OpenFile was a failed crowdsourcing journalism venture in Canada. Internet users – with nice untroubled lives, but with a really smashing capacity for curiosity – could “open a file” with, i.e., suggest a story to, OpenFile, which might then assign a journalist and publish an online article.
OpenFile deservedly closed up shop in September 2012. Before it also shut down its Web site, I downloaded all the pending story suggestions. You can read them two ways:
Only two of the suggested topics amounted to real journalistic questions:
Why is Toronto Animal Services asking me to handle a dead raccoon?
With downspouts disconnected, where does all the water go?
Some weren’t even questions:
Is anything being done about ticket-scalping in Toronto?
The Japanese-Canadian Hockey League
On the pigeons of Toronto
Port Lands vs. Transit City
The TTC that could have been
Some topics (Wheel-Trans/accessible transit; Via trains) are duplicated.
One “question” (“How can I commemorate the War of 1812’s bicentennial in Toronto?”) is an obvious plant.
The rest of the questions I categorized (see the table) as :
Puff pieces or questions so vapid they can’t be taken seriously
White whine (complaints from the privileged majority)
Inside-baseball/journo (journalists or wannabes asking jargon-laden questions about journalism)
Spacer™ (more suited to Spacing and its magazine)
The Fixer (more suited to that Toronto Star column)
Tendentious, i.e., questions for which self-righteous contributors already have answer they want OpenFile to confirm