OpenPlans’ Knight News Challenge Favorites

Image from Knight News Challenge.

The current Knight News Challenge is looking for “projects that make the Internet better.” As proud 2013 News Challenge winners, we’re especially interested in other projects that are emerging from the innovative competition structure Knight has developed. Here are our staff picks for this round:

Picking Increasing Diversity in Open Source for a Better Internet, Aaron says:

Women and minority groups make up a startlingly small percentage of participants in open source projects. Open source software is foundational to the internet so it is important that we make our project communities accessible to people of all backgrounds. This is not only aspirational, but also quite possible as demonstrated by Harvey Mudd College’s changes to encourage more women to enroll in computer science courses. I look forward to reading the team’s recommendations so I can help make my own projects more accessible.

Picking The Loomio Project, Frank says:

I’m excited to see Loomio in this year’s news challenge — a lot of people have tried to build “groupware” for organizing (including OpenPlans!), and this project looks really strong. I’m impressed by how clearly the Loomio site presents the concept: it’s a complex tool that sounds simple, which is not a trivial thing to pull off. The pitch here includes Research, a Roadmap and Development – I hope their project focuses more on development than research, but based on their work so far I have a lot of confidence in the team. Could Loomio be a breakthrough tool for changing how we make decisions online?

Picking Capes Not Required, Andy says:

Coding is an art. It should be taught at a young age, when you’re still able to solve problems with innocence and unprejudiced creativity. When I was studying art at MICA, we often strived to unlearn what we thought we already knew so that we might innovate and shape the world around us. As we get older, we’re more prone to solve problems in ways that simply reflect the world as we already know it. A stronger internet is one where more people code. And the younger those coders are, the more likely they are to find innovative solutions to old problems.

Picking Peoples’ Internet Policy (PIP), Mjumbe says:

I worry about the integrity of the Internet. Organizations like the EFF do a good job of advocating, lobbying, and mobilizing around freedoms in the digital space, but more can be done. PIP proposes a formal process for involving the public in making decisions about Internet policy. I don’t know whether PIP is the right solution to protecting internet freedoms, but I believe that it’s important to try approaches from across the gamut of possibilities.

And I’ve chosen Rbutr:

We’ve all read Tweets and Facebook claims from friends of friends that don’t quite sound right, but we either don’t have time to, or can’t, find the information to debunk or confirm them. Rbutr will add “rebuttal” links to news stories that make claims. The tool will be able to tell you whether the information on any given page has been disputed, and where. Rbutr can’t make a judgment about the veracity of either side of the argument, but it can let you know that there are supporting or conflicting sources you might want to check out.

Good luck to all the entrants as they move through the feedback round.