From time to time in popular media, someone fills a whiteboard or bulletin board with many small notes, documents and pictures. Often, red lines (pieces of string) are pricked on there as well, connecting items to indicate probable relationships. The goal of these is usually to aid a person in their investigation of something (a conspiracy, plot, plan, etc.)

The only name I have so far found that describes these is the rather informal 'conspiracy wall'.

Because I actually like to order my thoughts and ideas in a very similar way to this (not usually related to conspiracies but rather in the process of writing a story/worldbuilding), I would like to inquire if this technique has a more proper or formal name (that preferably does not include the word 'conspiracy' ^_^).

  • I don't have citations, but I've heard "link board", "link chart", and "investigation board". The first two would suit your purpose. – nnnnnn Aug 15 at 14:37
  • I don't have a citation either but storyboard might work. – StatsStudent Aug 15 at 14:56
  • I agree that storyboard would be good in the context of writing. – S Conroy Aug 15 at 15:09
  • I believe that the definition of 'storyboard' is different and much more narrow. Wiktionary for instance defines 'storyboard' as "A series of drawings that lay out the sequence of scenes in a film or series, especially an animated one." – Qqwy Aug 15 at 16:10

In the film-drama context I've come across crazy board, or crazy wall.

Here's a definition from Esquire men's magazine:

Crazy Wall is the catch-all term for the boards on which investigators pin up and plot out all their clues in crime and spy thrillers, and recently it has become unthinkable for almost any serious TV drama not to have some sort of board for the characters to contemplate as they try to work out the kinks of a theory.

As @nnnnnn mentioned, there are other phrases -- investigation board or link board/chart -- used in real-life criminal investigations. Here for instance from the independent

Cops do still use link charts, but they're more helpful in complex, longitudinal investigations where there might be hundreds of people, places, phone numbers, IP addresses, etc. involved. There is now software for managing this kind of information.

  • But isn't "crazy wall/board" informal? Just asking. I don't know myself. Anyways +1 – Justin Aug 15 at 14:27
  • @Justin. I think it's very specific to the TV dramas, so not sure if this counts as formal or informal. In real life there is "the investigation board" but the question is about popular media so I didn't include it. Maybe I should. – S Conroy Aug 15 at 14:41
  • Fair enough. Nice answer, then! – Justin Aug 15 at 14:42

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