It's worth a look.
by Roger Eaton, May 2011
These are specifications only at this point - the application has not yet been written. However about 75 percent of the underlying work has been done, so the application can be readied fairly quickly.
The initial PandA app is meant primarily for college and pre-college student classes under the guidance of a teacher, however, it will be open to general participation on the web and in particular through facebook.
Students each choose a plant or animal that they will represent in global discussions with other participating students. Homo Sapiens will be a valid choice.
Students may think of themselves as a particular member of the species with a name they give themselves.
When communicating with other species, students should be encouraged to represent the species as a whole rather than an individual species member. For instance a message from a kangaroo might begin "We kangaroos...".
Each species will have its own forum, where only students who have selected that species participate. Participation means posting messages and rating and replying to messages posted by others.
Plants as a whole will also have a forum as will the animals collectively. Above these two, there will be a forum for life as a whole.
For each species, there will be an automatically created twitter account. There will also be twitter accounts for Plants, Animals and Life.
Each message has a twitter length introduction. This intro is automatically created as the first 125 chars of the message but may also be edited. 125 instead of 140 to leave room for a short link to the full message if the message is selected to be tweeted.
Messages show up initially in the forum of the species the student has adopted, where they may be rated for interest and approval -- a dual rating scale. According to a formula that has yet to be developed, highly rated messages (i.e., both interesting and approved) are automatically tweeted by the species' twitter accounts. These highly rated tweeted messages are also promoted to the Plant or Animal forum.
Just as only students signed up for a species can participate in the forum for that species, so only those who signed up for an animal can participate in the Animal forum and similarly for the Plant forum. However, in these higher level forums, students can only rate and reply to messages. They cannot post new messages. In these higher level forums, the initial tweeted posts automatically have the name of the species speaking appended to the title. Thus a message with the title "Sarah Palin Go Home" tweeted by the wolf species would be posted in the Animal forum with the title "Wolf says: Sarah Palin Go Home".
Just as for the species' forums, highly rated messages are tweeted from the Plant and Animal forums with a prefixed title of this pattern: "Animals Like what Wolf says: Sarah Palin Go Home". These selected messages are then also promoted to the Life forum where again the highest rated messages get tweeted in this fashion: "Life on Earth Likes what Wolf says: Sarah Palin go Home".
New messages will be released to the non-student participants for a day before they are viewable by the students. This will allow the more general web/facebook crowd to mark messages as "unsuitable for minors" so they can be suppressed for the student population if need be until reviewed by moderators.
Clearly more issues will come up. Teachers will need a way to register their students, for instance. The whole issue of multiple languages will need to be handled, though we can start with an English only version.
The PandA application opens up a possible source of revenue for wildlife conservationists. With a proper non-profit middle-man, funders could give to the PandA process money which will then be distributed by the students to non-profit organizations of their choosing. Each student, for instance, might earn ten cents to to donate for each message rated and five dollars for each message written that ends up being tweeted.