web tool idea : Crowd Sourced Criticisms and Summaries

Ok, i’m pretty excited about this idea.
was watching a “Copyright Essentials for Faculty” presentation in Adobe Connect this morning, and trying to think up game ideas. (that is: rinky dink games that would convey and reinforce some of the more complicated parts of the lengthy legislation).

rather than a game, I’ve been obsessing on a “web 2.0 tool” idea, which i’m calling Crowd Sourced Criticisms and Summaries (CS:CaS). (Alternately, maybe it could be called “verbosity squad” or “hyperbole cop”)(or “MMOMU CaSS)(or Summark)

basically, when i see some text like “Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, the following are not infringements of copyright” i often have to read it a few times to make sure I’m sorting out the bullshit language abuse properly.
I wish I could just click a button to read how some friend of mine has summarized it. maybe simplifying it down to “We’ve already established 6 broad cases where you don’t have to worry about infringement. here are 4 more that only apply in the classroom”

(yes, i see that i made it longer…) or maybe just “the following get-out-of-jails cards only can only be played while you’re in a classroom.”

the idea is to let someone just drag over a section in this document, and type in how they’d summarize it. they’re summary would then appear to replace the selected text. I picture a roundy box, with pastel color background. I picture people turning 5000 page laws into 5 page colorful summary. and you could even group your summarys. so in the end another reader can easily scan through the doc, and just drill down into parts that seem relevant to their interest.

ideally, anyone could do this. and you could rate anyone’s contributions (perhaps when you click it, it would also offer an easy rating mechanism (like “Quality: *****” with 5 stars you can click. ala netflix, or the old youtube).

in theory the top of the document would list all authors, so you could choose to switch around until you found one you liked. some people might like metaphors, while others like curse words, while others like verbose grammar.

I imagine it being extremely useful in offering US citizens a pleasing way to access the ridiculously bloated laws that are bring passed these days. If it caught on, we might see a new world where US senators felt pressured to use the tool to designate which parts of the law they really liked, or which parts they hope to change later, but had to accept for now (and why). If nothing else, it might prove they read it. heh.

“alt-present” … hmm. (i’m starting to get the urge to buy some domain names…)

Implementation is a little fuzzy. I wish it could be an alternative to web pages all toghether. just a way to view documents online (so you don’t have to worry about *#^@%!ing copyright law). … or maybe it should be locked into federal laws only, to start, since they have no copyright protection.

Alternately, it might work well as a portal (if i’m using that term correctly). Like wikipedia, mashed up with those sites (portals?) that let you convert any web page into a goofy derivative (like reformatting into a geocities design from the 90s. or rewording with pimp speak).

maybe this is just another way to think about translating. transalting?

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