zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
A friend and I were discussing things a week ago and this concept popped into my head of a time capsule website, where you could read something written by someone a {time period} ago and write something of your own for a stranger a {time period} in the future.

I like this idea, and I could make the technical side of this idea happen; what I'm wondering is whether enough other people like this idea that it'd be worth me spending the time on it. So this post is that question.

How it'd work
For the first year after launch, it'd be seeded with diary material that's in the public domain, because otherwise it'd be boring. So you'd arrive on this page and it'd say "100 years ago today, someone wrote: {random diary entry}".

Then below this would be a box asking you to write about something that you think will be forgotten in a year's time. (Or some other prompt, or a choice of prompts.)

You'd type stuff in the box.

There would be metadata, with explanations why each is necessary. Definitely:
  • a timestamp, autogenerated. (Needed so it can be retrieved at the appropriate point in the future.)
  • language, to allow for multilingual capability
and I think demographic metadata (for purposes of "Am I getting sufficiently diverse submissions or do I need to reach out to other audiences?" and potentially for research/historical value, see below on human ethics discussion):
  • a city- or country-level location, guesstimated by computer but correctable. (Plus because it might be cool to give future-people the entry closest to their location.)
  • gender? age? ethnicity? sexuality? religion? I don't know, what would be useful/appropriate/intrusive? Anyway they'd all default to unspecified, and have a dropdown menu with options including a "write-in" option that'd pop up a box (whose contents would be added to the drop-down menu for future visitors)
And then before you hit the 'submit' button there'd be a permissions section (here's my attempt at being a good human ethicist), telling people that:
  • linky link to privacy policy, which will be:
    • I'll keep their submission as private as I can but NSA and warrants exist
    • the text only (no demographic metadata) will be displayed to someone in one year's time and potentially at other intervals thereafter (eg ten years, a hundred years (I can dream big))
    • I may publish aggregated demographic data but it won't link in any way to the entries
  • in the event that I can no longer maintain the website they can choose whether I will:
    • delete all their data
    • include their entry, but not the demographic metadata, in a bundle licensed CC-Zero and posted to figshare for the benefit of researchers and other interested parties
    • include their entry *with* the demographic metadata in said bundle
In a year's time, visitors would start seeing these user-submitted entries.

Important enhancement: email list/RSS feed/twitter that sends out a random entry each day and prompts people to make a submission.

[If the poll below doesn't work for you, try the PollDaddy version.]

Poll #15210 Anonymous poll!
This poll is anonymous.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 1

Would you personally:

View Answers

visit the time capsule
1 (100.0%)

tell people about the time capsule
1 (100.0%)

subscribe to the time capsule by email/rss/other
0 (0.0%)

submit an entry for future time capsule visitors
1 (100.0%)

give permission for your entry to be (in the event of the site's demise) published with or without metadata in a time capsule bundle
1 (100.0%)

donate a little for server costs and/or other enhancements
0 (0.0%)

be pretty disinterested
0 (0.0%)

think it's a terrible idea
0 (0.0%)

other
0 (0.0%)

ticky box
0 (0.0%)

Do you think other people on the interwebs would:

View Answers

visit the time capsule
1 (100.0%)

tell people about the time capsule
1 (100.0%)

subscribe to the time capsule by email/rss/other
1 (100.0%)

submit an entry for future time capsule visitors
1 (100.0%)

give permission for their entry to be (in the event of the site's demise) published with or without metadata in a time capsule bundle
1 (100.0%)

donate a little for server costs and/or other enhancements
0 (0.0%)

be pretty disinterested
0 (0.0%)

think it's a terrible idea
0 (0.0%)

other
0 (0.0%)

ticky box
0 (0.0%)

I have other thoughts, to wit:

zeborah: Zebra looking at its rainbow reflection (rainbow)
I really can't understand why so many strangers are so convinced that I should take strangers' advice on personal safety. One day I'll actually squelch my rage long enough to get past my politeness reflex and ask them whether they're aware that the most dangerous person to me at that moment is the one trying to make me afraid.

Anyway, this is something I'm curious about (meaning I have a really strong hypothesis that will be evident from the form of the questions, but would like some actual pseudo-scientific data to back it up or I guess to refute it) so feel free to link to this from far and wide.

(If you're not logged into DreamWidth then log in with OpenID (eg username.livejournal.com) and then come back here to fill out the poll.)

Poll #3940 Unsolicited advice on safety
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 8


At times when the public would mostly have considered me to be male:

View Answers

I've often had random strangers offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
1 (12.5%)

I've occasionally had a random stranger offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
2 (25.0%)

I've never had such an experience.
2 (25.0%)

n/a
3 (37.5%)

At times when the public would mostly have considered me to be female:

View Answers

I've often had random strangers offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
1 (12.5%)

I've occasionally had a random stranger offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
4 (50.0%)

I've never had such an experience.
1 (12.5%)

n/a
2 (25.0%)

At times when the public would mostly have been confused about my gender:

View Answers

I've often had random strangers offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
1 (12.5%)

I've occasionally had a random stranger offer unsolicited advice about keeping myself safe.
1 (12.5%)

I've never had such an experience.
1 (12.5%)

n/a
5 (62.5%)

If I have had the above-described experience (if you've had the experience multiple times, tick all that apply):

View Answers

I've experienced ill effects, or a narrow escape from, the danger they perceived which could have been avoided by their advice.
1 (20.0%)

I've experienced ill effects, or a narrow escape from, the danger they perceived which could not have been avoided by their advice.
1 (20.0%)

Their perception of danger and advice has some validity.
2 (40.0%)

Their perception of danger has some validity; their advice not so much.
2 (40.0%)

Their advice has merits for other reasons (but not including that it might stop them offering me unsolicited advice).
1 (20.0%)

I still can't figure out what they were smoking.
2 (40.0%)


(Comments are very welcome but if you don't know me, know that I have a policy whereby I'm quite happy to delete posts that are abusive or so full of fail that I don't have the energy to respond to them as they'd otherwise require. You're free to exercise your free speech but I'm not required to host it; you should however be able to find somewhere else on the interweb that will.)
zeborah: Helen Clark telling an MP: Diddums. (diddums)
(LJ users will need to click through.)

Poll #3798 We're talking non-serious instances of the common cold here. Serious illness gets serious sympathy.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6


What's your favouritest symptom of the common cold ever?

View Answers

Sinus congestion -> headache. Diddums points for hunting down knitting needles to drain the cavities.
2 (33.3%)

Nose congestion, subcategory runny -> using up a box of tissues on abrading your poor snozzle. Diddums points for plugging them with tissue and wandering around like a walrus.
0 (0.0%)

Nose congestion, subcategory blocked -> having to sleep with your mouth open to breathe. Diddums points for dreams in which your mouth is so dry it's set like concrete.
4 (66.7%)

Nose congestion, subcategory sneezing.
0 (0.0%)

Inflamed throat, subcategory ow. Diddums points for developing a loathing for the taste of throat lozenges.
1 (16.7%)

Inflamed throat, subcategory "OMG, since when did my throat have mucus glands?"
1 (16.7%)

Inflamed throat, subcategory can't talk now, vocal cords glued together. Diddums points for teaching a bunch of ESOL classes anyway.
1 (16.7%)

Chest congestion, subcategory productive cough. Diddums points for checking to make sure you're not coughing up blood.
1 (16.7%)

Chest congestion, subcategory nonproductive cough. Diddums points for getting a bowl in case you accidentally cough up your stomach contents instead.
1 (16.7%)

Chest congestion, subcategory asthma. Diddums points for being surprised when the nurse tells you your blood oxygen levels are perfectly normal actually.
0 (0.0%)

Chest congestion, subcategory did we mention coughing? Diddums points for hugging your chest together in case your next cough explodes it.
2 (33.3%)

Fever. Diddums points for plotless nightmares about Bill Clinton trying to murder someone, or the colour yellow.
0 (0.0%)

Malaise. Diddums points for... well, malaise, really. Calling in sick with malaise is just hopeless. "Hi, I can't come in to work today because I feel kinda, um, well... Okay I'll be there soon."
2 (33.3%)

Lethargy. Negative diddums points for the gleeful realisation that, whereas like any other day you're going to read/internet/TV rather than do housework, today you at least have a good excuse.
1 (16.7%)

Photophobia. Diddums points for opening that long-anticipated book/laptop/TV only to shriek "The light! It burns!"
1 (16.7%)

Other (see comments). Diddums points for the most woeful tale!
1 (16.7%)

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zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
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