Slaw Sidetracked and Sideswiped

Posts have been a little thin on the ground this week, mainly because a bunch of us contributors were sidetracked by working on a project to put up as much useful information as we could about the new Supreme Court appointment. Originally an idea of Simon Chester’s, a number of us signed on to go like crazy at the last minute to use our research skills and show everyone how it’s done.

Well. First of all the short list got leaked, and so we had rather more time than we’d expected — and rather more targets. Like most everyone else, we finally focussed on Mr. Justice Rothstein. After unearthing an indecent number of decided cases, we decided, at Simon Chester’s suggestion, to put up CanLII links to those Supreme Court of Canada cases that ruled on appeals from Rothstein’s judgments. Others prepped bios and trawled for his professional writing.

The Rothstein’s selection was announced this morning, and it seemed as though, our bet having paid off, it might actually come together — when, researcher extraordinaire Connie Crosby informed us all that we’d been well and truly snookered by the government. What sideswiped us was the site from the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs referred to in the prior post by Connie Crosby.

There you’ll find just about everything we’d planned to provide, or so it seemed to us this morning.

A quick round of emails, some hesitation, and then we decided to pack it in. It had indeed been a good idea. And great minds had indeed thought alike alas.

But we’ve learned. It’s fun to work together on a project, and it would be even more enjoyable with a better structure and process. We’ve just begun to experiment with collaboration tools (such as Writely). Projects that can develop over time, though less flashy, are likely to be more attractive to Slaw contributors, who tend, shall we say, to be busy people. And though we thought it sensible to keep this one to ourselves, projects in the future might benefit from the contributions of Slaw readers who are not core or occasional contributors.

Watch this space. We’ve had a taste of collaboration. Interesting developments await.


  1. It’s been fascinating watching the process of collaboration – more passively than I would have wanted – from a hacienda in the Yucatan.
    What’s also been interesting is too how the official websites have learned from the Miers nomination fiasco, and what an exemplary set of materials Ottawa has drafted. Here is everything a journalist would want to know to do a respectful bio.
    All a little stuffy, but this is an Ottawa draft after all.
    There is a great opportunity for joint work product on Slaw.
    Watch this space.
    And thanks to all the Slaw contributors for all their hard work. I love hard work – I could watch it for hours.

  2. What I hope to see in the future is to have, instead of a static HTML page about a nominee, a blog! With comments and trackbacks enabled! Over time, the blog could be searched, archived, etc. In addition, a blog lends itself to public conversation. Isn’it an interesting concept for the revitalization of democracy – fostering debate on public issues? How can it not be done when it would be so ridiculously easy to setup – even easier than drafting and publishing a static HTML page…

    There you go – the topic of the next slaw collaboration project: “The Revitalization of Canadian Democracy By Lawyers Leveraging Web 2.0 Technologies” (!!) ;-)