Knowledgebase of Examples

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Feature:

Campaigns connect cultural interests to contemporary political outputs

Description:

Through fandom, community-building, and campaigns, the Harry Potter Alliance connects passionate fans of fictional works (The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Superman) to real-world current events.

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Feature:

The appropriation of popular culture iconography

Description:

A project of the Harry Potter Alliance that taps our enthusiasm for popular culture and applies our fandom energy toward social change. By appropriating storylines, characters, and iconography from popular narratives, fans “turn the fictions they love into the world they imagine.”

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URL:

http://thehpalliance.org/imagine-better/

Feature:

A comparison of the software and social processes which, in the case of iStockphoto, encourage mentorship and welcome new users, and in the case of Wikipedia, can automatically deletes contributions from new users without further encouragement or mentorsh

Description:

"Mentorship and peer education of community guidelines is a critical behavior for online community management. Studies conducted on Wikipedia have found that well-intentioned newcomers are less likely than ever to still be editing pages two months after their first comments are deleted (http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/520446/the-decline-of-wiki...).

Volunteer reviewers at iStockphoto, meanwhile, have been found to provide constructive feedback and mentorship to new members whose contributions fall short of community expectations. The result is a community of 7 million members which welcomes newcomers while maintaining shared standards." (Harvard Business Review, "Turning Community into Commerce")

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Traveling interviews, web platform, and broadcast amplification of stories

Description:

"StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives."

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URL:

http://storycorps.org/

Feature:

Single-login tools

Description:

The OpenID project kicked off competition amongst the major social networking sites to be the federated identity provider for the web. Rather than have to create a new login at every site and for every mobile app, companies like Facebook offer one- or two-click solutions that allow users to create a user account using their existing login credentials and data (such as profile photo).

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There are many benefits to the company whose login service a user employs. For example, the user is far less likely to log out of or suspend the service if additional third party services depend on that account. A downside for platform developers relying on these sign-on services is that they are bound to the providing companies' terms of service and technical limitations. For example, a platform developer might not be allowed to actually store their users' data if the users log in via Facebook, and users will have to refresh the authentication after a set period of time. This leaves independent platform developers at the mercy of policies and shifting priorities of internet giants. Mozilla has launched a less nefarious tool, Personas, but it hasn't been as widely adopted.
URL:
Feature:

Tiered crowdsourced disaster aid teams

Description:

Volunteer Standby Taskforce organizes to provide digital help in the aftermath of a disaster at the request of official aid decisionmakers (like the UN or Red Cross). The various teams invite a wide range of modern literacies on a spectrum between rote labor and deeply technical tasks. Volunteers are invited to join the team and take on roles which they are already proficient in, although informal mentoring and training opportunities allow ascension up the ladder of skilled labor. Teams include:

  • Task Team: general microwork and support of other teams, ideal for new volunteers who have not yet been trained
  • Media Monitoring team: identify information feeds for useful social and mainstream media sources, monitor the feeds, input data into the mapping platform, and flag information that needs translation
  • SMS team: processes and flags actionable messages sent to an established shortcode
  • Technology team: provides support installing, configuring, and maintaining technical platforms like Ushahidi and FrontlineSMS
  • Geo-Location team: identifies precise GPS coordinates for Media team’s reports, information submitted via web, email, or SMS, or information requested by formal aid organization
  • Satellite Imagery team: tags features identified in satellite photos as requested by formal aid organizations, such as destroyed buildings
  • Translation: translates media reports and submitted information into English, and occasionally, the local language
  • Verification team: verifies reports uploaded to mapping platform, checks the credibility of the sources of the reports via online identities and on-the-ground networks, and triangulates reports and information
  • Data team: Curate data, share data, map data, and support after-action reports with findings and visualized data
  • Analysis team: produces printable maps and identifies patterns in incoming reports
  • Reports team: organizes data into reports for formal aid decisionmakers and serves as a quality control layer for other teams’ reports
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The nature of crises limits the amount of time available for in-the-moment training and skill acquisition, so Volunteer Standby Taskforce holds non-emergency training sessions. They could further flush out their online training resources so that incoming volunteers can get up to speed in a self-directed manner before joining an active deployment. Also, Standby Taskforce is deployed only at the request (and leisure) of official aid institutions, so there is a hard ceiling on self-agency.
URL:

blog.standbytaskforce.com