Welcome to a really exciting project! Edit

This page contains a few top priorities in terms of what will help Legal Wikia grow. I would encourage you to look into what wikis are so that you understand how much power you have to make Legal Wikia grow! The possibilities for legal education are truly amazing.

What wikis are
Wikis are participatory websites. Imagine an online community of enthusiasts structuring knowledge together in a way which makes sense to them. This is what Legal Wikia is (or will be).

Legal Wikia is transsystemic and multilingual. Early contributors will want to give careful thought to how to make the site accurate and informative with respect to:

1. multiple legal traditions
Example: the 'property' entry will want to reference conceptions of property in
  1. a North American indigenous legal tradition
  2. the common law tradition
  3. the civil law tradition
  4. and other legal traditions (this list is only an example: others might include Roman law, Shari'a law, etc.)
2. multiple legal jurisdictions
Example: Legal Wikia aims to list information about concepts in different states, provinces, etc.
3. multiple languages
Example: Legal Wikia aims to be in as many languages as there are contributors.

There are as many legal opinions as there are lawyers! How do you aim to approach the organization of this site? Edit

Legal Wikia has a mandate, which is to provide the contents of a legal education in an easily-accessible and cross-referenced format, in such a way as to help current law students, potential law students and ordinary people develop informed ways of speaking about law. It also aims to help law teachers structure their courses in the pedagogically most effective way, in order to eventually decrease overlap between different law courses; to enable encounters with the phenomena of law which are precise and backed up by information imparted elsewhere (other courses, legal sources, online); and to enable scholars from different disciplines to acquire surface competency with the concepts of law in order to promote transdisciplinary and holistic ways of knowing.
Like in any project, its goals impose certain forms of constraint. The most obvious constraints are:

Constraints imposed by the material Edit

This is not the first attempt to organise law! Categorization and classification are inherent aspects of law itself! However, this project will not take law's internal classification schemes for granted. That follows from one objective of the site, which is to enable people to understand legal concepts from standpoints which do not surrender their own innate or intuitive cognitive abilities to the logic of law itself.

Constraints imposed by the audienceEdit

This site's audience is conceived as of mixed and varied ability. One orientation to be aware of is that experts have identified as many as seven modes of learning! Not all of these will necessarily be easy to accommodate on a text-based website. Nevertheless contributors are encouraged to delve into their own personal experience of what does and doesn't work for them in order to develop interesting and creative tools to learn law. As the site develops, it might be a good idea to develop a more coherent approach to this diversity of learning styles. For the time being, however, please feel free to adopt an ad hoc approach to sharing these skills, and where possible backing them up with the source of the idea (whether scholarly, media or your precise experience).

Constraints imposed by the purpose of the siteEdit

One final point: The chosen emphasis of Legal Wikia is to present material that is of high scholarly value. The idea is to simplify and structure the contents of a legal education in order to enable a high level of discourse about law -- not to simplify and therefore distort the contents of a legal education. Please take the time to fully understand this distinction. This is clearly something that contributors will probably discuss in more detail as the content of the site increases.

Constraints imposed by lawEdit

Legal Wikia and Legal Wikia contributors will have to pay careful attention to three key issues: first, copyright; second, misrepresentation/libel; and third, inducing people to rely on the information presented as if it were legal advice.
Copyright concerns the legal status of the texts and images you make publicly available. Misrepresentation/libel (be aware that this is a term belonging to one particular legal tradition, so it's used here as a shorthand for this general concept which probably finds itself in different wording in different legal jurisdictions) is about not saying or publishing anything injurious or misrepresentative of what someone else has said, since they could be damaged by it (example: I write that Professor X said Y when in fact s/he said Z. S/he is misquoted, and her reputation suffers...). Thirdly, the organized Bar of most places is the only organization legally empowered to certify legal practicioners, and the services of their legal professionals should not be substituted for any information contained on this website.
  • From the start, Legal Wikia wants to be clear that it aims to utilize the fair use, educational purpose and related provisions of copyright law to upload material which may otherwise be subject to copyright law(s). Legal Wikia does not aim to undercut copyright laws in any way; rather, it aims to present legally-permissible excerpts and extracts of relevant texts which may or may not be in the public domain. This may undercut some publishing companies' established interests. However, copyright law exists to prevent copying of proprietary works, not to prevent the free circulation of ideas nor to stifle innovation and slow down the creation of new works, which Legal Wikia aims to be.
Legal Wikia does not conceive that it will ever be in a situation in which it would have to pay dues for protected works. This is because:
(a) Legal Wikia aims to present short, sweet selections of on-point material, and therefore extensively utilise multiple citations from different sources, each of which will meet the various fair use and educational purpose exceptions provided by copyright laws with respect to each excerpted or cited work.
(b) Legal Wikia aims to foster an awareness among contributors and users of what is in the public domain and what isn't -- because Legal Wikia upholds the rule of law principle that law should be clear, foreseeable and accessible. Therefore, the question of whether legal texts are in the public domain or not is one which Legal Wikia contributors are encouraged to consider in selecting texts and in structuring the site. To start building a Reference page on what can & can't be included, click here.
(c) Legal Wikia wants to index sources and authors of source material. It is in keeping with the Legal Wikia 'philosophy' to write short summaries of legal texts with the goal of referring readers to the source. This performs the role of organizing knowledge and fair commentary, not copyright infringement (as an analogy, consider that a published book review does not infringe copyright on the book). However, be aware that a summary that comes too close to the actual text can be considered copyright infringement. There are risks in participating in life online, and it is up to you to properly consider the risks you are prepared to assume in conjunction with this project. Only contribute what you feel comfortable with contributing, and if you are in doubt about something, err on the side of caution and leave a note either in the text or on the discussion page explaining why there is not more information in your contribution. Hopefully more experienced wikians will be able to help out with this type of query.
This site aims to collate some of what students understand about law and legal education.
Legal Wikia aims to present information about thinkers, scholars and anything else relevant to legal education. Not everyone understands an author or a theory the same way. Where possible, several contrasting viewpoints should coexist on the same topic, as this will enable Legal Wikia users to develop a more informed opinion about a certain subject. This being the case, the material presented here may not please everyone, including the original author of an idea. When this happens, a risk of libel or misrepresentation can occur. Contributors can diminish this risk in the following ways (non exhaustive list): (1) keeping the information as accurate as possible; (2) backing up the material they post with references and sources; (3) stating clearly whenever they are stating a personal opinion (we can possibly work on a system for making this clear).
Since Legal Wikia is a collaborative website, there is no way to guarantee the quality of the legal information presented here, as it may have been posted by people who do not have the requisite qualifications (i.e. are not members of the professional bar of the relevant jurisdiction).
What is more, Legal Wikia is a website about learning law, not necessarily about positive (imperative) law itself. There may be aspects of the information presented here which may help you to become a more legally-informed citizen of your jurisdiction; however, Legal Wikia makes no guarantees or representations as to the relevance or accuracy of this information. To drive home this point, consider the following example: Legal Wikia contains a section on Roman law. However, the Roman Empire fell almost a thousand years ago. Legal Wikia's interest in Roman law therefore is for educational reasons, and the same goes for everything else on this site.

Other constraintsEdit

Experienced wikians say it's best not to begin a wiki with too many rules, otherwise people won't feel like contributing! So on that note, have fun! :-)

A few things you might like to do now Edit

  • Create an account/sign in
  • Create a user page to tell other builders who you are and what your interests are
  • Translate what's been written in English into a language you know
  • Learn about wikia coding. It's very easy once the site foundations are laid down (see wikia tutorial). If you have great ideas now, that's great, and you can start contributing content now. If it's not in the right place (since there is not much structure yet), then no worries, we can always create some #redirects from it to put your article in the most logical place later.


  • What would be most helpful at this point is people who'd like to help me, SylvstaB., think through and create the global structure/architecture of Legal Wikia.
An experienced wikian I consulted on the wikia irc chat channel said to 'just jump right in'. Yet he admitted he didn't know much about multilingual wikis. The other layer of difficulty is in the transsystemic element.
I have some ideas about site design, but I'm too tired to note them now. Please feel free to jot down ideas here, or on any discussion page to date. Also, beginning a wikia-building tools page for Legal Wikia would be a good idea (it just means collecting the most relevant links (such as ['creating an interlanguage wiki'] on a page). (Note that I haven't mastered what some would consider the 'basics' -- for example, I have a hard time understanding how to link to the above website in a 'wiki' way: there are shortcuts, and I'd love to learn how. So that would be a good thing to explain on a how-to page, b/c i figure if I've tried to understand & failed, others might have the same problem!).

Communication between ContributorsEdit

Hopefully we'll all find each other! (i write this b/c apparently it's possible to create a 'usertalk' page at wikia itself, and this doesn't come up automatically on Legal.wikia (yet?), so I missed some messages that were left for me a while ago because they were on the central wikia page where I left my profile. I've also modified my profile so that messages are forwarded to my email account & i'll have to test this).

Looking forward to working with you, and welcome to the Legal Wikia community! :-) Edit