Campaign Naming Conventions for the Global Digital Activism Data Set 2.0

[Updated] The Global Digital Activism Data Set seeks to collect and analyze sustained, organized public efforts making collective claims of target authorities in which initiators or supporters use digital media.   While some digital activism campaigns have clear self-defined names – Justice for Trayvon Martin, Free Kareem, OK to Say Gay – many do not.   Activists and individuals simply formulate demands, protest a policy, demand change.  They do not take the time to define or otherwise brand their campaign. When these efforts do not name themselves, how should they be named?

The system we have developed is to name the campaign according to their central demand as stated by campaign initiators or participants. For example:

When the words of initiators or supporters are not available, the demand is paraphrased.  Spellings of proper nouns in foreign languages are taken from the 3r-party source used for coding.  All other non-English words are translated into English, for the benefit of comprehension:

In many cases, demands are not unique.   People across the world fight sexism, racism, corruption, and environmental degradation.  In cases where the demand is not specific enough to distinguish the campaign from others, the target location of the campaign is included in the title, with the greatest possible geographic specificity.  For example:

When a campaign has multiple demands that cannot easily be summarized, the campaign is defined as multi-demand.  For example:

Some campaign types are so common that we have standardized the way we write the demand.

  • As shown above, the word “Against” is used for any campaign opposing an existing policy or unjust circumstance.
  • Campaigns demanding that a public figure resign are titled “Resign:[name of official].”
  • Campaigns to free political prisoners are titled “Free [name of prisoner/detainee].”
  • For campaigns in which campaigners are seeking to bring legal action to bear to right an injustice perpetrated against an individual, the format is “Justice for [aggrieved person’s name].”
  • National instances of the cascading pro-democracy campaigns in the Middle East in 2011 are named “Arab Spring: [country]”

We believe these naming conventions respect initiators and supporters in their right to name and define their own campaigns while also distinguishing between campaigns for the benefit of the users of the data set.

Image: Flickr/jennaddenda


Mary Joyce
Written by Mary Joyce

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