What’s with the sheep?

Followers of Herdict’s progress may have noticed by now that our chosen icon is the sheep. “What’s up with the sheep?” they might ask.

“Herdict” is a portmanteau of “herd” and “verdict” – used to mean “the verdict of the herd.” Since the goal of Herdict Network Health is to gain insight into what the world – that is, the herd – is experiencing in terms of web accessibility, we’ve chosen to go with a sheep to represent you, the herd.

Now, you might be thinking, “Wait a minute…who are you calling a sheep?” To many, the sheep is considered to be an unintelligent species content to simply run with the flock. On the contrary, sheep tend not to follow the herd when no natural predator is present.

While considering web inaccessibility and online censorship as a predator might be a bit farfetched, when faced with it, it makes sense to join the herd. And the more folks who do so, the better the picture we are able to paint of the network.

For example, if you, User A, is in Morocco and finds YouTube blocked, you will probably want to know if others are having the same problem. With Herdict, you can see – in real time – if others are reporting the same phenomenon, giving you a better sense of possible reasons of why the site is inaccessible.

In other words, Herdict presents your verdict, allowing you, the user, to take control of the process and try to determine what’s going on.

-Jillian C. York

About the Author: Jillian York

Jillian C. York is the Project Coordinator for the OpenNet Initiative and the part of the Herdict team that you should contact if you have any questions about other-language instances of the site or international press. She created most of the textual content on the site, so if you spot something funny, let her know! She's also the face behind the @Herdict Twitter feed.

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