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Joe Reeve
Joe Reeve

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Being a good web citizen, a checklist

In this article I introduce the WebCitizenChecklist, a tool that any webmaster, developer, or hobbyist can use to make sure they're doing their part to maintain and support an open web.

Why a "checklist"?

First introduced decades ago by the U.S. Air Force, checklists have enabled pilots to fly aircraft of mind-boggling sophistication. Now innovative checklists are being adopted in hospitals around the world, helping doctors and nurses respond to everything from flu epidemics to avalanches. Even in the immensely complex world of surgery, a simple ninety-second variant has cut the rate of fatalities by more than a third.

Read The Checklist Manifesto for more...

Checklists are simple to understand, easy to follow, and cheap to distribute. They make industries like medicine and aviation better, and they can make the web better.

Why "maintain and support an open web"?

It's no secret that something is off kilter with the web.
We have access to all of humanities knowledge in our pocket, yet spend 90% of our time on Facebook.
We could be learning an instrument or curing cancer, but instead we watch cat videos.
We could be building a business or charity, but we're instead manipulated into competing for "likes" and "re-tweets".

This isn't the fault of Google or Facebook. We are responsible, we let this happen.

The "professional web citizen"

Any community has many kinds of citizens. The responsibility to keep a community healthy is on all citizens, but invariably a subset of citizens are better placed to actually make an impact.

We (webmasters, developers, hobbyists, and influencers) are able to make small but highly leveraged changes to our workflows. We can choose to give our users' data to Google and Facebook, we can choose to starve Google and Facebook of data they use to manipulate our fellow citizens. That's what this checklist is about.

The checklist

To view and contribute to the checklist, please visit

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