This site is devoted to increasing public awareness of police misconduct and detainee abuse in addition to providing support for victims of police misconduct and detainee abuse. If you or someone you know have witnessed abuse or have been abused, please let us know.
Packratt@injusticeinseattle.org

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Well That Was A Dud

Site stats for the last month to give you an idea of just how stagnant this site has become.

Hmm, two months of effort getting the news feed process right, hours upon hours scanning and entering reports of misconduct each day into Twitter and a database, a full 24 hours of effort analyzing the data and preparing the results to see how extensive police misconduct might be...

...and I had less traffic yesterday and today than I've had for weeks and absolutely zero feedback.

So, there (was) a new poll on the right, is the Twitter news feed worth it?
Is gathering all this information and generating stats worth my limited time?
Heck, is this site even worthwhile?

Let me know... Because I don't like wasting my time or yours.


UPDATE: I've decided to try and keep at it for one more month and see how it goes... For those who wrote, commented, or voted. Thank you for the support and suggestions.

56 comments:

Vinnie said...

Does clicking through on google reader count in your stats?

rlssec said...

This is a very depressing site but it is also an inspiration to those who know that we could be doing things better. I think you're doing a service that no one else is doing and over time it will become a resource for those who find themselves in a position to make a difference. You make it impossible for informed people to say that they had no way of knowing what was going on.

Packratt said...

Thanks for the comments.

First, the reader only gives me general information on the overall number of subscribers, which as been generally flat. Same with Twitter.

When compared to other similar sites, this one has very low traffic stats in all regards, to be honest.

The news feed and compiling the stats took a tremendous amount of effort. Both in time and in emotional cost, it's difficult for someone like me, who has suffered from police misconduct, to read and report on it since I can't help but put myself in the victim's shoes for each story.

To see that barely anyone noticed the end result, let alone used anything from it, was disheartening to say the least...

but also insightful as it shows me why the problem of police misconduct persists. It's not because of failed policies, or the nature of people in power having a tendency to abuse it...

It's that we, as a people, are permissive of it, or even encouraging of it.

The problem will persist so long as so few of us get upset about it.

...and I'm really starting to think that changing perceptions about the problem may be a hill to steep to climb if nobody even wants to understand just how bad the problem really is.

Thanks again for the comments, they are appreciated.

Packratt said...

There, I put up the stats for the last month, including the dip in traffic for yesterday.

Barely topping 100 visitors a day is not an indication that I'm changing anyone's mind about police misconduct, which is the whole point of the site.

As I said, it's just been disheartening.

george cotz said...

Please don't quit. of course it is worthwhile. I only found your site recently, but now I read it every day. Whay would I say? These posts speak for themselves!
What kind of comment could improve on "Cop indicted for...."?. Most police are honest, but enough are power abusers or outright criminals, and those who are need to be exposed. There is too much non-critical thinking about the police in American society today, and there must be something to balance the unjustified belief that everyone who puts on the blue uniform is a "hero". A few are, the vast majority are just people doing a job, sometimes well, sometimes not so well, are some are thoroughly bad. The problem is the current belief that if the policeman says it, it must be so.
Your site helps to disspell that myth.

Packratt said...

Thanks for sharing that, George, I do appreciate that.

The problem is that the numbers really do speak for themselves. Even if I had the greatest and most influential message to share with everyone, what's the point if so few listen that it won't do any good to share it?

To change the problem of police misconduct requires a groundswell of desire to have it changed. Police unions enjoy the support of politicians and have been growing in influence due to all of the raises they've been pressuring local governments into giving their members.

The only thing to counter that, the only thing that contrasts all the campaign donations and the valuable endorsement of a police union for law-and-order candidates which pressures lawmakers to relax controls on police and protect them from disciplinary action, is popular opinion.

Does an average of 100 visitors a day, most of whom leave before reading anything, really help put a dent in that?

I'm sorry but I need to see that it's all worth the risks, the fear, and the harassment in order to keep doing all this... and I just fail to see it at this point.

Thank you for the kind words though, I appreciate it.

Vinnie said...

The stats are important. 9 million payed out in one month. That is just the reported payouts...those with no confidentiality clauses. That one man could find. You even publish methodology. This is the trickle that seeps through the blue wall. You answered the question:"Who watches the watchers?". You do. Watch your six and keep up the good work.

withay said...

Would it be better to have more than one person keeping things updated?

100 visitors a day now, but this kind of thing may take a bit of time to get more widely noticed, especially as stats for several months become available and people can really see the trends...

Madison said...

Find ways to streamline and automate the operation. Everyone that starts to have a conversation about this subject is invariably stymied by the lack of a resource to point to where anyone can go and see for themselves what the volume is. Think of it as a project for the next presidential elections. If you stay with it, you will get the traffic.

Packratt said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone, I'm still thinking about it...

I agree that the stats are important, it's always been surprising that nobody has really tried to gather them before... guess we all just rely and expect the government to do it even when it's not in the government's own best interest, yet is in the people's best interest.

As for getting more people on board... a couple problems with that, fist is even getting people to help, I tried it before but nobody volunteered. Should be expected, after all, the police haven't been shy about attacking others who've done what I'm doing. The second problem is just one of trust.

Automation just isn't possible. There are no standardized terms for police abuse, no common keywords that a bot could be built to sort through all the stories each do to find the pertinent ones. It's something that has to be done manually. Also, it has to be done often, several times a day in fact because search results get stale and drop off... also, many news sites have taken to moving their stories off to pay-to-view archives quickly, so I have to catch each story as quickly as possible before it's lost.

Like I said, it's a lot of effort... with no real incentives and plenty of disincentives.

I wonder, though... maybe it's a matter of branding? Maybe I need to consider changing the name of the site and the feed?

I dunno. We'll see...

Anonymous said...

Another thought is that the problem might be in your site's name. I found this site only by a link from War on Photography, which I only found by a reference on another blog. A more specific title might attract a lot more attention.

Packratt said...

Yeah, I've been thinking that maybe it might be time to change the name on the site and Twitter feed, but that might cause problems for some of the other sites that use them.

I dunno... as sometimes is the case, I didn't plan things out in the transition from focusing on Seattle to expanding coverage nationally. It was, well, fairly spontaneous.

Thanks for the suggestion, it's appreciated!

MichaelK said...

Totally keep it up. I only had the Twitter added until now...

Carlos Miller said...

Change the name but keep the current domain, just have it link to the new domain.

These things take time. Two months is nothing.

But you're the only person doing this so it will eventually get attention.

Packratt said...

I'll have to think about how I want to go about changing the site name or adding yet another domain. It'll be a pain either way I think. Especially since, if I do that, I'll want to redesign the site to make it easier to read and easier to locate pertinent information.

Thanks for the suggestion, and for the encouragement... maybe you're right about people just not knowing what to say about all this information and reports.

We'll see I guess, thanks!

santa said...

I am not from Seattle. Normally I would not bother to comment or respond to polls but I am here to encourage you to continue your work regardless of response. Don't make the mistake of thinking that responses or lack of responses is equated with the importance of this data and blog. You may have no idea today, how important this could be to somebody tomorrow or next year. Showing the world this information is worthwhile and important in its own right. I do hope you continue.

Anonymous said...

Don't stop the feed. Persevere.

Anonymous said...

I check here daily. Don't take away my drug.

Packratt said...

Thanks for the encouragement...

I have to say, that last comment made me chuckle, thanks!

Ganja Blue said...

You keep going and I'll do my part to promote your website. I've built a little Twitter following of my own and have dozen social networks that I can use to recruit subscribers.

Packratt said...

Thanks, I appreciate it.

You don't have to promote it even, just use the information if it's useful. That's the way I can figure out if it's worthless or not, if anyone reads it or uses it.

If they don't, which they didn't, then I have to reevaluate what information I'm putting out there. That's all.

Hope that makes sense, and thanks for the support!

Derek A. Muenzel said...

Get it up- don't give up. I just drifted in from carlosmiller.com <- <- examiner.com <- freekeene.com. Ideas: 1) name change might help- just going by the name I would think this is just about Seattle. 2) Post to 'libertarian' type sites- reddit.com is an example.

coyote said...

I think there are several reasons you are grossly underestimating your traffic.

First, a lot of folks read your feed. You might switch your feed to feedburner so you can see stats, but I get more feed readers than direct readers.

Second, I have over 5000 readers per day but had far fewer than you within my first two months. Patience is key.

Three, and probably most important, your work is being resyndicated in a way. Influential folks like Radley Balko and other bloggers like myelf, JD Tucille, TJIC, and Carlos Miller use your feed as the kernel for many of your posts. You are definitely having impact.

Mr Ben! said...

I did not even know that this was here until I read about it today on http://carlosmiller.com/ .

Give it more time. Maybe the word hasn't gotten out yet? I'm in Seattle every day no one said anything about injusticeinseattle.

Difster said...

This is the first time I've seen your blog. But don't quit. You're creating a record that is available for others to google. In fact, I would create frequent backups if I were lest Google disappears your blog at the behest of law enforcement. Then repost it all from offshore and keep going.

Packratt said...

Thanks Coyote, I'm glad to know that you guys do use what I've been putting out there, makes it worthwhile.

Though... Coyote and Mr Ben... this blog has been around for a year and a half now actually.

(though, I admit, I don't really make much of an effort to advertise it)

Thanks again for the kind words, I appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Voice of Reason here. I agree with "coyote", who points out that you may be underestimating the readership of your feed. Have you forgotten that people are now reading the feed every day on Mr. Miller's site? The latter site has started to attract some attention, and it features the feed on the main page. See the comment that I left you WRT Mr. Miller's recent story about the situation.

Five Before Midnight said...

I hope you don't give up! Blogging's hard sometimes but I think it's worthwhile because people do get a lot out of it even if you don't always know it. But it does get frustrating because it's a lot of effort and work and the harassment, well that's hard.

This week was the first time I got back lashed via a clay mation video on YouTube. Though quite a bit of work must have gone into bashing our police commission through animation!

It's hard sometimes for sure. But then you run into people or get emails from readers who do appreciate the sites and that helps a lot on the harder days.



I put up your link on your mapping project. Also, a group of us were discussing police oversight models and I mentioned your article on the new person at Seattle's. We might be putting him on a list of people to contact for a survey if we take it out of state.

I hope you keep with it!

Troy said...

Love the site! We need more patriots like you. The police are supposed to protect and serve us, the citizens. Violation of this trust has to be reported.

Packratt said...

VOR, thanks for the suggestions, those are definitely things that I am considering.

FBM, Thanks, you've always been really supportive and I truly appreciate it and respect your opinion considering how well you cover the issues down in Riverside and for how much abuse you deal with for it. You're truly an inspiration.

Troy, thank you for the kind words, I just hope I do a good enough job... I think that's my problem more than anything else, I'm incredibly critical of my own work.

Packratt said...

Difster, sorry, almost passed your comment up... (most comments in one post that I've ever had here I think)

That's definitely something I think about, it was already tried a couple times when I first started the site out and, when that failed, a few SPD officers started up a "injusticeinseattle.com" site to try and trick people looking for this site into divulging their personal information to them.

So, I know it's not beyond them to try and shut me down someway...

Though, I would like to move myself offshore in addition to the site some days. It gets scary sometimes, let me tell you.

Thanks for the suggestion!

DMBphotog said...

Keep it going.
Give it time to grow.

Anonymous said...

Voice of Reason again. I've added some additional technical points to Mr. Miller's thread, specifically, remarks related to web bugs and redirectors.

Anonymous said...

(Voice of Reason) BTW If this site "does receive threats and intimidating messages from law enforcement officers and agencies", it's the kind of Free Speech issue that Mr. Miller writes about. In particular, it sounds a great deal like the Pataky case. Ask Mr. Miller if he agrees that you're in a Pataky-style situation. Consider documenting what you've observed and passing it on to Mr. Miller. If LEOs are actually doing this kind of thing, and Mr. Miller writes about it, the LEOs may be handing you exactly what you need. It's not out of the question that you'll eventually see a bump in readership because of this issue.

Packratt said...

Thanks DMB, I think I'll do just that.

VOR, again, thanks for all the feedback, it's much appreciated as I think about how I can make the site and the feeds even more useful to people.

As for the harassment, it's about the same as all the others who do the write about this issue like I do... it didn't really seem to garner any concern when I posted about it over a year ago, so I don't think asking anyone to post about old events like that would be reasonable of me.

After all, it's hard to make good news out of old stories. I have a hard time doing it, so I won't ask others to do so... but, if I get any new ones I'll definitely share them.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

"I'm really starting to think that changing perceptions about the problem may be a hill to steep to climb if nobody even wants to" "we, as a people, are permissive of it, or even encouraging of it" Many people are disgusted but feel helpless to do anything about it. The pigs want the public to believe that the few stories they hear about are just a temporary outbreak of SWINE FLU instead of strong indicators of systemic, pervasive corruption which they do NOTHING about. It has been my experience that most Americans are still in the dark about just how bad the cops have become. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE!!

Jeff said...

I check this site and the twitter feed often. Someone has to watch out for stuff like this and I'm glad you are looking out for all of us all around the country. Please keep it up.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Lets think about all of the progress environmentalists have made in the past decade. How did they do this? Education; THEY got the word out. Not long ago those who cared about the environment were viewed as left wing, spacey tree huggers. The only recycler I knew in the 80's fit this stereotype to a t. Because the environment was a fringe issue only a few cared about, the smog got so bad in Los Angeles people had trouble breathing. Now everybody recycles; it's the norm. Many Americans buy energy efficient lightbulbs not because they care about the environment, but because doing so saves THEM {money}. Now, equate this to the issue of police abuse. We have got to get the word out about just HOW BAD things are and MAKE people care BEFORE it happens to them. Police abuse is not just a social cause--it's going to effect you sooner or later, like it or not. It's to YOUR benefit to care. We need to destigmatize the issue. Yours is one of the few sites without an underlying political message, this is key. So everybody do your part and educate others on this issue! Lets make a goal to get at least 500 people reading Injustice on Twitter. What do you say?

Packratt said...

Anon, that's the point I guess... there are good and bad cops out there, but up to now we haven't even had a clue as to how many of which there are an how much damage they do... Hopefully this will help us figure that out.

Jeff, thank you for reading and sticking with it, I really appreciate that!

Anon, thanks for the optimistic message, I'll definitely try to keep that in mind as I continue with this. Thanks!

Carlos Miller said...

Every time one of these articles makes the news, the apologists always pop up to defend police by saying that the incident was just an isolated incident and we should need to be careful about judging all cops as bad.

But what your newsfeed has proven is that these incidents are not so random. In fact, they are quite regular.

There is a clear, consistent pattern of abuse in officers and it's scary.

These incidents not only need to be brought to light, but they need to be organized on a single site.

That is what I set out to do on my site regarding First Amendment violations against photographers because there wasn't a whole lot out there under one roof.

I've been doing this two years and it's only in the last few months that I am getting a little popularity.

And each time a reader discovers my site, they are blown away by the amount of violations against photographers.

So please keep it up because it will eventually get noticed.

I would even recommend cutting and pasting portions of the stories on your site so when the links die, there will still be a record.

Bob Waldrop said...

I don't do Twitter, so I have no feelings on that. This was my first time at the site, though, a friend recommended it. I'm going to put the feed on my yahoo page, but I am older and my eyes aren't so good and I have a problem with the black background and white letters, plus your the type doesn't get any bigger when I increase the font size on my browser (Mozilla). I know dark backgrounds and light letters are all the design rage this year, but they inhibit access to sites for folks whose eyes aren't the best anymore.

Packratt said...

Thanks Carlos, I always appreciate your input! Like I sort of hinted at, my biggest bottleneck for developing content or doing even more is time. I've had to scrap some plans, like the interactive map of misconduct, because I don't have time to do it.

Another thing is that I really don't want to turn this site into nothing more than an aggregation site, but I do see the point in that information about misconduct is becoming less free and available as news sites shift towards subscription models to try and boost profits... I barely afford to pay rent each month, I could never afford to pay all the sites I gather info from!

Which, I guess is my other bottleneck, I don't ask for donations or do any advertising (with low readership it wouldn't help anyway) so that limits what I can do with the site and feed. But, I just don't want to give anyone an impression that I'm doing this for money or anything like that... it's a principle thing I guess.

With all of that aside though, I do, on occasion, post snippets about some stories I see every now and then, though those didn't seem to popular either.

Bob,
Thank you for letting me know, it's something I've really been thinking about, and have even tried to address a few times... but as I mention above, I'm limited in what I can do by time and money...

The biggest problem I have with site redesigns, though, is that I tend to be wordy, so when I go to larger fonts it makes my posts seem hideously large and I already have a difficult time keeping readers past one story.

But, my wordy style is something I keep trying to work on, hopefully I'll also be able to find a better format for the site content to make it more readable too at some point.

So, thanks for the very valuable feedback, it's most appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't shut this down, I really do like to grab stories from it. I've looked at it at least every time I look at "Photography is not a Crime" blog. Pretty often actually.

afmdmc2000 said...

i think you have a good site, and i try and check it at least once a day.
that being said it could be better, how? well, i,m not sure on that. but one thing that i would suggest is too give it more time. 6 months or even a year. this is not something that takes off over night. you need to give it more time. keep up the good work.

Dave

Dalebert said...

We could sure use someone like you in our activist efforts in Keene, NH. Have you checked out the Free State Project? Free Keene?

Anonymous said...

This is important work, so I'd encourage you to keep it up. There are more sites like your's popping up in different communities, and individuals willing to put in the time makes all the difference. Try to hook up with the broader community of people fighting abuse and injustice, like Kopbusters.com, FreeKeene.com, FreeStateProject.org. There are many, many allies out there.

norcalbarney said...

Please keep it up. You're shining a light into the darkness.

Anonymous said...

The job you do with this site is invaluable.

Anonymous said...

You never waste my time. Keep it up if you can. Now that I know about your website, I will let as many people know about it as possible.

Packratt said...

Thanks for the support and the comments! Probably the most comments to a post ever for this site.

As for the Free State project or any other political causes... I'd like to keep anything like that separate from the site and my efforts on this issue for now. Hopefully nobody takes offense, but there are reasons why I want to keep politics out of it here.

I've really tried very hard to separate partisanship and politics from the issue of police misconduct because it is an issue that affects anyone of any political persuasion, so I want to try and make it an issue that anyone feels a bit more comfortable talking about and more receptive to hearing about.

For now, at least, I plan to keep my own politics out of the issue, hopefully that doesn't offend anyone... and I really do appreciate the support and the feedback from people of any political point of view.

So thank you!

katy sheehan said...

I worked for the Ella Baker Center in Oakland for their Police Watch program as a first year law student. We set up legal clinics on knowing your rights and did some events to try to get support/publicity for a brutality case that was coming before the Office of Citizen Complaints, etc. We didn't get much attention either. I also worked on a horrible case in Spokane a few years ago where a young man died because of brutality. The city wouldn't say that what happened was wrong.

What makes it so difficult is that unless its happened to you or to someone you know, I think people don't want to believe police brutality is a problem. I KNOW that there is nothing out there like you have put together here because I looked for it. People aren't going to use this information right away. But if its here when they need it information and education are the backbone of a campaign. For now all I can do is say thank you for doing this, it can't be easy and I appreciate your work as an individual in solidarity.

periscopedepth said...

Please keep this up. A central source that documents - or even attempts to document - cases of police abuses of power is essential in these times.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comments. Sites like this are essential to keeping watch over the watchers.

Anonymous said...

"name change might help- just going by the name I would think this is just about Seattle"

He might have a point here although I like the name. It's different and stands out from the usual police abuse stuff. I found this site completely by accident while searching for something else. Is there anything you can do to make the site show up higher in the search results for police abuse?

"To change the problem of police misconduct requires a groundswell of desire to have it changed"

We can't get the publics support unless they hear the truth about just how dangerous the police have become.

Anonymous said...

I recommend calling the folks over at FreeTalkLive.com between Mon-Sat: 7pm-10pm EST and have a conversation about police misconduct and mention your stats and site.

Sean said...

Keep it going!

 
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