September 24, 2010

Topix Connects Accident Victim to Family: Score One for Anonymous Commenting

by tolles at 4:32 PM

Topix has a forum for every city and town in the US. I knew we are particularly big in small towns in the Southeast. Even I was surprised, though, seeing how our commenters found the family of an accident victim in Madison County Kentucky, all the way in South Carolina.

This poor fellow - Charles Edge - was hit by a train while sitting on the tracks, and county investigators really had no idea who he was. No ID, the name people knew him by locally wasn't his real name, and no one was coming forward.

Enter the discussion on Topix

We support all sorts of uses for our site, but I really like the way that Gabriel Roxas, the reporter for WKYT puts this

"A mystery solved and an affirmation of something never in question, Charles Edge was someone"

Not every one of these posts is redeeming, or on target, and most of them aren't from people who have registered. But people also came out of the woodwork to say nice things about Charles Edge.

And amongst those who found out about the death of this man via Topix was his son in South Carolina, who was able to inform the rest of his family, and make arrangements for a proper goodbye.

"He was my father. I would like to know anything that you can tell me about the arrangements for his burial."

The Story as reported on WKYT

Connecting people who *don't* know each other but have shared local context is what we do at Topix. Real insight here is that having a set of these local forums for so many different towns created an opportunity for a serendipitous re-connection

RIP Charles Wayne Edge.