20 thoughts on “Stuff Charley should do

  1. Diane Mayers April 26, 2014 / 8:54 am

    I am so glad you asked. πŸ™‚

    I would love it if you would make your cases/research, share-able.

    I volunteer for LostnMissing (OH and MI), you consistently have more research behind cases, than other sites. I would like to be able to share your work, along with my own.

    I understand how you came to not allow copy/paste (I swear, I would give you credit, if you did.)


  2. NH April 26, 2014 / 2:29 pm

    I would love to be able to search on two variables. Say date and location. Or even “lost with a car”.

    Many cases also have likely Scenerios such as spouse perpetrator it would be interesting to see the distribution by likely outcome.

  3. zinc April 27, 2014 / 1:22 am

    Tags or some way of categorizing case details, or another way of treating Charley a little more like a database without actually needing to build one. I think NH is also hinting at that. Downside is it wouldn’t be easy to do. But I long for a day when I can search for someone with a red top, or perhaps a red sleeveless top, and not have to match to burgundy, crimson, maroon, wine-colored, halter, tank, spaghetti straps, …

    A way to approximate this would be to start automatically including hidden or semi-hidden page text containing synonyms of some of the case details. I don’t know what priority Google gives these days to that type of page content and I suspect it’s very low, but it might be better than nothing.

    For example, someone has a broken left forearm. Include broken, fracture, arm, forearm, wrist, ulna, radius, …

    Someone has a tattoo of a lavender tulip on his right pec. Include purple, violet, lavender, flower, tulip, pectoral, chest, breast, …

    Jewelry should be described with both stone type and likely color if possible, e.g. if someone has an emerald ring, ideally include both “emerald” and “green stone”.

    A combined tactic, which you already use to some extent, would be to use highly standardized wording for certain details. Right now some MPs have ears “triple-pierced,” others have ears “pierced three times,” or “three ear piercings” or “three earrings”, etc. Some MPs have had a “hysterectomy,” others have had “uterus surgically removed”. The variations can make it hard to search effectively.

    I understand you’re limited in that respect by needing to remain as true as possible to original source information without distorting it; but I think standardizing could work for certain data.

    Searching by date range (birthdate and date of last contact), age range, height range, and weight range on Charley would be fantastic but would require a genuine database.

    NamUs has all of the above weaknesses/needs too with the added problem of loads of misspellings, abbreviations (“YM” for “yellow metal” for gold jewelry β€” I understand why, but ugh), and substituted zeroes (0) for O’s (O) in many auto-added entries (“BR0 SHIRT, BLU SH0E, WHT MTL RING L HAND”). Using NamUs’ own search for a surgical pin, rod, or appliance of any kind requires so many varied and duplicated searches, it’s nuts.

    Wrangling big sets of data that don’t always lend themselves well to discrete categorization is a hard problem. The MP/UID difficulty has made me admire the work that must have gone into formulating the fuzzy searches and Soundex/Metaphone matching used for genealogy websites and census data. I am interested to see what comes out of the federal NamUs attempt at standardizing the back-end case entry portability and format so that agency interaction is easier. Hopefully with time the dreadful UI will improve…

    Written in a rush, hope above doesn’t come off as hideously demanding. Someone better versed in data science could probably better describe. As I’ve said previously, I am a stalwart Charley Project admirer :), for which thanks again for your work.

  4. zinc April 27, 2014 / 1:41 am

    Sorry, one more specific thing. πŸ™‚ You provide general links to your sources now. If the content is available on the Internet at the time you post the entry, it would be great if you could additionally provide the direct URL to the article you used.

    Link rot would be a problem, but perhaps you could add a standard disclaimer about how news sources regularly get taken down.

    I’d appreciate having the direct links since sometimes dead pages can be resurrected for reading with the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine ( https://archive.org/web/ ).

    • Meaghan April 28, 2014 / 12:10 pm

      I have thought about not providing specific links to articles, but providing citations like as seen in academia: “Title of article, Name of newspaper, Date it ran” which would make it reasonably easy for interested parties to find the specific work.

      It would also provide more of an element of CYA for me — if people accuse me of being inaccurate or “making up stuff to create drama” I can point and say “See, I got my information from right there.”

      • zinc April 29, 2014 / 12:23 am

        Maybe Wikipedia-style list of sources (CS1 style, if you know that kind of thing), with an included hyperlink? πŸ™‚ Though yes, article names and dates would be great.

        I just read the old “Stuff NamUs Should Do” post last night since I missed it the first time around, and was completely baffled by the vitriolic melodrama in the comments. Strenuous, careful criticism of site design is normal and good.

  5. Mion April 27, 2014 / 2:44 am

    1. It’d be awesome if Charley had a search function that lets you search for missing persons in a certain age range or height/weight range, hair/eye color, the classification you put for the disappearance, a certain time period, etc.
    My ‘hobby’ is trying to match missing persons to the unidentified and, while I often search by MP, I’ll sometimes search by UP just to change it up a bit and keep myself from getting bored. There are many other people who prefer to search by UP, but sites like DoeNetwork and Charley don’t have a search function like NamUs does.

    2. It’d be cool to add an ‘Archived’ section for the case-files of resolved cases. Sometimes I’ll be interested in a resolved case and want to read the case-file, but I have to find a cached version of the page (and sometimes you can’t find one). There are so many interesting cases that people would love to read the original files of.

    2. It would also be interesting to see a chart of resolved cases, preferably organized by abduction type. It’d be cool to see how many of them ended with the person being safely recovered, how many were foul play, how many people had simply walked out of their lives, etc. And if said chart was organized by the type of disappearance, so we can see which types have the best survival rate.

    • Mion April 27, 2014 / 3:54 am

      D’oh. That second ”2” is supposed to be a 3.

      Regarding 3, I might be able to make a chart of resolved cases myself on Excel

  6. Olivia April 27, 2014 / 6:46 am

    My only request would be that you somehow highlight updated content in existing posts, so that I can see what new info has been added. Sometimes it’s easy to see if it’s date related, but othertimes, not so much.

  7. Jo B April 27, 2014 / 6:03 pm

    Please have someone proof-read the entries before they are uploaded. A large percentage of the entries contain errors.

  8. Kat April 27, 2014 / 8:46 pm

    Meaghan does all the entries herself. She has no one to proofread, though if there are errors someone usually tells her on the blog.

    • NH April 27, 2014 / 11:32 pm

      Maybe Charley we should all fundraise for Charley to get more resources!

      • Kat April 28, 2014 / 4:05 am

        What? Ok. No idea what that is supposed to mean, but anyway, Meaghan runs the site herself, has always done it, and resources or not, takes pride in her ability to run the site on her own, at her own pace. SO FAR, she has not wanted help. Takes it out of her hands.

  9. whereaboutsstillunknown April 28, 2014 / 12:27 am

    My only suggestion would be maybe a way to subscribe to a case so we get notifications if there is an update/resolve on it.

  10. William April 28, 2014 / 7:30 am

    I’d like to see an archived section. It would be nice to go back to read the original details of a case after it has been resolved. I would love to be able to volunteer to help out in any way possible without being intrusive. I don’t know how you do it on your own Meaghan.

    • Jessica April 28, 2014 / 8:15 am

      OooYes That would be a nice feature being able to go back and see the case details after resolved. Good suggestion William.

      And on a side note – great job on everything you already do Meaghan! Its such a great and well put together site!

    • Ruth April 28, 2014 / 10:22 am

      I also find myself longing for this feature. I understand that the site is about those currently missing, so I can see why it wouldn’t be a big priority to archive. But when the updates roll around I’m so interested in the original posts. Anyway, you rock Meaghan!

  11. Lia April 28, 2014 / 11:11 am

    My suggestion would be an “age today” field. I think this would be most helpful for children abducted by parents: a 2 year old abducted in 2004 is a 12 year old today, for example. I THINK this could be automated with the date of birth field and today’s date.

  12. Princess Shantae April 28, 2014 / 4:16 pm

    I like William’s suggestion and I think it would be the easiest one to actually do since all the info would already be written up, all you’d need to do is move it to an archive section and put a generic “body found” or “found alive.”
    Beyond that, really I think you focus more on doing regular updates and additions. You have a hard enough time keeping up now, you would only get further behind if you tried to add any bells and whistles.

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