What is RapGenius?
RapGenius is a song lyrics website that allows fans and artists to collaborate on their meanings. The site’s unique and irreverent approach to knowledge building attracts nearly 10 million views each month, including verified accounts for artists such as Nas and The RZA.
What does this have to do with contract proposals?
While the majority of the website focuses on song lyrics, contributors have begun adding different types of content such as poetry, news articles, letters, and novels. This has prompted the founders to explore business-to-business opportunities for their knowledge building engine, which attracted the inventor of the Internet’s first web browser Marc Andreessen to invest $15 million in RapGenius.
Christopher Ritter, a Springboro resident and Idea Designer at LexisNexis, is the first to use the RapGenius platform for contact negotiations. After many days of transcribing the contract released by the Springboro Board of Education, the full text along with the proposals from the Board and the Springboro Education Association is now available in a format which allows the community to directly interact with the document.
How will this impact the negotiation process?
At the moment we’re seeing our community being divided along familiar lines, with one side showing their support for our teachers and the other for the Board. While both sides have made some effort to explain the general ideas behind the changes they’re proposing, the negotiation process is currently on the verge of collapse, which will ultimately limit the number of ideas to improve our local school system.
Opening the contract negotiations with the community affords representatives and educational experts the opportunity to explain the impact of the proposals in plain English. This not only applies to the two sides currently involved in the debate, but anyone with a good idea to improve Springboro schools. The community can thumb up or down any proposal in order to show the negotiation teams exactly what the community wants for our schools.
How do I find the contract proposals?
Simply use the search box at the top of RapGenius to search for the “Springboro Board of Education.” You will see a suggestion box appear as soon as you start typing. You can select one of the articles that appear in the list, or click on the search icon in order to view a full list of results.
(HINT: You can also type in the name of the article you are searching for in addition to the artists name. For example, searching for “springboro association rights” will display a suggestion box containing Article V – Association Rights.)
Clicking on the search icon will show you a list of search results that are sorted by artist, album, and song titles. The “Artist results” display a link to the Springboro Board of Education, which contains more information about the Board. The “Album results” displays a link to the actual Contract Proposals which a list of articles along with the album cover other relevant information. “Song results” display all of the articles that contain the search query (e.g., Springboro Board of Education).
What can I do with the contract proposals?
Once you’ve located the Contract Proposals on RapGenius, you’ll find a table of contents (TOC) which lists all of the articles in the original contract, along with album artwork and description, and a list of people who have contributed knowledge to the website. Simply click on any link in the TOC in order to view the article.
Each of the articles contain the complete text from the current contract. Any changes proposed by the Board or the SEA, referred to as the BOARD and the ASSOCIATION respectively in the contract, appear as highlights in the body of the document. Clicking on a highlight shows the contract proposals along with controls to thumb up it up or down, or share an improvement to help the community better understand it’s impact.
(NOTE: Viewing the song activity and other interactive features are limited to registered users. The sign up process is much easier if you have a Twitter account, requiring two clicks to unlock the full range of features.)
How can I contribute my knowledge?
Registered users have two ways to contribute their knowledge to the contract proposals. You can either highlight a section of text and add a description to help people better understand its impacts, or you can select a highlighted passage and add a suggestion to someone else’s description.
The highlighted text make it easy to find where the BOARD or the ASSOCIATION has proposed a change to the contract. Simply click on the highlighted text in order to view the annotations. At the moment, the majority of annotations contain the original text written in legalese, which makes it difficult for the community understand their intent in a greater context. This is where expert members of the community can help interpret the proposals into plain English so that local residents can have a clearer view of the impact on their school system.
Below the annotations in the pop-up box is a button to view the list of authors who have contributed to the explanation. Each of the authors are listed according to the number of points they have earned for their contribution. This provides contributors with credit for their contributions, while offering the community a closer look at who is behind each of the annotations. Members of official organizations have the opportunity to verify their accounts with RapGenius, in order to authenticate their identity to the community.
How do I format my contributions?
When you post your first annotation on RapGenius, you’ll notice a list of “Style Guidelines” below the “Save” button. The most important rule is DON’T PUT STUFF INTO “NERDSPEAK”. In the realm of contract negotiations, this translates into avoiding legalese, and instead using plain English (as has been noted throughout this post).
Secondly, it is helpful to provide links for citations that support your description. This is especially true when citing proposals by the BOARD and the ASSOCIATION. Original proposals that are not cited elsewhere should describe the purpose of their proposals and link to articles and case studies which illustrate their impact.
And finally, BE CIVIL. Leave the mud slinging for politics and speak to your fellow community members as if you were seated in a coffee house sharing your ideas over a cup of joe. We want you to be excited and passionate about your ideas while being respectful to everyone in the room.
[NOTE: Additional information on formatting videos and links can be found in the “Style Guidelines.”]
Why should I contribute my ideas?
While there are many different reasons why contributors should spend time sharing their valuable ideas with the community, the following come to mind with respect to our local schools:
- On the National Level, the open negotiation on RapGenius allows organizations the opportunity to illustrate how their ideas impact people on a local level. This can be used as part of social media campaigns to promote corporate social responsibility or other examples of policy at work on Main Street.
- On the Local Level, the Board of Education has the opportunity to build upon their Transparency Project by including more voices in the conversation around their contract proposals. This provides them with access to a multitude of ideas to help improve our school system.
- On the Personal Level, I’m certainly not the only one who would appreciate an unbiased description of the proposals to the teacher’s contract, so that I can better understand their impact on Springboro Schools.
Are you ready to help build the future of Springboro Schools?
Visit the Springboro Board of Education’s Contract Proposals on RapGenius and share what you know with the community!