As you prob. know, I'm a pretty big fan of the website AboveTopSecret.com (ATS). You can check out the site if you aren't familiar with it, but the
forums I check up on tend to focus around paranormal/hypothetical topics.
So let me give throw out some thought blurbs.
ATS is great. There is a community of people there who tend to be experts in different things (photo analysis, mapping, data collection. interviewing,
etc.). The site feels a bit cluttered/cumbersome to me though. Sometimes, it's my opinion that certain aspects of ATS detract from the site's
ability to be useful when genuine incidents happen. In Texas, within the last month, there was a sighting of what many people saw was potentially a
giant craft. A number of very credible people saw this thing (police officer, respectable community members, etc.). So what usually happens on ATS is
that someone will post a new forum thread, and everyone and there brother will come in an comment on this, that, and the other during the course of
the thread (this is what forums are for). People link/drop in relative media, but this media tends to get lost in the ether amongst the pages and
pages of forum posts. This causes a number of problems. It makes it very hard for new viewers to get to the meat and potatoes (typically media)
related to case X quickly (people end up asking the same questions over and over, making the same conclusions as others, commenting on media that
shouldn't have been placed in that thread to begin with, etc.). After a while threads go stale, and usually someone else will inevitably revitalize
the topic, often in a new thread.
Check out this story which helped me come up with a more general, useful theme for the site I am proposing:
Some things struck me after reading this. Those people did not have an appropriate website to go to for this (i.e., when people want to search, they
know to go to Google), and if a well-known site was available, the person who lost the camera would prob. have gotten in touch with the people who
found it much more easily (their story seems to be newsworthy largely for the fact that they did manage to crack the case/find each other).
So... how does that relate to my previous thoughts. This proposed website could have a "Lost and Found" section (this is just one possible section
under a larger umbrella theme) for cases that involve lost/found items as well as all of the associated evidence. It's very interesting reading about
how the people were going over the photos with a fine-tooth comb for clues in this case -- this is exactly what often happens over at ATS (no surprise
here, I guess).
Back to the companion website idea. Something along the lines of "mysterymatters.com" -- that's the best domain I've thought of atm but I really
am not crazy about that name. "casecrackers.com", something in that vein...
People would simply register, upload an avatar pic, fill out the typical forum info. The idea would be that there would be categories for any type of
mystery of mystery event. Instead of just simply being a forum, though, there would basically be the concept of a case (so that it can take on states
like "Being Investigated", "Closed", "Proven Hoax", "Stale", etc.) A case would basically have one or more moderators (moderator tokens could
be passed around the community and controlled by admins). A case moderator would be someone who can edit the "Information" and "Media" case
attributes. The idea would be that forum threads about cases would exist, perhaps even discussing different things in (sub)threads tied to the case --
a case would be a representation appropriate for people to come up to speed with quickly (as opposed to having to read through tens of pages in a
forum thread that might only contain a small set of known data/real information). [cont. below]
[edit on 3/15/08 by AkumaStreak]