Changes between Initial Version and Version 1 of bcbp


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Timestamp:
May 22, 2008, 1:15:53 PM (12 years ago)
Author:
Jamie McClelland
Comment:

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  • bcbp

    v1 v1  
     1= Building Capacity, Building Power =
     2
     3The Praxis Project has received funding to make voter registration data
     4accessible online.
     5
     6This wiki page is being created to shape a proposal for how to do that.
     7
     8== Vision ==
     9
     10Voter registration data is public data that should be made freely available to
     11everyone equally. At the moment, even where the data is free, it is in widely
     12disparate formats and extremely difficult to query or import into an existing
     13database.
     14
     15The goal of the project is to support grassroots organizing by providing
     16address information of registered voters to groups that can use that
     17information to help strategically plan organizing campaigns.
     18
     19In addition, the ''implementation'' of the project is itself an organizing
     20project. Getting, parsing, importing and maintaining voter registration data
     21for the entire country is an enormous task.
     22
     23Efforts have been made to approach this problem in a traditional/capitalist
     24way (Jouse: please fill in!), however, that approach has done little to
     25realize the bigger vision of truly publicly accessible data.
     26
     27An alternate approach to the logistical problem is to build the project from
     28the ground up as an open, participatory process. By building the project in
     29this manner, we can build a team of volunteers to maintain it, much like
     30popular free software projects are maintained.
     31
     32== Implementations ==
     33
     34The key to implementing the project in an organizing fashion is to make it
     35completely free and open:
     36
     37 * No access restrictions to the data - full read access to everyone
     38 * Separation the project into inter-changing pieces to help keep it
     39 decentralized:
     40  * Database: one database the holds all the information. Direct read-only
     41  access is available to anyone on the Internet. We would encourage anyone
     42  with a server that can handle the load and size of data to mirror the data
     43  to help reduce load
     44  * User interface: we would write one web-based user interface, but not
     45  enforce it as the only user interface. We would encourage others to write
     46  alternative user interfaces and allow them to access the database.
     47  * Import scripts: until the law passes enforcing a standard data format for
     48  voter data (Josue: please fill in!) we will need scripts for each region to
     49  import data into our standard data format
     50 * Open source software: all software used to drive the project is freely
     51 released
     52 * Organize a series of national trainings and coding sprints
     53
     54== Steps ==
     55
     56Here are some proposed broad steps:
     57
     58 * Setup the infrastructure. It's important that the project start from the
     59 ground up in an open, web-published environment. Starting with a wiki, ticket
     60 tracking system, and publicly archived email list would be a good start.
     61
     62 * Initial public meeting: Draw a national group of organizers and
     63 technologists to a face-to-face meeting to set a common political agenda for
     64 the group and the initial technical specifications for the project. All
     65 participants (regardless of tech level) will participate in both processes.
     66
     67 * Research: getting the right data model will save a lot of time in the long
     68 run. Based on the vision and technical requirements, make decisions on how
     69 the first implementation will look.
     70
     71 * Initial implementation: Build out the database with a single source of
     72 data. Create the first user-interface. Test. Debug.
     73
     74 * Develop documentation on using the system and instructions to developers on
     75 how to import their data.
     76
     77 * Organizing series of workshops nationally - the draw will be organizers and
     78 technologists - with a focus on: * building the team supporting the project,
     79 getting new users of the system, and encouraging techies to import data from
     80 un-represented regions and commit to updating data over the years.