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    The door to war, a Northwest Citizen service
World In Conflict
Frequently Asked Questions

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About this site...
August 4, 2003

What is Open Source? 
June 1, 2003

Frequently Asked Questions

About this site
  Monday, August 4, 2003
 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about this site

Who are those guys?

Warbaby is World In Conflict's editor, chief writer, web-master, HTML coder, janitor, errand boy and all-around general factorum.  Everything wrong with this website is his fault.

Danius Maximus is a friend and colleague of Warbaby's, who occasionally can be persuaded to turn some particularly brilliant piece of his email into an article.

Who wrote that article?

There are two forms of author headings:  "Warbaby says:" - which means Warbaby wrote the darned thing and deserves all blame; and "So-and-so writes:" - which means So-and-so sent Warbaby a submission by email and Warbaby turned it into an article.  So-and-so deserves all praise for the essential goodness of the article and anything wrong with it is Warbaby's fault.  So either way you slice it, it's Warbaby's fault. 

To participate in our blame-free blog publishing service, see the next entry.

Can I write for World In Conflict?

You betcha.  Send email to Warbaby, preferably plain-vanilla ASCII in the body of the message (none of that accursed HTML-formatted email, please.  It is the work of the Devil and Bill Gates is his spawn.)  Or you can send a query about your planned article if you want some editorial advice.  Authors agree: Warbaby is one heck of a good editor to work with.

How much do I get paid to write for World In Conflict?

Ha ha ha.  You must be kidding.  No, seriously.  You'll be paid twice as much as Warbaby -- how many writers can say that? -- which is exactly nothing.

What sort of articles are appropriate for World In Conflict?

  • We like analysis, as opposed to news digests.  There's plenty of places that echo the news, but we want more depth, if possible.  And factually based, rather than opinion.  These are only guidelines, however, and not hard and fast rules.  A really good news digest or an outstanding rant just might catch our fancy.
  • Anything relating to our involuntary immersion in the cess-pool of conflict is fair game.
  • Feature Stories are typically over 3,000 words.
  • Short Articles are less than 3,000 words
  • Book Reviews can be any length.
  • All articles can have a sidebar of links to external sources, articles, etc.  We also like sidebar links for obtaining books.  Out of print books are best found through Bookfinder.com, in-print through Amazon.com or direct from the publisher.

 

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What is open source?
  Sunday, June 1, 2003
 

 

Open Source Research

  • Uses publicly available news and information sources
  • Seeks to get the story behind the story
  • Follows standard research techniques and methodology
  • Applies critical thinking skills to the framing of information

Open source research and analysis is nothing more (and nothing less) than reading the news and doing standard library research.  It is called "open source" because it relies on public, not private, information.

Doing open source research requires reading broadly and deeply.  The general methodology is the same as nearly everyone learned in school for report writing: 

  • find all of the available information,
  • see how the pieces fit together,
  • check the sources for accuracy and reliability,
  • formulate a testable hypothesis,
  • evaluate the hypothesis against the confirming or disconfirming facts, 
  • frame the critical questions which illuminate the underlying objective reality, and
  • write up the results

Critical analysis differs very strongly from rhetorical or expository writing.  Analysis seeks to determine what really is - as opposed to chosing only those facts which support a particular conclusion.

Journalism has been called "the first draft of history"  Open source research is the second draft.  As such, it should be considered - like any published information - just that:  a draft.  This is particularly true when open source research is applied to current events or breaking news.  The conclusions drawn from available information may not be correct, even though they appear to be so at the time they are written.

The job of a research analyst - like much of life - is using what you do know to find out what you don't.  Another way to put this is the job of a research analyst is discovering what one is wrong about and correcting it.  Success for an analyst is finding out you've been wrong...

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