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Personal Democracy Forum

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  • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack
    Scott (B.) s posting about the Stanford conference made me think to look for conferences in my area. So, now I m hoping to attend the Personal Democracy Forum
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 13, 2005
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      Scott (B.)'s posting about the Stanford conference made me think to look
      for conferences in my area. So, now I'm hoping to attend the Personal
      Democracy Forum (http://www.personaldemocracy.com/conference) on May 16
      in New York City, if anyone else is thinking of attending. (I know
      everyone that's ever posted to the list isn't too close to NYC, but I
      figured I'd post anyway.)

      And, Scott, how was the conference?

      In other news, I've gotten FEC campaign contribution data pretty much
      turned into RDF. (The fec_* files in http://www.govtrack.us/data/rdf/.)
      If only there was a use for all of this data in RDF...

      --
      - Joshua Tauberer

      http://taubz.for.net

      ** Nothing Unreal Exists **
    • Scott Beardsley
      ... Actually, asi-asi. The Grokster discussion (w/ EFF s Fred von Lohmann) was excellent! The government-related discussions had relatively low turnout and
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 13, 2005
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        --- Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack <tauberer@...>
        wrote:

        > And, Scott, how was the conference?

        Actually, asi-asi. The Grokster discussion (w/ EFF's
        Fred von Lohmann) was excellent! The
        government-related discussions had relatively low
        turnout and generally wasn't what I expected. :(

        The discussion on elections included a bit about
        Federal vs State legislation. It seems that many
        states have legislation[1(CA)] in the works regarding
        paper trails, auditing, etc. Most agreed that there
        needs to be federal legislation (if not an amendment
        to the Constitution as I believe elections are that
        fundamental) to provide minimum standards regarding
        transparent elections and voting machines. Most also
        agreed that federal legislation on that scale is not
        likely to be successful anytime soon.

        The online government discussions were very
        disappointing to me. I expected the discussion to
        center around how the act of governing will change as
        technology introduces us to the next generation of
        government transparency (basically exactly what
        govtrack, ogdex, et al is doing). The panelists
        included four political bloggers so they were mostly
        arguing how politics as usual might change. Yes, the
        internet will force politicians to change, but that is
        only the first step in the migration from a republic
        to a democracy. These are exciting times!

        > If only there was a use for all of this data in
        > RDF...

        There are _many_ uses for this data. The eureka moment
        is likely just around the corner.

        I've always wanted a site that will essentially
        automatically generate public biographies on
        politicians. Supply a politicians name (or your
        address to find who represents you) and bingo bango
        out spits a complete history of that person in his/her
        public life. All speeches, legislation, appointees,
        FEC filings, positions held, favorite
        lobbyists/supporters, etc. Imagine how that could help
        John/Jane Q. Voter when November rolls around. A
        politician difference generator would make that even
        more useful. Talk about accountability and
        transparency.

        Or here's another... How about a representation (text,
        graphs, flash animations, etc) of all
        international/federal/state/local laws at a particular
        time and place in history. Supply an address and a
        date and you can see if what you did in your younger
        days was actually illegal. Or maybe put in a search
        term like "sodomy" and find out where it is accepted.

        Exciting times I tell ya!
        SB

        -----
        [1] http://www.verifiedvoting.org/stateview.php?area=5



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      • TML
        Have to throw in a comment on Scott s observations: How about federal guidelines/legislation/amendments on states redistricting? To my mind that s the root
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 15, 2005
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          Have to throw in a comment on Scott's observations: How about federal
          guidelines/legislation/amendments on states' redistricting? To my mind
          that's the root cause of most of the discord and rancor in American
          democracy today--and equally unlikely to be addressed by Congress in
          any form in the foreseeable future. Technology has inadvertently
          turned minority-protection rules into majority/incumbent-protection
          rackets over the past 20 years. So while this list gets into the nuts
          and bolts of putting information online, one purpose for doing so will
          hopefully be to illustrate this disenfranchisement of the American
          electorate.

          Tom
          _________________________________________________________
          ::: www.xmiinc.com :::
          Web programming, content integration, and original music/sound design
          for Advertising and the Arts.

          On Apr 13, 2005, at 18:19, Scott Beardsley wrote:

          > Most agreed that there
          > needs to be federal legislation (if not an amendment
          > to the Constitution as I believe elections are that
          > fundamental) to provide minimum standards regarding
          > transparent elections and voting machines. Most also
          > agreed that federal legislation on that scale is not
          > likely to be successful anytime soon.
          >
        • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
          So, yesterday I attended the Personal Democracy Forum in NYC. Overall I give it an eh, but I think it accomplished pretty well what it set out to do. It s
          Message 4 of 12 , May 17, 2005
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            So, yesterday I attended the Personal Democracy Forum in NYC. Overall I
            give it an "eh," but I think it accomplished pretty well what it set out
            to do. It's just that I was hoping for something a little bit
            different. I arrived late (thanks to Amtrak delays) and left early, so
            it was quite an expensive few hours for GovTrack.

            The part of the conference that I attended can pretty much be summed up
            as "lots of people blog, and they blog about, and affect, politics." It
            was very retrospective.

            There was an interesting study (by Pew Internet and BuzzMetrics)
            presented about the correlation over time between what the bloggers of
            various types are talking about, what the mainstream media are talking
            about, and what message board posters were talking about. One thing
            that was interesting was how the Bush campaign, or conservative bloggers
            I forget which, apparently blogged more about 'Kerry topics' than Kerry
            bloggers did, toward the end of the campaigns last year. But, who knows
            how they defined 'Kerry topics.' This is all interesting for sure, but
            one needs to read the actual study to draw any conclusions from any of it.

            Doc Searls presented to the audience (quite a large audience by the way)
            why we should be talking about the Internet as a place rather than as a
            conduit for information exchange. Places, he argued, are seen as
            deserving free speech protection, while conduits are more easily
            regulated. This was the closest to the type of talk I was interested in.

            The problem was that he started his talk by waving around words from a
            completely different field, but one I'm quite familiar with:
            linguistics. He couched his talk in the notion that our thoughts are
            constrained by the words we have in our language. For instance, we're
            forced to talk about politics in terms of the metaphor of war because
            those are the words we have. It is true that we use war terminology for
            politics (the current 'battle' for the 'nuclear' option, for instance).
            This led to his conclusion that by reframing how we talk about the
            Internet (as a place), we can affect how people will think about it (as
            something not to be regulated).

            First off, that language constrains thought is called the Worfian
            hypothesis and it has never ever ever had any good supporting evidence
            that it is true. That is, no one has ever shown that our language
            constrains how we think. I agree with Searls that we can affect policy
            by how we talk about the issue, but this is not the case because of the
            linguistic reasons he mentioned at the start.

            Secondly, just as we talk about politics in terms of war, we talk about
            war in terms of games (winners and losers), or, wait, is it games in
            terms of war? He claimed that we talk about national issues in terms of
            a giant family. But, do we never talk about family in terms of
            politics? I'm sure many mothers and fathers have said "This is not a
            democracy" to their children. It's not fair to say that the metaphor
            behind politics is war any more than it is to say that the metaphor
            behind family is politics. We use the metaphors when we need them, but
            they don't define or constrain how we talk about things.

            Of course I would have like to see more discussion on forward-looking
            ideas, like Participatory Politics's Internet TV platform
            (http://www.participatoryculture.org/), integrating blogs and the
            Semantic Web, bluring the distinction between bloggers and the
            mainstream media (http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Main_Page), and on.

            I do want to give props to the Sifry brothers. Micah was the face of
            the conference. David, who started Technorati (I can't say anything
            good about David/Technorati without the disclaimer that I won a prize
            from Technorati), made a very entertaining presentation.

            During lunch and after I did a little networking. I met a bunch of
            interesting people, but no one in the narrow realm of what we talk about
            on this list. (Jeff Mascott, who presented with me and Dan Bennett back
            in March, was there. Evidently someone from ParticipatoryPolitics was
            there -- I would have liked to meet him, but ah well.) The networking
            bit was a lot of fun for me. I hopped from table to table meeting
            people and talking about various things. (Pretty out of character for
            me to do that.)

            I'm looking forward to seeing what's on the agenda for next year's PDF,
            although I do hope the focus is, as I said, more forward-looking.

            --
            - Joshua Tauberer

            http://taubz.for.net

            ** Nothing Unreal Exists **
          • TML
            Joshua, you re probably right, but it sure is convenient for the likes of Frank Luntz, and others, to get people to believe this is so. In fact, the
            Message 5 of 12 , May 17, 2005
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              Joshua, you're probably right, but it sure is convenient for the likes
              of Frank Luntz, and others, to get people to believe this is so. In
              fact, the double-speak that constitutes much of public policy and
              utterances these days is almost an advertisement for it's efficacy.
              Unfortunately, in my opinion, the average American doesn't (yet?)
              perceive it as a technique and instead accepts its usage as if it were
              an intrinsic paradigm of linguistics...as it seems the audience you
              were in did.

              Tom
              _________________________________________________________
              ::: www.xmiinc.com :::

              On May 17, 2005, at 19:25, Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us wrote:

              >   This led to his conclusion that by reframing how we talk about the
              > Internet (as a place), we can affect how people will think about it
              > (as
              > something not to be regulated).
              >
              > First off, that language constrains thought is called the Worfian
              > hypothesis and it has never ever ever had any good supporting evidence
              > that it is true. 
            • John DeBruyn
              Hi Josh: Thanks for the report on the Personal Democracy Forum. I have been amused, ever since the internet got its wings, about the propensity of almost every
              Message 6 of 12 , May 18, 2005
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                Hi Josh:
                 
                Thanks for the report on the Personal Democracy Forum.
                 
                I have been amused, ever since the internet got its wings, about the propensity of almost every group that takes to the internet to fall back on the face-to-face conference rather than trying to accommodate a corresponding online which would embrace the internet to take full advantage asynchronous 24/7 communication and the everywhereness of the internet as a venue. 
                 
                Perhaps the Gov Track group that congregates here to track with what new and in the works for Gov Track and collaborate with you in the development of Gov Track could brainstorm the prospects for holding an online conference of the sort you were looking for when you journeyed to NYC.
                 
                Keep up the good work,
                 
                John
                 
                John DeBruyn Denver CO USA 
                -----Original Message-----
                From: govtrack@yahoogroups.com [mailto:govtrack@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 5:26 PM
                To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [govtrack] Personal Democracy Forum

                So, yesterday I attended the Personal Democracy Forum in NYC.  Overall I
                give it an "eh," but I think it accomplished pretty well what it set out
                to do.  It's just that I was hoping for something a little bit
                different.  I arrived late (thanks to Amtrak delays) and left early, so
                it was quite an expensive few hours for GovTrack.

                The part of the conference that I attended can pretty much be summed up
                as "lots of people blog, and they blog about, and affect, politics."  It
                was very retrospective.

                There was an interesting study (by Pew Internet and BuzzMetrics)
                presented about the correlation over time between what the bloggers of
                various types are talking about, what the mainstream media are talking
                about, and what message board posters were talking about.  One thing
                that was interesting was how the Bush campaign, or conservative bloggers
                I forget which, apparently blogged more about 'Kerry topics' than Kerry
                bloggers did, toward the end of the campaigns last year.  But, who knows
                how they defined 'Kerry topics.'  This is all interesting for sure, but
                one needs to read the actual study to draw any conclusions from any of it.

                Doc Searls presented to the audience (quite a large audience by the way)
                why we should be talking about the Internet as a place rather than as a
                conduit for information exchange.  Places, he argued, are seen as
                deserving free speech protection, while conduits are more easily
                regulated.  This was the closest to the type of talk I was interested in.

                The problem was that he started his talk by waving around words from a
                completely different field, but one I'm quite familiar with:
                linguistics.  He couched his talk in the notion that our thoughts are
                constrained by the words we have in our language.  For instance, we're
                forced to talk about politics in terms of the metaphor of war because
                those are the words we have.  It is true that we use war terminology for
                politics (the current 'battle' for the 'nuclear' option, for instance).
                  This led to his conclusion that by reframing how we talk about the
                Internet (as a place), we can affect how people will think about it (as
                something not to be regulated).

                First off, that language constrains thought is called the Worfian
                hypothesis and it has never ever ever had any good supporting evidence
                that it is true.  That is, no one has ever shown that our language
                constrains how we think.  I agree with Searls that we can affect policy
                by how we talk about the issue, but this is not the case because of the
                linguistic reasons he mentioned at the start.

                Secondly, just as we talk about politics in terms of war, we talk about
                war in terms of games (winners and losers), or, wait, is it games in
                terms of war?  He claimed that we talk about national issues in terms of
                a giant family.  But, do we never talk about family in terms of
                politics?  I'm sure many mothers and fathers have said "This is not a
                democracy" to their children.  It's not fair to say that the metaphor
                behind politics is war any more than it is to say that the metaphor
                behind family is politics.  We use the metaphors when we need them, but
                they don't define or constrain how we talk about things.

                Of course I would have like to see more discussion on forward-looking
                ideas, like Participatory Politics's Internet TV platform
                (http://www.participatoryculture.org/), integrating blogs and the
                Semantic Web, bluring the distinction between bloggers and the
                mainstream media (http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Main_Page), and on.

                I do want to give props to the Sifry brothers.  Micah was the face of
                the conference.  David, who started Technorati (I can't say anything
                good about David/Technorati without the disclaimer that I won a prize
                from Technorati), made a very entertaining presentation.

                During lunch and after I did a little networking.  I met a bunch of
                interesting people, but no one in the narrow realm of what we talk about
                on this list.  (Jeff Mascott, who presented with me and Dan Bennett back
                in March, was there.  Evidently someone from ParticipatoryPolitics was
                there -- I would have liked to meet him, but ah well.)  The networking
                bit was a lot of fun for me.  I hopped from table to table meeting
                people and talking about various things.  (Pretty out of character for
                me to do that.)

                I'm looking forward to seeing what's on the agenda for next year's PDF,
                although I do hope the focus is, as I said, more forward-looking.

                --
                - Joshua Tauberer

                http://taubz.for.net

                ** Nothing Unreal Exists **


              • TML
                Yeh, but that assumes that internet interaction fulfills everything face-to-face interaction does. It ll be a long while (and a lot of bandwidth!) before the
                Message 7 of 12 , May 18, 2005
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                  Yeh, but that assumes that internet interaction fulfills everything
                  face-to-face interaction does. It'll be a long while (and a lot of
                  bandwidth!) before the airports start closing.

                  Cheers,
                  Tom
                  _________________________________________________________
                  ::: www.xmiinc.com :::

                  On May 18, 2005, at 10:49, John DeBruyn wrote:

                  > Hi Josh:
                  >  
                  > Thanks for the report on the Personal Democracy Forum.
                  >  
                  > I have been amused, ever since the internet got its wings, about the
                  > propensity of almost every group that takes to the internet to fall
                  > back on the face-to-face conference rather than trying to accommodate
                  > a corresponding online which would embrace the internet to take full
                  > advantage asynchronous 24/7 communication and the everywhereness
                  > of the internet as a venue. 
                  >  
                  > Perhaps the Gov Track group that congregates here to track with what
                  > new and in the works for Gov Track and collaborate with you in the
                  > development of Gov Track could brainstorm the prospects for holding an
                  > online conference of the sort you were looking for when you journeyed
                  > to NYC.
                  >  
                  > Keep up the good work,
                  >  
                  > John
                  >  
                  > John DeBruyn Denver CO USA 
                  >> -----Original Message-----
                  >> From: govtrack@yahoogroups.com [mailto:govtrack@yahoogroups.com]On
                  >> Behalf Of Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                  >> Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 5:26 PM
                  >> To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                  >> Subject: [govtrack] Personal Democracy Forum
                  >>
                  >> So, yesterday I attended the Personal Democracy Forum in NYC. 
                  >> Overall I
                  >> give it an "eh," but I think it accomplished pretty well what it set
                  >> out
                  >> to do.  It's just that I was hoping for something a little bit
                  >> different.  I arrived late (thanks to Amtrak delays) and left early,
                  >> so
                  >> it was quite an expensive few hours for GovTrack.
                  >>
                  >> The part of the conference that I attended can pretty much be summed
                  >> up
                  >> as "lots of people blog, and they blog about, and affect, politics." 
                  >> It
                  >> was very retrospective.
                  >>
                  >> There was an interesting study (by Pew Internet and BuzzMetrics)
                  >> presented about the correlation over time between what the bloggers of
                  >> various types are talking about, what the mainstream media are talking
                  >> about, and what message board posters were talking about.  One thing
                  >> that was interesting was how the Bush campaign, or conservative
                  >> bloggers
                  >> I forget which, apparently blogged more about 'Kerry topics' than
                  >> Kerry
                  >> bloggers did, toward the end of the campaigns last year.  But, who
                  >> knows
                  >> how they defined 'Kerry topics.'  This is all interesting for sure,
                  >> but
                  >> one needs to read the actual study to draw any conclusions from any
                  >> of it.
                  >>
                  >> Doc Searls presented to the audience (quite a large audience by the
                  >> way)
                  >> why we should be talking about the Internet as a place rather than as
                  >> a
                  >> conduit for information exchange.  Places, he argued, are seen as
                  >> deserving free speech protection, while conduits are more easily
                  >> regulated.  This was the closest to the type of talk I was interested
                  >> in.
                  >>
                  >> The problem was that he started his talk by waving around words from a
                  >> completely different field, but one I'm quite familiar with:
                  >> linguistics.  He couched his talk in the notion that our thoughts are
                  >> constrained by the words we have in our language.  For instance, we're
                  >> forced to talk about politics in terms of the metaphor of war because
                  >> those are the words we have.  It is true that we use war terminology
                  >> for
                  >> politics (the current 'battle' for the 'nuclear' option, for
                  >> instance).
                  >>   This led to his conclusion that by reframing how we talk about the
                  >> Internet (as a place), we can affect how people will think about it
                  >> (as
                  >> something not to be regulated).
                  >>
                  >> First off, that language constrains thought is called the Worfian
                  >> hypothesis and it has never ever ever had any good supporting evidence
                  >> that it is true.  That is, no one has ever shown that our language
                  >> constrains how we think.  I agree with Searls that we can affect
                  >> policy
                  >> by how we talk about the issue, but this is not the case because of
                  >> the
                  >> linguistic reasons he mentioned at the start.
                  >>
                  >> Secondly, just as we talk about politics in terms of war, we talk
                  >> about
                  >> war in terms of games (winners and losers), or, wait, is it games in
                  >> terms of war?  He claimed that we talk about national issues in terms
                  >> of
                  >> a giant family.  But, do we never talk about family in terms of
                  >> politics?  I'm sure many mothers and fathers have said "This is not a
                  >> democracy" to their children.  It's not fair to say that the metaphor
                  >> behind politics is war any more than it is to say that the metaphor
                  >> behind family is politics.  We use the metaphors when we need them,
                  >> but
                  >> they don't define or constrain how we talk about things.
                  >>
                  >> Of course I would have like to see more discussion on forward-looking
                  >> ideas, like Participatory Politics's Internet TV platform
                  >> (http://www.participatoryculture.org/), integrating blogs and the
                  >> Semantic Web, bluring the distinction between bloggers and the
                  >> mainstream media (http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Main_Page), and on.
                  >>
                  >> I do want to give props to the Sifry brothers.  Micah was the face of
                  >> the conference.  David, who started Technorati (I can't say anything
                  >> good about David/Technorati without the disclaimer that I won a prize
                  >> from Technorati), made a very entertaining presentation.
                  >>
                  >> During lunch and after I did a little networking.  I met a bunch of
                  >> interesting people, but no one in the narrow realm of what we talk
                  >> about
                  >> on this list.  (Jeff Mascott, who presented with me and Dan Bennett
                  >> back
                  >> in March, was there.  Evidently someone from ParticipatoryPolitics was
                  >> there -- I would have liked to meet him, but ah well.)  The networking
                  >> bit was a lot of fun for me.  I hopped from table to table meeting
                  >> people and talking about various things.  (Pretty out of character for
                  >> me to do that.)
                  >>
                  >> I'm looking forward to seeing what's on the agenda for next year's
                  >> PDF,
                  >> although I do hope the focus is, as I said, more forward-looking.
                  >>
                  >> --
                  >> - Joshua Tauberer
                  >>
                  >> http://taubz.for.net
                  >>
                  >> ** Nothing Unreal Exists **
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >> Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >> • To visit your group on the web, go to:
                  >> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/govtrack/
                  >>  
                  >> • To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  >> govtrack-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >>  
                  >> • Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
                  >> Service.
                  >>
                • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                  ... Well, I wouldn t go so far as to say that there was double-speak on Monday, but in general, yeah. ... Well, there s something nice about meeting people
                  Message 8 of 12 , May 18, 2005
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                    TML wrote:
                    > the double-speak that constitutes much of public policy and
                    > utterances these days is almost an advertisement for it's efficacy.

                    Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say that there was double-speak on
                    Monday, but in general, yeah.

                    John DeBruyn wrote:
                    > I have been amused, ever since the internet got its wings, about the
                    > propensity of almost every group that takes to the internet to fall back
                    > on the face-to-face conference rather than trying to accommodate
                    > a corresponding online which would embrace the internet to take full
                    > advantage asynchronous 24/7 communication and the everywhereness of the
                    > internet as a venue.

                    Well, there's something nice about meeting people face to face, and
                    staging a real world event.

                    > Perhaps the Gov Track group that congregates here to track with what new
                    > and in the works for Gov Track and collaborate with you in the
                    > development of Gov Track could brainstorm the prospects for holding an
                    > online conference of the sort you were looking for when you journeyed to
                    > NYC.

                    That's a thought. I was in fact thinking about setting up a small,
                    real-world conference at some point. But, at the moment I'm really
                    waiting for there to be other related, semi-complete projects besides
                    GovTrack for us to talk about.

                    --
                    - Joshua Tauberer

                    http://taubz.for.net

                    ** Nothing Unreal Exists **
                  • Ed Summers
                    ... How about irc://irc.freenode.net/govtrack for more interactivity. //Ed
                    Message 9 of 12 , May 18, 2005
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                      > That's a thought. I was in fact thinking about setting up a small,
                      > real-world conference at some point. But, at the moment I'm really
                      > waiting for there to be other related, semi-complete projects besides
                      > GovTrack for us to talk about.

                      How about irc://irc.freenode.net/govtrack for more interactivity.

                      //Ed
                    • Jeremy Dunck
                      ... Agree, but I hear this is pretty good: https://www.gotomeeting.com/ Certainly cheaper than dragging your bones across the country.
                      Message 10 of 12 , May 19, 2005
                      • 0 Attachment
                        On 5/18/05, TML <tlinder@...> wrote:
                        > Yeh, but that assumes that internet interaction fulfills everything
                        > face-to-face interaction does. It'll be a long while (and a lot of
                        > bandwidth!) before the airports start closing.

                        Agree, but I hear this is pretty good:
                        https://www.gotomeeting.com/

                        Certainly cheaper than dragging your bones across the country.
                      • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                        ... Do you mean as a general hang-out place or a place to have some sort of meeting/conference from time to time? I know I wouldn t end up in there without a
                        Message 11 of 12 , May 20, 2005
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                          Ed Summers wrote:
                          > How about irc://irc.freenode.net/govtrack for more interactivity.

                          Do you mean as a general hang-out place or a place to have some sort of
                          meeting/conference from time to time? I know I wouldn't end up in there
                          without a specific call for meeting -- it's just too distracting for me
                          to idle on IRC. But, as for a place for a meeting, I think that's a
                          good idea, if we want to do that.

                          --
                          - Joshua Tauberer

                          http://taubz.for.net

                          ** Nothing Unreal Exists **
                        • Ed Summers
                          ... either/or -- irc is a valuable collaboration tool for programmer types who aren t afraid of text, which is sometimes overlooked. It can be a time sink
                          Message 12 of 12 , May 20, 2005
                          • 0 Attachment
                            > Do you mean as a general hang-out place or a place to have some sort of
                            > meeting/conference from time to time? I know I wouldn't end up in
                            > there
                            > without a specific call for meeting -- it's just too distracting for me
                            > to idle on IRC. But, as for a place for a meeting, I think that's a
                            > good idea, if we want to do that.

                            either/or -- irc is a valuable collaboration tool for programmer types
                            who aren't afraid of text, which is sometimes overlooked. It can be a
                            time sink however.

                            A good thing about having an irc hangout place is that people can ask
                            questions and brain storm when they feel like it in real time.Then when
                            the time comes for a meeting people who have dropped in once or twice
                            know how to connect and set up a client etc...

                            I've found conversations in irc are much easier to follow than email
                            discussions which is sometimes like having a long distance conversation
                            over a bad line. irc logs can be archived and indexed as well.

                            //Ed
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