(As originally submitted for Extreme Democracy, editted by Jon Lebkowsky and Mitch Ratcliffe, and subsequently updated minimally to reflect developments of CivicSpace)
In the summer of 2003, Dean supporters with an interest in information technology started meeting online and talking about how they could use their skills to help the Dean campaign. Inspired by community-focused sites like Slashdot, IndyMedia, Kuro5hin, and Scoop, they looked for tools they could build or customize that could be used to help promote the Dean candidacy.
(This is a draft of a chapter written for a possible book about experiences of Dean supporters during the 2004 Democratic Presidential Primary)
In 1982, I took a computer consulting position at Bell Laboratories. I spent my working hours writing programs to help optimize the design of telephone circuits. I also spent a lot of time playing speed chess during lunch, and exploring new electronic worlds after hours. Some of the time was spent playing Rogue, an early computer game. More of the time was spent sending emails and Usenet posts.
A computer I had an account on, was connected over the phone lines to a computer twenty miles away. It, in turn, was connected to another computer a little further up the line. By following the links properly, I could get to Arpanet and send emails to people around the world.
Thank you for taking a little time to fill out this survey to help
me get a better understanding of Dean Supporters online.
The survey is now completed and I am analyzing the results. Initial information will be posted here.
I must say, I really appreciate snow bored's comments about Do-ers and Transients. His four types of bathers matches some of my thoughts about the types of citizens.
In my view, there are:
Citizens who are not registered.
Citizens who are registered, but don't vote.
People who vote, but don't donate or volunteer.
Volunteers and Donors, who don't run for office.
It is a lot of work to move a person from one level to the next. We saw lots of voter registration drives this year. However, newly registered voters are the least likely to get out and vote. They need prodding, they need help.
Herding free-range cats: An exploration into the organizational dynamics of an open software project
On a mid-September weekend in 2004, about two dozen people sat around a table on the fifth floor of an ecologically friendly building in San Francisco. Almost everyone there was under twenty-five, almost everyone there was male, almost everyone there had a laptop fired up and connected to the internet over WiFi, and everyone there was interested in finding ways to better use technology to bring about social change.
It was the first CivicSpace Summit. A year and a half earlier, a couple college kids who had become excited about electoral politics through Howard Dean’s presidential campaign had started talking together. They wanted to build the ultimate open source campaign tool. It would use some sort of content management, syndication of articles, maybe some sort of buddy list, etc. All the sites would be connected together.