How do you trawl through a 2.6 million-word report? The Guardian is asking its readers for help
The Guardian turned to its audience on Wednesday for help telling a huge story: New, bombshell disclosures about the UK's flawed involvement with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The revelations, contained in a lengthy report by government adviser John Chilcot, point to a British government that relied on faulty intelligence and was overly hawkish when there were non-military alternatives to war.
But there's a lot more detail in the report, which is 2.6 million words long. For comparison, that's four times longer than "War and Peace," Leo Tolstoy's mammoth novel about the French invasion of Russia.
The Guardian, confronted with reams of information and the demands of breaking news, is asking readers for help combing through the 12-volume report. On Wednesday, staffers set up a form asking readers to help them spot facts that haven't yet come to light.
The entire report will be published online on Wednesday once Sir John Chilcot has finished his public statement. If you’re reading through the report and you spot an interesting fact or snippet you think we’ve missed, it would be great if you could let us know – we’ve set up a form below for contributions.
As a guide to armchair sleuths, The Guardian also published a story listing the six key questions about the UK's involvement in the Iraq war that the report should address.
Since the story was published, The Guardian has earned plaudits on Twitter for asking readers to do the heavy lifting in the face of information overload:
Perfect execution of crowdsourcing in news. https://t.co/nqP7ZcdJbA Step 1: define the ask. Step 2: design the UX. Step 3. run the call out.
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) July 6, 2016
— Joe Mitchell (@j0e_m) July 6, 2016
— chris doman (@chrisdoman) July 6, 2016
This isn't the first time The Guardian has asked its readers for help taking on a big or interesting story. The Counted, The Guardian's award-winning project examining the number of deaths caused by U.S. police officers, also relied on crowdsourcing to turn up deaths that might have otherwise been overlooked. In May, The Guardian asked readers how they'd be affected by the strikes and protests in France; that same month, the newspaper turned to its audience for story suggestions for its tech podcast.
If you want to help The Guardian sort through the Chilcot Report, you can do so here.