Frequently Asked Questions

What is Swymm?

Swymm is an interactive, crowdsourced timeline of all history that stores and visualizes a definitive world database of time events.

Swymm’s mission is enable anyone to discover historical narratives and uncover the facts and fiction of our world by crowdsourcing and visualizing historic event data.

What can you do with Swymm?

Swymm’s primary purpose is to make history more accessible and easier to learn about to anyone.

To that end, it provides a high-quality database of historic data and a Google Maps-like user interface that allows users to pan and zoom through time.

By searching and filtering through the database, you can compose timelines that reflect your areas of interest, creating timelines that have never appeared in textbooks or anywhere else. And by browsing through other world events that were occurring during those times, you will discover sychronicities you never knew existed.

Furthermore, Swymm’s data is open to new submissions and editing, much like Wikipedia, but with a unique reputation system to improve data integrity and quality.

Private Timelines

Swymm is also made for researchers, academics, writers, legal professionals and law enforcement.

Not only can you sift through historic data, you can create personal timelines, private to yourself, that contain your own events and time scales: great for outlining your report on the Civil War, keeping track of the threads of your novel, or presenting an incontrovertible series of facts in a courtroom. And since it’s all online, access and share your timelines anywhere.

But these timelines don’t have to be just your data—they also have access to Swymm’s high-quality database of public events. Add Swymm queries and filters, and pull in historic events to enrich your own timelines in unprecedented ways.

Isn’t this just Wikipedia?

There are some obvious similarities but lots of differences:

  • Swymm stores individual facts about events.
  • Wikipedia stores documents—bodies of prose— which comprise dozens/hundreds of facts.
  • These facts represent individual historical events. Each Swymm event has a Quality Index which tabulates a variety of properties, such as number of references, source, reputation of submitter, etc.
  • Events with a QI under a certain threshold are not displayed publicly by default, which is one of several ways of dealing with crowdsourced spam.

What about Wikidata?

Wikimedia does have a very interesting project called Wikidata, which is also a ‘fact database’ that intends to form the foundation of Wikipedia articles in the future. When I discovered this I did a very deep dive into it and discovered, as it’s still a young project, that it doesn’t yet have very much useful historic event data. As such, Swymm’s database will stand on its own, but I’d like to work with Wikimedia in the future to mirror Swymm’s data into Wikidata.

What about (blank)?

There have been a few similar projects, but none with Swymm’s scope and feature set. Probably the closest (living) project is Histropedia, which reads directly from Wikipedia and renders a timeline. However, it doesn’t really consist of a database of events so much as a collection of pre-arranged timelines, which is directly antithetical to Swymm’s core concept.

How are you managing spam and crowdsource abuse?

In addition to the “Quality Index” described above, Swymm has a reputation system not unlike Stack Overflow’s. Swymm awards points to users for things like adding references to events, verifying other people’s references, and more. Your reputation determines what privileges you have on the site, such as being able to report abuse, submitting more new events, and becoming a moderator.

How is Swymm supported?

Swymm is funded both by public grants and premium features.

Swymm’s premium, paid features offer multi-user collaboration, team workspaces, custom subdomains, and enterprise customizability.

How can I help?

If you’re interested in following Swymm’s progress or want to pitch in, sign up here and let us know how you can help!