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Shaking Things Up
How this discursus newsletter is to focus on sharing stories about protest movements and exposing their narratives.
In place of a 10th edition of the this newsletter’s weekly roundup on protest movements, I want to take this opportunity to discuss the future of this Substack space.
As was shared in the last edition:
“We, at discursus, want to play an active role in not only better understanding protests as they unfold, but also identifying the narratives that fuel them. And that includes the narratives that are anchored on falsehoods. We’ve seen examples of how lies or bending of the truth leads to protests, sometimes even riots.”
That means we’re more interested in the stories behind protest movements than the data. Let me be clear, the data sheds light on those stories, but they are not the story.
We have a greater ambition on how we want discursus to matter:
“What we really care about at discursus is to protect protest movements as an healthy democratic mean to express discontent and / or demand changes.”
So how does this change anything for our project?
The discursus project currently has 3 main outlets:
The platform which is our private implementation of the open source discursus core, which includes additional enrichments and features.
The monitoring dashboard which allows users to explore our platform’s data and dig into the past week’s protest events and media coverage.
And finally this Substack newsletter, where we share our own observations on explorations of discursus data and more.
Our previous editions of this newsletter were focused on providing a high-level overview of the main protest events that were happening worldwide in the last 7 days. And you might have been asking yourself this question as you were reading those posts: so what?
Well at least I was asking myself that question.
My interest for starting this project was to go deeper into protest movements, such as what I did with the farmer’s protests in India and the rise of political marginals. I want to go beyond data points and share stories of what those protests were about.
So starting next week, I’ll start building up on last week’s direction where we started to take a more focused take on protest movements. I want to go deeper into the narratives of protest movements. I’m interested in ideas shared in protests. As well as how information and misinformation sometimes collide.
What changes is that I’ll solely do focus stories and users can always use the monitoring dashboard to their own exploration of world-wide ongoing protests. That said, I want to start using our discursus twitter account more actively to share daily ongoing protests that I follow.
That means our platform needs to evolve as well. The upcoming version 0.1 is doing a good job of tracking events, but version 0.2 will be focused on surfacing protest narratives (more on that in a later post).
In the meanwhile, our platform’s data and our monitoring dashboard are the primary tools I use to discover the protests of interest that are happening. But I will start integrating multiple other sources of information so that those stories focus more on the ideas and less on the platform’s data.
Essentially, this Substack newsletter is about serving the stories first. And if the discursus platform helps tell those stories better, then great. If not, then so be it.
We’re still in the early days of this project and what’s important / interesting with this phase of a project is to not be too rigid with our direction, constraints, etc. The fun of it all is to see how that project leads itself to maturity and relevancy.
So all that said, thanks for being part of the journey and please do reach out if you have suggestions on how to make this adventure even better.