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Re: [govtrack] question about voting

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  • Harvey Frey
    Josh: I looked up your suggested mixedink.com and it looks like it s a long way from fruition, but I ve signed up for their availability notification. I
    Message 1 of 21 , Jun 21, 2008
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      Josh:
       
          I looked up your suggested "mixedink.com" and it looks like it's a long way from fruition, but I've signed up for their availability notification.
       
          I suspect a moderated signed wiki could work right now, and there are loads of wiki programs already out there.
       
          I think a wiki so essentially political would need to be moderated and signed, especially given the experience of wikipedia and others with malicious anonymous edit wars.
       
          As for 'experts', I doubt that I qualify, though I AM a lawyer and have some experience drafting legislation, and have been active in international groups trying to apply AI to legislative drafting. Unfortunately, AI isn't yet up to the task <G>, but thinking about that way it does tend to clarify the problems. 
       
      Harvey
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2008 3:11 PM
      Subject: Re: [govtrack] question about voting

      Harvey Frey wrote:
      > > we talked about things like the public writing new bills. (The
      > > consensus was that it's very difficult to do that in a way that actually
      > > produces useful bills. Legislating is truly tough.)
      >
      > Some steps along the way: If such an 'initiative' gathered enough
      > support among govtrack members, it shouldn't be hard to find an attorney
      > member to render it in proper form. (subject to multiple feedback and
      > revotes).

      I agree to an extent, though I expect that just the process of both
      building a community to write a bill and then getting consensus on its
      content would be extremely difficult. I'd actually like to see some new
      collaborative writing tools developed to facilitate this. (mixedink.com
      is working on something. I talked to one of the guys behind that a while
      back and it seems like they had some good ideas, so I look forward to
      seeing it in use. I'd like to see some revolutionary ideas though...)
      Also I think that the success of this would often depend on recruiting
      experts (academics and such) to contribute to the process.

      That being said, there's no reason to stay away from a project just
      because it's extremely difficult. I think it would be worthwhile for
      someone (you!) to look into how it might work.

      > Then the govtrack database could be used to identify members of congress
      > who might be willing to introduce the bill.
      >
      > Even the 'sausage-making' aspect of legislation is not beyond our power
      > to affect, as the govtrack database might identify the committee members
      > most amenable to citizen-lobbying, and the program could alert govtrack
      > members in their districts.

      That's certainly an interesting angle.

      --
      - Josh Tauberer
      - GovTrack.us

      http://razor. occams.info

      "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
      falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
      Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)

    • Ralph Yozzo
      Wow, thanks! I will look at the information and help where I can. One question I had is: What RSS feed would be good to start with? Is there a way to get a
      Message 2 of 21 , Jun 21, 2008
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        Wow, thanks!  I will look at the information and help where I can.

        One question I had is:  What RSS feed would be good to start with?

        Is there a way to get a feed that contains only issues that affect a certain state, city or zip code.

        Is there a way to give a keyword and search across bills to get only the ones that contain the search criteria.

        There seems to be a way to do this and get back an XML feed.  But I'm wondering if the RSS feed interface supports a query string parameter.

        Thanks for everything.  The site is a great public service.

        Ralph

        ---------- Forwarded message ----------
        From: Josh Tauberer <tauberer@...>
        Date: Sat, Jun 21, 2008 at 5:32 PM
        Subject: Re: [govtrack] question about voting
        To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com


        Ralph Yozzo wrote:
        > I've created a webapp that uses one of the RSS feeds that govtrack.us
        > <http://govtrack.us> provides to allow all people to vote on all issues.

        >
        > The site is at:
        > http://peoples-vote.brooklynmarathon.com/
        >
        > The idea is that people must be more involved in the issues that affect
        > us. We need to get away from this "every four years elect a savior"
        > mentality.

        Hi, Ralph. Thanks for sharing your site. :)


        > It would be nice if
        > millions of billions of people across the world would weigh in on the
        > issues. Maybe new bills should be created. For instance, "universal
        > health care" bill, "end the war in iraq" bill, or "books not bombs" bill.
        >
        > I realize that all change takes time, but a more involved, more aware
        > public is a good thing.
        >
        > Hopefully over time people will evolve to where the government serves
        > the people instead of the people serving the government.

        That's definitely the spirit that I and others on this list and others
        working on related projects share. And there's a lot that can be done,
        from this technical angle, that will promote good government. I was at a
        conference a few weeks ago where we talked about things like the public
        writing new bills. (The consensus was that it's very difficult to do
        that in a way that actually produces useful bills. Legislating is truly
        tough.)

        Keep thinking of ideas. Also you might want to check out my expanding
        list of project ideas for improving GovTrack
        (http://wiki.govtrack.us/index.php/Projects) and the technical end for
        how to contribute to GovTrack directly
        (http://www.govtrack.us/source.xpd). I'd love to have you involved.
        Also, there's a good recent blog post by the guy behind readablelaws.org
        that you might find interesting:
        http://www.impublished.org/wordpress/helptheman/

        And, stay tuned here. I will have some interesting (I think) things to
        say about civic hacking in the next few weeks.


        > Is the voting function already on the site?

        There isn't on GovTrack. I have stayed away from features like that for
        a few reasons, but it's something worth revisiting. OpenCongress.org and
        WashingtonWatch.org have a voting feature like that.

        --
        - Josh Tauberer
        - GovTrack.us

        http://razor.occams.info

        "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
        falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
        Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)

      • Josh Tauberer
        ... To do what? ... There are some subject terms for regions: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/subjects.xpd?type=crs&term=New%20York%20State I don t know
        Message 3 of 21 , Jun 22, 2008
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          Ralph Yozzo wrote:
          > Wow, thanks! I will look at the information and help where I can.
          >
          > One question I had is: What RSS feed would be good to start with?

          To do what?

          > Is there a way to get a feed that contains only issues that affect a
          > certain state, city or zip code.

          There are some subject terms for regions:
          http://www.govtrack.us/congress/subjects.xpd?type=crs&term=New%20York%20State

          I don't know whether there is one for every state, for instance.

          > Is there a way to give a keyword and search across bills to get only the
          > ones that contain the search criteria.
          >
          > There seems to be a way to do this and get back an XML feed. But I'm
          > wondering if the RSS feed interface supports a query string parameter.

          The RSS feeds are really only intended to be used by RSS readers. To do
          anything interesting with the data, I really prefer people use the APIs
          or download the XML data files directly (as described on the Source page).

          Best,

          --
          - Josh Tauberer
          - GovTrack.us

          http://razor.occams.info

          "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
          falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
          Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
        • Ralph Yozzo
          ... Sorry for the vague question. What I meant was, Is there a feed that is dedicated to the current well known issues? For example, universal
          Message 4 of 21 , Jun 22, 2008
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            >> One question I had is: What RSS feed would be good to start with?

            > To do what?

            Sorry for the vague question.  What I meant was, "Is there a feed that is dedicated to the current well known issues?"  For example,  "universal healthcare", "internet neutrality".

            I'm imagining that the casual initial user of the voting option would be overwhelmed by voting on issues like "Route 20A widening" or some other very location specific bill, but might be more interested if the topic affected them.

            >
            The RSS feeds are really only intended to be used by RSS readers. To do
            > anything interesting with the data, I really prefer people use the APIs
            > or download the XML data files directly (as described on the Source page).

            Okay, thanks for the information about the data feeds that should be used.  I'll look at the api.

            Thanks for your help and patience.

            Ralph

            On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 11:41 AM, Josh Tauberer <tauberer@...> wrote:

            Ralph Yozzo wrote:
            > Wow, thanks! I will look at the information and help where I can.
            >
            > One question I had is: What RSS feed would be good to start with?

            To do what?


            > Is there a way to get a feed that contains only issues that affect a
            > certain state, city or zip code.

            There are some subject terms for regions:
            http://www.govtrack.us/congress/subjects.xpd?type=crs&term=New%20York%20State

            I don't know whether there is one for every state, for instance.


            > Is there a way to give a keyword and search across bills to get only the
            > ones that contain the search criteria.
            >
            > There seems to be a way to do this and get back an XML feed. But I'm
            > wondering if the RSS feed interface supports a query string parameter.

            The RSS feeds are really only intended to be used by RSS readers. To do
            anything interesting with the data, I really prefer people use the APIs
            or download the XML data files directly (as described on the Source page).

            Best,


            --
            - Josh Tauberer
            - GovTrack.us

            http://razor.occams.info

            "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
            falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
            Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)

          • ron.cadby
            I really appreciate your efforts and intentions, and it s a *great* idea to have a place to go to vote and comment. I do see a conundrum re Democracy vs
            Message 5 of 21 , Jun 22, 2008
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              I really appreciate your efforts and intentions, and it's a *great*
              idea to have a place to go to vote and comment.

              I do see a conundrum re Democracy vs Republic, however.
              Unfortunately, the norm, even within Congress, is to believe our
              system of government is the former when, in reality, it is defined in
              no uncertain terms to be the latter.

              It is important, though that we have a venue to be able to pass on
              our choices to the elected. The trick is to get them to pay
              attention. Perhaps we can them to see the results from your site.
              That would be a good thing.

              DownsizeDC.org does a good job, but it would be even better if
              results from you site could be sent in some way to Congress to get
              them to act (or behave) as they should according to our wishes.

              The above, BTW, does create send new legislation with some success. I
              use their service fairly often to augment my activism.

              ....Ron

              --- In govtrack@yahoogroups.com, "Ralph Yozzo" <fedex1@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi,
              >
              > I've created a webapp that uses one of the RSS feeds that
              > govtrack.usprovides to allow all people to vote on all issues.
              >
              > The site is at:
              > http://peoples-vote.brooklynmarathon.com/
              >
              >
              > The idea is that people must be more involved in the issues that
              affect us.
              > We need to get away from this "every four years elect a savior"
              mentality.
              >
              > Is the voting function already on the site? It would be nice if
              millions
              > of billions of people across the world would weigh in on the
              issues. Maybe
              > new bills should be created. For instance, "universal health care"
              bill,
              > "end the war in iraq" bill, or "books not bombs" bill.
              >
              > I realize that all change takes time, but a more involved, more
              aware public
              > is a good thing.
              >
              > Hopefully over time people will evolve to where the government
              serves the
              > people instead of the people serving the government.
              >
            • Ralph Yozzo
              I agree with you. This confusion seems to be engineered by the white house, congress, and their lap dog, the mass media. My question is: What is the best
              Message 6 of 21 , Jun 22, 2008
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                I agree with you.  This confusion seems to be engineered by the white house, congress, and their lap dog, the mass media.

                My question is:  What is the best form of government for today?

                • democracy.   Opponents say this leads to "mob rule". My experience seems to be the opposite.  The majority does not seem to be able to organize.  It seems that the opposite happens.  The minority "corporatocracy" rule of the corporations which is tied closely to the "ruling elite" which are less than 1% of the population and which own 1/3 of the country and which own most of the mass media, factories, politicians, judges, etc.
                • representative republic what the US constitution defines. Thanks to the war powers act and other acts that show the congress's neglect of it's responsibility, the US actually has something closer to a 4 or 8 year totalitarian rule.  The more corrupt, the more likely it will be an 8 year rule.  Why is it we wait until the despot is old and gray, on his way out, and can do no more harm to impeach them?
                • Libertarian socialism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberterian_socialism
                • Anarcho-syndicalism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-syndicalism
                • Anarchism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism
                • add your own.


                On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 1:56 PM, ron.cadby <DieFree@...> wrote:

                I really appreciate your efforts and intentions, and it's a *great*
                idea to have a place to go to vote and comment.

                I do see a conundrum re Democracy vs Republic, however.
                Unfortunately, the norm, even within Congress, is to believe our
                system of government is the former when, in reality, it is defined in
                no uncertain terms to be the latter.

                It is important, though that we have a venue to be able to pass on
                our choices to the elected. The trick is to get them to pay
                attention. Perhaps we can them to see the results from your site.
                That would be a good thing.

                DownsizeDC.org does a good job, but it would be even better if
                results from you site could be sent in some way to Congress to get
                them to act (or behave) as they should according to our wishes.

                The above, BTW, does create send new legislation with some success. I
                use their service fairly often to augment my activism.

                ....Ron



                --- In govtrack@yahoogroups.com, "Ralph Yozzo" <fedex1@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi,
                >
                > I've created a webapp that uses one of the RSS feeds that
                > govtrack.usprovides to allow all people to vote on all issues.

                >
                > The site is at:
                > http://peoples-vote.brooklynmarathon.com/
                >
                >
                > The idea is that people must be more involved in the issues that
                affect us.
                > We need to get away from this "every four years elect a savior"
                mentality.
                >
                > Is the voting function already on the site? It would be nice if
                millions
                > of billions of people across the world would weigh in on the
                issues. Maybe
                > new bills should be created. For instance, "universal health care"
                bill,
                > "end the war in iraq" bill, or "books not bombs" bill.
                >
                > I realize that all change takes time, but a more involved, more
                aware public
                > is a good thing.
                >
                > Hopefully over time people will evolve to where the government
                serves the
                > people instead of the people serving the government.
                >


              • tay199
                I d actually like to see some new collaborative writing tools developed to facilitate this. (mixedink.com is working on something... I d like to see some
                Message 7 of 21 , Jun 23, 2008
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                  "I'd actually like to see some new collaborative writing tools
                  developed to facilitate this. (mixedink.com is working on something...
                  I'd like to see some revolutionary ideas though...)"

                  Ok, anyone have any "revolutionary ideas"?
                • tay199
                  ... current well known issues? For example, universal healthcare , internet neutrality . Check out Govit.com, bills are sorted by recently popular. You
                  Message 8 of 21 , Jun 23, 2008
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                    >> "What I meant was, "Is there a feed that is dedicated to the
                    current well known issues?" For example, "universal healthcare",
                    "internet neutrality"."

                    Check out Govit.com, bills are sorted by recently popular. You can
                    also sort by most votes.

                    This gives a pretty good idea of what's important to the people
                    visiting the site. However, more people would yield a better sample.


                    >> "Is there a way to give a keyword and search across bills to get
                    only the ones that contain the search criteria."

                    You can search for keywords on govit. However, different bills use
                    different keywords for the same thing.

                    For example, some bill use "global warming" in their description...
                    http://www.govit.com/pages/SearchPage.aspx?Search=global%20warming

                    Other's use "climate change"
                    http://www.govit.com/pages/SearchPage.aspx?Search=climate%20change
                  • hsfrey
                    Why must this wait for something revolutionary ? There are plenty of kludges out there that will let us get started, if we really want to do it. Why not a
                    Message 9 of 21 , Jun 23, 2008
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                      Why must this wait for something "revolutionary"?

                      There are plenty of kludges out there that will let us get started, if
                      we really want to do it.

                      Why not a wiki, or a forum, or a listserve, or even the "track
                      changes" option on WinWord.

                      Mixedink seems to be WishWare.

                      For an initial project, I'd like to see something to fix the
                      preemption provisions of ERISA. And I already have a draft. <G>

                      Harvey

                      --- In govtrack@yahoogroups.com, "tay199" <tay199@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > "I'd actually like to see some new collaborative writing tools
                      > developed to facilitate this. (mixedink.com is working on something...
                      > I'd like to see some revolutionary ideas though...)"
                      >
                      > Ok, anyone have any "revolutionary ideas"?
                      >
                    • Josh Tauberer
                      ... Well, go for it, by all means. :) But to add a sense of reality- Members of Congress have little interest in what ordinary people say, beyond what can be
                      Message 10 of 21 , Jun 23, 2008
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                        hsfrey wrote:
                        > Why must this wait for something "revolutionary"?
                        >
                        > There are plenty of kludges out there that will let us get started, if
                        > we really want to do it.
                        >
                        > Why not a wiki, or a forum, or a listserve, or even the "track
                        > changes" option on WinWord.

                        Well, go for it, by all means. :)

                        But to add a sense of reality- Members of Congress have little interest
                        in what ordinary people say, beyond what can be reduced to a single
                        word. That's not entirely because they don't care, but largely because
                        they can't open their ears to everyone. And it takes a lot of voices to
                        be heard, considerably more than one can muster without a lot of
                        experience in doing that. And there needs to be considerably more people
                        involved than can coherently work together using a wiki, forum, or mail
                        list. We're talking thousands if not tens of thousands for national issues.

                        And that's just the technical challenge. The social challenges are much
                        more difficult.

                        A prototype using any technology might be informative, but I think only
                        a creative technological approach could really work.

                        > Mixedink seems to be WishWare.

                        I know they had a coherent plan at one point.

                        --
                        - Josh Tauberer
                        - GovTrack.us

                        http://razor.occams.info

                        "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                        falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                        Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
                      • Harvey Frey
                        Josh: So what you re saying is that the technical issues raised by tay199 are irrelevant, since there is no practical way to get the attention of any
                        Message 11 of 21 , Jun 23, 2008
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                          Josh:
                           
                              So what you're saying is that the technical issues raised by tay199 are irrelevant, since there is no practical way to get the attention of any congresspeople, short of arriving with large checks in hand.
                           
                              I don't know that that's necessarily so, since I've been asked, out of the blue, (just on the basis of my website) to help a congressman and later a senator draft legislation on the ERISA issue.
                           
                              Of course, neither of them paid any attention to what I wrote. <G>
                          But I think that's because they were both republicans and not sympathetic to my more patient-oriented initiatives.  
                           
                              So, I wouldn't be completely pessimistic, given that we may have a new congress more interested in new approaches.
                           
                          Harvey
                           
                          ----- Original Message -----
                          Sent: Monday, June 23, 2008 5:02 PM
                          Subject: Re: [govtrack] Re: question about voting

                          hsfrey wrote:
                          > Why must this wait for something "revolutionary" ?
                          >
                          > There are plenty of kludges out there that will let us get started, if
                          > we really want to do it.
                          >
                          > Why not a wiki, or a forum, or a listserve, or even the "track
                          > changes" option on WinWord.

                          Well, go for it, by all means. :)

                          But to add a sense of reality- Members of Congress have little interest
                          in what ordinary people say, beyond what can be reduced to a single
                          word. That's not entirely because they don't care, but largely because
                          they can't open their ears to everyone. And it takes a lot of voices to
                          be heard, considerably more than one can muster without a lot of
                          experience in doing that. And there needs to be considerably more people
                          involved than can coherently work together using a wiki, forum, or mail
                          list. We're talking thousands if not tens of thousands for national issues.

                          And that's just the technical challenge. The social challenges are much
                          more difficult.

                          A prototype using any technology might be informative, but I think only
                          a creative technological approach could really work.

                          > Mixedink seems to be WishWare.

                          I know they had a coherent plan at one point.

                          --
                          - Josh Tauberer
                          - GovTrack.us

                          http://razor. occams.info

                          "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                          falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                          Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)

                        • tay199
                          So what do you guys have in mind? Is as simple as write-a-bill with wiki backbone? If so, this is very doable. ... tay199 are irrelevant, since there is no
                          Message 12 of 21 , Jun 24, 2008
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                            So what do you guys have in mind? Is as simple as "write-a-bill" with
                            wiki backbone? If so, this is very doable.









                            --- In govtrack@yahoogroups.com, "Harvey Frey" <hsfrey@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Josh:
                            >
                            > So what you're saying is that the technical issues raised by
                            tay199 are irrelevant, since there is no practical way to get the
                            attention of any congresspeople, short of arriving with large checks
                            in hand.
                            >
                            > I don't know that that's necessarily so, since I've been asked,
                            out of the blue, (just on the basis of my website) to help a
                            congressman and later a senator draft legislation on the ERISA issue.
                            >
                            > Of course, neither of them paid any attention to what I wrote. <G>
                            > But I think that's because they were both republicans and not
                            sympathetic to my more patient-oriented initiatives.
                            >
                            > So, I wouldn't be completely pessimistic, given that we may have
                            a new congress more interested in new approaches.
                            >
                            > Harvey
                            >
                            > ----- Original Message -----
                            > From: Josh Tauberer
                            > To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                            > Sent: Monday, June 23, 2008 5:02 PM
                            > Subject: Re: [govtrack] Re: question about voting
                            >
                            >
                            > hsfrey wrote:
                            > > Why must this wait for something "revolutionary"?
                            > >
                            > > There are plenty of kludges out there that will let us get
                            started, if
                            > > we really want to do it.
                            > >
                            > > Why not a wiki, or a forum, or a listserve, or even the "track
                            > > changes" option on WinWord.
                            >
                            > Well, go for it, by all means. :)
                            >
                            > But to add a sense of reality- Members of Congress have little
                            interest
                            > in what ordinary people say, beyond what can be reduced to a single
                            > word. That's not entirely because they don't care, but largely
                            because
                            > they can't open their ears to everyone. And it takes a lot of
                            voices to
                            > be heard, considerably more than one can muster without a lot of
                            > experience in doing that. And there needs to be considerably more
                            people
                            > involved than can coherently work together using a wiki, forum, or
                            mail
                            > list. We're talking thousands if not tens of thousands for
                            national issues.
                            >
                            > And that's just the technical challenge. The social challenges are
                            much
                            > more difficult.
                            >
                            > A prototype using any technology might be informative, but I think
                            only
                            > a creative technological approach could really work.
                            >
                            > > Mixedink seems to be WishWare.
                            >
                            > I know they had a coherent plan at one point.
                            >
                            > --
                            > - Josh Tauberer
                            > - GovTrack.us
                            >
                            > http://razor.occams.info
                            >
                            > "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                            > falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                            > Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
                            >
                          • Ralph Yozzo
                            ... Doesn t this show that, if this is true, that any system that gives the power/voice/vote of many to a few or to one is not a good system. The one will be
                            Message 13 of 21 , Jun 24, 2008
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                              since there is no practical way to get the attention of any congresspeople, short of arriving with large checks in hand.
                               
                              Doesn't this show that, if this is true, that any system that gives the power/voice/vote of many to a few or to one is not a good system.  The one will be the target of corruption.  Imagine the opposite.  A system where all 6 billion people were involved.  I'd like to see the lobbyists bribe 6 billion.  For once, bribery would be a good thing.

                              On Tue, Jun 24, 2008 at 12:20 AM, Harvey Frey <hsfrey@...> wrote:

                              Josh:
                               
                                  So what you're saying is that the technical issues raised by tay199 are irrelevant, since there is no practical way to get the attention of any congresspeople, short of arriving with large checks in hand.
                               
                                  I don't know that that's necessarily so, since I've been asked, out of the blue, (just on the basis of my website) to help a congressman and later a senator draft legislation on the ERISA issue.
                               
                                  Of course, neither of them paid any attention to what I wrote. <G>
                              But I think that's because they were both republicans and not sympathetic to my more patient-oriented initiatives.  
                               
                                  So, I wouldn't be completely pessimistic, given that we may have a new congress more interested in new approaches.
                               
                              Harvey
                               
                              ----- Original Message -----
                              Sent: Monday, June 23, 2008 5:02 PM
                              Subject: Re: [govtrack] Re: question about voting

                              hsfrey wrote:
                              > Why must this wait for something "revolutionary"?
                              >
                              > There are plenty of kludges out there that will let us get started, if
                              > we really want to do it.
                              >
                              > Why not a wiki, or a forum, or a listserve, or even the "track
                              > changes" option on WinWord.

                              Well, go for it, by all means. :)

                              But to add a sense of reality- Members of Congress have little interest
                              in what ordinary people say, beyond what can be reduced to a single
                              word. That's not entirely because they don't care, but largely because
                              they can't open their ears to everyone. And it takes a lot of voices to
                              be heard, considerably more than one can muster without a lot of
                              experience in doing that. And there needs to be considerably more people
                              involved than can coherently work together using a wiki, forum, or mail
                              list. We're talking thousands if not tens of thousands for national issues.

                              And that's just the technical challenge. The social challenges are much
                              more difficult.

                              A prototype using any technology might be informative, but I think only
                              a creative technological approach could really work.

                              > Mixedink seems to be WishWare.

                              I know they had a coherent plan at one point.

                              --
                              - Josh Tauberer
                              - GovTrack.us

                              http://razor.occams.info

                              "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                              falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                              Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)


                            • Josh Tauberer
                              ... I m happy to host a wiki for this if there are people willing to maintain it. -- - Josh Tauberer - GovTrack.us http://razor.occams.info Yields falsehood
                              Message 14 of 21 , Jun 25, 2008
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                                tay199 wrote:
                                > So what do you guys have in mind? Is as simple as "write-a-bill" with
                                > wiki backbone? If so, this is very doable.

                                I'm happy to host a wiki for this if there are people willing to
                                maintain it.

                                --
                                - Josh Tauberer
                                - GovTrack.us

                                http://razor.occams.info

                                "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                                falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                                Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
                              • Josh Tauberer
                                ... I m just saying that something simple isn t very likely to have any real effect. There has to be real innovation somewhere. ... I m glad to hear that that
                                Message 15 of 21 , Jun 25, 2008
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                                  Harvey Frey wrote:
                                  > So what you're saying is that the technical issues raised by tay199
                                  > are irrelevant, since there is no practical way to get the attention of
                                  > any congresspeople, short of arriving with large checks in hand.

                                  I'm just saying that something simple isn't very likely to have any real
                                  effect. There has to be real innovation somewhere.

                                  > I don't know that that's necessarily so, since I've been asked, out
                                  > of the blue, (just on the basis of my website) to help a congressman and
                                  > later a senator draft legislation on the ERISA issue.
                                  >
                                  > Of course, neither of them paid any attention to what I wrote. <G>
                                  > But I think that's because they were both republicans and not
                                  > sympathetic to my more patient-oriented initiatives.

                                  I'm glad to hear that that happened. Maybe the problem isn't quite as
                                  big as I thought.

                                  --
                                  - Josh Tauberer
                                  - GovTrack.us

                                  http://razor.occams.info

                                  "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                                  falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                                  Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
                                • Harvey Frey
                                  The engine used by wikipedia is available for free for non-profit use at http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki. I had once thought of using it on my own
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Jun 26, 2008
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                                    The engine used by wikipedia is available for free for non-profit use at http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki.
                                     
                                    I had once thought of using it on my own website, but I think it's beyond my technical skills.
                                     
                                        A couple of others that looked attractive were Midgard Wiki and MoinMoin. An extensive comparison is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_wiki_software
                                     
                                    I'd be happy to moderate (and I think it SHOULD be moderated, to avoid wikipedia-style edit wars) the discussion on ERISA and health care.
                                     
                                    As for a legislator willing to consider hoppering a bill to fix ERISA, I notice that Jean Shaheen, running in New Hampshire, has expressly made that part of her platform.
                                     
                                    Harvey
                                     
                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 5:52 AM
                                    Subject: Re: [govtrack] Re: question about voting

                                    tay199 wrote:
                                    > So what do you guys have in mind? Is as simple as "write-a-bill" with
                                    > wiki backbone? If so, this is very doable.

                                    I'm happy to host a wiki for this if there are people willing to
                                    maintain it.

                                    --
                                    - Josh Tauberer
                                    - GovTrack.us

                                    http://razor. occams.info

                                    "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                                    falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                                    Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)

                                  • Ralph Yozzo
                                    I would love to volunteer for technical tasks. Especially for web app programming, etc. As time permits. I ve installed a lot of wiki s, calendars, credit
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Jun 26, 2008
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                                      I would love to volunteer for technical tasks.  Especially for web app programming, etc.  As time permits.

                                      I've installed a lot of wiki's, calendars, credit card/debit card processing for many clubs, etc.

                                      the credit card/debit card processing is also free for nonprofits.

                                      On Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 5:56 PM, Harvey Frey <hsfrey@...> wrote:

                                      The engine used by wikipedia is available for free for non-profit use at http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki.
                                       
                                      I had once thought of using it on my own website, but I think it's beyond my technical skills.
                                       
                                          A couple of others that looked attractive were Midgard Wiki and MoinMoin. An extensive comparison is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_wiki_software
                                       
                                      I'd be happy to moderate (and I think it SHOULD be moderated, to avoid wikipedia-style edit wars) the discussion on ERISA and health care.
                                       
                                      As for a legislator willing to consider hoppering a bill to fix ERISA, I notice that Jean Shaheen, running in New Hampshire, has expressly made that part of her platform.
                                       
                                      Harvey
                                       
                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 5:52 AM
                                      Subject: Re: [govtrack] Re: question about voting

                                      tay199 wrote:
                                      > So what do you guys have in mind? Is as simple as "write-a-bill" with
                                      > wiki backbone? If so, this is very doable.

                                      I'm happy to host a wiki for this if there are people willing to
                                      maintain it.

                                      --
                                      - Josh Tauberer
                                      - GovTrack.us

                                      http://razor.occams.info

                                      "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                                      falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                                      Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)


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