History Commons Groups

About This Blog

Welcome to the History Commons Groups blog. This is the place to interact with the other members of the Commons community–project managers, contributors, and readers alike. It’s also the place to discuss issues and ideas that come from the various groups represented in the Commons. Whether your issue of interest is the 9/11 attacks, the use of propaganda by the military, torture of terror suspects, the occupation of Iraq, global warming, or any of the other topics represented on the site, you’re welcome to state your views, express your opinions, and get a conversation rolling. We also welcome non-issue discussions; we can’t be serious and issue-driven all the time.

There are a few things to note. First, it is very important to note that the History Commons does not own the content on the site, nor does it attempt to control the content. The content–the groups and entries that make up the content of the site–belong to the individual contributor. The History Commons merely provides a place to house this content. Just as the content on the Commons represent the opinions, beliefs, or ideas of the Commons itself, neither do the opinions, ideas, and expressions that make up this blog represent the opinions or beliefs of the History Commons itself. It may seem like an unimportant distinction to some, but it is key to understanding what the Commons is and how it functions. We have a separate blog for the History Commons itself that can be visited by clicking here. That blog covers site issues itself–functionality, design issues, fundraising, volunteering, etc. We do content here, function there.

Secondly, the content providers who handle the material on this blog will not, repeat, will not tolerate personal attacks, ugly invective, spam, trolling, flame wars, commercial proselytizing, racial slurs, ethnic attacks, pornographic postings, advocacy of violence, or anything of that nature in the posts and comments. There will be no warnings except for this one. Posts and comments that violate this prohibition will be deleted without warning, and if users continue to attempt to post such material, they will be banned. Sorry, but there are a million flame pits on the Internet. This will not become one of those places. The proprietors and administrators of this blog are the final arbiters of what will and will not be allowed.

Whew. Now that that’s over, what is allowed? Just about anything else that relates to the Commons. We want you to feel free to discuss ideas, bring up new topics, trot out opinions, even butt heads–civilly. The project managers and contributors do not, as a rule, stray from factual presentations and content on the History Commons itself; here, they can and hopefully will let their hair down and let their opinions fly. You can, too.

The History Commons does not take a partisan stance on any issue. Individual contributors and blog visitors are certainly welcome to. This blog does not hew to any one political or social ideology. As long as the participants remain respectful of each other’s views and each other’s humanity, any and all viewpoints are welcome to be expressed. You will not be banned or demeaned because your views don’t align with someone else’s.

We also want to know what you’d like to see in the History Commons. Is there a group that needs starting? Is there a topic that isn’t being adequately covered? Is there an informational resource out there that we need to know about? What can the Commons do to address your needs as a researcher, a reader, a user, a contributor, and a human being? We want to know. Here’s the place to discuss all of that.

Thanks for reading. Now say something!


  1. Nice idea… ‘something’….

    Comment by Jan — July 17, 2008 @ 8:34 am | Reply

  2. Dear History Commons Blog:

    Congratulations on getting the webpage and blog up and running. It takes time and effort.

    How can we set up an automated data collection and simple content analysis system for monitoring media for bias? I was thinking along the lines of something like Wordle (www.wordle.net) that would give simple and quick displays, but would show asymmetries in coverage (people quoted, or references cited) on a particular event or plan. Wordle gives different sizes and colors and perspectives for different words, and those can be controlled along with font types, to produce some fascinating displays of a word article. As much fun as Wordle is, for evaluating news articles you would require much more specific types of information.

    Given that there is so much research in computer based content analysis, and the “semantic” web, it is surprising that there are no “beta” versions of software available and given the number of layoffs in newspapers this year, it may be that the news coverage of the military is just one example of low quality jounalism.

    Biased coverage is not knew, small town newspapers, even large town newspapers when the economy is struggling, are not able to afford a room full of editors or high priced scholars to score articles on a number of dimensions.

    I”m going to copy the man (Jonathan Feinberg, IBM Research) who wrote Wordle and see what he has to suggest.

    Dwight Hines
    St. Augustine, Florida

    Comment by Dwight Hines — July 17, 2008 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  3. >>Congratulations on getting the webpage and blog up and running. It takes time and effort.

    Thanks, Dwight. Don’t hesitate to jump in and contribute! (Note, I deleted your second comment, since it was just a repeat of the first one. Sorry that the system hiccuped your submission.)

    >>How can we set up an automated data collection and simple content analysis system for monitoring media for bias?

    This I’m not so sure about. An automated content analysis system to monitor for bias? That would require some heuristic analysis capabilities that would floor me. Wordle is, from my quick overview, basically a system for creating tag clouds. You could run a particular story (or set of stories) through Wordle, generate tag clouds, and analyze them for word frequency.

    >>As much fun as Wordle is, for evaluating news articles you would require much more specific types of information.

    Exactly. This is a terrific idea that needs to be pursued. I hope your contacts with Dr. Feinberg are productive. If you’re able to produce something that approaches the performance of the task you’ve delineated, please let us know.

    Comment by Max — July 17, 2008 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

  4. Please help me track down the truth of this matter: Did Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski arm the Afghans before the Soviets invaded in 1979? Thanks, I have a paper riding on it, West Virginia State U.

    Comment by Babashka — April 27, 2009 @ 8:25 pm | Reply

    • Short answer: yes. Check the War in Afghanistan project on the Commons. Thanks!

      Comment by Max — April 27, 2009 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  5. […] me remind everyone of this caveat, published in the “About This Blog” page. [T]he content providers who handle the material on this blog will not, repeat, will […]

    Pingback by Posting on HC Groups « History Commons Groups — April 27, 2009 @ 8:29 pm | Reply

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