The Universe Index

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Application text: The Universe Index is a collaborative fiction concept, involving authors from a site’s entire community writing about alien civilizations that they create as if they are explorers filling out entries in an index of the universe.

Here’s a short summary of the story behind it. The Universe Index is an index of a multitude of astronomical objects and alien civilizations. The index is created by a future humanity, an advanced interstellar civilization with the ability to connect any two points in space with wormholes, allowing instantaneous travel over large distances. However, in the wrong hands, this technology can be dangerous, because a civilization could use it to colonize many different galaxies, wiping out existing life within them. Civilizations with this technology would also have access to enormous amounts of energy and would be very advanced, possibly presenting a threat to humanity. Because of this, humanity is sending out probes and explorers to catalogue all civilizations as well as other objects of interest. This will protect humanity from possible dangers by finding alien civilizations that have the ability to create wormholes. Other than observing, humans generally do not interact with the civilizations they find, instead leaving them alone to develop by themselves unless they present an immediate danger to humanity.

This backstory allows for a variety of writing possibilities while providing a logical backing for the universe. Humanity has a reason to be exploring and documenting: to defend itself. Humanity also isn’t limited by the speed of light; humans and probes can visit far away galaxies and relay information to Earth quickly using wormholes. This allows users to write entries on civilizations that are located very far from the Milky Way. Wormholes are also very difficult to create – involving the use of enormous amounts of energy over an extended period of time – so it is logical that very few civilizations will have developed this technology, and any civilization that would will be extremely advanced, warranting observation and close monitoring. In this universe, faster than light travel without wormholes is possible by using the theoretical Alcubierre drives (method of faster than light travel by bending spacetime), so the civilizations that are not able to create wormholes (the majority of civilizations) have the ability to be interstellar or intergalactic, although on a smaller scale than if they did have wormholes. These faster than light transportation methods do not break any physical laws, allowing for a realistic universe that readers can be immersed in. This universe allows users to create anything from a civilization of a nomadic hunter-gatherer alien species that is confined to its planet to an advanced civilization that exerts total control over its entire galaxy. Writers aren’t limited to just civilizations either, they can create unique planetary systems full of interesting and diverse planets, or planets that contain valuable resources that multiple civilizations compete to obtain. This writing environment offers endless possibilities.

Any site users could create different civilizations and write about them as if they are an explorer filling out a catalogue entry in the Universe Index. They can also work with other authors or write multiple entries to have different civilizations interact with each other. The site would include a voting system, so that the best entries would be shown to more people, drawing in more users. Moderators as well as the votes an entry receives would allow for poorly-written content to be removed from the site. Users would also have to put their drafts through a review process, where other writers can criticize their articles and offer advice before posting them on the official site. This model of content production by many users has already been proven to work with the SCP Foundation wiki, a wildly popular and successful collaborative fiction website.

The site would also include an educational component, separate from the main fictional Universe Index. This would consist of an index of actual astronomical objects, including different exoplanets, nebulae, galaxies, and star systems. These entries would be created by any user who wanted to contribute, but qualified moderators would approve submissions that are well researched and well written. The approval process would consist of a fact-checking and a review, to ensure that all information is accurate and well-presented. This would ensure the quality of the educational component of the site.

The timing for such a site is excellent. Public support for space travel in the United States is increasing with the announcement of the Artemis program and future plans to travel to Mars. Developments from SpaceX and Blue Origin are also entering popular culture, further increasing interest in space exploration. Space programs in other countries such as China and India are also ramping up, increasing interest in space travel internationally. Science fiction has always been a popular genre, but interest in it has been increasing in recent years due to these new space developments, and a website such as this could take advantage of this increased demand for science fiction entertainment.

I’ve always been very interested with anything to do with space travel, and I think this site would be an excellent way to provide entertainment for a very popular genre, increase interest in space exploration, and provide education. I’ve already come up with several ideas for entries, and I’m also excited to see what others can create. I’ve been researching website development as well as methods of running and organizing a large online community, but I still have little experience. If you’re interested in the site, I’m happy to describe my ideas more in detail. I would greatly appreciate any advice that would allow me to turn this concept into a full website with a strong community, and if you could offer it, I would be very grateful for the support of the Wikidot team. Thank you!