I need help building TruthAndPolitics.org. Currently, I am working full time on this project. In the long run, I see only two viable business models: attracting funding from foundations, or building up enough tools so that interested parties can contribute content. (Of course, these models can be combined.)
While I would appreciate any effort or even discussion from interested readers, I most need assistance building what I've come to call "whitepapers," which are essentially review articles of important public policy and politics issues, as discussed on the homepage. A list of candidate topics can be found below.
From the mission statement:
To engage in informed political discourse, people need access to information. Americans have more freedom of access to information than ever before. For example, proposals to commit American troops abroad are now far more transparent and met with greater debate than during the height of the Cold War. However, educating oneself about "the issues" is still very labor intensive, with much time spent locating resources rather than learning from them. It might take an hour or more to sharpen a letter to the editor of a newspaper by citing facts and figures to buttress a claim. These educational issues are often addressed only minimally by advocacy groups, which often focus on direct-mail campaigns to raise funds instead of attending to informing their membership.
TruthAndPolitics.org is envisioned as a clearinghouse for knowledge, an attempt to achieve economies of scale in the dissemination and organization of current and historical political information. The projectís primary long-term goal is to help individuals access the current sphere of knowledge more efficiently and avoid needless duplication of effort. Furthermore, describing the current and past state of the world will be emphasized over normative statements of how the world should be.
Other basic links:
Currently, the site's architecture has two planned components. First, I am trying to create a database of summaries of useful newspaper articles, books, data tables, and so on. To see examples, the summaries I've already created can be listed by author, subject, or title.
Second--and this is where this site would add the most value--I am trying to create collections of background papers on important topics. These collections could include: introductory/background discussion papers; timelines; numerical and graphical data; a topic-specific glossary; a FAQ (frequently-asked questions); a comparison of points made by opposing sides in any surrounding debates; and an annotated bibliography. I am currently building an outline of concepts and data on the federal budget. The following is a list of examples of topics:
Here are some specific questions I could use some help investigating:
I have a very brief page describing technical aspects of this project. Currently, I'm trying to move some code for dynamically generating web pages from C++ to php. I also need to build tools for efficiently entering data into the MySQL database. It would be interesting and challenging to create tools that would take content (a text or HTML file) and pull out people and place names, in an attempt to lessen the labor needed in summarizing document content. (Even more challenging would be to attempt to pull out more abstract keywords.)
If you're interested in working on this project, please send e-mail to me (Steve Fromm) at email@example.com.
Page last updated on 2004 February 15