A Problem For Government
- People are ignoring representative democracy
- Lack of trust
The kids seem pretty big on this new-fangled electric 'Internet' thing...
e-Democracy is The Answer!
e-Democracy is not The Answer
- If you are not interested in politics, electronic politics will not help.
- Self help is a much better solution
- Do stuff people will actually find useful!
- Peer-to-peer democracy - connect people to each other rather than to the state
- Forget one big conversation. There are already a zillion little ones running!
Citizens developing their own applications which give people simple, tangible benefits in the civic and community aspects of their lives.
Overcome the collective action dilemma ("I'll do it, but only if you help me!")
- Create a residents association
- Organise a protest
- Help build a library in India
- Give up chocolate for a month
- Fight racism
Pledgebank.com - Techy Stuff
- Linux, PostgreSQL, PHP, Perl, Python
- Open source, open standards
- Pledge locality using population density
- Uses data from Ordnance Survey,
- Sign pledges via SMS
- Produce posters (uses the Reportlab PDF toolkit)
Pledgebank - localisation
- 12 Languages
- Implemented using GNU gettext
- Welsh version needs care and attention!
Sends Emails to alert you of nearby planning applications
Just enter your postcode and email address
Currently covers just over 100 local authorities (But not Conwy, damn it!)
Also publishes RSS feeds with Geotags (example)
PlanningAlerts.com - Why?
- Most local authorities publish planning data on the web
- No common formats
- Not designed to be machine-readable
- Unlikely to pursuade all authorities to change
Have to write screen scrapers :-(
mySociety - Civic Hacking Juggernaut
Other mySociety sites:
Other civic-hacking examples
- Small groups of highly enthusiastic people
- Paid developers and Volunteers
- Very agile development
- Trust people to do what needs doing
Release Early, Release Often
- (eg No10 petitions site)
- Encourage feedback
- 5 minute iterations! ;-)
- People won't do what you expect
- Fix the small things
Journa-list - Why?
- UK has tradition of a vibrant (and raucous), free press
- Unbiased news is a myth
- Some journalists are more trustworthy than others
How do you find the good journalists?
Journa-list - What?
- A project of the Media Standards Trust
- Tracks journalist output
- Who is writing about similar things?
- What is a journalists background?
Journa-list - How?
- Collect articles from news outlets
- Analyse bylines to discover journalists
- Link to obvious sources (eg Wikipedia, blogs)
- Analyse articles: Term extraction, clustering....
Get involved! - Wales
- Add the Welsh Assembly to TheyWorkForYou
- Pledgebank translation
- Planning alerts (especially Conwy, damn it, so I don't have to)
Get involved! - General
- Pro-bono coding - good enough for lawyers...
- Lots of non coding tasks
- What irritates you?
- Can't find an NHS dentist?
- Public transport too fragmented and confusing?