Kenya: A new website called DeadUshahidi has been launched which keeps a track on Ushahidi mapping projects that experienced little use. The site states, “Trying to crowdscource a map without a goal or strategy is well, just a map, and pretty soon a dead map. There is an increasing number of Ushahidi maps that are set up with little thought as to the why, what, who, and how. And we definitely see many maps that where created by people who have absolutely no idea about how to actually go about changing much of anything. Most of them end here.”
Maps which fulfil one of the following criteria will qualify for DeadUshahidi:
-No one (let alone a crowd) has submitted a report to the map in the last 12 months.
-For time-bound events, like elections and disasters, the number of reports is so infinitesimally small in relation to the affected community that the map never reached a point anywhere near relevance.
-The map was never actually started (there are no category descriptions or fewer than 10 reports).
-The map is listed in the Ushahidi deployment list but the link to the map is dead. That definitely warrants a death certificate.
Patrick Meier, who recently left Ushahidi after spending three years with the organisation, told techPresident that the underlying idea of DeadUshahidi is good: projects are better off having a plan. But he was disappointed with DeadUshahidi’s narrow definition of success. As he subsequently pointed out in a blog post, many projects are bound by an event — an Ushahidi map with no new report in 12 months isn’t necessarily a failure because it could have been a wild success that was retired after the event it was launched to cover.
An article published in techPresident stated, “DeadUshahidi will cause people to engage in some more critical thinking before turning to mapping to solve their problem. On the flip side, DeadUshahidi’s mocking tone towards maps it deems ineffective, without any understanding of the goals of the groups behind them, is problematic. Moreover, mocking people or organisations whose maps don’t succeed is not noble, and could even deter experimentation. In Silicon Valley, they say they celebrate failures and their lessons as key to a culture of innovation and success. While its intentions are ultimately good, it is hard to see how DeadUshahidi fosters such a culture in the world of crisis management.”