Frequently Asked Questions
USHIN is a concept, and the following answers to questions, until publicly deliberated and tested in the U4U prototype, are unproven guesses as to how USHIN might likely develop. As cutting edge technologies come together, with secure means of meeting needs related to information and communication, USHIN will be ready to join and enhance them.
USHIN is Arriving Just on Time

What

What information will USHIN include?

USHIN will show any information sorted into feelings, needs, thoughts, events/facts, actions, people, topics and merits, as uploaded by collaborating curators and their members to the shared USHIN database. Neither USHIN, Inc., nor any agency, will be able to censor the USHIN input visible on via other curators, nor will any curator’s filters be restricted by another.

What does USHIN require of information curators?

In order for USHIN to be free for the public, collaborator groups will carry the costs of the USHIN system cooperatively, primarily by hosting and maintaining their own segments of the data for themselves and their visitors and members. Sources will follow the open curator requirements associated with the USHIN software they use and expand. They will also form individual agreements with USHIN to follow certain standards to be consistent with USHIN taxonomy, architecture, and precepts. There may also be community and umbrella group agreements regarding their own policies and standards. There will be member and customer agreements for products and services that are handled with USHIN. The display of the USHIN tools icon on their public websites will signal willingness to participate in transparency, feedback, community marking, availability, accountability, and support of volunteers and/or employees to serve as Ushers as requested by visitors to their sites.

What about bias of information?

The current use internet poses websites as isolated hubs of information each with its own bias hidden and without means for ready comparison with other perspectives. The result is unchecked misinformation and general confusion. With USHIN, curators will relay their bias, in context with analyses, defined criteria for facts, and definitions of what constitutes expertise and reliability.

Without a unifying system like USHIN, counter opinions are not in view, and discussions lack flexibility, context and the ability to approach comprehensive respect for all related topics and curators. USHIN would serve as an index to a full range of options and contexts in which to deliberate anything, to remedy the above limitations of the current web.

What is the structure of USHIN collaboration?

During the first prototype phase, “U4U”, the founding organization, USHIN, Inc., will invite feedback from existing organizations and individuals to deliberate, with USHIN tools, these sorts of topics. Once the tools are tested, the second phase of “U4U” will open the discussion of structures to others who will most likely lend the network credibility and leadership in a direction consistent with USHIN tenets. Later prototype phases will co-develop initial structures of collaboration within a distributed network which will host open, and potentially ongoing debate about the structure of the network as it evolves.

Beginning with the later phases of USHIN Prototypes,  collaborators will cluster themselves within self-determined umbrella groups, such as trade associations, localities, groups of all kinds, and independents, so that they may be easily found by others seeking information by type of curators. These groups then may create and share industry-specific standards and communication sets, data management expenses and responsibilities and create new communities to suit their self-determined needs. Prior to launching an unlimited beta version of USHIN, collaborators will represent interests across the wide spectrum of health related stakeholders and the public, so that USHIN develops to conform to the needs of all potential participants.

USHIN, Inc. plans to build USHIN using USHIN – which means that with the basic database structure built, team discussions will be published in USHIN, with open multi-criteria feedback and decision making.

Thus the collaborators will have control of the direction of USHIN in their own communities and influence the evolution of the open, global platform so that it remains flexible and responsive to the needs of people immediately and into the future.

What makes USHIN trustworthy?

USHIN will show facts and citations in a way that users can evaluate validity and authenticity according to their own standards, as well as those of their own trusted authorities. All input will be accountable, and exposed to multi-level cross-referencing. For example, we could scan what our selected curators feel about a topic or the curator of the topic, and see other input from other curators, which we could filter according to our own criteria, or borrow filters from trusted curators. Because information will be organized with each part of communication labeled for ease of use, we could compare and evaluate information with tools that would make sophisticated analysis as easy as sorting out decks of cards with a group of friends. 

Curators will be transparent and in context with their relationships with other curators, for multilevel transparency.

What will USHIN do for me?

When we research important matters USHIN tools will let us:
• Validate facts and see other opinions
• Evaluate and choose curators of information
• Cross-reference any aspect of our findings
• Gather information with a combination of criteria at once
• Research personal topics privately
• Set our own priorities and get greater depth on important issues
• Be relatively safe from malware, ad tracking and spam
• Be free of unsolicited advertising
• Get guidance as we search to help find our answers
• Relate findings to our own location or situation
• Be able to connect with, and refer queries, to specific experts For help
• Contribute our findings for others to use
• Have tools to weigh factors and reach a decision on our own terms
• Connect with others, locally and elsewhere, with known identities and alliances
• Help build an intelligent information resource in the process
• Have our voice heard in context with others
• Save our findings in our own topic map that we can update automatically

What will USHIN look like?

The “U” shaped USHIN tool icons will appear on the screen of sites, platforms, apps to signify participation. Users would open these tools to display topics in context with input from a variety of curators. All elements may be expanded with related input with a variety of visual display options.


Why

Why bother doing this?

USHIN will be designed to:
• Elevate the potential of the internet to provide complex analyses simply so that all voices are heard equally and in context.
• Help people quickly and conveniently find appropriate data and resources, and protect their privacy as they communicate among themselves. 
• Help our knowledge, creativity and options express themselves and grow freely to meet changing needs and resources.
• Expose opinions, including those less predominant curators, and create a meaningful dialogue among curators themselves.
• Introduce a community-based method for reference and communication that relies on a cooperative, rather than top-down support.
• Improve health care in general and decrease health care costs by increasing public awareness of options, costs, benefits and side effects of vetted diagnostic and treatment modalities and including resources both within and outside of what health insurance typically covers.

Why not just use the web as it is now?

The current web does not offer a way to scan a variety of opinions from different curators on a topic for comparison and evaluation by users. The public web fails to provide ease in finding and comparing valid information to meet our individual situations.
Lacking organization and a logical system, the internet is increasingly bloated with fractured data with no framework, context nor accountability.
Content is redundant and confused with hidden commercialism, which would otherwise be welcomed if transparently offered.
Increasingly people feel that their privacy is invaded with tracking of our every click to “know what we want to buy before we do,” and by hacking into large systems that collect personal information.


How

How can USHIN be fast?

As an index to snippets of data sorted out in a logical topic map, USHIN will link to, but exclude, large, slow files such as video.
The USHIN interfaces will be simple, combining several steps into quick gestures. For example, if information sought is not found, the combination of elements desired will become a request, ready to go to related to curators on display.

How is the data shared?

USHIN  will not be a large central database, but rather a system for accessing information among databases on different websites. Collaborators will own and manage all of the information found with USHIN tools.
USHIN collaborators will cluster themselves according to shared interests, terminology, taxonomy, and organizational systems.
Collaborating sites will offer a direct link to ushin.net, through which all data may be viewed with the individual’s own choice of filters. This comprehensive site, and exact mirrors of the entire database will be compared to reveal inconsistencies for data security.
Curators provide filters for their own constituents and visitors to their sites to share what they chos their own biases.
USHIN will not edit, censor, or control information curator’s data in this system.
USHIN will not save any personal information as people manage their own filters and preferences on their own servers. Users may share information with their own chosen curators.

How will USHIN grow?

Prototype participants, when satisfied with the interface and database design, will invite early adopters to include topics that suit their needs for community reference and communication to test each of the major USHIN functions and features with numerous examples. Once ready to scale the system will launched for the public.
USHIN will expand when users interact with the USHIN system online through collaborating websites. New collaborators may be introduced to USHIN through email or website forms that link to USHIN.
How will USHIN compete against the big platforms and be seen among the little ones?
USHIN will link to and support sites and existing platforms, and USHIN input will be able to travel through them. There are those who believe that it is too late to hone in on internet spaces, or reach for human rights that no longer seem appropriate to the direction of our future. Others sense a mandate to find neutral ground for optimistic and realistic deliberation that leads to peaceful actions and coordinates a simple, free, open and inclusive way to deliberate the most difficult challenges and serve even the most vulnerable.

How would USHIN prevent hackers and fraud?

Security is a key advantage of the USHIN system, and is one of the reasons that known mediating curators are held responsible for information. Curators and their responsive sources of information collaboratively support a multi-level credentialing system on top of blockchain data security and digital contract assurances. Although newest technologies are struggling with currency breeches, the block-chain is still a secure means of protecting data breeches because “mirrors” of information are maintained independently on different servers – so change of one set will be easy to spot and be filtered out. USHIN is even less susceptible to data breaches because each point that is input into the digital commons is exposed to the same cross-referencing and qualifying markers.

How will USHIN handle spammers, DNS and Sybil attacks?

No input is published except through a curators whose vetting is evident to other users. This is a trust-based system, in which vetting is arranged for members of curators that publish their input, and provide filtering and electronic protections, including anonymization, depending on their agreements. There is a risk of finding undesirable input, especially with unedited community sourcing, and by being the first to flag or filter, as with other types of crowd editing. The requirements for each piece of input to be unique, sorted and signed, even if the publisher is an unedited curators, minimizes DNS and Sybil attack potential. If the goal is to show popular support for an opinion, for example, the sourcing would be obvious, and for those who disagree, filtered out. In a simple gesture any input can be checked for authenticity as well as viewed in its full and open contexts.

How would USHIN help decrease health care costs?

USHIN will reveal all testing and treatment options compared and evaluated with recommendations from accountable curators with known methodologies. Expanded choices such as over-the-counter therapies cross reference for cost/benefit rations compared with specific uses and effects with multi-level validation, credibility and interactivity among those familiar with the options.
Community resources for products and services will be revealed for people to compare for efficacy and side effects as well as up-front costs.
As a means of aggregating personal experience and outcomes, USHIN may be used to help balance the technology of health care with the full picture of human needs.
USHIN may be used to promote education through schools, churches and community centers to equip a greater population with early responder skills.
USHIN will integrate with platforms that disseminate and aggregate information in any setting, including emergency preparedness and communications.
In time, the aggregation of anecdotal data among various accountable curators will provide a living reference for what experts and individuals personally find that works for different symptoms, including unlimited variables. 
USHIN may be used to expose a full spectrum of health issues such as side effects of foods, products  and behavioral practices and for consumer advocates to disseminate information and organize educational campaigns.
USHIN may be used to reveal hidden costs, such as environmental or societal effects, that may influence individual decisions.

How can I help?

Please enter your area of interest on the contact form, or make a donation – every $5 helps! We have a place for volunteers in almost every discipline, please let don’t hesitate to ask.

How is information ranked in USHIN?

We and our curators will rank information by weighing influences according to our own priorities, or those that we trust from others.

How do we get our stuff online with USHIN?

As USHIN is in early prototype phases, topics and sources are limited to the project pilot participant input. Once launched, we will input information by sorting it out into the basic elements, one point at a time, in response to, or in anticipation of specific requests for information.

How does USHIN protect privacy?

USHIN protects privacy with default encryption of input and by shielding authorship through collaborating curators. Thus, authors may publish information anonymously without loss of credibility, depending on the respectability of the curator they use to represent them.
For example, a physician may respond to another provider’s request for information about a non-FDA use of a medicine. His curator, the local medical society, would publish the input with his respected qualifications  – without publishing his name. The origin of the data would remain attributed to the curator but not the individual.
The doctor’s contribution may start an USHIN discussion about the use of this medication for non-indicated purposes, in context with ongoing patient and scientific feedback. Providers would not be vulnerable to potential regulatory and legal risk for sharing valuable experience intended to expand the shared medical knowledge base and increase options. With USHIN, their input would be balanced with broad-based feedback in a system that exposes less effective or dangerous practices.
Communication on the topic may continue among the curator and its members to keep the author appraised of community feedback without pointing to that doctor as the originating author.
If USHIN were adapted as an underlying framework for medical records exchange among separate secure medical homes, the risk of privacy breach would be lessened when compared to the exposure of information housed in a large central repository with many attendants who have authority to access records. Such a system would be consistent with expeditious continuity of care and portability of information responsive to coverage and treatment location changes.

How is USHIN different?

USHIN includes both social and technical approaches to improve the internet with ease, choice, transparency, comparison, privacy and validity of information with collaborative communication and greater egalitarian access that places all topics in context with relevant input from others. Rather than adding to the duplication, clutter and complexity, USHIN empowers users to filter what they want to see and leave out what they deem irrelevant.
As opposed to search engine profiling, which increases divisiveness by encouraging people to stay within their habitual perspective bubbles, USHIN encourages understanding and inclusion among different perspectives.
Breaking through the limitations of bulletin-board style posts, USHIN gives users a way to set their own ranking, and tools to get right to desired specifics.
With improved means to evaluate aspects of specific treatments and their outcomes, USHIN may serve to assist the evolution of practice guidelines to include potentially more desirable and cost effective options. 
USHIN simplifies interaction about a topic with that curator and others.
Only USHIN offers multi-criteria analysis and deliberation by visual displays that are easy to scan and understand. 
The web now presents opinions with no ability to assess what is trustworthy, where information originated, who else agrees, and what are the factors related to the topic. People assume that if a search engine put the information at the top of a list it is somehow superior than the following pages of links. Many give merit to information simply because it is repeated, especially since they have no way to cross-reference or validate the information.
USHIN input is always associated with the curator, and rather than repeat information, other curators point their users to the original curator.
Despite replication of individual input published by different groups, USHIN is more useful than typical surveys in assessing which demographics hold certain opinions, especially because we can see or request justifications for their thoughts. Alliances and relationships will be visible, and the relationships themselves exposed to review.
USHIN lets users see data variably, with filters to eliminate or weigh factors to arrive at conclusions from different perspectives.
For example, USHIN may not reveal exactly the number of people who support single payer as U.S. health policy, but it will display all of the relevant opinions and justifications for us to sort and evaluate according to our own criteria. We may exclude groups we mistrust, include factors we consider important, and delve into fact citations which we cross-reference for opinions of those we trust, and numerically label all aspects according to our own priorities to reveal mathematically derived conclusions. Also, if we publish our conclusions we may attract input with additional influences which would have been otherwise hidden from view.

How are information curators held accountable in USHIN?

Curators will each be accountable for the content they publish according to their own publicly transparent agreements for publication. We, the authors will choose curators by their reputations for content expertise, quality of information, and filters for members and site visitors. Thus quality curators will attract quality authors and quality features that attract readers seeking quality information and conversation. Curators will also be accountable, with blockchain-secure agreements, for other privacy and data management services. They will collaboratively exclude spam in the system.

How are authors accountable?

USHIN is a profound opportunity for compassionate conversation. Each source of information who publishes using USHIN protocols and semantic screen agrees to a simple code of sincerity. Those who abuse the privilege will have had to overcome review by their own curators, plus whatever networks accept input from those curators, plus other curators who update related segments of the commons, all of whom will compare data with the vetted blockchain, using artificial intelligence to scan input as well as human ushers.

How do you plan on expressing such a complex topic?

Each of the various projects each demonstrate different potential uses for universal shared information. The open-source docu-musical Imbue introduces each within the context of their needs. Since the concept is inclusive, this project invites all sorts of media contributions to see what direction the project will take. The skeleton script is expected to be online by 2018 with scratch tracks.

How will users of the system help keep it reliable?

All of us, as visitors, members and ushers for our own curators, will be able to mark and filter out kinds of information and questionable curators. Filters are cumulative, being refined by each user with full accountability, via curators, the same way that points are crowd-combined with new points. Thus filters are crowd vetted, and abusive input is before they can enter the trusted digital commons by levels of human accountability.

How will curators handle user privacy and user identity?

Curators are independent USHIN hosts who may offer choices to members for data management with privacy agreements. Curators, who are first to receive original author input, may cull contributions before they would be published, and so collaboratively protect the distributed block-chain from spam. Similarly, curators may be accountable to sources to host their content and to disclose no more about them than agreed. Some of these agreements are likely to be published on the blockchain with applications to ensure completion of contractually agreed terms of data handling. Curators are likewise accountable to USHIN to uphold various agreements governing communication and storage of content as well as protection of user rights to privacy and responsivity.

How might curators manage different segments (shards?) of commonly held input?

Curators collaboratively keep their segments of the “live” publicly accessible database up-to-date and clean. This makes separable segments smaller for client-side exploration and handling. Curators cull information according to their public agreements, (which can be updated with certain public notices). Curators may agree to publish member input anonymously by stripping identifiers, culling input and passing information to other curators and other networks, not unlike onion-routing. Curators, again, as detailed in their agreements with publishing authors, may remove input when authors are no longer responsive to incoming requests about their own input. Similarly, curators are accountable to publishing members (to host their content and to disclose no more about them than agreed) and to USHIN (to uphold various agreements governing communication and storage of content).

How is USHIN considered “responsive”?

“Responsivity” is a term to indicate a combination of crowd-rated metrics such as how quickly, appropriately, or thoroughly a curator responds to requests by others in USHIN. (to be tested in U4U). Curators set their own levels of commitment to respond to incoming input as is part of their public & transparent curator-USHIN agreements. Community and other sites may publicize that they agree to no responsivity at all. All curators are publicly rated on their follow-through results in meeting needs as described in the incoming requests by their own authors. Responsivity is ranked by curator members, site visitors, and other curators and their members and valued as merits. In other words, how well curators meet needs of their members and the public is crowd-judged as combined valuations of merit.

How will authors edit their own input?

Only original authors will be able to edit original input, going through the same curators as when originally published. This process will not delete the input already published in the digital commons, but add a newer replacement that will be found with updated filters that are then updated for other users. Curators will respond by vetting input from their own or other communities, or cull from updates input when authors do not respond to questions about their input.

How does USHIN sanction curators who let spam slip past?

USHIN is a neutral system that does not censor nor sanction. The Curators who let spam slip through their paid or volunteer staff and membership will have to meet a lot of community needs to overcome the negative merits they will probably receive for not keeping commitments. Besides crowd-vetting, there will be AI to spot irrelevant input and alert curators to issues in real time, and as all in USHIN, follow-through adds to their reputation by meeting needs for responsivity.

How can ushin help find something we’ve tucked out of sight?

With an ushin personal application set on our personal devices or computers we will be able to anchor snippets to keep track of them. Whether using programs on our computer, e.g. word processing, or in the cloud, e.g. Evernote, or browsing the web, we will be able to tag and these snippets for easy finding. This will help people find calendar events without recalling the date, or the exact name of a person without scrolling through our entire contact list.

How can USHIN help with communication?

People tend to dwell on personally challenging situations. Usually we take a habitual approach, and dwell within familiar feelings and thoughts, which may or not be related to an action plan. Considering ushin meaning shapes can open the mind to new approaches, especially when including other peoples’ point of view, or by “ushering”, or considering how a strategy may unfold. The meaning shapes trigger our minds to include relevant aspects of any central focus and yield a comprehensive overview.


When

When will USHIN be ready to use?

USHIN is currently a concept in very early development. 
Prototype phases will progress as collaborators contribute their resources, and USHIN receives additional funding and support. 
USHIN will not proceed into a public version until all aspects of this complex project are ready to scale rapidly.

When would we not use USHIN?

Users don’t need USHIN to find a known website, or to surf for trivial entertainment, or when desiring unsolicited advertising. Curators who would like to remain vague or obscure on specific topics or relations would hesitate to publish with USHIN.


Who

Who would use USHIN to find information?

USHIN will be a quick resource for anyone:
seeking to understand or join in the deliberation of complex issues, such as civic, economic, global and health-related topics. 
researching a topic of importance for which options, authorities, scientific proof, or expert opinions are of value.
seeking information with individual priorities, or to see all options, as for a complex health topic.
wanting privacy and choice, or to support a communication and reference system based on meeting human needs.
wanting to interact with curators of information, products, or services.
offering cross-references to existing information, products, or services.
interested in research for personal, academic, epidemiological, or other reasons.
interested in feedback on topics from specific populations, or a combination of topical or issue-related information from various curators in context with resources, and connect with others with similar interests.
synthesizing information for others who don’t have direct internet connections.
USHIN is open to include a variety of interfaces in multiple languages and styles tailored to professional groups as well as individuals with visual and learning disabilities.

Who would publish information?

Curators of information, “collaborators”, would include individuals and citizen groups, providers, facilities, vendors, manufacturers, government, educational and community resource organizations, insurance companies, religious groups, localities, social service organizations, and the media. 
Those with policy concerns, environmental issues, consumer safety interests would publish elements that promote their views and respond to challenges from different perspectives.
Manufacturers and vendors who seek to reach their target populations at the point of decision.
Groups who would like to find aggregated feelings, opinions, or any input, on a specific topic.
Agencies who are mandated to make health-related decisions and who can apply USHIN tools for multi-criteria decision making.

Who is going to pay for USHIN?

USHIN seeks collaborative support from collaborators to foster an egalitarian, inclusive cooperative environment and avoid imbalanced funding that might influence development away from its grassroots intention.
USHIN, Inc. will seek contributions once the prototype is ready to show, and may as people use the system seek micro-currency donations. Collaborating curators may pay fees for customized USHIN software and contribute voluntary subscriptions associated with levels of use. 
Click-through charges and voluntary contributions through purchases completed through USHIN connections help support both USHIN and nonprofits who use it.
As a 501 (c)(3) “nonprofit” organization USHIN can accept grant funds, tax-free cash and in-kind donations and other governmental support. USHIN may sell educational and health or health information related products and services.
USHIN may train and credential USHERS, who serve users and collaborators to make connections and add filter recommendations. Usher training and certification may offer revenue for system sustainability.
Because it is a collective effort; and businesses typically have most of the required hardware; and basic software will be free, or nearly free of charge, USHIN will be relatively inexpensive to adopt and maintain.
Business models will be deliberated at the onset of the prototype and likely remain an ongoing topic.

Who is organizing it?

The USHIN concept has been built almost completely by volunteer effort. As with issues of structure, organizational influence will be deliberated from early prototype and continue to be openly evaluated after public launch.

Why would a group want to collaborate as an USHIN curator?

To have one’s voice heard. To link with others to provide data in an organized public manner for others to view.
To save money because of the speed with which they can find and relay information with USHIN.
USHIN is an inexpensive marketing platform with tools that businesses can adapt for reference, communication, and decision making with their public.
Curators may attract members and charge them for publishing their opinions, mediate information exchange or consensus, Ushering, updating, analyses and group purchasing and shared resources.
USHIN offers topic-related exposure; customized communications; service, sales and referral facilitation; and decision making tools which would outweigh the costs involved with a company’s fair share of the public network.
USHIN helps connect small businesses with potential clients by meeting specific criteria of the user, leading users directly to the point specified on their website, accelerating the capture of user interest, and expediting resultant actions.
To bring product and service information to a target market specifically at a point of decision and in context with other related input. Collaborators gain credibility and transparency by publishing in a platform open to debate on any element.
USHIN gives a public voice in context with others for policy and social influence and shows related specific data not easily found online. 
USHIN will bring to attention those aspects of information, products and services which distinguish their authors and curators.
Collaborators provide support for the shared reference and communication platform for public relations, to promote excellence and foster debate about topics in context with their related issues.

Who decides which terms are used in USHIN?

USHIN promotes 8 basic elements of speech to sort out information on the system for ease of finding and understanding. Topics and subtopics will evolve independently and organically from user tagging and linking, as well as by adopting existing and evolving professional taxonomies and folksonomies. Collaborating curator decisions may coordinate industry and professional terminology for shared communications.
USHIN input is based on, and expands the structure of Nonviolent Communication developed by Marshall Rosenberg.