Comments on

Ushahidi and the War on Gaza

Original entry posted: Mon Jan 5 16:49:05 2009

That Fuzzy Bastard @ Mon Jan 5 17:37:24 2009 EST

It's an interesting tool, but I would think its usefulness for reporting in Gaza would break down pretty quickly as false positive reports flooded in. Some of them would be deliberate, for propaganda purposes, others would be accidental---several people in the radius of a missile strike reporting it, but the system treats it as multiple strikes. This seems like the big problem of citizen journalism---while reporters and bloggers have rather less accountability than I'd like, "citizen journalists" have none at all.

Thomas @ Mon Jan 5 17:41:59 2009 EST

Well, that's why the system still has an editor. Ushahidi reports have to be approved before they're posted. So you can still game the system, but it's more difficult when you've got someone looking over the reports and checking them against each other.

We'll see as it goes forward. I'm guessing that Al Jazeera's hoping to get more local participation as word trickles out.

That Fuzzy Bastard @ Tue Jan 6 12:21:43 2009 EST

Yeah, that will help, though outsourcing reporting still strikes me as a credibility disaster waiting to happen (albeit one with some pretty substantial potential gains). Still, it's worth noting just how much web access has already changed lines of communication in wartime. I mean, as the Iraq war was gearing up, I was reading Riverbend, a blogger in the country that my country (er, more or less, y'know) was about to attack. And this wasn't just letters from a friend---anyone else could read him too! This is damn near unprecedented, and worth noting even aside from future "crowdsourcing" ventures.

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