After being postponed from January, out of respect for the tsumani victims, this project will now commence on Monday April 11th Australia/New Zealand time, which will be Sunday April 10th on the other side of the Dateline (in the US and UK).
SimTerror '05 will be an interactive blog-based hypothetical scenario in which a terrorist attempt to stage an attack on Australian soil will be simulated in real time, over two weeks in April 2005.
IntroductionBloggers have opinions. It's what we do. But how many of us have actually wondered what we might do, and how we might respond, in the event of a major terrorist attempt at replicating a 9/11 scale attack? It's all very well for us to opine to our hearts content about what the West ought to do in the face of a generalised threat from radical Islam, but how would the blogosphere respond in an actual emergency? Can we put ourselves emotionally in that position? It isn't easy, is it?
Would we fall to pieces? Would we be simply struck dumb? Would we urge massive lashing out in retaliation? Or would blogs become a useful resource of opinions, options, information, argument and debate? Would it become the closest thing this planet has to a gigantic neural network of linked minds, all concentrated on a single issue?
SIMTERROR '05 is an experiment designed to help us think about the ways blogs might be able to respond to a sudden crisis using a simulation of real world events, but getting blogs to respond as if the events were real. In a sense, SIMTERROR '05 will be the first test of the Emergency Blogger System.
The SimulationBeginning on Monday, April 11th at 6.00pm, Australian Eastern Time, the blog "Silent Running" will go live as the central information hub of the exercise. It will run news items in real time, based on the decisions taken by the various bloggers playing the roles of significant leaders in this exercise. Those decisions and actions will go through "Silent Running" blogger "Tom Paine", who will act as umpire.
The players will be presented from time to time with updates on the situation as it unfolds, and their responses will help shape the simulation. Once it starts, no-one, not even the umpire, will know how things will turn out.
The simulation will end on Monday, April 25th, 2005 at 6.00pm, Australian Eastern Time.
The PlayersA small group of bloggers will be selected to play the following roles.They will be expected to respond to events as themselves, rather than attempt to simulate their real-world counterparts. The Umpire will contact other potential players, pending approval of SIMTERROR '05 by other Silent Running bloggers. Those who have already agreed to participate are listed.
Prime Minister of Australia: A. E. Brain
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom: Andrew Ian Dodge
Prime Minister of New Zealand: David Farrar
President of the Republic of Indonesia: Simon, of "Simon's World"
Al Qaeda/Jemaah Islamiya SE Asia-Pacific regional leader: Unknown Blogger
The players will receive information from the umpire, and will communicate their responses to him. They will be free to respond on their blogs (in character) as their counterparts would make use of the media in the real world. They are free to do this however they wish, be it as speeches, news items, or whatever.
The BloggersThis is where you come in. SIMTERROR '05 ecourages participants to react to events as if they were actually taking place, and blogs who wish to take part should try to bear that in mind. Faced with a simulated crisis, it will be interesting to see how blogs might respond.
Blogs who wish to participate should join the Yahoo group specially set up for this simulation: SimTerror '05
This group can be used for communication and discussion about issues raised by the simulation. The central thrust of SIMTERROR '05 is not the simulation itself, but rather the response of bloggers to the events that take place. So the more bloggers take part, the more successful it will be.
For more details - what obligations there are for participants, and how to distinguish EXERCISE posts from real ones on your blog, please visit Silent Running.