This project has moved to the next phase. See What should be the data collection strategy for our first Polystats Project?. I have asked the moderators to lock this question.
End of Update
Some of you may have heard about the Polymath projects in research mathematics. Polymath is an approach that was conceptualized by Timothy Gowers to enable "massively collaborative research" in mathematics. Since the initial conception there are several polymath projects that the math community has started (some of which can be found at this wiki for polymath projects.)
Inspired by the success of polymath projects, I propose that we start a polystats project using the Q&A format provided by our site (polystats = "massively collaborative data analysis"). I envision the typical polystats project to follow the sequence of events outlined below:
First question appears on the site to select a project.
Once the community reaches a consensus on what project we will focus on (via voting) we lock the question and move to the next question.
Second question (with a link to the first question) appears on the site requesting potential exploratory data visualizations that may shed light on potential model specifications and tentative answers the questions.
Again once we reach consensus this question is locked and we move to an analysis phase.
Third question (with a link to the second question) appears on the site requesting potential model specifications given what we know from questions 1 and 2.
Once we reach consensus we lock this question and move to analysis phase. And so on.
With the above ideas in mind I want to set the ball rolling and ask you the first question for our first polystats project:
What should be our first polystats project?
Given below are some thoughts to what kinds of ideas may work well for our first polystats project.
A potential answer should include the questions the project will answer along with a data source that is readily accessible.
For our first project, it may make a lot of sense to choose an idea that is readily accessible to as many participants as possible. (to ensure wide participation)
So, in particular avoid projects (at least for now) that need specialized domain knowledge or alternatively the project must be such that the required domain knowledge can be acquired by quickly skimming an article or two on the wiki.
In order to maximize our chances of success perhaps we should avoid controversial ideas (e.g., global warming) or politically sensitive issues.
As a first attempt let us choose a project that is fairly non-controversial but complex enough that we can put our collective minds to find reasonable answers.
I have marked this question CW so please feel free to upvote/downvote ideas so that the 'best' candidate floats up.
I suggest that you open a thread on http://meta.stats.stackexchange.com/ if you wish to open a discussion on the relative merits of some of these ideas or about anything else about the polystats project. You may also want to see the discussion on meta titled "How about starting a Polystats Project?"