WikiSCUM is a Web-based, free-content encyclopedia that is written collaboratively by volunteers. It is hosted for free by Wikia. Its purpose is to create and distribute, worldwide, a free encyclopedia concerning the history of underground music in Santa Cruz County, California.
WikiSCUM articles are edited by volunteers in wiki fashion, meaning articles are subject to change by nearly anyone. WikiSCUM volunteers enforce a policy of "neutral point of view." Under this, the views presented by notable persons or literature are summarized without attempting to determine an objective truth.
The GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), the license under which WikiSCUM's articles are made available, is one of many "copyleft" copyright licenses that permit the redistribution, creation of derivative works, and commercial use of content provided its authors are attributed and this content remains available under the GFDL. When an author contributes original material to the project, the copyright over it is retained with them, but they agree to make the work available under the GFDL. Material on WikiSCUM may thus be distributed to, or incorporated from, resources which also use this license. Although all text is available under the GFDL, a significant percentage of WikiSCUM's images and sounds are non-free. Items such as corporate logos, song samples, or copyrighted news photos are used with a claim of fair use. Material may also have been given to WikiSCUM under no-derivative or for-Wikia-only conditions.
Nearly any visitor may edit WikiSCUM's articles and have their changes be instantly displayed. It is built on the belief that collaboration among users will improve articles over time, in much the same way that open-source software develops. Its authors need not have any expertise or formal qualifications in the subjects which they edit, and users are warned that their contributions may be "edited mercilessly and redistributed at will" by anyone who so wishes. Its articles are not controlled by any particular user or editorial group, and decision-making on the content and editorial policies of WikiSCUM is instead done by consensus and occasionally vote.
Articles are always subject to editing, such that WikiSCUM does not declare any article finished.
WikiSCUM requires that its contributors observe a "neutral point-of-view" when writing. Neutral point of view, itself a "non-negotiable" policy, articulates the encyclopedia's goal as "representing disputes, characterizing them, rather than engaging in them." If achieved, WikiSCUM would not be written from a single "objective" point-of-view, but rather fairly present all views on an issue, attributed to their adherents in a neutral way.
There are no formal distinctions between different editors on WikiSCUM, and decisions are ideally made by reaching consensus among those involved.