b-roll: Paul fights spam from Btwlzyq

“An Internet service cannot be considered truly successful until it has attracted spammers.” – Rafe's law  I've been thinking about comment spam a lot lately, and more generally spam in any kind of user-uploaded content. Here's a story. Back in 2008, we at OpenPlans developed a site for the Orton Family Foundation called communityalmanac.org. It's a Read more…

Liberating Data at Journalism Data Camp NY

I spent last Friday at ScraperWiki’s Journalism Data Camp NY, hosted at the Columbia School of Journalism. ScraperWiki is a really interesting project. There is a lot of data on the web that isn’t readily machine-readable. Turning this data into something that can be made more useful to the public – for example, by putting it Read more…

OpenBlock: Newspaper Survey

If you’re interested in the OpenBlock “hyper-local news” project, we want your help! Our first goal is to make the OpenBlock software easier to install and use for newspapers in the 25k-100k circulation range.  If you or somebody you know works at such a paper, please take a look at this short survey. The results will help Read more…

Future of News & Civic Media @MIT

June 17th I was at MIT to attend the 2010 Future of News and Civic Media Conference. Civic hackers galore. More specifically I was there because of the “Data into Action” panel. Nick Grossman, my boss, was on the panel — among other things, announcing OpenBlock.

What’s OpenBlock? In a nutshell, we’ll be leading the effort to make the technology behind everyblock.com more accessible to newspapers that don’t have a huge web budget. So a local paper could put up maps of “hyperlocal news” – stuff you care about happening in your neighborhood, down to the block level. Read on..

Crowdsourcing and Disinformation

Recently, TOPP Labs embarked on a joint venture with Transportation Alternatives to build a “Candidate Survey” website, showing New York users how their local political candidates responded to a TA survey. TA is going to build the public-facing site, and TOPP is going to build a back-end service that does geographic lookup of candidates based Read more…

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