Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Keeping Tabs on Big Brother

 

There has been some discussion on the site about having a database on our elected officials. So let’s figure some things out.

Question 1 : Who is on the list?

An easy start to the list is all elected officials. We should probably keep tabs on people in appointed positions, as well as people running for office. Do we need to keep track of foreign politicians as well?

Question 2 : What do we track?

Some of the things we came up with are: Committee roles, voting records, social media opinions, donor lists, advertising reports, attendance records, thinktank/special interest group rankings.

Question 3 : Why?

The site I would like to see would let me get as much of an independent view on who I should vote for. Also something that could be used for fact-checking social media posts.

Question 4 : How?

One issue that I see is the scale.Just the amount of people to track is non-trivial. And we would need some bots or humans to scrape websites, as well as some safeguards to make sure that the information is accurate. And yes, there is the cost of hosting the website. And where to host the site.

I welcome all discussion about any of these questions. Or if such a thing already exists.

It needs a name too.

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  1. Judge Mental Member

    You could use a wiki approach to deal with the volume, and to take advantage of local expertise. That would also suggest a name: WikiCrook.

    • #1
    • July 9, 2020, at 10:56 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. Dave of Barsham Member

    I don’t know if something like this already exists or not, but something similar has been simmering in my head for a while. I don’t know how one would make it work graphically but it would be useful to not only make a database of politicians, but also their connections to other people in media, academia, and business.

    • #2
    • July 9, 2020, at 10:59 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito Contributor

    I’m thinking the way to start would be to not worry about it being exhaustive. That lets you sidedstep some of the issues. It also lets you work with the wiki model

    ChefSly – Super Kit: Question 1 : Who is on the list?

    I figure anyone drawing a paycheck from Uncle Sugar is fair game. 

    ChefSly – Super Kit: Question 2 : What do we track?

    Yes. 

    ChefSly – Super Kit: Question 4 : How?

    And this is where your sidestepping issues slams you into other ones. Accurate data is so hard to come by.

    • #3
    • July 9, 2020, at 11:28 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Body cameras. Our elected officials should wear body cameras. If body cameras show the kind of crap police officers have to deal with every day, then leftist politicians should show us what kind of backroom deals get made with lobbyists, the MSM, and big Democrat donors. Right politicians should show us their behind-the-scenes handwringing at how Trump is a meany as they cower in fear of negative social media . . .

    • #4
    • July 9, 2020, at 2:51 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Barfly Member

    Q1: Anyone who has ever been employed by any government anywhere. 

    • #5
    • July 9, 2020, at 3:09 PM PDT
    • Like
  6. Randy Webster Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Q1: Anyone who has ever been employed by any government anywhere.

    There are a couple of million Fed employees.

    • #6
    • July 9, 2020, at 3:25 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito (View Comment):

    I’m thinking the way to start would be to not worry about it being exhaustive. That lets you sidedstep some of the issues. It also lets you work with the wiki model

    ChefSly – Super Kit: Question 1 : Who is on the list?

    I figure anyone drawing a paycheck from Uncle Sugar is fair game.

    ChefSly – Super Kit: Question 2 : What do we track?

    Yes.

    ChefSly – Super Kit: Question 4 : How?

    And this is where your sidestepping issues slams you into other ones. Accurate data is so hard to come by.

    I guess if you’re interested in a bunch of soldiers’ visits to strip clubs and liquor stores, sure.

    Useful data in its way but I’m not sure how much it’d help the project. 

    • #7
    • July 9, 2020, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    I guess if you’re interested in a bunch of soldiers’ visits to strip clubs and liquor stores, sure.

    Especially after three months of lockdown, yeah, that’s a YouTube channel I’d subscribe to. 

     

    • #8
    • July 9, 2020, at 8:50 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There’s a subset of Federal employees called the Senior Executive Service. I’d start there. I wouldn’t touch the military, but Pentagon civilians are not exempt. As a practical matter, you’d draw lines; you couldn’t include everyone who ever gassed up fleet cars in Maryland, repainted buildings at NASA, or worked in the lower ranks of office furniture warehousing. 

    • #9
    • July 9, 2020, at 8:55 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito Contributor

    Mr. Balzer has a point. The fact that there’s a large population of sympathetic fed employees that nominally fall under condition I listed leaves the system exposed to functional capture by the enemy.

    I wouldn’t want to exclude military personnel, because someone could stand to pry into those weirdos at the Pentagon. I wouldn’t want to exclude only the enlisted because that way we’d never get the Phil Silvers show.

    • #10
    • July 9, 2020, at 8:56 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito (View Comment):

    Mr. Balzer has a point. The fact that there’s a large population of sympathetic fed employees that nominally fall under condition I listed leaves the system exposed to functional capture by the enemy.

    I wouldn’t want to exclude military personnel, because someone could stand to pry into those weirdos at the Pentagon. I wouldn’t want to exclude only the enlisted because that way we’d never get the Phil Silvers show.

    • #11
    • July 9, 2020, at 9:00 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Randy Webster Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    There’s a subset of Federal employees called the Senior Executive Service. I’d start there. I wouldn’t touch the military, but Pentagon civilians are not exempt. As a practical matter, you’d draw lines; you couldn’t include everyone who ever gassed up fleet cars in Maryland, repainted buildings at NASA, or worked in the lower ranks of office furniture warehousing.

    Oddly enough, one of my summer jobs when I was a kid was moving government office furniture.

    • #12
    • July 9, 2020, at 9:09 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Dave of Barsham Member

    So, there’s interest and no one (as far as we know) is in that space. There’s the potential to be the one to pull it off first and become the “go-to” source for that kind of curated info. So let’s look at the practical side in basic terms:

    – domain and host

    – web designers

    – investigators/researchers with experience in public records (state and federal)

    – project manager

    – capital for all of the above

    what else? Cause I don’t know jack about organizing this kind of thing.

     

     

     

    • #13
    • July 10, 2020, at 3:58 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Henry Castaigne Member

    Argus. Named for the Greek monster with multiple eyes.

    Argus by sandara.deviantart.com on @deviantART

    • #14
    • July 10, 2020, at 6:51 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. ChefSly - Super Kit Member
    ChefSly - Super Kit

    So this site is a good start. It looks to be just state elected officials.

    • #15
    • July 10, 2020, at 12:45 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Ammo.com Member

    This sounds like an expansion on Ballotpedia and Open Secrets

    • #16
    • July 10, 2020, at 1:14 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito (View Comment):

    I’m thinking the way to start would be to not worry about it being exhaustive. That lets you sidedstep some of the issues. It also lets you work with the wiki model

    ChefSly – Super Kit: Question 1 : Who is on the list?

    I figure anyone drawing a paycheck from Uncle Sugar is fair game.

    ChefSly – Super Kit: Question 2 : What do we track?

    Yes.

    ChefSly – Super Kit: Question 4 : How?

    And this is where your sidestepping issues slams you into other ones. Accurate data is so hard to come by.

    Senior Executive Service, too. 

    • #17
    • July 10, 2020, at 3:50 PM PDT
    • Like