Tracking Legal Projects

This topic describes how we can best track projects that include legal incidents (i.e. Arrests, Citations, Detainments)

Although it takes a lot of words to explain, we have several groups of information --
  • Events ("Projects" like raids), Media (like videos and news reports), Legal Incidents (arrests and citations), and Badges (i.e.Law enforcement involved)
  • We also intend to track Complaints.

Tutorial videos are on the way to take the fog away from this wiki-world. Here is an attempt to quicky explain this.

Databases in Copswiki

This wiki platform includes a very powerful mechanism to organize information into "virtual data tables". They are not full-fledged databases, but are really handy and flexible.

Here are some things to understand.
  • A data record corresponds to a topic file, like this one, but with a DataForm attached to the bottom.
  • A data table is a set of topic files, all with the same DataForm attached.
    • Thus, these tables are limited to less than about 10,000 records -- which is most of the time -- since each record is a separate file.
    • But each record can have almost anything in it, and it is very easy to change the fields in the record by adjusting the corresponding form topic.
    • This Wiki platform tracks ALL revisions to every topic, and keeps all revisions for all time. No other database does this. (Nor do tools like Google Docs, Wordpress, etc)

  • The first part of the topic file is the "body" -- a free-form wiki topic that allows drafting or pasting in of text, etc. You are reading one of these.
    • Two modes exist: Raw (default) Edit mode -- use simple text formatting using wiki-oriented syntax. See "Edit Help" button in edit mode for details.
      • Click "Raw Mode" to see the topic in the wiki-markup syntax. It is VERY easy and roughtly corresponds to HTML.
    • Or, Wysiwyg (What you see is what you get) mode: Allows pasting in of complex pages directly, and formatting using mouse clicks.
    • Note: When a new topic is created, it may start in WYSIWYG mode. To change, save, and EDIT to get in Raw mode.

  • The second part of the topic are structured fields. These fields are defined by the form topic that is referenced.

    • You will create a new record by clicking "Add Record" link, like "Add Incident" or "Add Badge" or "Add Media".
    • Most of the time, you will ONLY FILL IN THE STRUCTURED FIELDS AT THE BOTTOM and skip the body.
    • If you add anything to the body topic, please do it BETWEEN the %INCLUDE{...Header}% and %INCLUDE{...Footer}% macros.
  • Linking records together is done with TAGS, which are usually the name of topics creating reports.
    • This is flexible because multiple tags are allowed... thus any record can be linked as a child to any other record, which becomes a "mesh" as opposed to a "tree" structure.

  • Details you may not need to know... and did not ask for... but may "enjoy" nonetheless...
    • REPORTS are generated by using the SEARCH macro. In a given report, here is what happens:
      • All topics are reviewed that have a given DataForm attached.
      • Topics meeting the search criteria are then use, formatted into appropriate output, sorted, and displayed.
      • All this happens DYNAMICALLY and hopefully, the blink of an eye.
      • Sometimes, if the report is HUGE, we have to add caching. See News Media for the complete list of media collected and submitted.
    • There are collection of infrastructure topics that go with each table. (These are just tradition in Copswiki, not mandated by the system) Consider a "table" named Abc:
      • AbcForm - This topic contains a table that defines the fields in each record. (required by the system)
      • AbcTopicTemplate - The starter topic you get when you create a new one.
      • AbcTopicHeader, AbcTopicFooter - The headers and footers that are added when the topic is displayed, to allow all to be changed similarly.
      • AddAbc - Typical topic that will help you add a new record.
      • AllAbc - Report of all Abc records.

See Voter Registration Arrest Of Ray Lutz as an example of an event with all the components, including the Legal Incident report at the bottom.

  • "Events" are logical collections of incidents that are similarly related, usually because they occurred at about the same time.
    • These will use the Project Form and will be created in the appropriate web, like Occupy
    • They will list Media and LegalIncidents associated with the project as reports.
    • Each will reference the parent project: Occupy San Diego

  • Common.News Media is a collection of all videos, articles, etc. that are important enough for us to list.
    • All such media is collected in the Common web; each has a Common.Media Form attached.
    • Media that is associated with an Event must be tagged with the Topic Name of the event.
      • These can be Keywords or just in the Tags or Note fields.
      • That way, it will be automatically listed in the media section of the Event topic.
    • See How To Submit Media for detailed instructions.
    • NOTE:
      • One topic per article or video, normally, but if the video has multiple parts, it is good to collect them all together.
      • Videos can be on any host, You Tube, Vimeo,, Livestream, Ustream, etc.
        • Include the link to the media in the media link field.
        • Put EMBED code in "Embed Html" field and it will display in the header.
        • Attach any files directly to the topic, like documents, PDFs, etc.
          • If we link to news article, sometimes it is best to paste it in just in case they decide to delete their copy.

  • Legal Incidents and Badges are kept in the Legal Web
    • This web is "secure" and is not visible to the general public. You have to have permission to view/edit it.

  • Legal Incidents are arrests, citations or detainments.
    • The topic name is just Lnnnnn, where nnnnn is a sequential number.
    • Each Incident should be Tagged (Tag field) with the topic name of the Event.
    • Then, all incidents will automatically list for each event.
    • The "Badge" field should be the raw number of the badge of the officer who was involved in the arrest.
      • May have to allow more than one badge per LegalIncident -- right now, only one is allowed.
      • The link the Badge record is constructed from the Dept field with the badge number appended, like San Diego Police 6719

  • Legal.Badges are law enforcement officers of any rank.
    • The topic name is has the following format:
      • LawEnforcementDeptNNNN -- where NNNN is the raw badge number. This allows the same badge in multiple depts.
      • see the list of Law Enforcement Dept.
      • This is explained in the Add Badge topic

  • Complaints -- this is where we track each complaint and is TBD.

Topic revision: r3 - 14 Sep 2012, RaymondLutz
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