Earlier this week, we released the first version of our downloadable, open source rumour management software, WikiRumours. An instance of this software, called Una Hakika? (“Are your sure?”), is currently being configured to support our efforts in Kenya’s Tana Delta.
WikiRumours is both a piece of software and an implied workflow for triaging and responding to misinformation and disinformation, which can predicate escalated conflict:
WikiRumours is designed to capture, assess, investigate and resolve to whatever extent possible the veracity of rumours. Rumours can be easily classified in the system as:
|New / uninvestigated||No|
|Impossible to verify||Yes|
|Impossible to verify but probably true||Yes|
|Impossible to verify but probably false||Yes|
To accomplish this, users of the system can assume one or more of several available roles:
|Community member||Enters and annotates rumours in the system|
|Proxy||Enters rumours on behalf of other users who may not have direct connectivity to the WikiRumours platform (i.e. intake from walk-ins, SMSes, voicemail)|
|Moderator||Triages new rumours and assigns to community liaisons; can update rumour status|
|Community liaison||Updates rumour status|
|Administrator||Varying levels of permission for modifying rumours, users, website content, etc.|
Although we’ve made WikiRumours mobile- and tablet-friendly, data plans are uncommon in rural Kenya (as they are in other areas where we presume WikiRumours will be most useful), so the proxy role is critical for allowing web-connected campaign managers to enter data on behalf of other users.
Finally, we’ve incorporated a built-in API for easily getting information out of the system. Users can self-provision a personal API key which authorizes them to retrieve rumours filtered by criteria like country of origin and status in either XML or JSON format.
To get started with WikiRumours, download the source code from GitHub and follow the installation instructions in the README to install it on a LAMP server. The platform is intended for customization (and is itself customized from an existing PHP framework), but tweaks will require some familiarity with MVC architecture and the Bootstrap front-end web framework (version 3).
Expect to see further iterations as we integrate feedback from our Kenyan partners and users.