2011-02-10 20:57:45Discussing the Rapid Response Network
John Cook


I've been waiting for a quieter moment to bring up the Rapid Response Network but now that I think about it, we probably never will have a quieter time. So I'm going to get the ball rolling on this and keep the development percolating away as we furiously pound away on other projects. At the start of the year, I considered this the most significant SkS project of 2011 and if it grows as I hope, it may still be (although so many things are in motion now, who knows where we'll be in a few weeks time, let alone the end of the year).

The point of the Rapid Response Network is fairly simple - monitor skeptic articles in mainstream media and keep track of what responses have been made. So the system will list the latest mainstream articles (and other media, blogs, etc but the emphasis will be on mainstream). Users can log what responses they've made - letters to the editor, post an online comment, call the reporter, submit an opinion piece, etc. So we'll keep track of what's going on, support each other as we attempt responses and by seeing what everyone is doing, will give us ideas of what is possible and how to do it.

Here's a basic flowchart of the system as it will be in its simplest starting out form:


If the system grows and is widely used, I'll develop it further and add extra features. Eg:

  • Article Filter. Initially, system will show all articles to everyone. But as the system grows, users will be able to filter the articles to only show what they’re interested in, filtering by:
    • Region (may wish to focus on local newspapers)
    • Language (so the system can include non-English articles)
    • Publications (eg - they want to focus on articles in certain newspapers or blogs)
    • Topic (eg - ocean science, policy & solutions
  • Gradually we'll build a database of journalists and editors with contact details, making it easier for users to get in touch with them
  • Various subscription services so users can sign up to receive daily or instant notification when a new article is submitted, based on region, newspaper or topic
  • Investigate ways to prioritise articles, possibly by circulation or audience numbers? In the meantime, use Alexa rank as a measure of comparative popularity.
  • “Invite a Friend” feature. The system will probably be private and invitation only but maybe I'll add a feature that lets users invite friends so the network can grow virally.  Would have to be careful about this though.

So before I start coding, feedback on how this system could be developed and improved are welcome. And I'd also welcome a better title than 'Rapid Response Network' which is too close to Scott Mandia and John Abraham's "Climate Science Rapid Response Team".

2011-02-12 00:17:03
Paul D


Blimey, this sounds really good.

Better than I thought your were planning.

2011-02-15 05:36:48User universe?
John Hartz
John Hartz

Who will have access to this sytem?

2011-02-15 09:37:04Authors
John Cook

I was thinking just authors - anyone who has access to this forum. I'm reluctant to make it public access which would inhibit activity and discussion.