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250Re: [govtrack] Two Project Ideas

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  • Aron Pilhofer
    Nov 7, 2006
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      Not sure I agree. Both projects would be valuable, but number two would
      provide a heck of a lot more fodder for day-to-day reporting and
      analysis than number one -- both for bloggers and those of us in the
      so-called mainstream media. Sure, #1 would generate the occasional
      "gotchas" and so forth, but really only if you knew when and where to
      look. There are so many changes to legislation (heck, so much
      legislation...period) that a version tracking system wouldn't
      necessarily make it a whole lot easier to find those hidden gems than it
      is now.

      Speaking for myself, and only for myself, I think number two would be
      the kind of killer feature that would help GovTrack gain steam. Shoot,
      maybe it's something we could partner up on. Half the battle would be
      getting these groups to contribute on a regular and timely basis, and
      maybe they would have the incentive to do so if they knew it was
      something that was going to be available to a wide audience. We'd have
      to insist on it being completely free (as in speech) and available for
      use by anyone, but I think that's doable.

      Anyway, it's something I'm interested in helping out on regardless...
      aron

      John DeBruyn wrote:
      >
      > Hi Joshua:
      >
      > Two great projects ... what a horse race.
      >
      > Project 2 will likely pick up more buzz in the blogosphere and in the
      > press than project 1.
      >
      > One is probably as vital, if not more so, than 2, over the long haul.
      > Howver, somebody else is likely to do 2. As a consquence doing 2
      > first as an adjunct of GoVTrack will do more to get GovTrack the
      > additinal attention and traffic that it deserves. I would also surmize
      > that project 2 would invove more time and expense and that is another
      > reason to deffer until GovTrack gains more steam.
      >
      > Keep up the good work,
      >
      > Thanks for all that you are doing,
      >
      > John
      >
      > John DeBruyn Denver CO USA
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > *From:* govtrack@yahoogroups.com [mailto:govtrack@yahoogroups.com]*On
      > Behalf Of *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
      > *Sent:* Monday, November 06, 2006 3:48 PM
      > *To:* govtrack@yahoogroups.com
      > *Subject:* Re: [govtrack] Two Project Ideas
      >
      > Andrew Badr wrote:
      > > I'm already working Project 2 :)
      >
      > When can we all expect to see a demo? :)
      >
      > But, seriously, that's great. Keep us all posted.
      >
      > --
      > - Joshua Tauberer
      >
      > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>
      >
      > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
      > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
      >
      > Andrew Badr wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > I'm already working Project 2 :)
      > >
      > > On 11/4/06, *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us* <tauberer@...
      > <mailto:tauberer%40govtrack.us>
      > > <mailto:tauberer@... <mailto:tauberer%40govtrack.us>>> wrote:
      > >
      > > In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project that
      > > would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the current
      > > read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate surplus at the
      > > moment, I could potentially fund one.)
      > >
      > > Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills
      > >
      > > Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was introduced
      > > and then as it was after being reported by a committee, or in the case
      > > in the other thread, as it was after being passed by the Senate and then
      > > again after it was following the conference committee), what are the
      > > additions, removals, and changes that were made?
      > >
      > > The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools pdftotext
      > > and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that the output is
      > > actually useful for a regular citizen.
      > >
      > > Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions
      > >
      > > I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
      > > groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
      > > independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
      > > bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
      > > import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up in a
      > > common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other site that
      > > wants to display it). This would entail creating a small website.
      > >
      > > --
      > > - Joshua Tauberer
      > >
      > > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>
      > <http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>>
      > >
      > > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
      > > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      >

      --

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Aron Pilhofer
      Database Editor,
      The New York Times
      Phone: 212-556-5849
      Email: aron@...
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