I think that’s actually the smallest problem. The major problem is legal. There are certain investigations that are just too legally risky to do in public. One of the things I’d like to do is to make it open source, to allow people to do it in a distributive fashion and distribute the risk that way, so maybe people would be braver about taking on those risks. Having all the information there on one site, it’s easy for us to be silenced—just from the financial risk, rather than the actual truth of the investigation or anything like that. So the legal thing is probably the main thing. And then there are many types of investigations that are difficult to do in public: anything to do with the Secret Service, anything where the only way to investigate the issue is to have personal contacts inside an organization, and very close relationships of trust. That’s unlikely to take place on a semi-public website. But what does suit it is, if you’ve got investigations that need a diverse range of expertise, and perhaps have a lot of small tasks that can be completed by different people, those sorts of things suit this model very well.

Update: Paul Bradshaw’s bio above did not include his position at London’s City University in London when this post was first published; the omission has been corrected.

Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner