History Commons Groups

February 5, 2013

Survey Results from the February 2013 Survey

Filed under: community — Max @ 1:05 pm
Tags: , ,

These are the results from the February 2013 survey conducted by Michael Tuck (blackmax) of the History Commons.

These responses are also available at Survey Results from the February 2013 Survey on our supplementary Web pages.

Last week, we asked the History Commons community to respond to a brief survey designed to help us shape the future of our coverage.

We had a total of 82 respondents — thank you for such a strong response!

Here’s the results. All questions allowed for multiple answers, so all of the results add up to far more than 100%. (Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.)

The first question asked: What projects (timelines) created by the History Commons do you find most useful?

  • First: 75% found the Complete 9/11 Timeline most useful.
  • Second: the Global Economic Crisis project, with 45% choosing it.
  • Third: the US Domestic Propaganda project, with 44% choosing it.
  • Fourth: Civil Liberties, with 39%.
  • Fifth: US Domestic Terrorism at 36%.
  • Sixth: Climate Change, at 34%.
  • Seventh and last of the projects listed: Prisoner Abuse, at 28%.
  • 14% said “other.”

Second question: Which topic(s) would you most like to see the History Commons address in the future?

This question gave the respondents a chance to focus on where they’d like to see new coverage.

  • First: by far the most popular topic for new coverage is “Corporate Influence on Society and Politics,” with 76% of respondents indicating this as their choice.
  • Second: WikiLeaks, with 49%.
  • Third: Social movements (civil rights, LGBT, women’s rights, etc) at 29%.
  • Fourth: Violence against women in the US military, at 20%.
  • Last of the listed topics: Netroots Neutrality, at 19%.
  • 17% of the respondents also listed “Other.”

Third question: Which projects (timelines) on the History Commons do you think are NOT being addressed enough?

This one surprised me a bit. We’ve long wanted expanded coverage of the Global Economic Crisis and Climate Change projects, but neither of those came in first.

  • Most popular: Genetic engineering (GMO), at 44%.
  • Second: Global Economic Crisis, at 39%.
    Third: Climate Change, 38%.
  • Fourth: US Conflict with Iran, 33%.
  • Fifth: War in Afghanistan, 23%.
  • Last of the listed topics: US Electoral Politics, at 14%.
  • 19% of respondents said “other.”

Fourth question: What should the History Commons focus most on in the future? (You can add your responses from earlier questions here, or make your own observations.)

Among the topics listed that individuals want covered are:

  • “privacy and confidentiality” (expansion of the Civil Liberties coverage, presumably)
  • “the Kashmir dispute” (as part of the US International Relations project, I’m assuming)
  • a “new 9/11 investigation” and related topics
  • “corporate influence in politics,” campaign finance issues, and gerrymandering (some of which are currently being expanded as a part of the Civil Liberties project)
  • guns and weapons profiteering
  • “Employment / Work Force / Automation”
  • goverment secrecy, whistleblower prosecution, and government-sponsored assassinations
  • US relations with Israel
  • women’s rights as a human-rights issue (we’ve suggested this before as part of a larger Social Movements project)
  • the US as an imperialist national security state
  • US and global poverty, child and human exploitation
  • more coverage of the 2001 anthrax attacks
  • more Middle East coverage, using Islam and the West and A Line in the Sand by James Barr as key sources
  • cyberwarfare, drones, robotic war
  • NATO’s increasing influence on Eastern Europe; the globalization of NATO
  • overpopulation as it connects to climate change and resource depletion
  • a bigger focus on “systemic/root causes”
  • food systems, resource depletion, and GMO production
  • a request to provide “contrary views” of “CAGW,” presumably a reference to the Citizens Against Government Waste think tank
  • more coverage of climate change (this is one of the highest priorities on our “need more coverage!” list)
  • “New World Order” corruption and “global governance”
  • expanded coverage of the 7/7 London bombing attacks
  • Operation Gladio
  • the JFK assassination
  • “created weather”
  • the US “war on drugs” using The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs by Douglas Valentine as a key source
  • sustainability issues
  • the “destruction of justice” under the Bush and Obama administrations

A comprehensive list, to say the least. We have some of these reflected on the History Commons New Topic Listing, where we’ve listed topics that we’d love to see covered by new contributors or existing contributors looking to shift their focus.

The fifth question indicated that 25% of respondents were interested in volunteering to write for the History Commons.

The sixth question indicated that 25% of respondents were interested in donating to keep the History Commons going.

Again, thanks to everyone for participating in this survey. I’m sharing this information with the other administrators today. You can always discuss topics for new or expanded coverage on this thread, or on any other thread on the History Commons Groups Blog. We want MORE contributors and MORE coverage. You can help write history on the History Commons. Please consider doing so.

September 11, 2011

Presentations w/Elevate’s Daniel Erlacher


Just finished a Skype presentation with Daniel Erlacher in Graz, Austria. Daniel runs the annual Elevate Festival in that lovely town, and is a huge HC supporter. I spoke for about 15 minutes on HC in general and our 9/11 coverage in specific. Kevin Fenton also did a presentation a bit earlier. I’ll let him discuss that.

What I’d really like to see is a more “international” presence for HC. We are very US-oriented, with the vast majority of our coverage focusing on events that primarily impact the US in one sense or another. (Two exceptions that come to mind are the Kosovar Albanian and European Football projects.)

We need more international coverage. I’d also like to see a version of HC in, say, German, either using our information in a translated form, and/or a version incorporating German-language original research.

Cross-posted at the History Commons blog.

February 13, 2011

New Posts This Week


Hm, I thought “biweekly” meant twice a week, not once every two weeks. Sorry about that.

Many more entries in the Plame-Niger timeline.

1 new entry in the Complete 9/11 Timeline; look for more in this project coming soon.

Tons more in the Domestic Terrorism timeline, one of my personal pet projects at the moment.

Many more entries in the Domestic Propaganda timeline.

After a hiatus, the Kosovar Albanian Self-Determination timeline is active again.

And finally, lots of entries related to football (soccer to the Yanks out there) and football-related economics in the Miscellaneous timeline. These will form the basis of a new, standalone project soon.

Let us know what you think, what you’d like to see, and most importantly, if you’d like to step up and start contributing.

January 11, 2011

New Project: Domestic Terrorism


The History Commons has a new project up, focusing on domestic terrorism:

US Domestic Terrorism

The project has nothing to do with the recent, tragic Arizona shootings, as it was conceived and implemented weeks ago. However, material from that shooting, and the issues surrounding it, is welcome and necessary. If you’re interested in writing up some of that material, join us.

(Crossposted at the History Commons blog.)

September 10, 2010

The Votes are In!

Filed under: community,History Commons 2.0 — Max @ 8:58 pm
Tags: ,

Okay, the votes are in, and it’s an interesting set of results and comments.

To the question, “Do you feel the History Commons is an inaccessible ‘walled garden’?” the votes are as follows:

Yes: 13
No: 58

That’s over 80% of respondents who don’t feel the History Commons is a “walled garden.” Here are some of the comments, reproduced from the poll results at PollDaddy:

“Tenstring” writes: “I would just say that the website is very raw, that is it’s just basically a collection of data — and that’s probably good. People can come and follow the timelines and come to their own conclusions. It would open a can of worms to provide analysis, although I wouldn’t be against it. It would certainly potentially complicate things, though.” Agreed. We weren’t suggesting analysis, you can get that just about anywhere and in any flavor, from hard-right to hard-left and anywhere in between. That has never been what HC is about. JZ disagrees with the idea that the Commons is “just basically a collection of data,” and has some very nice things to say about HC stacking up well against Wikipedia “in regards to value from the interconnections it reveals due to its format.” I agree with that 100%; it’s one reason why I write for the Commons instead of Wikipedia. HC contributor Erik Larson writes that HC offers “great insight into the big picture and small details are available from MSM and govt reports, but they are often ignored by the majority of pols and pundits, and missed by the general public, as they may be buried deep in the reports, at the ends of articles or on the inner pages, or only reported by a single news outlet, or only make sense in context with other information, which is not provided by MSM journalists; this is what historycommons.org does so well, and the org deserves greater attention.” Rick Mason sums it up well: “I always considered CCR as an information gathering site with verified and accurate contributions from responsible journalists. It’s where I go when I wish to make sure I’m talking about facts, not rumors. It would be great if it were interactive.”

Commentator Kevin Boulton recommends a program like Visual Thesaurus to “visually link” some of the events on the HC projects; we have considered something like this, and while I’m personally not sure VT is itself the solution, there are some very, very good visual information organizers out there that I’d love to see implemented as corollaries to our existing projects. JZ recommends looking at visual organizers such as The Brain, and steers us towards a TED video by David McCandless. The Brain looks terrific at first glance, and the video is very informative. I would welcome further discussion along these lines.

JZ asks about HC having “its own forum that is part of the site but not simply a commenting system for each entry which I think would fragment the feedback,” and recommends something along the lines of the Citizen Investigation Team forum. I would love to see such a forum implemented. If anyone has any ideas about implementing — and hosting and moderating! — such a forum, please let us know.

Overall, I find the responses heartening. We originally conceived of the idea of “History Commons 2.0” as essentially revamping the application and redesigning the site to be more user-friendly, along with adding some more interactive features. We’ve come to see that approach as lacking a fundamental understanding of what the History Commons is. As I wrote in a working draft for the HC staff: “History Commons 2.0 is not a revised app and a redone design, it’s a new community of contributors and participants.” The app will grow out of the needs and participation of the community, not the other way around. Discussions like this one are the first steps in growing a new and vibrant History Commons community. Let’s extend it by talking over some of the points above in the comments.

August 22, 2010

Open Thread

Filed under: community,open thread — Max @ 10:28 pm
Tags: ,

Have at it.

August 6, 2010

Open Thread

Filed under: community,open thread — Max @ 10:28 am
Tags: ,

Jibber your jabber. Don’t be shy.

July 24, 2010

Open Thread

Filed under: community,open thread — Max @ 2:36 pm
Tags: ,

Every few days we’re going to open a blank thread for anyone to post, well, anything they like that’s halfway pertinent (and not spam or abuse). These open threads are good venues for anyone interested in talking about History Commons-covered issues to ask a question or make an observation. If something comes up that’s worth more extensive conversation, we’ll make a separate thread for it.

So, have at it!

New Contributors’ Resource Page

Filed under: community — Max @ 2:13 pm
Tags: , ,

We’ve put together a one-stop link to all the resources available for History Commons contributors. The page includes the “Entries for ‘Dummies’,” a Content and Copy Editing guide, walkthroughs, style manuals, links to writing resources, and more.

If you have suggestions as to what should be added to this list, post them below. Thanks!

February 13, 2010

10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

Filed under: community — Max @ 4:45 pm
Tags: , ,

We’re all readers and writers around here, and no one gets the language right all the time. This is the funniest set of spelling reminders I’ve seen in a very long time:

10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.