Crowdsourcing the British MP Expense Scandal Crowdsourcing the British MP Expense Scandal
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Crowdsourcing the British MP Expense Scandal

by Zach Frechette

June 24, 2009
Over in the UK, The Guardian is doing something potentially revolutionary: they're asking their readers to help them comb through the hundreds of thousands of public documents the House of Commons recently released regarding the expense scandal that's happening over there (remember?).It's an enormous data set: 700,000 individual documents covering the last four years of receipts for all 646 members of parliament. But the coolest part is that The Guardian is providing a set of tools to make it easy. You launch their app, and are presented with one of the 700,000 documents. You then click on a button to indicate what kind of document it is ("Claim, Proof, Blank, Other") and another button for whether or not it's interesting ("Interesting, Not interesting"). Cooler still, you can search by your own MP (as in, the MP that represents you, provided you live in the UK), and there are leader boards for who has reviewed the most documents and who has found the most interesting line items.According to the progress bar on the site, 20,810 readers have reviewed some 174,421 documents. They have a running tally of what they've learned from reader investiagtion, and a collection of the best indivdiual discoveries. Impressive stuff.
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Crowdsourcing the British MP Expense Scandal