[MG] Start Digest, Vol 62, Issue 11

Mitch Downey mitch at everyvote.org
Tue May 28 01:54:50 EDT 2013


Hi Mike,

>Looking at Sarah Moore's page, what does "Total votes declared" mean?
>http://i.imgur.com/I5X20xG.png

Sorry for the confusion. 'Total votes declared' means the number of
thumbs-up or thumbs-down votes that Sarah has shared on government entities
(officials, candidates, bills, fellow constituents, and
organizations/groups) using the EveryVote (and/or any other participating
opengovfed) platform.

EveryVote is not planned as an e-democracy (as in 'direct democracy')
platform. It is a government monitoring tool. One essential function of
government monitoring tools should be the ability for us to compare our
opinions with the opinions of anyone else's, as easily as possible. Much
like an online dating site will match the answers you submit on a dating
quiz to other people on the site, so you can browse and learn in an
objective way how your opinions compare with others, it would be useful for
a government monitoring tool to do the same..

Whereas candidates, constituents, and groups would only submit opinions
(called 'declared votes' in the diagram), the official voting records of
officials on legislation would comprise the official votes
cast<http://i.imgur.com/LuKA3oQ.png>.
There must be better ways to distinguish official votes from officials and
opinion submissions from all other users than 'official votes cast' and
'declared votes'...

Also, if direct democracy were implemented, this platform could be modified
to help you track the 'official votes cast' by anyone else.

>It has handy navigation links, which is good.  But the first question
>on the new visitor's mind is, "What is EveryVote?"  The answer seems
>to be in the slide caption, but it's obscure and difficult to read.
>Douglass's striking portrait the first thing to catch the eye, and the
>caption is almost the last (at least for me).

Thank you, that's a great point and I will have to address it soon.

FYI the goal of EveryVote is two-fold: 1) to provide you with a site where
you can learn about, share your opinion on, compare your opinions with, and
contact all of your candidates and government officials via one convenient
website, and 2) to relentlessly support federation-compatibility, and by
that I mean enable you to transfer and/or sync the profile you create and
all other data you submit to EveryVote to any other website making itself
federation-compatible, so that you have the freedom and convenience to stop
using EveryVote and start using a different government monitoring tool
without losing any of your data (aka without wasting the time and energy
you invested into your EveryVote profile) in the process, so that a
monopoly on government monitoring tools cannot form.

That's obviously a mouthful, and I'm not sure how to succinctly express
that in a tagline. In any case, we may add to the front page the tagline
"all of your candidates and officials on one convenient website." It
doesn't encapsulate the whole mission of EV, but it is the attractive
starting point and idea that makes sense most easily to people.

>I'm unfamiliar with open government apps, so I shouldn't comment on
>the specifics.  Generally if the information is public and under no
>copyright restrictions, then an open federation should be unstoppable.
>But to get it started in the first place you need two platforms that
>are willing to cooperate, or one that is willing to get aggressive.
>(Same for a vote mirroring inter-network.)

That's how I see it too. My big concern is that opengov tools haven't
actually achieved widespread adoption yet, and my worry is that the first
opengov tool to reach a critical mass of users will probably shun
federating its services, and thus form a Facebook-style monopoly, and
whether the tool is created by a non-profit or proprietary organization
will make no difference, because a monopoly on our data would hurt our
potential for freedom, convenience, and innovation.

But if the first opengov tools to reach a critical mass of users are
willing participants in what could be called an opengov federation, then we
could avert the possibility of a Facebook-style monopoly on those tools,
and help raise awareness for a new precedent for the ethical implementation
of social network services.

If nothing else I would just like to see a public dialogue beginning
between existing government monitoring tools that share overlapping
functions (such as OpenCongress, POPVOX, ISideWith, VoteEasy, LoveGov...and
others, but the list is short actually) about making their tools
federation-compatible, so any actions a user takes on one site could
automatically be taken by their profile on another site (e.g. I vote No on
SOPA on OpenCongress, and a No vote is automatically added to my POPVOX
profile as well).

Anyway, sorry for the long answer and if this is all stuff you already
understand. I am still trying to learn how to understand and convey these
ideas better, and I appreciate the chance to practice explaining them here.
Since your interest may not lie in what I call opengov / government
monitoring tools, I don't expect you to have more feedback on these ideas.

Thanks for reading,
Mitch



On Mon, May 27, 2013 at 11:00 AM, <start-request at metagovernment.org> wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
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>    1. Re: New open source UI diagrams for a federated,
>       comprehensive govt monitoring tool (Michael Allan)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 26 May 2013 18:57:20 -0400
> From: Michael Allan <mike at zelea.com>
> To: start at metagovernment.org
> Subject: Re: [MG] New open source UI diagrams for a federated,
>         comprehensive govt monitoring tool
> Message-ID: <1369588571.Ed340Bf0.6626 at out.zelea.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>
> Mitch Downey said:
> > ... Could I say you are advocating for all of our votes (and
> > opinions?) to be made publicly accessible, and in compatible
> > machine-processible formats? ...
>
> Partly.  I want to enable public opinion and I think it needs formal
> support, including a special kind of voting (primary).  But I see no
> need to change the electoral system (secret ballot) or other state
> institutions.  They were designed to be faithful to public opinion.
> The only problem I see (thanks to Habermas) is that public opinion
> collapsed in the late 1800s.  I think we just need to strengthen it.
>
> > ... everyday people <http://i.imgur.com/I5X20xG.png> would have our
> > own profile in [EveryVote]. Maybe they could have the ability to
> > opt-in to have their profile data feed into the Metagov vote sharing
> > system?
>
> Yes, though it's maybe too early to understand what it might mean in
> practice.  There are no clear e-dem practices yet.  It's all in flux.
>
> Looking at Sarah Moore's page, what does "Total votes declared" mean?
> http://i.imgur.com/I5X20xG.png
>
> > Also the EveryVote home page has been updated as of last night. I
> > think the design and content is substantially improved. If you have
> > a minute, please check out www.everyvote.org to see the changes, ...
>
> http://www.everyvote.org/
>
> It has handy navigation links, which is good.  But the first question
> on the new visitor's mind is, "What is EveryVote?"  The answer seems
> to be in the slide caption, but it's obscure and difficult to read.
> Douglass's striking portrait the first thing to catch the eye, and the
> caption is almost the last (at least for me).
>
> > ... especially the OpenGov Federation post
> > <http://www.everyvote.org/opengovfed/>. I am not very technical and
> > not an expert, so if I say anything inaccurate, your comments and
> > corrections would be appreciated.
>
> I'm unfamiliar with open government apps, so I shouldn't comment on
> the specifics.  Generally if the information is public and under no
> copyright restrictions, then an open federation should be unstoppable.
> But to get it started in the first place you need two platforms that
> are willing to cooperate, or one that is willing to get aggressive.
> (Same for a vote mirroring inter-network.)
>
> Mike
>
>
> Mitch Downey said:
> > Hi Michael,
> >
> > Thanks for the follow up. I think your work is clearer to me now. Could I
> > say you are advocating for all of our votes (and opinions?) to be made
> > publicly accessible, and in compatible machine-processible formats? If
> yes,
> > I definitely support that goal, and would like to support the culture
> shift
> > needed for everyday people to voluntarily move in that direction.
> >
> > EveryVote's focus is on government monitoring and not elected officials,
> > but everyday people <http://i.imgur.com/I5X20xG.png> would have our own
> > profile in the system. Maybe they could have the ability to opt-in to
> have
> > their profile data feed into the Metagov vote sharing system?
> >
> > I would not want to force everyday people to make their votes/opinions
> > publicly accessible (although I am open to forcing elected officials and
> > candidates by law to do so), but I would like to encourage them to move
> in
> > that direction. I think we are all wiser when we have the ability to pool
> > our information together as easily as possible, and furthermore that we
> > everyday people need to demonstrate and serve as role models for the
> > transparency we want to see from our government officials.
> >
> > In other news, EveryVote is the P2P Foundation's featured project of the
> > day.
> >
> > Post:
> >
> http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/project-of-the-day-everyvote-org/2013/05/23
> >
> > Twitter post: https://twitter.com/everyvoteorg/status/337640478763802625
> >
> > Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/EveryVote/posts/367682566664958
> >
> > Also the EveryVote home page has been updated as of last night. I think
> the
> > design and content is substantially improved. If you have a minute,
> please
> > check out www.everyvote.org to see the changes, especially the OpenGov
> > Federation post <http://www.everyvote.org/opengovfed/>. I am not very
> > technical and not an expert, so if I say anything inaccurate, your
> comments
> > and corrections would be appreciated.
> >
> > All the best,
> > Mitch
>
>
>
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> End of Start Digest, Vol 62, Issue 11
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-- 
Mitch Downey <https://twitter.com/mdowney84>
Project Manager

@EveryVoteU  <http://www.twitter.com/everyvoteu>
@EveryVoteOrg <https://twitter.com/#!/EveryVoteOrg>
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