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July 18th, 2014


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10:41 pm - evil plans
So I've had yet another idea for a project -- possibly to go on the large stack of projects I'll never get to, except that this one dovetails nicely with the original concept for Issuepedia.

It's not really so much a new idea as the bringing of an old idea into sharper focus by virtue of the fact that I'm seeing more awareness of the need for it lately -- more so even than during/after Occupy

First, there was BuyCott, which I originally heard about sometime last year but couldn't use because I didn't have a smartphone -- which became no longer the case a few months ago, so I installed it and finally tried it out -- and found it quite disappointing.

What I understood was that it was supposed to let me scan the barcode of a food item, and it would bring up all the lowdown on the product and its maker -- primarily whether there were any known ethical or health issues surrounding either one, and providing some kind of evaluation of "corporate citizenship" so the buyer could know whether this is a company to whom they want to be contributing income.

So I scanned an "Eden Organics" product at the co-op -- and all Buycott would give me, aside from the product name and picture, was official stuff about the company: their web site, their Facebook page, their Twitter feed. Absolutely nothing from any third parties, much less any mention of their overt right-wing religiosity.

I had hoped that Buycott was at least a crude version of the crowdsourced reference guide I've been wanting to build for years now, but apparently it simply is not.

So now I'm thinking I need to write a mobile app that somehow feeds off all the data I've got in Issuepedia to provide that same kind of service, only done right -- eventually to add crowdsourced features moderated by the reputation management algorithm I've mentioned elsewhere (or something like it). That's the first part of the idea.

(Actually, to be fair, it started as an idea for a global warming denialism reference. That could still happen, and it's as important an issue, but it seems less likely to generate the kind of enthusiasm that could make this successful and less likely to have a near-term positive effect on how business is done.)

Part two is that I should do a Kickstarter (or equivalent) to buy the time to actually write this properly, on a schedule, and maybe to pay other contributors to add information about more companies and products. I've got Issuepedia pages for a couple of dozen businesses, and information on maybe a few dozen more -- but it needs to be hundreds or thousands. It needs to know all the brands owned by Koch, all the brands owned by Pepsi, all the brands owned by Viacom and Disney and Sony. (Scope-creep is going to be a difficult thing to avoid; it will have to go in stages, each with its own funding campaign and specific mission.)

Part three is that I came up with what seems at the moment like a fabulous name for the whole project: CoAgitate. (I've registered coagitate.com. I would have snagged .net and .org too, both available, but budget is tight at the moment.)

Obstacles: This would all have to wait until I've either got vbz.net up and running or else decide to put it on the back burner again, for which I've set myself a deadline of early August. (I could probably write a whole separate post about that issue.) And there's another project that has the potential to pay a regular salary, but the way it's going seems to be drifting slowly away from what interested me in the first place... and there's absolutely no guarantee that the necessary investors will pony up and make it possible anyway.

So, thoughts? Does this seem like a worthwhile thing?

(originally posted at http://woozle.dreamwidth.org/2276.html, where the number of comments is currently comment count unavailable)

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