As a team we believed that we could make a product that could help people feel confident in the articles they were reading online. We set out to develop a crowd sourced citation website where users, by supplying citations, can support or refute claims made in the article.
What it does
The BrightCite application aims to reduce fake and biased news. It does this by providing a platform where anyone can question passages from news articles and / or provide citation information. Users rate the integrity of the passage and back it up with a citation. If a passage receives many low integrity ratings from several citations, the overall true/false rating of the passage goes down. The article itself is ranked based on the collective integrity of each of its passages. The page rating may be used to warn users about the overall trustworthiness of an article.
How we built it
We built the BrightCite framework using Java and Apache Tomcat. We used JSP to deliver content to the user. We stored all of the citation information in a MySQL server. We used modern HTML5 and CSS technologies to make the user experience as enjoyable as possible.
Challenges we ran into
Finding a way to dynamically edit and display passages and citation information was a difficult challenge. Initially, we intended to have the passages highlighted on the page using a Google Chrome plugin. Due to time restraints, this feature was postponed. We ended up using a side-by-side comparison approach to display passages next to web pages which is both readable and clear.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of the fact that we were able to create an application that may reduce the quantity of fake news spreading around on the internet. We are also excited about how quickly we were able to develop the entire application given the limited time and resources.
What we learned
Through the development of BrightCite, we continued to learn more about the interactions between server-database pairs. Additionally, we gained experience in web development. As a team we also learned how to efficiently divide the development process between us.
What's next for BrightCite
We are excited to continue our work on BrightCite in the future. We plan on implementing Chrome Plugin support, and a higher level of connectivity between articles and citations. Also we wish to analyze the stories our users support or correct in order to help identify false news.