Ideas for Pro-Atheism Social/Web Project, Anyone?
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06-06-2013, 04:25 PM
Ideas for Pro-Atheism Social/Web Project, Anyone?
Hey guys I'm new to this forum so forgive me if my choice of subsection is wrong.

Anyway I'm a professional web dev/designer and I'm looking for a fun side project that I could use an excuse to learn some new technologies. I've been thinking that benefiting the Atheist community would be rather cathartic so here I am asking for input...

The idea would be to create something that would take me < 40 hours (I don't plan on profitting in any way) and that would engaging and community driven. To be clear I'm trying to make a one off web app not a competitor to TTA.com or anything like that, hopefully it would be something that a site like this might like to link too.

I'm interested in the communities ideas and what you guys think would be neat, what you would actually visit and also if any of this stuff exists already or if any of you have a great idea that you would like to see become reality. *I think I will be avoiding video unless through youTube (just because of the hosting costs).

1) freethoughteverywhere.org - Google maps driven application that gathers, aggregates and displays free thinkers in a historical view (total population) and/or real time (as they de-convert). It would show general location on a heat map + age/sex/location/former religion). The idea would be to show free thinkers that they are not alone while gathering helpful data for organizations like The Foundation for Science and Reason.

2) notharmless.org - Anonymous form that would allow users to post personal stories as well as artwork or photographs detailing the harm done to them by indoctrination/discrimination/zealots/haters/etc. It would then sort/catalog these stories for display in a dramatic manner in an attempt to solicit an emotional reaction from theists/the world at large.

3) goddebate.org - A site for debating various religious points (is religion harmful or helpful?, is indoctrination okay?, does god exist? was the earth created in 6 days?) users could vote their respective champions up to the pulpit in real time so that at any given time the two best debaters are always debating the topic of the day and the rest of us get to watch/check sources and comment in the peanut gallery. *probably requires an un-reasonable amount of traffic to operate

In any event I would probably catalog the whole design/dev processes here and take any assistance offered.

Thanks,
Chris

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06-06-2013, 05:34 PM
RE: Ideas for Pro-Atheism Social/Web Project, Anyone?
(06-06-2013 04:25 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  Hey guys I'm new to this forum so forgive me if my choice of subsection is wrong.

Anyway I'm a professional web dev/designer and I'm looking for a fun side project that I could use an excuse to learn some new technologies. I've been thinking that benefiting the Atheist community would be rather cathartic so here I am asking for input...

The idea would be to create something that would take me < 40 hours (I don't plan on profitting in any way) and that would engaging and community driven. To be clear I'm trying to make a one off web app not a competitor to TTA.com or anything like that, hopefully it would be something that a site like this might like to link too.

I'm interested in the communities ideas and what you guys think would be neat, what you would actually visit and also if any of this stuff exists already or if any of you have a great idea that you would like to see become reality. *I think I will be avoiding video unless through youTube (just because of the hosting costs).

1) freethoughteverywhere.org - Google maps driven application that gathers, aggregates and displays free thinkers in a historical view (total population) and/or real time (as they de-convert). It would show general location on a heat map + age/sex/location/former religion). The idea would be to show free thinkers that they are not alone while gathering helpful data for organizations like The Foundation for Science and Reason.

2) notharmless.org - Anonymous form that would allow users to post personal stories as well as artwork or photographs detailing the harm done to them by indoctrination/discrimination/zealots/haters/etc. It would then sort/catalog these stories for display in a dramatic manner in an attempt to solicit an emotional reaction from theists/the world at large.

3) goddebate.org - A site for debating various religious points (is religion harmful or helpful?, is indoctrination okay?, does god exist? was the earth created in 6 days?) users could vote their respective champions up to the pulpit in real time so that at any given time the two best debaters are always debating the topic of the day and the rest of us get to watch/check sources and comment in the peanut gallery. *probably requires an un-reasonable amount of traffic to operate

In any event I would probably catalog the whole design/dev processes here and take any assistance offered.

Thanks,
Chris

Which technologies are you trying to learn?

If you're open to another project suggestion, something I've been pondering myself (but lack the chops to implement) is an "atheist needs help" alert system. It would be a sort of atheist-centric charity system, as a substitute for the social support network provided by most churches. Users can post things they really need, usually services or immediate goods (a place to stay, a good meal, help moving, a ride, shoulder to cry on, legal advice, whatever) and it would forward that to local users that have indicated they can provide such support.

.... hell, I can probably figure out how to implement that anyway. Maybe I'll make that a learning project of my own.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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06-06-2013, 06:04 PM
RE: Ideas for Pro-Atheism Social/Web Project, Anyone?
(06-06-2013 05:34 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Which technologies are you trying to learn?

If you're open to another project suggestion, something I've been pondering myself (but lack the chops to implement) is an "atheist needs help" alert system. It would be a sort of atheist-centric charity system, as a substitute for the social support network provided by most churches. Users can post things they really need, usually services or immediate goods (a place to stay, a good meal, help moving, a ride, shoulder to cry on, legal advice, whatever) and it would forward that to local users that have indicated they can provide such support.

.... hell, I can probably figure out how to implement that anyway. Maybe I'll make that a learning project of my own.

Symfony is what I'm interested in ATM, I do mostly Drupal @ my 9-5 and Drupal 8 will be leveraging symfony so I'd like to get a leg up...Although if a good enough idea comes up I will use whatever tools I think will get the job done (but it will almost certainly be LAMP stack since I want to keep it all open source, limit my overhead and I already have an Ubuntu cloud server running).

That's actually a really nobel and needed cause. I saw that the Tornado surviving Atheist lady got $10,000 in aid from the secular community and realized how rare donations like that must be for those who aren't affiliated with some religious organization.

The only problem is that without distribution channels/physical offices/active leaders (basically a full fledged charity organization) it would be little more than a secular craigslist and would have all the same problems craigslist does (and possibly, I fear, super charged by zealotry)... Predators and other miscreants praying on people in need, scam artists of all kinds, etc.

If say the AHA wanted to run it/moderate it, I would be glad to help build it... Otherwise I feel like I should stick to cyberspace.

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06-06-2013, 10:46 PM
RE: Ideas for Pro-Atheism Social/Web Project, Anyone?
(06-06-2013 06:04 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  
(06-06-2013 05:34 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Which technologies are you trying to learn?

If you're open to another project suggestion, something I've been pondering myself (but lack the chops to implement) is an "atheist needs help" alert system. It would be a sort of atheist-centric charity system, as a substitute for the social support network provided by most churches. Users can post things they really need, usually services or immediate goods (a place to stay, a good meal, help moving, a ride, shoulder to cry on, legal advice, whatever) and it would forward that to local users that have indicated they can provide such support.

.... hell, I can probably figure out how to implement that anyway. Maybe I'll make that a learning project of my own.

Symfony is what I'm interested in ATM, I do mostly Drupal @ my 9-5 and Drupal 8 will be leveraging symfony so I'd like to get a leg up...Although if a good enough idea comes up I will use whatever tools I think will get the job done (but it will almost certainly be LAMP stack since I want to keep it all open source, limit my overhead and I already have an Ubuntu cloud server running).

That's actually a really nobel and needed cause. I saw that the Tornado surviving Atheist lady got $10,000 in aid from the secular community and realized how rare donations like that must be for those who aren't affiliated with some religious organization.

The only problem is that without distribution channels/physical offices/active leaders (basically a full fledged charity organization) it would be little more than a secular craigslist and would have all the same problems craigslist does (and possibly, I fear, super charged by zealotry)... Predators and other miscreants praying on people in need, scam artists of all kinds, etc.

If say the AHA wanted to run it/moderate it, I would be glad to help build it... Otherwise I feel like I should stick to cyberspace.

.... good point about the moderation. I was kinda seeing that after I posted. I thought volunteers could handle that sort of thing in a crowdsourced, grassroots sort of way, but yeah, that can go really sour.

Hmm. Symfony. All I know about it is what I read on wikipedia, but it looks like it's front-end oriented and you're aiming primarily for something that emphasizes an interactive interface.

Back to feedback on your original ideas, (1) would be kinda boring in real time. You'd either have very incomplete data, or be going by some aggregate data like the US census, or have so much penetration that you actually know when most people deconvert. Farm religious affiliation data off of Facebook, maybe? The historical view would be cool, but could be handled much easier with just a video or a pdf. (2) sounds like a cool project. How would it sort and categorize them? Would you crowdsource reviews? Doesn't sound like you want to write an AI for this project. Would you fact-check submissions? (3) sounds like a nightmare to actually keep running. Not from the technical side, but in terms of actual users making it work. If they're focusing on upvoting their favorite debater, are they paying attention to the debate that's front and center? If one debater has to go answer the doorbell, do they lose the podium? Who takes their place, and how much warning do they have before their live? I'm not saying any of these are bad projects, just giving you feedback.

.... I'm imagining something similar to Pandora's music genetic code algorithm. I don't know the details of it, but the gist I got from their blurbs is that it will categorize music by a wide variety of variables and rely on your feedback to pick out the strongest indicators of whether you'll like a song or not. (Why, oh why, can't it figure out that I hate live music?) Maybe something similar, related to book recommendations? A user could create a profile based on several variables of theology -- do they believe this or that, similar to a lot of "find the religion that matches you best" purity tests online. The ap will then recommend books or other media that are powerful for changing the minds of people in that position or just making them think, and asks afterwards if the media was interesting, affected their view of the world, and would be recommended again, and update its recommendation algorithm accordingly. Users can also recommend media to the system that caused them to change their views in the past, or just held their interest. If the media's in the open domain, the program could even provide access to it.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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07-06-2013, 08:12 AM
RE: Ideas for Pro-Atheism Social/Web Project, Anyone?
(06-06-2013 10:46 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(06-06-2013 06:04 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  Symfony is what I'm interested in ATM, I do mostly Drupal @ my 9-5 and Drupal 8 will be leveraging symfony so I'd like to get a leg up...Although if a good enough idea comes up I will use whatever tools I think will get the job done (but it will almost certainly be LAMP stack since I want to keep it all open source, limit my overhead and I already have an Ubuntu cloud server running).

That's actually a really nobel and needed cause. I saw that the Tornado surviving Atheist lady got $10,000 in aid from the secular community and realized how rare donations like that must be for those who aren't affiliated with some religious organization.

The only problem is that without distribution channels/physical offices/active leaders (basically a full fledged charity organization) it would be little more than a secular craigslist and would have all the same problems craigslist does (and possibly, I fear, super charged by zealotry)... Predators and other miscreants praying on people in need, scam artists of all kinds, etc.

If say the AHA wanted to run it/moderate it, I would be glad to help build it... Otherwise I feel like I should stick to cyberspace.

.... good point about the moderation. I was kinda seeing that after I posted. I thought volunteers could handle that sort of thing in a crowdsourced, grassroots sort of way, but yeah, that can go really sour.

Hmm. Symfony. All I know about it is what I read on wikipedia, but it looks like it's front-end oriented and you're aiming primarily for something that emphasizes an interactive interface.

Back to feedback on your original ideas, (1) would be kinda boring in real time. You'd either have very incomplete data, or be going by some aggregate data like the US census, or have so much penetration that you actually know when most people deconvert. Farm religious affiliation data off of Facebook, maybe? The historical view would be cool, but could be handled much easier with just a video or a pdf. (2) sounds like a cool project. How would it sort and categorize them? Would you crowdsource reviews? Doesn't sound like you want to write an AI for this project. Would you fact-check submissions? (3) sounds like a nightmare to actually keep running. Not from the technical side, but in terms of actual users making it work. If they're focusing on upvoting their favorite debater, are they paying attention to the debate that's front and center? If one debater has to go answer the doorbell, do they lose the podium? Who takes their place, and how much warning do they have before their live? I'm not saying any of these are bad projects, just giving you feedback.

.... I'm imagining something similar to Pandora's music genetic code algorithm. I don't know the details of it, but the gist I got from their blurbs is that it will categorize music by a wide variety of variables and rely on your feedback to pick out the strongest indicators of whether you'll like a song or not. (Why, oh why, can't it figure out that I hate live music?) Maybe something similar, related to book recommendations? A user could create a profile based on several variables of theology -- do they believe this or that, similar to a lot of "find the religion that matches you best" purity tests online. The ap will then recommend books or other media that are powerful for changing the minds of people in that position or just making them think, and asks afterwards if the media was interesting, affected their view of the world, and would be recommended again, and update its recommendation algorithm accordingly. Users can also recommend media to the system that caused them to change their views in the past, or just held their interest. If the media's in the open domain, the program could even provide access to it.

Yeah #1 would have to be pre-populated with any census data I could find and then visiting individuals would provide richer data over time. It's as traffic dependent as all of these ideas and would require multiple translations to really achieve it's goal.

Yeah idea #3 is out, it's stupid, hard to get up and running and would probably be better if it was not purely theological in scope.

I'm not concerned about doing front-end, I do client side all the time and I have maps scripts that I can re-cycle. The scope should be really small, basically as long as SQL is involved in some way (even if it is just 1 or 2 tables) it would fulfill my goal of learning symfony (I would still need to gather post data, store it, retrieve it, sort it and render it to HTML)....pretty much all these ideas fit that mold.

As for #2 I wouldn't be writing an AI, but one wouldn't be necessary either. Content would simply be tagged with various terms by users and authors, silo-ed into categories via select boxes upon creation and then rated by users in an ongoing processes. The same way that youTube works basically. Computers suck at critical thinking, let people do it. #2 could also have a geographical component as a secondary feature.

#5 (recommended reading idea) would be very similar to #2 in terms of implementation except instead of having one type of node/one DB table it would require two (one for user profiles and one for bits of media) that would be cross-referenced.

#6 - A new idea would be similar to #2 but be more historical in nature, it would show the world from the beginning of human history as a map w/ an accelerated clock and attempt to tally a kill count for each of the worlds major religions in a bar graph, animating the raising death toll tickers and triggering blips on the map as events like the crusades and the inquisition and 9/11 occur...It would require a heck of a lot of research though.

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07-06-2013, 01:00 PM
RE: Ideas for Pro-Atheism Social/Web Project, Anyone?
(07-06-2013 08:12 AM)ridethespiral Wrote:  
(06-06-2013 10:46 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  .... good point about the moderation. I was kinda seeing that after I posted. I thought volunteers could handle that sort of thing in a crowdsourced, grassroots sort of way, but yeah, that can go really sour.

Hmm. Symfony. All I know about it is what I read on wikipedia, but it looks like it's front-end oriented and you're aiming primarily for something that emphasizes an interactive interface.

Back to feedback on your original ideas, (1) would be kinda boring in real time. You'd either have very incomplete data, or be going by some aggregate data like the US census, or have so much penetration that you actually know when most people deconvert. Farm religious affiliation data off of Facebook, maybe? The historical view would be cool, but could be handled much easier with just a video or a pdf. (2) sounds like a cool project. How would it sort and categorize them? Would you crowdsource reviews? Doesn't sound like you want to write an AI for this project. Would you fact-check submissions? (3) sounds like a nightmare to actually keep running. Not from the technical side, but in terms of actual users making it work. If they're focusing on upvoting their favorite debater, are they paying attention to the debate that's front and center? If one debater has to go answer the doorbell, do they lose the podium? Who takes their place, and how much warning do they have before their live? I'm not saying any of these are bad projects, just giving you feedback.

.... I'm imagining something similar to Pandora's music genetic code algorithm. I don't know the details of it, but the gist I got from their blurbs is that it will categorize music by a wide variety of variables and rely on your feedback to pick out the strongest indicators of whether you'll like a song or not. (Why, oh why, can't it figure out that I hate live music?) Maybe something similar, related to book recommendations? A user could create a profile based on several variables of theology -- do they believe this or that, similar to a lot of "find the religion that matches you best" purity tests online. The ap will then recommend books or other media that are powerful for changing the minds of people in that position or just making them think, and asks afterwards if the media was interesting, affected their view of the world, and would be recommended again, and update its recommendation algorithm accordingly. Users can also recommend media to the system that caused them to change their views in the past, or just held their interest. If the media's in the open domain, the program could even provide access to it.

Yeah #1 would have to be pre-populated with any census data I could find and then visiting individuals would provide richer data over time. It's as traffic dependent as all of these ideas and would require multiple translations to really achieve it's goal.

Yeah idea #3 is out, it's stupid, hard to get up and running and would probably be better if it was not purely theological in scope.

I'm not concerned about doing front-end, I do client side all the time and I have maps scripts that I can re-cycle. The scope should be really small, basically as long as SQL is involved in some way (even if it is just 1 or 2 tables) it would fulfill my goal of learning symfony (I would still need to gather post data, store it, retrieve it, sort it and render it to HTML)....pretty much all these ideas fit that mold.

As for #2 I wouldn't be writing an AI, but one wouldn't be necessary either. Content would simply be tagged with various terms by users and authors, silo-ed into categories via select boxes upon creation and then rated by users in an ongoing processes. The same way that youTube works basically. Computers suck at critical thinking, let people do it. #2 could also have a geographical component as a secondary feature.

#5 (recommended reading idea) would be very similar to #2 in terms of implementation except instead of having one type of node/one DB table it would require two (one for user profiles and one for bits of media) that would be cross-referenced.

#6 - A new idea would be similar to #2 but be more historical in nature, it would show the world from the beginning of human history as a map w/ an accelerated clock and attempt to tally a kill count for each of the worlds major religions in a bar graph, animating the raising death toll tickers and triggering blips on the map as events like the crusades and the inquisition and 9/11 occur...It would require a heck of a lot of research though.

Unless you're trusting the uploaders to tag their own stuff, you'll definitely need the user reviews to make #2 work. (I do not suggest you trust uploaders to tag their own stuff.) Also, you'll need user reviews to rate their emotional impact, which was one of the things you said you'd rate it by. Should be workable, though.

#6 would need a lot of research, yeah, but even more than that the historical data from, say, the dark ages, is both sparse and difficult to interpret. Multiple counts of, say, the dead from the Crusades exist. Other things (like how many times Christians acting on the individual or mob level lynched Jews) won't have any record at all. I'd guess data mining would be a far bigger challenge than programming.

#7 (I'm just helping you brainstorm here, stop me if you'd rather I not): A mobile ap to help with conscientious shopping. The user scans the bar code or proof of purchase of an item they're thinking of buying, and the ap tells the user if that company has done any atheist-unfriendly things in the recent past, such as big donations of money to Bob Jones University or whatever. Maybe another feature that uses gps data to warn the user (on request or just with a vibration, as the user sets it) if they're in an establishment (such as Salvation Army) that has done something off. This would also require a lot of crowd-sourced research into current events, but it's the sort of data that's already being generated by half the atheist blogosphere, and it might possible to ride the coattails of someone else's data.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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07-06-2013, 02:03 PM
RE: Ideas for Pro-Atheism Social/Web Project, Anyone?
Feel free to keep tossing ideas out there, that is what this thread is about. I don't want to build something that will never see traffic (like most of the non-corporate things I build Tongue) and there has to be an idea out there that is simple but impactful and engaging, I just don't think I have it yet. This is exactly how we brainstorm ideas in the ad industry.

#7 is pretty intense because it does require Objective-C/Java app development (I've done sections of iOS apps and even started writing an RPG before my daughter was born but it's still quite the PITA and super time consuming), as well as a central web application component, as well as a ton of poking into financial records (unless that part is crowd sourced) and amassing a product SKU database. but I know stuff like this already exists for boycotting the Kochs and Monsanto, etc. so it would be totally doable with enough effort. Chick-Fil-A kiss my A, and be gone Papa John.

I was thinking maybe something that pokes fun at 'Rapture Letters' but I couldn't get anywhere with it...I did think of this though:

New idea #8 - Letters to teenage Atheists - I remember being a 16 year old Atheist kid in a Catholic school and feeling like the whole world was against me and I hear these young free thinkers calling up Seth's show with little or nothing to say just because it makes them feel connected for a moment. It might be neet to have a site where Atheists of all ages could submit messages of inspiration to kids, or even just folks in the closet or whatever...They could opt to receive them at regular intervals via email, and people could 'sponsor' a particular struggling kid.

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07-06-2013, 02:46 PM (This post was last modified: 07-06-2013 03:23 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Ideas for Pro-Atheism Social/Web Project, Anyone?
For #7, I was thinking either crowdsourced data or data fed from a trusted source already gathering it. As for the ap-end, I figured there was probably open-source stuff out there for the basics like reading bar codes and extracting product identification from that. Guess it'd be tougher than I thought.

#8 sounds almost like "It Gets Better" for atheists. Which is a good idea, but strikes me as more a job for you-tube or an online forum or a mailing list than a custom-made setup. (Or maybe make it like that old Warehouse 51 23 website. "You open a random box and find...")

Tentative new idea, #9: Something that identifies theological arguments by organization of keywords, gives the argument's name and provides a list of common counterarguments. I say tentative because, while useful, it sounds like pattern-matching AI work, which isn't what you're looking for. (Still, watching Chatterbox kick WLC's ass would be awesome.)

New idea, #10: A simple list of atheist charities and volunteer opportunities, possibly organized by location, with feedback ratings to weed out scams crap that's Craigslist nevermind.

New idea, #11: A filter for twitter, facebook, or whatever that edits out those irritating Jesus-message updates that Seth is always complaining about. (But again, feels pattern-matchy.)

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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