“Today, as it did yesterday, and the day, the month, the year before, it was snowing on Intalgilo. [Gathered] around the hearth in the Inn at Lowpai, sat the Obliger and her two followers. The larger follower was holding forth, ‘Remove the source of inequality and that will solve the problem.’” Text accompanying the Galaxiki entry for the planet Intagilo.
“Today, as it did yesterday, and the day, the month, the year before, it was snowing on Intalgilo. [Gathered] around the hearth in the Inn at Lowpai, sat the Obliger and her two followers. The larger follower was holding forth, ‘Remove the source of inequality and that will solve the problem.’” Text accompanying the Galaxiki entry for the planet Intalgilo.
That fragment of fantasy is part of an entire fictional universe launched (“created”?) on July 1st called Galaxiki. The foundation of Galaxiki is wiki and the content describes a galaxy that isn’t long, long ago but is far, far away and actually conforms to modern cosmological theories:
“The basic Galaxiki rules state that we shall stay close to the physics of the real world. This means that the universe is about 13.7 billion (13.700.000.000) years old. The Galaxiki galaxy is about 8 billion years old.”
In many respects Galaxiki is a lot like Wikipedia in that it asks for similar community standards to be adhered to and is completely user driven. On the other hand the big difference is that the entire wiki contents, while observing the constraints of real world physics, are completely made up and, sadly, as required by community rules to be independent fiction (i.e. characters in other copyrighted works can’t be used within Galaxiki).
For a well-developed solar system check out “TheEncourager (VDB814)” a red dwarf star with 5 planets.
Once you sign up (for free) you can edit open solar systems and if you pony up 10 euros you can “own” a solar system which you can choose to open to the public or retain for private editing.
Now even though you might think this to be a trivial project it seems it attracted some 400 people to register within the first two weeks with minimal promotion, and as of Aug. 17 there were 824 registered.
Fantasy is a huge social audience driver and as the Galaxiki universe (I know Galaxiki is a galaxy but you get my meaning) grows and gets rich links to other external content there’s the possibility for it become a primary hub for science fiction fans.
There are also suggestions in the Galaxiki Forums to integrate the Galaxiki database with Celestia, a free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions, and that runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Another suggestion was integration with the forthcoming video Will Wright game, Spore, which could have incredible potential for the game’s popularity.
If you are thinking about social networking and community for your Web application consider the potential of user involvement using a semi-structured environment like Galaxiki – cheap, effective, and fundamentally simple.