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.

NOW FOR OUR PURPOSES... To Track Legal Events.

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: OccupySanDiego

  • 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, YouTube, 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 - 2012-09-14, RaymondLutz

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