schultzd | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by schultzd

Trust Me: Credibility is the Future of Journalism

This post has been cross-posted from

My colleague Matt Stempeck said it best: "Dan, I know that your life has been a tornado wrapped in a hurricane wrapped up in a whole box of tsunamis this week, but you really need to start wearing pants to work."

It turns out only part of that quote is accurate, but you'll never know which one for sure! This is why, before I can graduate from MIT, I have to create an automated bullshit detector. The basic premise is that we, as readers, are inherently lazy. It isn't just that we'll believe almost anything -- remember that time in 1938 when we believed aliens were invading the planet just because someone on the radio said so? Yeah. That happened. The real problem is that we'll often believe what we want to believe (or disbelieve what we don't want to believe).

Page One Remix Alpha Guide

Let me start by saying this blog post is short and boring. This is intentional because I don't want it shared at all, I just want to give a quick progress update and explain how to use Page One Remix in its current state. That state will continue to improve before I consider the project ready to fully rock, which is why I don't want it shared with the world yet (don't get me wrong, it rocks, it just has some rough edges that need patching before it takes the world by storm). Also I found out earlier today that I get to pick up a U-Haul and move to a new apartment in about five hours.

Anyway I’ve just about finished mastering and mutilating hackasaurus - all changes so far have dealt with the user experience in some way. There are still a few odds and ends I need to tweak on that regard, but I want to just give the hackasaurus team major props for creating a pretty darn robust tool. It's spectacular how much basic remix functionality is covered up front.

Anonymous Project Update

I feel odd writing too many separate posts in one day. My solution is a merger: the post on Anonymous and Hacktivism is going to buy out my project update. The terms of the buyout haven’t been made public but money has already exchanged hands between the 1% so there is no going back.

Part 1: Anonymous

My stalking of Anonymous and 4chan has always been an equal blend of scientific, hilarious, and disturbing. I pay just enough attention to know what’s going on, but not enough to actually be part of the community. Life is a lot better when you don’t visit 4chan. Of course, I can’t help the fact that the entire culture is absolutely fascinating.

Not to be hipster or anything, but I wrote about Anonymous before it was cool in the age of protesting Scientology. If you are curious about how anon functions as a hive mind then I highly suggest clicking that link, not to read the article but to read the comments.

Remixing Mainstream Media

As we all know the most important part of any successful project is completely changing your idea at the last minute. In that spirit I am about to present a progress update on a project that has nothing to do with the revamped IRC interface I outlined last time (note that the IRC project isn’t dead, but I’ll be working on it over IAP instead).

Here’s my new plan: I am going to make it possible for anyone to control the content of front page of the New York Times. Want your kid’s little league game in the local news? That’s cool, but you know what’s cooler? Having your kid’s fame story smack dab front and center next to the article about Osama Bin Laden’s assassination. Suddenly little Billy is the talk of more than just the town, he’s the talk of the entire world!

Interested? Well hang onto your hats because I’m about to teleport to a completely different topic.

Rethinking the IRC Experience

I love IRC and you should too. IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was the new hotness over 9000 years ago and it is still just as spectacular today! Like I always say, however, if it isn't broke, break it. That's right, I want to change the way people interface with this group chat behemoth for my final project. Before I get into what I mean you need to know a bit about what IRC actually is. Before I get into THAT, though, you need to know a few things that IRC absolutely is not.

What IRC Isn't