Back in January I started working on a web-based application to help teachers and others make fact-checking infographics as part of a Misinformation Solutions Forum prize from RTI International and Rita Allen. I got it to work, but as we tried to scale it out we found it had
- Security concerns (too much potential for hacking it)
- Scalability concerns (too resource intensive on the server)
- Flexibility concerns (too rigid to accommodate a range of tasks, and not enough flexibility on tone for different audiences)
Maybe someone can solve those issues as part of a server app. But after a small bout of depression I realized that you could solve all of issues by making it a desktop OS-native app.
What I’ve ended up with however, does more than simply build a set of fact-checking GIFs. It’s a flexible tool to present any web process or even non-web issue. It’s going to make it easy for people to educate others on how to check things, but potentially it’s a way to make our private work and processes visible in many other ways as well.
Here’s an example of output, which also shows the implementation of blockquotes and linking.
I’ve given it to a couple people so far to try, and the response I’ve gotten is — weirdly — how *fun* it is to explain things like this. And it is. It’s really odd.
In any case, if you have access to a Windows laptop or desktop, download, unzip wherever you want, read the license (it’s free software with the usual caveats), and fire it up. If you make something cool let me know.
Oh, and Mac users — I’m not able to build a version for Mac (I’m surprised I was able to build this one, tbh) but given someone with my hacky abilities can make this for Windows, I’m sure if there is demand for this someone of talent can make this for Mac in less than a week.
Also I’m thinking through the legal implication of hosting the produced walkthroughs on a central site — or whether it’s better to keep them distributed (everyone host their own, but share links). More on that later.