Watchdog is based primarily in San Francisco (with offices elsewhere) and employs groups of Thinkers to sift through large quantities of data using their individual talents, covering one another's weaknesses and expanding on their leads. They essentially work a simple nine-to-five job (depending on their needs and power), either performing detective work with a focus on financial, political, legal, international, and big-picture shenanigans, or work to back up the PRT and general law enforcement by resolving tickets by priority. It has been around for over two decades, possibly under a different name.
Watchdog also employs non-parahuman staff, who are tasked with gathering information for the Thinkers to analyze.
That said, Watchdog apparently does not function optimally: In 2011 Watchdog was the subject of internal testing and investigation and the results suggested embezzlement, international spying and insider trading on the part of PRT employees. Many precognitives, clairvoyants and empaths fled the group or the country around the time there were any hints of an investigation. Nevertheless they were seen as effective by the general populace.
Gets naturally smarter as the problems he is addressing get more complex. Gives him an intuitive understanding of groupthink, politics, and convoluted designs. Worked for Watchdog before being caught and jailed for embezzling money.
Rates situations for the PRT using colors. Purple and black seem to be negative, with yellow being less severe.
Provides numerical threat ratings, with higher numbers being worse.
↑ 1.01.11.21.31.4Watchdog - A group based primarily in San Francisco with offices elsewhere, Watchdog is focused primarily on preventing economic and political disruption by parahumans. Think tanks of thinkers are employed to sift through large quantities of data using their individual talents, while non-parahuman staff works on ways to gather the data in question. Watchdog regularly launches investigations or sends individuals as a sort of internal affairs within the PRT, sometimes overt, sometimes covert. - PRT Master Reference
↑As there’s myriad types & conventions of, say, invincibility, there’s a number of subcategories and focuses of precognition or clairvoyance. Tattletale, for example, could theoretically be classified as a subtype of clairvoyance.
So I’d recommend one not jump to any conclusions about what the thinkers out there could do to monitor the use of powers in relation to economic manipulation.
That said, it’s noted in this chapter that precogs tend to be somewhat unreliable. I don’t think it would be too ridiculous a notion to imagine them working in small groups, supporting one another’s weaknesses and expanding on one another’s leads. All it takes is for one to notice an anomaly and then the others can expand on that. - Interlude 14.5 (Bonus Interlude), comment by Wildbow.
↑ 3.03.13.23.33.4The thinkers referenced were members of Watchdog, the same PRT sub-organization that Accord was a part of before he went off the deep end. They essentially work a 9 to 5 (varying depending on needs, power, etc) doing various kinds of detective work and keeping an eye out for financial, political, legal, international, and big-picture shenanigans, or working to back up the PRT/Law by resolving tickets by priority. - Questions about Eleventh hour, Hunch, and Appraiser (Wildbow, Reddit.com, 2016-09-26)
↑He’d taken the time one afternoon to solve world hunger. Six hours and twenty-six minutes with the internet and a phone on hand, and he’d been able to wrap his head around the key elements of the problem.
His boss had barely looked at the binder before calling it impossible, then demanded Accord return to work. A mind like his, in an office handling economic oversight within the PRT, looking for the precogs and thinkers who were trying to manipulate the markets to their own ends.
It was only one imbalance, one irregularity, but it had been an important one. It had nagged at him, demanded resolution. He had to prove it was possible.
Twenty-three years to see it all through. Twenty-three years to bring the world into order. Everything was a step towards those ends. - Excerpt from Interlude 20
↑America News - Watchdogs biting the hands that feed
Leaked reports suggest that PRT sub-organization WEDGDG, commonly referred to as ‘Watchdog’, was the subject of internal testing and investigation, and it came far from passing those checks. Two months ago, the President of the United States of America promised stricter checks and balances for the oversight committees, primarily for WEDGDG, the PRT-centered organization of capes and civilians charged with targeting and identifying economic and political malfeasance. No sooner were the first checks performed than red flags began popping up, suggesting embezzlement, international spying and insider trading on the part of PRT employees. It remains to be seen how the revelation will be handled, as well as the long-term, worldwide consequences that follow.
Perhaps more interesting are the events that preceded the investigation. Many precognitives, clairvoyants and empaths fled the group and/or the country, around the time there were any hints of an investigation. Already, criticisms have been raised, suggesting that many of the individuals who left may find their way to villainous organizations… - Department Sixty Four, PRT Quest thread ii p21
↑Las Vegas had been damned effective, as had Watchdog. But where Las Vegas had been a subtle, careful player with a few questionable, mysterious individuals in their ranks making the most of their backgrounds and skills, much like this team in disposition and direction, they’d also been a team that had turned villain at a critical time. Watchdog had been careful and scrupulous, making measured moves with the best intel and agents had at their disposal, and Watchdog hadn’t survived Gold Morning as an organization. - Excerpt from Glare 3.4
They are placed on a list for outtake. They may or may not be placed on a low-priority or high-priority list, allowing for needs and/or risks. Wait time may be two weeks to eight months, depending.
Staff in the PRT building conduct a thorough background check.
The subject is contacted and summoned.
The individual receives initial screening from a PRT-approved parahuman, provided by the Watchdog arm of the PRT or the Protectorate. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ 8.08.18.2You know what happens if you nuke the site with bunker busters and try to quarantine the site after the fact?
People start getting sick. You discover that there's a fuckton of airborne parasites that've been scattered by the bombs, waterborne parasites getting into nearby sites. Stuff that was contained in tougher creations with hard carbon shells, released during/after the fact. Conventional filtration doesn't necessarily work, because the parasites crawl over, through and around, negating the benefit of hazmat and masks and water filtration systems and all that. The people that get sick start changing. They develop into problems that could give many parahumans a run for their money.
The PRT has a sense of this. They consider every threat, and they have thinkers and Dragon working to monitor major problem sites. They get a squad of thinkers to check on Nilbog every week or two, and they get responses like "Black!" "Nine!" "Trojan Horses, Director."
They think about leaving him alone, and they get a response of "Yellow", "Three" "Poisoned apple trees, sir." from the same three thinkers.
They leave him alone, they keep a close eye on him, they have research teams and tinkers work on developing ideas that might get a response from the thinkers that isn't quite so grave, and they keep things quiet, so the public doesn't realize how dangerous that particular situation really is. - Spacebattles comment by Wildbow.
↑Accord was a thinker, and the running theory on his power was that he got naturally smarter as the problems he was addressing got more complex. It gave him an intuitive understanding of groupthink, politics, and convoluted designs. - Excerpt from Migration 17.8
↑It was only one imbalance, one irregularity, but it had been an important one. It had nagged at him, demanded resolution. He had to prove it was possible.
So he’d siphoned the very funds that his department was managing. It hadn’t been hard to redistribute some of the wealth that the villains and rogues were trying to manipulate. One ambiguous evil for the sake of an undeniable good. He covered his tracks flawlessly.
In the process, he failed to account for the full breadth of his newest coworker’s talents. Thinker powers interfered with one another, and despite his ability to work with that particular drawback, even help them to work in concert, the clairvoyant had found him out. He’d been caught, jailed, and subsequently freed by the jailbreak specialist he’d contacted well in advance. - Excerpt from Interlude 20
↑ 11.011.1“And you won’t have another,” Miss Militia cut in. She’d stepped out of the Director’s office next door and into the doorway. “We’re not here to socialize. We got in touch with some thinkers. Eleventh Hour says he gets an ‘eight’. Appraiser’s read says we’re ‘purple’. Rule for any pre-situ call is we get three points of reference, going by thinkers alone, that means a third thinker. The first they were able to get in touch with was Hunch. Your old teammate, Weld.” - Excerpt from Queen 18.4
↑ 12.012.1Hunch – A humpbacked cape and friend of Weld, member of Boston’s Wards team. A precognitive with somewhat iffy accuracy, possessed of other powers not yet detailed in full. - Cast
↑► Mock Moniker Replied on July 6th, 2011: Not to mention that there’s rumors Alexandria or Eidolon might step down. There’s a lot of animosity being directed at them from certain groups. Look at this link and this one. The monsters in the Protectorate have almost all left. Only one who stayed, I think, are Hunch and Polish. I’ve been thinking it’s another Bastion incident. Someone higher-up says something racist or offensive, the Protectorate pulls strings to try and cover it up, but offended people are still offended. Run off to make their own team. - Excerpt from Interlude 19 (Donation Bonus #2)
↑Snubnose is best left to her own devices, in patrols and otherwise. Social with teammates, she prefers a light rivalry over cooperation and teamwork, and is liable to ignore orders if she views oversight as getting too strict. She has openly stated that she is a member of the PRT in name only, and has fought to reject
Snubnose is married to Nutcracker, previously of the PRT Watchdog group. Contrary to all expectations, she remained with the PRT while Nutcracker left the group, after the Class-S incident in Brockton Bay. He remains active in Seattle. - Department Sixty Four, PRT Quest threat ii p47