Sunday, November 29, 2009

spin detector

Unlike the previous Wikipedia spin detector, i'd like to make a web tool that can internalize any web page or editorial content for spin or bias towards a particular subject matter or ideology.

The mechanism should be simple. Isolate words and phrases which indicate a clear bias towards a particular opinion and assign them 'tags'. The tags will indicate whether something is more liberal or conservative, republican or democrat, racist or politically correct, patriotic or revolutionary, etc. A series of filters can first identify the spin words individually and group them in increasingly broader groups. Eventually the page can be highlighted with context to various large groupings of content that has a greater affinity towards a certain subject type or bias and summaries can be generated.

Certainly this could be abused to the point people make snap judgments or rule out content based on its perceived bias, but at the same time one could use the tool on a large swath of content and determine in a general way whether it had a majority of its content leaning in one way or another. I'd partly like to use this to flag content that I don't want to read, but also as an indicator of whether something is filled with cruft. I don't care if it's left-leaning or right-leaning as much as I just want to read unbiased opinions not littered with mindless rhetoric.

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