So, one web project that's been simmering on the prefrontal stove is an online political campaign management platform. http://www.labourstart.org/
does a bit of that, but on a minor scale. Some political parties, since Obama 2008, have become rather savvy at this, and front what I've read, Obama 2012 was a sight to behold. But what tools do we have for mobilization on the left?
There are many hurdles to political action. We often feel that we are alone; Facebook events have mitigated that a bit for protests, as you can see who will be attending. I think a lot of people rely on email as their main organizing tool, but email is a painful discussion platform. I find forums and chat rooms much better for this (http://campfirenow.com/
is becoming a popular tool, even though anyone has access to IRC/anyone can set up their private IRC server). A recent group I was organizing with collapsed when someone posted a giant toodle multiple-meeting request for the next three months; this was a case of using the right tool, but overdoing it and overwhelming everyone. (There were other issues, obviously...)
Before I embark on a full activist organizing suite, I was thinking about putting together a democratic decision-making app. I remember being on a board where we were sometimes called to make "emergency" decisions by email. I was pushing really hard to not make any decisions by email, because email stifles discussion, and I was rather against making decisions without discussion, for various proper governance reasons. If you did end up having the discussion by email, that resulted in a gazillion emails, which is a huge waste of time. However, there were plenty of smaller decisions that we could have made outside of a meeting when we had consensus. If only we had known we had consensus...
I started writing a long example, but I'm finding that I was taking longer writing about it than it would have taken me developing a working prototype in Rails. So I'm going to let this simmer for a bit longer and come back to it in a few days. If you have any ideas for a decision-making app thought, please do share. How could such an app help your organizing or your governance?
Current mood: Don't mourn, organize.