Grasswire

A real-time newsroom controlled by everyone

#2 Product of the DayJune 30, 2014

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Austen Allred
Maker
@austenallred · co-founder, Lambda School (YC S17)
Hey guys, grasswire founder here, happy to answer any questions.
Erik TorenbergHiring@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@austenallred - this looks super cool. I've just been getting into nuzzle and writersblock - http://www.beaconreader.com/news Could you tell the story why / how Grasswire came out and what your ultimate vision is? How does it compare to the products I mentioned above?
Austen Allred
Maker
@austenallred · co-founder, Lambda School (YC S17)
@eriktorenberg Certainly. I was living in China for a while, and was supposed to take the brand new bullet train from Shanghai to (honestly I don't even remember what city, I was kind of living a nomadic, vagabond-esque lifestyle). The taxi driver took me to the wrong train station, and it turns out the train I was supposed to be on ended up colliding with another bullet train (at 300+ MPH). The Chinese government was trying to cover it up, and the only information journalists had was trying to get at medical records, etc. It was a huge mess. It kind of struck me: Why can't I hear from any of the hundreds of people on the train? Why do we have to receive our news from governments and corporations? That started a long journey that brought us to where grasswire is today (though it's just the beginning(. The end goal of grasswire is an entirely democratic, wikipedia-esque newsroom. We believe that with the right tools, anyone can curate and fact-check breaking news in real-time. So Beacon is a way to support journalists, and Nuzzle tells you what links your friends are sharing. We want grasswire to be the best way to figure out "what's *really* going on right now with X."
Andrew Zusman@uxandrew · UX Designer
I think it took Wikipedia a LONG time to gain any traction as a viable source. I remember saying stuff like "Oh, it came from Wiki so it must be bullshit..." but now I say "Oh, it came from Wiki so it must be adequately sourced and with open access to data." As someone actively following journalists on the ground in Ukraine right now, how does Grasswire plan to both open user access to data and show that sources are legit? Seems like big hurdles!
Austen Allred
Maker
@austenallred · co-founder, Lambda School (YC S17)
@UXAndrew I think we have a substantially smaller hurdle than Wikipedia did, because the data is already there. Saying, "OK, let's get the crowd to write a legit encyclopedia entry" is a whole lot harder than saying, "This picture is popping up on Twitter, is it legitimate?" Video and images are much, much harder to fake today than they used to be; it really only takes the average person with little to no technical ability a couple of seconds to know if something is accurate once they know how (we're working on a guide that shows people how that is done). For example, we have this image from Saturday - http://imgur.com/IxtXzDR. Actually a fairly legitimate news source, but totally bogus. This same story/image was shared by tons of news sources, but it only takes one quick google search to find where it originated. We don't have to produce that image, we just have to show that it's inaccurate. Same thing with this one from today: http://www.grasswire.com/#/newsf.... Right now our goal is to build the best tool for the news junkies to find and verify what's happening, and we're not quite there but we're close.
Joel Andren@joelandren · co-founder, PressFriendly
Hey Austen, No questions, just congrats. This is something I've been waiting to see for a long time.
Melinda Byerley@mjb_sf · Founding Partner, TimeShareCMO
I'd rather not be given a tour until I see what it is you do and that is not clear from the home page. What problem are you solving for me? What benefit do you bring?
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@mjb_sf I agree, the tour seemed unnecessary, imho, and distracted me from consuming the content.
Austen Allred
Maker
@austenallred · co-founder, Lambda School (YC S17)
@rrhoover Are there any specifics of what you do/don't like? We certainly need to roll out a new UX, but I'm not sure if that would answer all of the questions.
Melinda Byerley@mjb_sf · Founding Partner, TimeShareCMO
@austenallred what I saw when I visited was that the page didn't load right away and I saw a "preparing tour" (or similar) and had to wait. then I was presented with a wall of images and I had no idea what the site was for or why I should be there.
Austen Allred
Maker
@austenallred · co-founder, Lambda School (YC S17)
@mjb_sf Yes, we need to add some info to the homepage to clear it up and identify sections more? What browser were you on when it didn't load right. I'll look into it.
Melinda Byerley@mjb_sf · Founding Partner, TimeShareCMO
@austenallred chrome, most recent version.
Austen Allred
Maker
@austenallred · co-founder, Lambda School (YC S17)
@mjb_sf Well, that certainly shouldn't happen. Thanks! We'll check the logs and figure it out.
Mark Abramson@mark__a · I print on things
@mjb_sf tour worked for me (firefox), but was overly lengthy. @austenallred love what you're doing will definitely be keeping tabs as it develops.