaining and creative people can be.

Slang born or popularized in the 21st century gets featured in short pages explaining their meaning, and sometimes also the hidden meanings which can appear when used in funny or nefarious ways.

Sociocultural concepts which people were not aware of before the turn of the 21st century have become mainstream notions as many groups became able to express themselves on platforms that could reach a global audience. The 21st century compendium aims to demystify these sociocultural concepts by explaining them in simple terms, both the good and the bad, whether they belong to the oppressed or the oppressive, in order to explain their history, their meanings, their reach, and their real world consequences.

You might believe that these elements do not belong together, but they are fully interconnected. Most memes include slang and use sociocultural concepts as their theme, most sociocultural movements express themselves through slang and memes, and other types of contents covered in this compendium also contain callbacks to the three main themes mentioned above.

What are the compendium's goals?

The 21st century compendium is trying to achieve three different goals.

First and foremost, it strives to be an encyclopedia of its era. This is nothing unique, other websites are already doing the same thing, some of them much better, which is why there is a focus on quality over quantity. Entries are written at a slow pace, but are exhaustive, properly sourced, and follow strict style and content guidelines.

As a side effect of documenting its era, a secondary goal of this compendium is to help "out of the loop" people understand memes, slang, concepts, etc. which they are not at all or only partly aware of. In order to fulfill this goal, the language is kept simple, pages are short, the reader's limited attention span is always kept in mind.

Lastly, as sociocultural topics have to be explained when documenting 21st century culture, an effort is also done to try and explain those concepts in the clearest way possible. Having to explain basic concepts to people over and over can be exhausting, we try our best to demystify them in a simple to read and understand format which can be linked to people in order to hopefully relieve some of that burden.

Is there a language / culture bias?

Yes. Everything in this compendium has been written as perceived through the prism of the english and french speaking world. This means that there is a strong european and american bias to the documented content, and that many non-english and non-french elements of 21st century culture will be missing.

Attempts to fix this bias have been made, but led to the realization that it is simply not our place to document other people's cultures without experiencing them firsthand. As this compendium is the work of a single person, it will only cover the experiences relevant to the spheres of influence affecting said person.

If you want to alleviate this issue by offering documentation on memes, slangs, sociocultural concepts of your language and/or culture, you can do so using our contact form. We would be delighted with the help. Contributors are credited on the pages which they have contributed to (unless they asked to not be credited).

Is there a deliberate political leaning?

Yes. It might seem odd for encyclopedic content to take a political or social stance, but it is the very nature of the content being documented which leaves no choice.

You might think that not everything has to be political, but some people do not have much of a say in this: it is not minorities who made being a woman, black, queer, non-binary, jewish, etc. into a political topic, it is those who abuse their political power to actively discriminate and/or call for discrimination against them.

In topics related to social justice, staying neutral means siding with the status quo: accepting that the current state of society is fine, including injustices. It is our encyclopedic duty to document them properly, which means actively listening to minorities, and using this compendium as a platform to relay their words.

Some people fear that minorities exploit the goodwill of social justice movements in order to further an agenda. This fearmongering is an illusion which we are trying to dispel, by properly documenting not only the causes of social justice movements, but also their actual goals and demands.

If you are in full disagreement with political or social statements made in this compendium, it might be best for you to simply stop reading it. The Internet is a vast landscape with many other websites which might be more appropriate for your needs, and we have no desire to argue about basic empathy with contrarians.

Is there a long term vision?

No. There are no fixed goals, short or long term, other than writing more content and improving the website.

Growth and exposure are appreciated, but not needed. Even if this compendium remained lost in its corner of the Internet and was seen by one new person every month, it would be enough to justify its existence. It is a work of passion, not an attempt at wealth or fame.

Who writes the articles / pages?

This compendium is the work of a single person, Eric B. (known online as Bad).

Having only one main writer and editor is a deliberate choice in order to maintain quality over quantity. As a consequence, this compendium will never have the same amount of content that other bigger collaborative encyclopedias might have, but it ensures that editorial control is maintained over all of the compendium's contents. It also relieves the main editor from the pressure of having to review other people's contributions when time off is needed for personal reasons, thus mitigating burnout.

However, third party contributors are more than welcome. Whether you would like to suggest new content or point out inaccuracies in existing content, you can do so using our contact form. Contributors are credited on the pages which they have contributed to (unless they asked to not be credited).

What are the guidelines for writing content?

The first and most important guideline is that all content must be short form rather than essays. The goal is to keep the reader's attention from start to finish, anything too lengthy or rambly might lose them halfway.

The second guideline is that everything must be written from the point of view of a reader who is fully "out of the loop", even if it means over-explaining things. The first guideline takes precedence however, explanations must stay short and might need to be skipped at times.

The third guideline is that each content should be documented in a fitting way: image galleries should be the focal point when documenting memes, controversial topics should be presented in a well sourced encyclopedic way, and a Q&A format should be used for complicated topics.

The fourth guideline is to write entries in a gender neutral way. The default pronoun in use should be `they`, unless referring to specific people.

How can you ensure content is properly sourced?

The short and honest answer is that you can't always guarantee it.

Some content can be traced back to its authentic origins, or can be backed up by academic sources. In these cases, it is easy to document said content in a properly sourced way. Sadly, it is impossible to guarantee that the original content has not been appropriated from someone else's work, or that the acamedic sources do not have a bias.

As our sources might be unreliable, the documentation will evolve as needed to correct inaccuracies. Please report any incorrect content using our contact form.

How is controversial content handled?

There is more than one type of controversial content, each has its own answer to this question.

Extreme vulgarity, nudity, gross images, or anything else which could be considered not safe for work will be blurred, requiring an action (clicking the content) before it is revealed. You can permanently disable this feature by registering an account on NoBleme and changing your adult content settings.

Politically incorrect and offensive content will be documented in this compendium, as it strives to be an exhaustive documentation of 21st century culture, including its bad sides. However, these contents will come with a warning at the top of the page, and we will ensure that they are portrayed in a negative light by explaining their real life consequences.

Sociocultural content related to minorities will only be written with the help of those concerned. For example, a white european documenting an issue related to black americans might get everything right, but they might also be missing some critical elements which can only be understood by those who have to live with the weight of those issues on a daily basis. This means that some sociocultural topics will not be covered at all rather than risking documenting them in a non exhaustive or simply wrong way.

What makes it different from other similar websites?

There are many other websites already documenting subsets of 21st century culture, especially memes. It is their very existence which prompted the creation of the 21st century compendium: separating memes from their sociocultural context can turn them into propaganda tools. As unlikely as this seems, memetic warfare is a legitimate concern, and led amongst other things to the 2016 election of white supremacist president Donald Trump in the USA.

Once the decision to create this compendium had been made, the question of "what will set this documentation apart from the others" had to be asked, and the answer is the following :

Why is this compendium a part of NoBleme?

NoBleme is more than just a domain name or a website, it is also a "framework", a set of development tools which make the creation of new components for the website much quicker than if they were created from scratch for a new platform. With this in mind, it made more sense to develop the 21st century compendium as a part of NoBleme rather than as a separate website.

As this whole platform is the work of one single person with limited time and energy to invest in the project, going with the quicker solution simply made more sense. Hopefully it will not affect your experience of browsing the 21st century compendium in any negative way.

What is NoBleme anyway?

NoBleme is an Internet community which has continuously existed since 2005. You can find out more about its history, its purpose, and its goals on the what is NoBleme? page.

As a sidenote, a first attempt at documenting 21st century culture was already done on NoBleme all the way back in 2006, under the name "Wiki NoBleme". It was quite successful, attracting millions of readers, but had to eventually be shut down due to a few issues, the main one being that it attempted to keep politics out of everything and be a "neutral" documentation. Once it was clear that the neutral stance was actually helping the spread of harmful ideas, NoBleme's wiki was shut down in 2011. Ten years later, in 2021, this compendium is designed with the shortcomings of the first attempt in mind. Always learn from your past!

How can I report incorrect content / make a copyright claim?

Please use our contact form for any corrections or claims. Even if you are looking to have an e-mail or legal exchange with us, the contact form is our starting point for any conversation.

A lot of material is being documented in this compendium for encyclopedic purposes. We try to steer clear of slandering anyone or hosting any copyrighted content without the appropriate permissions, but mistakes might happen and we are open to fixing them. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Can I help in any way?

Third party contributors are more than welcome. Whether you would like to suggest new content or point out inaccuracies in existing content, you can do so using our contact form. Contributors are credited on the pages which they have contributed to (unless they asked to not be credited).

Do bear in mind however that, due to the compendium being the work of only one person, contributions can take a very long time to be used (unless they are pointing out errors of critical importance).

Where / how can I stay up to date with new content?

NoBleme's recent activity page and the compendium's list of all pages both let you filter data in a way which allows you to track recent activity in the 21st century compendium.

Automated messages are sent on both of NoBleme's IRC chat server and Discord server every time content is added or modified in the 21st century compendium.

Most compendium updates are also relayed on the @badnobleme Twitter and the r/nobleme subreddit.