Also know as 'Hushtags', RaveStories was a project led by SOCIAM in conjunction with the University of Southampton and the Hampshire County Council, which aimed to increase safety and reduce risk of harm among those seeking to take legal or controlled substances.
According to the Office of National Statistics, 3,744 people were killed by drug poisoning in the UK in 2016 alone; many of these incidents were due to people not having the right information about how to safely take substances, or about where or how to safely acquire or take such substances. Hushtags was a groundbreaking social machine that sought to provide real-time crowdsourcing of safety related information on the streets of the UK, by enabling people - as peer mediators - to act as sources and verifiers of drug-related information.
Hushtags achieved this goal through a mobile app that protected people acting as sources of information from potential legal reproach through strong anonymity guarantees. The introduction of strong anonymity, however, posed additional challenges, such as to ensure that the service is not used for abuse or propagation of potentially dangerous or false information.
Such risks were mitigated through a crowdsourcing framework that rewarded citizens participating for vetting and identifying dangerous or false information. Such a mechanism improved safety without the need for identifiability.