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Need to Read

You know what we need? We need a central location where we can find links to informational resources indexed by issue. Also, forums and discussion boards indexed by focus, and maybe rated according to activity and even level of discourse. Ideally, it would include forums of all perspectives, so we can go see what people of all stripes are having to say about a topic. I want a site to which I can turn when I see some mouth-breather online claiming that "2 out of 3 Americans support prison terms for sodomites". Somewhere I can go where both pro and anti-sodomites can tell me if they think that's true.

Or more to the point, when someone insists that tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans will obviously stimulate the economy and be good for everyone. I want a place to go where I can find a wide variety of resources to help me refute that. Also a place where I can study up when I have a free moment. The next 2 and 4 years are gonna be tough, and I hereby resolve that I'll go into the next election at least twice as well-read and informed on all of my issues as I was this time.

And I'm willing to work on a site to help other folks do that, too. Maybe a wikipedia kind of set up. Does such a thing exist? Anyone what to help me build one, if not?

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
chadu
Nov. 5th, 2004 04:13 pm (UTC)
Hmm. A cross between factcheck.org and snopes?

CU
fenriss
Nov. 5th, 2004 04:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, that'd be one facet of it. But I'd want a kind of library of articles from different sources, too. Like, if you had a general topic, say "School Vouchers," under that heading there might be:
-a section of links to related articles at snopes and factcheck, if any happen to exist
-a list of "quick stats" along with their sources. This would be the place where we could compare the numbers from right-leaning sources and left-leaning sources side by side. It could include the projections of money that school districts might save under voucher programs, analyses of the ratio of school-aged kids to private learning institutions in a given community, stats about the best ways kids learn, etc.
-a section of links to articles from popular media, scholarly sources and blogs on the topic
-a list of links to organizations that support and oppose, so you can join, donate or just learn more

So, I'm talking about a pretty comprehensive resource. And I thought we could set up a membership system so that members could add to the lists.
pastor_saturn
Nov. 5th, 2004 05:47 pm (UTC)
Could you set something up on Obscure?
fenriss
Nov. 6th, 2004 03:24 am (UTC)
This is a very good idea. I bet Richard would be amenable.
theletterelle
Nov. 5th, 2004 04:20 pm (UTC)
I think this sounds good, and it reminds me of one of my new project ideas. I want to learn, and write about, the federal tax system. I want to write about where the money goes and why, in language that's easily accessible. It'll take a lot of research, but hey-- maybe I can make it a book, and publish it, and make money and be interviewed and get word out. :)
fenriss
Nov. 5th, 2004 04:39 pm (UTC)
Terrific idea! I actually kinda know my way around irs.gov, due to my job. Let's talk more about this project.
minniethemoocha
Nov. 5th, 2004 07:03 pm (UTC)
I think Lexis-Nexis has a subscription service online. Lawyers use it a lot. So do journalists.
lilu22
Nov. 6th, 2004 01:51 am (UTC)
I like your idea, but there's a part of me that thinks you are talking about the Internet. I mean. A place where the articles are and then space where people can comment, etc. There's a lot of issues and opinions out there. Granted, lots of "information" could be summarized or put into more accessible language than what we have so far. It's like, think of 20 major subjects, find the most respected conservative and liberal sources on those subjects, write fact sheets that summarize the issues from each perspective, and maybe you'd be close. Maybe? I'm oversimplifying this now.

For Population and Health topics, I'd say I know a website very close to the membership and post idea you mentioned.
http://www.phishare.org/
It is one of the websites my organization manages. This is only 2 years old and is just scratching the surface of good information on these subjects. I hope I'm not sounding discouraging because I like your idea.
fenriss
Nov. 6th, 2004 03:44 am (UTC)
It's like, think of 20 major subjects, find the most respected conservative and liberal sources on those subjects, write fact sheets that summarize the issues from each perspective, and maybe you'd be close. Maybe? I'm oversimplifying this now.

No, you're spot on! But we don't have to start out writing all the summaries ourselves. We set up our topics, link to what we can find, and inevitably someone will object to what we missed, and recommend new links and offer their own summaries. Or so I figure.

It's not really a Googleable situation. The net itself is too random. I mean, when I have a topic I want to research, I'm daunted by the noise to signal I encounter. Takes me the better part of an hour to come up with one idea that inspires me. We need a study library where everything is laid out in a more navigable fashion, and all the info was recommended by someone who... took the trouble to register themselves for membership. Which, I'll admit isn't the most impressive of credentials, but it's better than nothing.

For Population and Health topics, I'd say I know a website very close to the membership and post idea you mentioned. http://www.phishare.org/

Wow! That's fab! That might be a model for what I'm looking for. I like the "most recently added" feature. Also, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page for the structure that I was thinking of.
lilu22
Nov. 7th, 2004 11:15 pm (UTC)
Hhmmm, cool. I completely agree that it is really difficult to find concise information (facts) on specific topics. A friend of mine said that once she read a summary in her newspaper on a topic that was getting a lot of press. It was kinda writen as "what you need to know to write a letter to your congressperson." She wished that everytime we were debating something someone would put together such a useful summary. I mean, we all can't be experts on every topic we care about. So, having a relatively simple place to go to for the basic facts would be oh so useful.

The wikipedia site looked really interesting. I should flag that to check it periodically. Thanks for the useful link!!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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