When we open-sourced the code for Help Me Investigate the plan was to move from a single site to a decentralised, networked structure. Now, thanks to Andy Dickinson, it has become even easier for anyone to host their own journalism crowdsourcing platform.
Since a conversation a couple of months ago, Andy has been tweaking a WordPress plugin that replicates the functionality of the previous Help Me Investigate site. It’s now ready for use.
The plugin adds an ‘Investigations’ page to your self-hosted WordPress blog which holds ‘sticky’ pages for any investigations you want to pursue, and allows you to break those down into distinct challenges that anyone can contribute to.
You can also add tags and grade progress, and limit access to make an investigation more private. Full functionality and limitations are listed on the plugin page.
Original Help Me Investigate code also upgraded
Meanwhile, for organisations or groups with more technical resources Dave Goodchild has been upgrading the code for the original Help Me Investigate. This was originally written in Rails 2.3.2 but Dave has been upgrading it to more recent versions.
This code is more powerful than the plugin, but also more demanding technically. You can see – and help with – his latest upgrades at https://github.com/buddhamagnet/help_me_investigate
Help improve the plugin
Likewise, if you’re in the crowdsourcing spirit, Andy Dickinson is inviting people to help further develop the plugin.
Whether you use the plugin on your own blog or run the original Rails code on a news website – or want to help with either – please let me know: I’m happy to pass on my own experiences of running a crowdsourcing project, and as part of this move to a decentralised approach I’m compiling a list of investigations around the web so that people can more easily help – y’know – investigate…