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Re: [govtrack] Personal Democracy Forum

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 of 12 , May 20, 2005
                      • 0 Attachment
                        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 11 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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