What’s the difference between “Americans United for Change” and “Campaign for America’s Future”? With such non-descriptive names, it’s hard to tell.
There are countless PACs, non-profits, associations, unions, and political organizations today, often with strikingly similar names. That makes it difficult to figure out what exactly an organization’s purpose is, especially when the website is full of vague language like “initiatives” or “advocacy.”
Flackpedia is a new website that aims to solve that problem. A project of Greenhouse Solutions, a non-profit, the site will function like Wikipedia, with pages dedicated to the latest facts and research on progressive organizations.
According to Brian Sikma, the Communications Director for Media Trackers (a sister of Flackpedia), the site will be “a resource for the public.”
Flackpedia aims to be a reference point for data retrieved from open records requests, government documents, public statements, and other research. “As the left creates new organizations, and as new candidates step forward for campaigns and government bureaucrats enter the spotlight, we’re there with Media Trackers investigating and digging up stories and material that will make its way into Flackpedia,” Sikma told Opportunity Lives.
The website could go a step further than Wikipedia in terms of research depth. Sikma said Flackpedia will focus on enhancing original documentation, uploading documents and supporting research on an organization to its Flackpedia page or linking to those files at Media Trackers. “Flackpedia has a much more robust backbone of supporting research than Wikipedia,” said Sikma.
In the future, Sikma said the site plans to open for edits from all grassroots activists. Right now, however, only staff and interns can edit the site as the initial framework is built. In early 2015, Flackpedia will activate many of the entries that are currently being edited.
One helpful feature is that people from across the country can work on the project. “Flackpedia is a digital project, everything about researching, writing and publishing an entry is online so distance isn’t an obstacle,” said Sikma, referring to the “small army” of interns across the country who are currently assisting with the initial entries (roughly 100 per state).
Once these entries are completed, the site will be continually updated as new organizations spring up in each state. The goal is to create an easy-to-navigate interface where the public can quickly find out about the purpose, funding, and connections of each new left-leaning group.
Though the site is still in an early stage as entries are written and the layout is tested, visitors can already get a glimpse at flackpedia.org.