Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question or just want to find out more about Wisdom Commons? Check out the questions and answers below.

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The Wisdom Commons

  • What is the Wisdom Commons?

  • The Wisdom Commons is an interactive website that seeks to elevate our shared moral core, the ethical intuitions that transcend boundaries of culture and religion.  It is organized around a set of virtues that human beings generally agree are important like generosity, compassion and courage. The fact that it is interactive means that all registered users can add and edit content.
  • Do I have to be a member to use the site?

  • Anyone may browse the wisdom library or easily email a favorite bit to a friend. However, you do need to register an account to contribute content and create a Wisdom Page. To register an account, visit the sign-up page.

Registering and Managing Your Account

  • Can anyone register an account?

  • Anyone aged 13 and above may register an account. Users under the age of 13 are not eligible to create member accounts due to COPA considerations. They can visit the site and review any content.
  • Why did you ask for my birthday when I registered?

  • We asked for your birthday for three reasons:
    1. US law requires that members be over the age of 13.
    2. If you choose “Show My Age on My Wisdom Page” our program automatically updates your age.
    3. Collecting demographic information allows us to compare the priorities of members from different age, geographic, and heritage groups.
  • You asked me for personal information when I registered. Will it be kept private?

  • We will not share any of the personal information we collected about you during registration. Any personal information that you may add as optional information in your profile, such as a photo and your name, will be display on the site unless you choose to make you Wisdom Page private.
  • Can I change my username?

  • We're sorry, but you cannot change your username once it is registered. If you'd prefer to have display a name other than your username, go to Edit My Account, click on Edit Preferences, select "display my real name" and enter the name you would like for your display name.
  • I am having trouble logging in. What should I do?

  • Make sure that you typed your password correctly. Passwords are case sensitive (Capable of distinguishing between uppercase [capital] and lowercase [small] letters. For example, A is different from a. If information is case sensitive, it must be typed with the required capitalization). If you've forgotten your password, go to the Log In page and click on the "Forgot Password" link, follow the steps and we'll send you an email with instructions on how to reset your password.

Managing Wisdom Pages

  • What is a Wisdom Page?

  • Your Wisdom Page is a place where you can store and share bits of wisdom that relate to your own personal values and goals. It gets created automatically when you register for the site. When you see a quote, proverb, etc that you really like and want to remember, you can add it to your Wisdom Page with one click. You also can choose the seven virtues that are most important to you and show them at the top of your page. You can tell other members a bit about yourself and what matters to you.
  • How do I create a Wisdom Page?

  • You only need to register an account to create a Wisdom Page. Once you've registered we'll automatically create one for you. After that, whenever you are logged in, you can manage your wisdom page through “Edit my Account.”
  • What information displays on my Wisdom Page?

  • While a very limited amount of non-personal information will always show on your Wisdom Page, just how much depends on you! Your page will grow as you add more and more information to your profile in Edit My Account, click to favorite bits of wisdom, and build your My Seven list.
  • What if I don't want people seeing my Wisdom Page?

  • While a very limited amount of information will always show on your Wisdom Page, you can choose to make your Wisdom Page private. To make your page private, go to Edit My Account, click on Edit My Preferences and select “make my wisdom page private."

    When you have selected to make your Wisdom Page private, the only content that will display is your username, state/country, and wisdom traditions. Your Wisdom Page will not be included in the "browse members" page or be included in search results.
  • You asked for my birthdate during registration, does my age show on my Wisdom Page?

  • You can choose to show your age on your Wisdom Page. To show you age on your Wisdom Page, go to Edit My Account, click on Edit My Preferences and select "Show my age on my wisdom page."
  • What if I want to have my real name display on my Wisdom Page, not my username?

  • We call the name that shows to the public a "display name." You can choose to have your real name be the display name on your Wisdom Page. To update your display name, go to Edit My Account, click on Edit My Preferences, select "Display my real name" and enter your name. We encourage you to use your real name because it allows others to properly credit you with materials you've submitted to the Wisdom Commons. To revert back to using your username as your display name, go to Edit My Account, click on Edit My Preferences, and select "Display my username."
  • I found a Bit of Wisdom that I really like. How do I add it to my Wisdom Page?

  • We call adding a Bit of Wisdom to your Wisdom Page "favoriting." To favorite a bit of wisdom, click on the "plus" icon on the wisdom display and it will automatically be added to your Wisdom Page. You can favorite bits of wisdom you see on others' Wisdom Pages and on the Virtues Pages.
  • Are there any other ways to add Bits of Wisdom to my Wisdom Page?

  • Yes, when you add a Bit of Wisdom on the Contribute Page it automatically gets added to your Wisdom Page.
  • How can I remove a Bit of Wisdom from my Wisdom Page?

  • For a Bit of Wisdom you have placed in your wisdom page by favoriting it, you have two options for removal. You can either remove it entirely, or you can select to not show it on your Wisdom Page, but keep it in your profile. For content that you yourself have contributed, you can only select not to show it All content you have contributed will remain in your profile under Manage Wisbits.

    To remove a Bit of Wisdom from both your Wisdom Page and your Profile:
    1. To Go to Edit My Account, click on Manage Wisbits, find the Bit of Wisdom and click the "minus" icon, or
    2. Click on the "minus" icon where ever you see that Bit of Wisdom display on the Wisdom Commons.

    To not show a Bit of Wisdom from your Wisdom Page but keep it in your Profile, go to Edit My Account, click on Manage Wisbits, find the Bit of Wisdom and click on "don't show on my wisdom page". To add the Bit of Wisdom back to your Wisdom Page at a later time, you can select "show on my wisdom page."
  • How do I find other users Wisdom Pages

  • To find other users Wisdom Pages, click on "member pages" on the top navigation bar. From there you will be able to browse the Wisdom Pages from an alphabetical listing, or search for specific users. Click on the display name to view that user's Wisdom Page.

Understanding My Seven

  • What is "My Seven?"

  • aMy Seven is your personal list of the seven virtues you most seek to live by. It displays on your Wisdom Page.When you add a virtue to your My Seven list you can also add a comment as to why that virtue is important to you and rank it in importance within your own list. When many members put a virtue into My Seven, it causes that virtue to grow in the virtue cloud on the home page. This is one of many ways that the Wisdom Commons helps to showcase what we most agree on.
  • How do I add a virtue to My Seven?

  • You can add virtues to your My Seven list two ways:
    1. Go to Edit My Account, click on the "My Seven' tab and select the virtue(s) you'd like to add, or

    2. Click on “Add to My Seven” on the virtue page
  • How do I update My Seven?

  • To delete a virtue from your My Seven list go to Edit My Account, click on the "My Seven" tab and click the “remove” link next to the virtue you’d like to delete.
  • Can I change my comments about a virtue in My Seven?

  • Yes, to update your comments on the virtue(s) in your My Seven, go to Edit My Account, click on the "My Seven" tab and update the comment on the select the virtue(s).
  • How does My Seven affect the virtue tag cloud?

  • The virtue tag cloud is a random ordering of the virtues included in the Wisdom Commons. When members put a virtue into My Seven, it causes that virtue to grow in the virtue cloud on the home page. This is one of many ways that the Wisdom Commons helps to showcase what we most agree on.

Contributing Wisdom

  • What are Bits of Wisdom?

  • Bits of Wisdom, what we sometimes call "Wisbits" for short, are contributions made by users to the Wisdom Commons. Each wisbit is contributed because someone has found it inspiring and/or thought provoking. Users can contribute Wisbits authored by others or original pieces they have authored themselves. The Wisbits display within the pages of virtues they are associated with as well as on the Wisdom Pages.
  • Where do the Bits of Wisdom come from?

  • Bits of Wisdom come in many forms and from many.  Sometimes insights have been passed down in the same form for thousands of years. Other times, they are expressed in words that are fresh and particularly meaningful for a specific community or point in history.   The bits of wisdom on this site have come from sources including ancient texts, current-day writings, periodicals, and websites.  They derive from many different traditions, both religious and secular.  The possibilities are simply endless!
  • Where does the Wisdom Commons get its Bits of Wisdom?

  • Our users have contributed all of the Bits of Wisdom you find on site! To add content that speaks to you, click on the "add content" link on the top navigation bar to go to the Contribution Page.
  • How do I contribute content?

  • You may contribute content to the Wisdom Commons collection once you've registered for an account in compliance with the Terms and Conditions of Use.  Once registered, to add content to the site click on the "add content" link on the top navigation bar to go to the Contribution Page <linked to contribute>. As a reminder, the more information you add to your contribution the more it will elevate the things that matter most to you and the more valuable it will be to the users!
  • What content may I post?

  • All content on the Wisdom Commons should support or explore one of the virtues featured on the site or one of the umbrella concepts of: virtue, ethics, and universal ethics.

    Content types or “genres” are as follows:
    Quote: A brief set of memorable words said by a specific person. Up to 150 words.
    Proverb: A short saying that expresses an obvious truth or offers advice. Proverbs are a way that many cultures hand down snippets of common sense advice from one generation to the next. Up to 35 words.
    Poem or Meditation: A brief lyrical composition that inspires contemplation. A meditation can be either poetry or prose. It is more inspirational than analytic. Most meditations in our library are no more than a paragraph or two in length. Up to 750 words.
    Anecdote or Life Story: A real life event or series of events that relates to one of the virtues. Some of these are like short stories; others are simply a few paragraphs describing an experience that relates to one of the virtues. Up to 3000 words.
    Parable, Fable or Folktale: A simple fictional story intended to illustrate a life lesson. Often parables are traditional, handed down from generation to generation. But they need not be; some of the parables here were written by our members. Up to 3000 words.
    Essay: An article that analyzes or offer insights about a specific virtue or aspect of wisdom. We try to keep these similar in style and length to an Op Ed so that they are small, digestible pieces that encourage further musing. Up to 3000 words.

  • How long does it take for my contribution to display on the site?

  • There is no delay between the time you submit your contribution and the time is appears on the site. It will display immediately upon submission.
  • Can I edit my contributions?

  • Yes, you can edit the contributions you made. To edit the Bits of Wisdom you've added, go to Edit My Account, click on Manage Wisbits, locate the contribution you wish to update and click the "edit" link. 
  • Can others edit my contributions?

  • Other than you, your contribution can be edited only by the stewards of the Wisdom Commons website. Stewards may make corrections to obvious typographical errors or add/subtract virtue tags to standardize patterns of linkage across the site.  In the case of non-original content such as famous quotes or excerpts from known texts, they may correct content where the correct content is known and verifiable. Administrators will not make content edits to original works.  They may remove a wisbit if it duplicates one that is already on the site but if so will advise you of this so that you can favorite the earlier copy.
  • Can I delete my contribution once it has been published?

  • Once you have published content on the site it becomes a part of the wisdom collection and as such it cannot be deleted. This is because very quickly comments or “favoriting” may become associated with you contribution. You can edit the contribution and update the content. To edit the contribution, go to Edit My Account, click on Manage Wisbits, locate the contribution you wish to update and click the "edit" link.
  • Do I have to "favorite" my contributions before they'll display on my Wisdom Page?

  • Nope! When you add Bits of Wisdom we will automatically favorite them for you... why else would you be adding them? These will display on your Wisdom Page under the "Others Voices" section or the “My Voice” section, depending on who the author is.
  • Are there any basic guidelines for what kinds of content can be added?

  • All contributions should directly support or explore one or more of the virtues around which the site is structured or one of the umbrella concepts: virtue, ethics, or universal ethics.

    Because the site is about what we can agree on and people disagree widely about the supernatural, we ask that users not make metaphysical claims here. That said, much traditional wisdom in the form of quotes proverbs, parables and discourse claims the authority of a specific supernatural figure. Likewise, many teaching stories are about supernatural persons, beings, and events. These teachings, whether interpreted metaphorically or literally by their contributors are an important part of our common wisdom heritage.  They may be included here within the following guidelines:
    1. The contribution should have the primary function of promoting a virtue or set of virtues rather than promoting the supernatural figure or belief system per se.
    2. The contribution should not make exclusive truth claims or claims of superiority for the tradition from which it derives, nor should it in any other way denigrate other traditions that are represented on the site.
    3. The contribution should avoid proselytizing or witnessing.
  • What happens if a contribution doesn't follow the guidelines?

  • Wisdom Commons reserves the right to remove any contributions that violate the guidelines.
  • Do I maintain the copyright of my personal materials I post on the site?

  • Offering your work under a Creative Commons license does not mean giving up your copyright. It means offering some of your rights to any member of the public but only on certain conditions.
  • Under what conditions do I maintain the copyright of my personal materials I post on the site?

  • All Creative Common licenses require that credit be attributed to the author in the manner specified by the author or licensor. People who copy your work from the Wisdom Commons are bound by the following: See Terms and Conditions of Use, XII CWP License.

    Attribution: Others can copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit to your display name.

    Example:  AnnV wrote a brief life story (an anecdote) about the birth of her grand-daughter.  Brian is writing a book about becoming a grandparent and wants to quote a part of her story.  He creates a footnote attributing it to AnnV at –or if Ann V has chosen to display her real name, he attributes it to her real name.  He can send AnnV a message through the Wisdom Commons, but the license does not require him to do so.

    Share Alike:  You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

    Example: Anton is a writer who has chosen to share one of his poems on the Wisdom Commons.  Josie desides to take his poem and intersperse his stanzas with her own, creating a song for two voices. The Share Alike language requires Josie to make her lyrics available to others who might want to alter them and create their own songs or poems. The Share Alike license makes her offer her work back to the world on the same terms Anton gave her. (source: creative commons)

Making Suggestions & Giving Feedback

  • I have a great idea! Are you open to suggestions?

  • Absolutely! We encourage our users to make suggestions that will improve the site for all our visitors. To suggest a new Virtue, Wisdom Tradition or feature please let us know by emailing us at
  • I lost my password. How do I request a new one?

  • When you registered we stored your password in encrypted format. This means even our web master cannot retrieve it. If you've lost your password, go to the Log In page and click the on "Forgot Password" link, follow the steps and we'll send you an email with instructions on how to reset your password.
  • I didn't find the answer to my question here. What do I do now?

  • If these FAQs didn't answer your question, please feel free to contact our Help Desk  at for more information. Please include your question and username.
  • I'd like to report a bug I found on the site. How do I do that?

  • If you've found a problem we would appreciate hearing from you! To report a bug, please contact our Help Desk at Please include the following information with your email:
    1. A detailed description of the problem you are having.
    2. Steps to recreate the problem (if you know), or if it is intermittent.
    3. Content of any error messages you may be getting.
    3. Your browser (for example, IE6, IE7, FireFox, Safari).
    4. A phone number where we can contact you (it's optional...but sometimes it makes it easier if we can talk with you directly!).

Resolving Copyright Issues

  • How do I Report Copyright Infringements?

  • We want to be respectful of copyright issues. If you have noticed a copyright violation, two options are possible:

    1. You might consider leaving the material or a shorter excerpt available to all.  We are happy to provide attribution, source information, and a link that allows users to access more of your material at another site. To add attribution and other details, or to truncate the material here and provide a link to the full text, please send an email to  If you provide a description of the content in question along with any corrections or attribution information, we are happy to make these changes.

    2. If you want to request the removal of copyrighted material, please let us know through the procedure outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and described below.

    The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, signed into law on October 28, 1998, amended the United States Copyright Act, Title 17 of the U.S. Code, to provide in part certain limitations on the liability of online service providers (OSPs) for copyright infringement. Subsection 512(c) of the Copyright Act provides limitations on service provider liability for storage, at the direction of a user, of copyrighted material residing on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider, if, among other things, the service provider has designated an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement by providing contact information to the Copyright Office and by posting such information on the service provider’s publicly accessible website.

    To request removal of copyrighted material, please provide the following to
    1. A description of the copyrighted work that is the subject of the claimed infringement;
    2. A description of the infringing material and information sufficient to permit Wisdom Commons to locate the material;
    3. If available, another website where the material can be read via link;
    4. Contact information for you, including your address, telephone number and/or email address;
    5. A statement by you that you have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, or its agent, or the law;
    6. A statement by you, signed under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that you have the authority to enforce the copyrights that are claimed to be infringed; and
    7. A physical or electronic signature of the copyright owner or a person authorized to act on its behalf sent as an attachment or copied into the body of your email.