This project is dedicated to modernizing the excellent Terror Timeline project by Paul Thompson.
The Terror Timeline is an excellent project, make no mistake. But while the content itself is excellent, the website itself leaves considerable room for improvement.
Among other things,
- The website is not mobile friendly.
- It is dynamically generated using Java and MySQL, resulting in huge server costs.
- History Commons seems to be rather inactive at the moment. I made several attempts to contact them, and all have failed.
This project was created to modernize the Terror Timeline, using modern technologies, such as Gatsby, Markdown, React, CSS, and GraphQL.
Gatsby allows us to generate static web pages, reducing server costs from up to several hundred dollars per month to just $5.
Markdown provides a user-friendly editing format, allowing almost anyone to edit and make corrections to content.
But most importantly, the Timeline of Terror was created to be mobile-friendly. This is extremely important in the modern age, when over half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. The fact that Paul Thompson’s original project remains almost unusable on mobile devices severely restricts its own relevance in the modern era.
This timeline is meant to be a comprehensive resource for anyone seeking to understand the events of 9/11 and the events leading up to it. Polls show that Americans are extremely uninformed about 9/11. A third of Americans can’t even correctly guess the year 9/11 took place and about half of all Americans mistakenly believe Saddam Hussein had a role in the attacks.
It is more vital than ever that all Americans understand 9/11, including what led to it and what the fallout from it has been. Terrorism has become a fact of life; we hear about terrorist attacks on the news almost every day, and plays a major part in our national political discourse. For informed anti-terrorism policy, an informed public is necessary. The Timeline of Terror seeks to make this information available and accessible so even average citizens can stay well informed.
We present only facts; options and individual’s interpretation of facts are clearly marked as such, when they are permitted at all. If you come across any evidence of bias, please feel free to make the necessary corrections and submit them to us. This is our greatest strength: we are a grassroots project.
But that doesn’t mean that lies, failures, omissions, problems, and controversies are not covered. The American people need to learn hard lessons from these terrible events and, when necessary, hold individuals responsible.
9/11 has become a rallying point for what many people call “conspiracy theories”. Our project aims not to present any theories at all; we strive to make all the information available and invite readers to come to their own conclusions. That said, all of us suffer from the confirmation bias to some extent.
We attempt to solve this problem by making our content editable by anyone who can provide a reliable source, which is why we strive to remain as transparent as possible. Even rejected edits are still publicly viewable, making it possible for everyone to confirm for themselves our objectivity.
9/11 was one of those pivotal events in world history. Its impact will continue to be felt for generations to come. You owe it to yourself to go above any beyond the simplified explanations presented in books or on TV. The story of September 11th, 2001 is not a simple one. It is a story several years in the making, with numerous players and motives. Not everything makes sense or fits neatly together. But considering all that is at stake, we cannot afford to remain passive and ignorant.
We welcome any edits, as long as they contain a reliable source. Facts are only as reliable as their source. But being a reliable source does not necessarily mean being a frontpage, nationally recognizable brand. One of our strengths is that we allow information that would otherwise been relegated to the obscurity of the back page to be placed in their proper historical context.
So called “mainstream” news organizations are considered reliable sources, especially when there are additional sources to corroborate them. But the so called alternative media is not. Partisanship is the number one source of inaccurate information in the current era (commonly referred to as “Fake News” as of 2019). Sites like InfoWars shamelessly present their personal interpretation of events as sacred fact. Organizations without legitimate press credentials are not considered reliable sources of information. We cannot afford for our information to be rejected simply because of controversy regarding a particular source. But that doesn’t mean that a source has to be recognizable to everyone nation-wide. CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC are all legitimate, but so are the Seattle Times or Vanity Fair magazine.
Of course, we are all human beings, including reporters and journalists. No one is entirely free of bias. Common sense is often an effective remedy. For instance, a story in a Pakistani newspaper that reflects poorly on Pakistan would be more significant than the same story coming from an Indian newspaper (and vice versa). But multiple sources are also effective. If an entry is given more than one source, that instantly increases its reliability.
We strive to provide direct links to source articles whenever possible, and to avoid “pay sites” (which require payment in order to view the content). When a direct link is not possible (such as a book or a documentary), instead provide a link to the item’s page on Amazon, or to a “summary page” on the original producers website. Links archived on the “Wayback Machine” on https://archive.org/ are preferred when possible.
We prefer to use HTTPS over HTTP whenever possible. Privacy matters in the modern era.
But remember, it is impossible to achieve 100% accuracy. It is the reader’s responsibility to judge the reliability of the information they are given.
First off, credit must go, first and foremost, to Paul Thompson, without whom this project would not exist.
That being said, as an individual maintaining a grassroots project, there are some things I would like to say for myself.
Although I may one day transfer day-to-day ownership of this project to another individual/organization, I maintain it myself for the time being. I will not be able to continue to do so without donations. If you’ve found this material useful and with so support us, please consider donating.
Please consider donating just a few dollars (or even a few cents) at https://buymeacoff.ee/qh0rXkiCd. This site is and will always remain free, but donations help maintain and improve our work.
Also, if you are a developer, please star our project on GitHub. Doing so will increase our visibility within the software development community, and allow us access to talented developers willing to help out.
Feel free to send constructive comments and suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org — Alex Shaw
Why Gatsby? - It is fast, flexible, and mobile friendly. It can use any type of content, from any source.
Why is the website so dark? - Dark mode is commonly requested for many content sites. It helps reduce eye strain when reading at night, or when reading considerable amounts of text. More importantly, we believe it is entirely appropriate, considering the events of this dark day.
Because this project borrows content from that project, all textual content (unless otherwise noted) is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.
The Timeline of Terror is not, in any way, associated with Paul Thompson, the Terror Timeline, or History Commons.