As this project is still in its early days, its guiding principles and editorial editorial policy will undoubtedly be changed and refined. That said, the vision for this site and, thus, the guidelines for this project, and for what information should and should not be reported are currently based on the following views:
- That the publicly-accessible reports should, at a minimum, reference an official report, an article published by a significant news bureau or service, or an analysis of an official report or publication. Where this is not possible — say, in the case of deportation alerts or for some allegations of assault or medical negligence — reports may still be published if they, or evidence of the allegations, were witnessed by a member of an advocacy or activist group; in these cases, though, the reports will be listed as unverified, and the source of the report, together with their account, will be recorded separately.
- That despite this project’s obvious focus and goals, the reports themselves should stick to the details of the incidents — it is a documentation and aggregation site, not a forum for opinions or debate. That said, we hope it will prove to be a valuable resource for journalists, researchers, political groups and individuals who can use its records to support their arguments and analyses.
- That being based on publicly available information submitted by groups of volunteers, the collection should belong to the community. While the data export functionality is still being developed, the goal is have a database that any visitor can download; the only exception to this will be the private fields that describe the source type or include potentially sensitive or identifying information.
- That for this project to succeed, it needs to be used, and contributed to, by people from a range of groups and sectors — advocacy, activist, research, media and political.
- That the watch site is being offered as a service to the community. There are no subscription fees, and for as long as this site is operational, the data will always be available, for free; even if this site is shutdown, another can take its place as the data is in the public domain.