Another “How the Charley Project works” post

A lot of people wonder how I decide which cases to put up. I mean, Charley has a lot of cases, 9,500ish at last count, but there are so many more cases that fit the criteria but aren’t on there.

Well, it goes kind of like this: nearly every day I look at various online databases, like NamUs for example, for new cases to put up. I also check the Google news by searching for keywords like “missing person.” That will often turn up either a new case, or articles providing additional information on a case I already have. Anyway, I take the links to these cases and bookmark them. They go in the bookmarks folder (Google Chrome calls it “other bookmarks”) for all the links you don’t put in a specific folder. If I happen to come across a website for a particular missing person, like “Help Find Joe Smith” or one of those Facebook pages, I bookmark that too.

When I’m thinking about case to add on a particular day, the first place I go is that folder, which is a veritable buffet of information.

But this list of links accumulates REALLY fast, because I’m bookmarking more cases than I can put up in a day. (My target right now is five cases, which can be both new cases and updated ones. Anything after that is gravy.) Right now my “other bookmarks” has 372 links in it. Granted, not all of them are for missing persons; some are from general web surfing. But most of them, well over 300 I’d say, are MPs.

Eventually, the list in “other bookmarks” becomes too much for me to handle. And this is when it gets kind of sad, because I have to tell you about the Folder.

The Folder contains a collection of more folders, marked alphabetically. I move links from “other bookmarks” into their respective folder. Like, Aaron Aaronson goes into A, and so on. The idea is that I can go into the Folder, open one of the subfolders, and grab a random case if, god forbid, I didn’t already have one waiting.

This worked splendidly like, eight years ago, ten years ago. When NamUs came along and pretty much revolutionized the search for missing persons on the internet, this system stopped working. Because, it used to be that I would occasionally actually NEED a case from the Folder. Now, the Folder is basically useless. It’s become like the slushpile in book publishing: hopeful writers keep sending in their novels and no one bothers to look at them. If you have a particular case you really, really want posted, you had better hope it doesn’t go in the Folder. Because I haven’t even looked at the Folder in months, except to add more stuff to it.

This is not a complaint about NamUs or or any other site. I’m glad there’s so much more out there to solve cold cases. It’s my stupid system that can’t or won’t adapt to the changing circumstances. My fault.

The obvious thing to do would be to find some volunteers (and there have been many who have offered their support) to help with the backlog and clean out the Folder. I think it’s unlikely I’ll ever allow that to happen. My reasons are deeply personal and I believe, selfish, but here we are. I’ve talked about it with people close to me and they all agree it’s the best thing to leave things as they are.

I hope I don’t wind up regretting having posted this.

4 thoughts on “Another “How the Charley Project works” post

  1. D'Lil September 5, 2015 / 10:35 pm

    Have you considered using items from The Folder and just putting them in different entries on your facebook, without making individual entries for them on the main site?

    Question about the people close to you – do they have any real interest in the cases, or are willing to help you streamline things, be your proofreaders or the like, and then you get final say so?

    I do the same thing as far as online searches for what cases I list on the message board (which is currently down, as the owner hasn’t paid the fee) by googling ‘missing persons’ then ‘unidentified remains’ or ‘cold case’, or it’s been mentioned on my local news or radio. The majority of cases already listed on the Corner all get reviewed for any updates on their anniversary dates of when they went missing. But it is time-consuming, as I am the only one doing it for about the past year.

    Maybe just consider certain days to post on twitter, certain days to post on facebook, and limit how many cases to look at and research daily.

    You already know about time management and ‘everything in moderation’, you just have to apply it.

  2. Cattt September 6, 2015 / 12:43 am

    Off Topic: I saw some discrepancies on the updates. For Lea Chali Porter, it says her birthdate is 04/14/1949 and that she’s 19 years old when she went missing 06/03/14. Her birth year is incorrect because she looks super young. On Michael Tyler Clarke’s profile, it says his birthdate is 10/29/1946 and that he was 31-32 when he went missing in 1987. He would have been 41-42. Thanks for the updates! I love reading ‘em!

  3. HennyLee September 9, 2015 / 10:06 am

    I honestly don’t know how you do it all – I commend you for it.

    And as for not wanting others to help – I understand that – Charley is your baby – you are allowed your reasons for wanting to keep it close to you.

    You do an amazing job – though no doubt it gets overwhelming at times. Eventually you will probably fall into a new rhythm that will work better for you… whether that continues to be alone or with some sort of help – it will happen for you. 🙂

    As you said many people are willing to help you at any moment – But until you feel comfortable (or if you never do) with that – do what works best for you – because it’s working. 🙂

  4. becky September 14, 2015 / 11:19 am

    Perhaps someday, you will adopt a young mentor and allow this person to write up a test case file from this folder as practice and who knows where it might go… Or alternatively, you might decide that on months with 5 weeks and a 5th Monday (or some other arbitrary criteria) you will randomly select and post a lucky case out of ‘the folder’. Then it won’t seem 100% hopeless for those poor cases. Just some silly ideas. keep up the good work.

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