3W ReadMe

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Before you start...

Do you really need to start a 3W?

  • What already exists? Who else has already started a 3W? (“the decolonized mind assumes others were here first…”)
  • Findability. How will people know that you've started a 3W? (if a tree falls in the forest…)
  • Merging. What will you do with "your" 3W when another 3W is already going, or if a more complete one occurs after yours is posted?

Another 3W will absolutely also exist, created either before or after the one you're working on. What to do?

  • Don't be centered on your ownership of a needed resource. The main goal is to have a comprehensive way for digital responders to get involved, not to have ownership of something. We must embody our commitment to collaboration and open data.
  • Talk to the maintainers of the other 3W(s). Merge the two (or more), either into one of the existing 3Ws, or into a separate space. POINT TO THE NEW SPACE via the retired 3Ws/docs, along with closing off access to updates and edits.

Everything clears. We're starting a 3W.

What is the most suitable and effective format?

  • Make sure the 3W will be possible to view in low connectivity environments, and via smartphone. Otherwise it won’t be useful to those in the field -- and these are the folk we’re intent on helping.
  • Ideally, the data is structured in such a way that it doesn’t require a scraper to pull from.
  • Put the 3W in a "white label" space where anyone can contribute to (and pull from) the 3W. This means additional 3Ws are less likely to occur, which lightens the cognitive load on responders.
  • Can it embed as an iframe or as RSS into other sites, so there aren't updating issues?

How do you plan to maintain the 3W?

  • Put your 3W in a place where others can edit it. Otherwise you are the bottleneck, and that is not healthy for you, nor useful for the larger response.
  • Some people hate wikis, some people hate google docs, some people will hate whatever platform the 3W is on. It’s best to chose based on the technical capabilities of the end users, and adapt the rest around that.
  • Instead of having multiple places to build the 3W for those who don’t like one input mechanism or another (a wiki 3W for those who don’t like google docs, an etherpad for those who don’t like wikis, etc), which then all need to be cross-referenced, have an alternative input mechanism for those who don't like that method. For instance, a google form which pipes into a spreadsheet, or an email-suggestion plugin. This could also be a way to contact a set of administrators.

How will responders know about the 3W?

  • Blog/Tweet/etc about the 3W of ongoing efforts, under your own label, but pointed to the white label 3W space. Use the tags associated with the extreme event, as well as #digihums etc.
  • Post to the Digital Humanitarian Network Skype channel and to the relevant comms channels for the extreme event.

Content of the 3W

Variables to Consider

  • How long is the extreme event likely to last? Is it a violent attack, or a drought, etc? This will impact the platform, content, and structure of the 3W. Something which only needs to be useful for two weeks (Boston Marathon Bombing) takes far less ongoing maintenance (and surrounding community) than ongoing humanitarian issues (such as the Ebola outbreak).
  • What languages do the affected population and responders speak? How will that work with the primary language of the digital responders? How is that supported by the platform?
  • Which data would be most helpful? Just because it’s the easiest to get doesn’t mean it’s the most meaningful.
  • Which data should be prioritised (time-sensitivity)?
  • Which data can only be collected on the ground and which can be collected from abroad?
  • When should data be deleted?
  • See also: wiki.responsibledata.io