AMNESTY DECODERS FAQ

All the answers to the most commonly asked questions relating to Amnesty Decoders

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About Amnesty Decoders

What is the Amnesty Decoders platform?

Amnesty Decoders is a platform where tens of thousands of digital volunteers around the world use their computers or phones to help our researchers sift through large databanks of social media messages, images, documents and other information.

Why are you doing this?

We aim to inspire a new generation of digital activists – people who are keen to contribute to human rights work in a meaningful way by using new technologies. We are also addressing the challenge of information overload – our researchers are overwhelmed by the dramatic expansion of digital information and we need all hands on deck to support them.

What have you achieved so far?

Since the launch of the Decoders platform in June 2016, we have completed six projects: helping Amnesty improve its Urgent Action campaigns, identifying villages at risk of attacks in remote areas of Darfur in Sudan, digitising a large databank of oil spill investigation reports and images in Nigeria, finding misogyny and abuse in tweets sent to women in the UK and US, and identifying times of destruction of buildings in Raqqa, Syria by the US-led Coalition.

How many Decoders are contributing and who are they?

Since the launch of the platform, we have had over 53,100 volunteers from 150 countries. Collectively, they contributed over 15,000 hours of work, which equates to one person working full time for eight years.

Decoders are from all walks of life, from young people keen to use the power of technology to make a difference, to people in their 70’s. They are altruistic, politically aware, engaged and passionate. All they need to participate is an internet connection – they get online training on the tasks and can spend anywhere from a few minutes to hours analysing data.

How can I become a Decoder?

Anyone can become a decoder, you don’t need previous knowledge or special equipment. All you need is a computer, tablet or phone with an internet connection. You don’t need to download any apps, just complete tasks on our website.

There is no minimum time requirement needed; do as much or as little as you'd like.

What happens to the data I submit?

Your analysis of documents, satellite images, videos or other potential evidence of human rights violations is used by our researchers to advance human rights work.

What is the discussion forum?

Once you have completed a task, you can flag it and discuss it with other decoders or Amnesty researchers. The comments or questions will appear on the Discuss forum (also accessible via the navigation bar). You can also see discussion threads other decoders have started, and contribute to the conversation. Due to the large number of discussions, we rely on volunteers to help answering questions – please be mindful of that, minimize the number of questions and support our volunteer moderators.

How can I get more involved in Decoders?

In addition to completing tasks, volunteers can support others and join discussions with the community on the discussion forum. We also need support moderating the forum. As moderator, you will support the Amnesty team make sure that questions from other fellow volunteers are answered in time. You will be in touch with Amnesty researchers and campaigners and act as a point of contact for the project. If you are interested in becoming a moderator, email us here.

Registration and your Data

What data do you collect about me?

When registering with Amnesty Decoders, you will be asked some personal information including a unique username, your email address, and country of origin. We will use this information to notify you about new Amnesty Decoders projects (should you subscribe to this feature).

We may also collect anonymised technical information, including the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Internet, browser type and version, time zone setting, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform. This anonymised data is collected to administer our site and for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research, statistical and survey purposes and to improve our site to ensure that content is presented in the most effective manner for you and your computer. Please refer to our Terms page and Privacy Policy for more information about the data we collect and how we intend to use it.

Why am I asked to register?

We ask decoders to register on the platform with a name, username and email. Signing in allows you to participate in discussions, enabling us to give you credit for your work and helps the research teams make the best use of the data you provide.

We will use this information to notify you about new Amnesty Decoders projects (if you subscribe to this feature).

For some projects we require registration to lower the risk of malicious users, or to let Decoders gain recorded experience to unlock trickier tasks.

I care about digital security. Do you have any tips for staying safe on your platform?

You should always keep digital security in mind when signing up to a new website like Amnesty Decoders. These are our top tips that will go a little way towards making things safer online:

  • Use a new, different, password for this site. Reusing the same password across lots of sites means that only one of those sites has to get hacked to put your digital identity as risk.
  • Most people find ‘passphrases’ easier to remember than passwords – this comic https://xkcd.com/936/ shows a good approach to picking passphrases that are both strong and easy to remember.
  • Be careful of links/attachments that are shared in the discussion forum – check the destination before you click. Reach out to a moderator if you see something suspicious posted.
  • Keep your computer or mobile up to date. Install operating system and application updates when prompted, particularly for things like Adobe Flash and Java.

I forgot the email I used to sign up, can I retrieve it?

Don’t worry if you forgot your password - we have your back. Go to the sign in page and click on the “Forgot password” option. Follow the steps indicated to retrieve your password or login information.

How can I find out what information you have about me?

Amnesty International are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. For the purpose of the Data Protection Act 1998 the data controller is Amnesty International Limited of 1 Easton Street, London, WC1X 0DW, United Kingdom. You can also contact us by email:

amnestyis@amnesty.org or by telephone: + 44 (0) 20 7413 5500.

Please write to us at this address to access information we hold about you.

Can I delete my account?

If you wish to delete your Amnesty Decoders account, you can email us here and we will respond with instructions or confirmation of the account deletion.

I want to know more, how can I contact you?

We are happy to answer whatever question you might have. Please feel free to contact us by emailing us here.

Project FAQs

Troll Patrol India FAQs

What is the current project?

The current project is Troll Patrol India - an effort to analyse 50,000 tweets that have been sent to women, trans and non-binary politicians in the run up to the General Elections 2019 in India. Despite our requests, Twitter won’t tell us how many reports of abuse they receive. But with your help, we can expose the true nature and scale of abuse against women and minority genders on the platform.

What are the objectives of the Troll Patrol India project?

We want to complement our research based on the Troll Patrol project findings focused on the US and UK, with more quantitative information about Indian Twitter use. We have selected a group of about 100 women politicians across India and we are monitoring their twitter mentions over three months covering the Indian election period - in total a sample of 50,000 tweets.

Your contribution will pinpoint which of these tweets are problematic and abusive and will help us expose trends and patterns of online abuse against women. We will use this information to pressure Twitter to improve their response and tackle abuse on the platform.

How many volunteers do you need for Troll Patrol India?

We estimate that we need at least 2,000 volunteers – so please help us by bringing your friends on board. We welcome help from around the world – not just India!

Where can I get help for Troll Patrol India?

We have a Help section while decoding, including information about the objectives of the project, tips and examples. Just look for the question mark symbol. You can also ask additional help from other volunteers or Amnesty researchers on the discussion forum.

What does my language selection mean?

Please choose the language(s) you can read, proficiently. You can choose Hindi only, English only or both Hindi and English depending on your proficiency. We use these options because these are the most common languages used for tweets to the selected politicians.

Because language detection is imperfect, you may see tweets in other languages than the one/s you selected - for example, you may see tweets in Hindi (or partly in Hindi) when you selected English, or you may see tweets in other languages such as Tamil or Marathi.

If you can understand the tweet and identify whether it contains abusive or problematic content, please answer! If you cannot you will have the option to flag the tweet at the link “Can’t Understand Language?” so that people on the forum can help!

You can always change your language preference later on, too.

What if I’m not sure what the answer is?

Deciding if a single tweet without context is abusive or problematic can be tough. Also, not everybody will agree! We have some examples in the Help section to let you know what to look for, but this project is about building up a set of decisions from many volunteers like you, so don’t worry if you’re not sure - it’s still really important that you give your answer for the tweets you see. This will help show what these politicians experience, and will demonstrate to Twitter the complexity of this problem.

What if I make a mistake?

Each tweet will be shown to a number of different volunteers; the tweet is considered verified when most people agree on the answer. So don’t worry, more eyes will be on the same tweet.

What happens next?

After we have enough results from our Decoders project, the data will be analysed and incorporated into the wider research Amnesty International is doing on online abuse against women. We’ll update the project Results page with anything new, and if you’ve opted in to emails you’ll also hear about updates from this project - as well as new Decoders volunteering opportunities in the future!