[MG] New open source UI diagrams for a federated, comprehensive govt monitoring tool

Mitch Downey mitch at everyvote.org
Wed May 15 14:39:15 EDT 2013

Hi Michael,

Thanks for letting me know. Hmm...I have no idea why that is happening. The
links work in Google Chrome 26 for me, and they are standard
imgur.comlinks, so I would think they should work in previous Chrome
editions. Also,
the links below work in my Firefox version 7...

I am using Windows 7, could this be a Linux related issue?

In any case, I think you should be able to scroll through the images in the
imgur album by clicking along the images on the top of the page. (

The Activity Tracker is just meant to help people realize a federated
newsfeed, that would aggregate all of our social network activity into one
newsfeed, is possible (others have done it), and that it would be valuable
for tracking the public activity of our elected representatives and

Since we don't have the manpower/money to implement all of the tools in the
design diagrams, the point of making and sharing them is to help average
folks imagine these tools, so they start to want them, so they start to
support #opengov, so this industry can finally attract the manpower/funding
it needs to thrive.

The diagrams received very encouraging support on the PoliticalDiscussions
reddit (
I responded to about 30 comments throughout that discussion.

I think there's latent potential for government monitoring tools to take
off in the public imagination. Whenever I tell people "learn about and
contact all of your candidates and officials on a single web page," they
say "of course I want that", and/or "you mean we don't have that already?"
I think we need to keep chipping away and passing on memes so they become a
national (well, global) priority. Furthermore, I think we need to clearly
express how these tools should be most ethically provided, so they are not
proprietized and/or manipulated for exploitation.

#opengovfed link should take you to this image (
http://i.imgur.com/uHzBOBV.png). I am thinking of OpenGov Federation and
the hashtag #opengovfed as a tentative name for a voluntary collaboration
of government monitoring tools to make their tools federation-compatible
(allow users to easily transfer or sync their data between 'competing' govt
monitoring tools in a compatible format), settle on the open standards
necessary to do so. Discussion of Metagov's vote sharing would certainly
belong there too, although as I understand it vote sharing as you describe
it is not quite federation as I am conceiving it. I bought
opengovfed.comand .org. If I can get a window of time this next week
I'll try to at least
setup a forum there.

Btw, a meme-like advocacy for federation I've been using (that I believe is
true) is that federation is what's best for our *freedom*, *convenience*,
and *capacity for innovation*.

Here's the download link for the zipped UI diagrams in case you have
trouble accessing them on imgur (http://s.imgur.com/a/iha6o/zip)

Sorry for the scattered email, I'm really ridiculously busy right now as I
just graduated and I'm trying to land a job to keep up with rent :/

All the best,

On Wed, May 15, 2013 at 3:03 AM, Michael Allan <mike at zelea.com> wrote:

> Hi Mitch,
> I missed your original post on LiberationTech.
> I'm afraid your image links fail in Firefox 16 and Chrome 25.  After
> following your first link, the others have no effect; the image stays
> the same regardless of the image number in the fragment.
> http://imgur.com/a/iha6o#8
> http://imgur.com/a/iha6o#9  etc.
> > EveryVote.org’s mission ... 2) to make all EveryVote tools
> > federation-compatible with as many other government monitoring tools
> > as possible, so that a monopoly over government monitoring tools
> > cannot form.
> > ...
> > 1) A tentative name for a collaboration of federation-compatible
> > government monitoring tools could be OpenGov Federation
> > <http://imgur.com/a/iha6o#8>.  #opengovfed
> If I load this from scratch, it takes me to a page about Sarah Moore.
> Is the Activity Tracker there meant to illustrate how the federation
> might work?  Like a cross-site news aggregator in this case?
> Mike
> Mitch Downey said:
> > Hi Metagov,
> >
> > If you've read the LibTech listserv recently you may have already seen
> this
> > message below, but I'm submitting it here as well since Michael has
> offered
> > insights and been supportive of this effort in the past. I also would
> like
> > to share it here because I think metagov is on the same page as we are
> with
> > regard to the importance of the successful federation of government
> > monitoring tools to avert a monopoly on them from forming.
> >
> > ---
> >
> > *
> >
> > Click this link for the most recent UI diagrams for EVomni:
> > http://imgur.com/a/iha6o#0
> >
> > (link to this message in blog
> > format<
> http://mdowney84.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/new-ui-diagrams-for-a-federated-comprehensive-government-monitoring-tool-evomni/
> >
> > )
> >
> > EveryVote.org’s mission is to improve crowd wisdom and government
> efficacy
> > by providing open source (AGPL) tools that 1) allow people to learn about
> > and interact with all of their candidates and officials using one
> > convenient web page, and 2) to make all EveryVote tools
> > federation-compatible with as many other government monitoring tools as
> > possible, so that a monopoly over government monitoring tools cannot
> form.
> >
> > Some notes about the UI diagrams:
> >
> > 1) A tentative name for a collaboration of federation-compatible
> government
> > monitoring tools could be OpenGov Federation <http://imgur.com/a/iha6o#8
> >.
> > #opengovfed
> >
> > 2) EV News <http://imgur.com/a/iha6o#16> is basically reddit, except
> users
> > can filter upvotes and downvotes based on whether those votes were cast
> by
> > supporters <http://imgur.com/a/iha6o#17>,
> > opposers<http://imgur.com/a/iha6o#19>,
> > or undecideds <http://imgur.com/a/iha6o#18> on a topic. I can’t wait for
> > the day this tool becomes available. I love reddit, but its biggest
> > drawback is that it necessarily forms a hivemind that prevents minority
> > viewpoints from being heard, so it is not a fair platform for civil
> > discourse. EV News would do all the same things as reddit, except
> minority
> > viewpoints could be heard.
> >
> > 3) The Consensus Tracker <http://imgur.com/a/iha6o#5> is a way for you
> to
> > learn at-a-glance how everyone you ‘support’ (your trusted advisors) or
> > ‘oppose’ (your distrusted advisors) are voting on any site entity
> > (candidates, officials, bills, etc.). To our knowledge, no available
> > government monitoring tools are using this technology yet. That’s a
> shame,
> > because if a person understands how the Consensus Tracker works, then
> they
> > basically understand how liquid
> > democracy<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delegative_democracy>works, and
> > can begin participating in it.
> >
> > To illustrate, if 7 groups you support have voted on Bill A, and 5 of
> those
> > groups voted to support Bill A, while 2 voted to oppose Bill A, then the
> > corresponding box in the Consensus Tracker would display a green +43%.
> >
> > Or, if 1 group you support has voted to support Bill A, while 6 groups
> have
> > voted against it, then the corresponding box in the Consensus Tracker
> would
> > display a red -71%.
> >
> > Algebraically, if:
> >
> > X = # of groups you support that are supporting the bill
> >
> > Y = # of groups you support that are opposing the bill
> >
> > Then the Consensus among groups you support on the bill = (X - Y)/(X + Y)
> >
> > 4) If there was ever an argument that we should consider
> > liquid/networked/delegative democracy to support or replace the US
> current
> > representative democracy, I personally think this image speaks
> > volumes<http://i.imgur.com/aWB2UL2.png>
> > .
> >
> > 5) If you do not think comprehensive US candidate and official databases
> > are one of (if not the) highest priority needs in the US today, again
> please
> > take a look at this image <http://i.imgur.com/aWB2UL2.png>.
> >
> > Average US voters are responsible for the oversight of well over 50
> elected
> > representatives, and that does not include the judges (I had to vote on
> > over 30 in Nov. 2012). It should not surprise us that the American
> > government is not representing the will of the people (Congressional
> > approval = 15% <http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx>),
> nor
> > that Americans seem so unwilling to do anything about it. Given our
> current
> > technologies, comprehensive oversight of our elected officials by average
> > citizens is completely impractical, so we should expect Americans to be
> > cynical yet apathetic about their government.
> >
> > Fortunately there are logical steps we must take to change that. Before
> we
> > can expect Americans to become active, well-informed citizens, we need to
> > provide them with sufficient government monitoring tools. The first steps
> > to making sufficient government monitoring tools is *1* completing the
> free,
> > publicly downloadable comprehensive candidate database, and *2*
> completing
> > the free, publicly downloadable comprehensive official database, so
> > independent developers can create comprehensive government monitoring
> > tools. EveryVote hopes you will become active, outspoken advocates for
> > goals *1* and *2*, if you are not already.
> >
> > ---
> >
> > Since EveryVote is a small, student and volunteer-driven project, our
> first
> > goal is to create an open source app to help university students learn
> > about and interact with all of their student government candidates in one
> > convenient location (EVmini). A prototype is
> > available<https://apps.facebook.com/everyvote>,
> > and you can watch a 60 second video intro to the EveryVote Facebook
> > app here<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ55iNwx6Ow>.
> > If you have any questions or feedback for us, or you may want to help
> this
> > Summer in any capacity (coding, web design, outreach, mentoring,
> anything),
> > we’d really appreciate hearing from you at contactus at everyvote.org, or
> > please follow or tweet @EveryVoteOrg <
> http://www.twitter.com/everyvoteorg>.
> >
> > Thanks for reading! Please let us know what you think so you can help
> this
> > project evolve.
> >
> > Sincerely,
> > Mitch <http://www.twitter.com/mdowney84>*

Mitch Downey <https://twitter.com/mdowney84>
Project Manager

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