Insight into a community as it tries to create something for the civic good.
Factchecking has become a cottage industry, a common -- and expected -- accompaniment to political events as they play out in real time. News organizations now have factchecking arms as a matter of course; nonprofits, under the auspices of universities, do similar work in the name of the uphill battle that is keeping politicians honest.
Now, though, there's a new factchecker in town. And its name is Reddit.
Earlier this week, redditor timothyjchambers proposed a new experiment, one that would offer "real-time (or as close to it as we can) crowd-sourced fact-checking of the debate." The subreddit, like its more professional counterparts, would be devoted to the often difficult work that is assessing politicians' claims in, essentially, real time. Because "if you're watching the debate," another redditor put it, "you might as well get the facts, not just the spin."
The factcheck experiment, in one sense, couldn't have chosen a better subject, since so much of last night's presidential debate involved he said/he said bickering about basic facts. ("This is your tax plan," the president told his opponent. "No, it's not," came the rejoinder.)