The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

“Trust,” the first app from The Coral Project, debuts

In a guest blog post, The Post’s Director of Digital News Projects Greg Barber discusses a new demo release of Trust, the first app from The Coral Project, a collaboration between The Post, The New York Times, and the Mozilla Foundation that is focused on creating an open-source community platform for publishers and is funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation.

Read on for Barber’s post:

Digital communities are havens of rich, illuminating data: comments, replies, shares, deletes, positive and negative reactions — all of which cascades to create live streams of conversation that at their best can elucidate and inspire.

It’s that data that The Coral Project team is unlocking in our new Trust product, shown publicly for the first time today at the SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, Texas.

Our project’s overall goal is to help publishers build and enliven communities around their journalism through open-source software and renewed best practices. The Trust app is our first step toward that goal.

The Trust app aims to scale the moderation of user-generated contributions by focusing on the user’s history of contributions in addition to moderating individual contributions themselves.

Through Trust, publishers can categorize users in two ways: persistent tags (examples: this user is a medical doctor; this user’s comments have been featured in an article) and dynamic lists — groups that allow publishers to tee up groups of users based on their contribution history.

For example, if a publisher wanted to find new users in the politics section who prompted conversation without violating the site’s discussion policy, they could use this recipe: Total comments = less than 10; total replies received = more than 5; comments deleted = 0.

The Trust app would serve up users who fit that description — and it could continue to do so dynamically without further action from the publisher.

Trust is the first in a set of software applications that The Coral Project will release in beta form this year. We’ll be working with teams at The Post, The Times, and other newsrooms to test the app and refine it before releasing it more widely.

Anyone who is interested in contributing to The Coral Project, or learning more about it, is welcome to participate in our community, read our blog, or explore our Github. We’ve recently released a set of personas — archetypes that put a face on the people we’ve met and use cases we’ve gathered in more than 300 interviews with people from nearly 150 news organizations in 30 countries.

The Coral Project’s software development is a true team effort, involving developers, designers, and strategists from The Post, The Times, and Mozilla, and suggestions from people the world over. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to pitch in: