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Places we can find open civic problems #3

werdnanoslen opened this issue Feb 16, 2018 · 11 comments

Places we can find open civic problems #3

werdnanoslen opened this issue Feb 16, 2018 · 11 comments


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@werdnanoslen werdnanoslen commented Feb 16, 2018

What problem are we trying to solve?

How do I get involved in hacking on local issues but avoid app-for-that mentality? What have folks done about these issues in the past, and how are they defined by the people who live through these issues?

I want to create a better way for folks to get involved in civic hacking in NYC. This will require building a path to discover us, helping people understand how to get involved, and showing them enough value for their time that they effectively join the community. There are three goals that I’d like the following folks in NYC to be able to accomplish within an hour of basic searching:

  1. Anyone interested in civic hacking can discover, join, and understand how to meaningfully participate in a network of like-minded people.
  2. A civic hacker can research local issues and be able to contact stakeholders and associated projects.
  3. A stakeholder in a civic issue or problem can find people interested in working on a task or project with them.

Who will benefit (directly and indirectly) from this project?

  • hackers who want to find a well articulated problem
  • hackers who are hacking on something and want to ensure they're doing the right thing
  • people who are affected by an issue and want to invite someone to help manage or solve it
  • people who are knowledgeable about an issue, though don't experience it, and want to provide perspective or helpful info

Where can we find any research/data available/articles?

What help is needed at this time?

I'd like to start by collecting sources (living and static) of concerns, issues, problems, and needs from folks who have spent the time to articulate them or themselves experience them and are asking for help. The one I know of is this:

What are the next steps (validation, research, coding, design)?

Please respond to this issue with places we can find open civic problems. Once those are collected I'd like to make a simple website that folks can discover and learn about how to get involved in them and also the civic hacking communities in the city.

How can we contact you outside of Github(list social media or places you're present)?

This Github issue is the best place to start with how to get involved (see below), but to get a more long-form summary of what's happened so far, see the page for this on my website: You can also find my contact info there:

Project management

Checklist for NEW ideas 👶

Hey, you're official! You're now part of the growing Progressive HackNight community. Here's a few things to get started (a couple you've probably already done).

  • Create this idea issue
  • Flesh out the who, where, and what questions above
  • Start the conversation about this new idea on Slack (this project uses #operations-public )
  • Respond with at least one update on this issue within the next month

Checklist for ACTIVE projects 🔥

Let's get this project started! When this idea starts taking off, the Progressive HackNight Team will start helping this project's lead(s) out with project management and connecting you to resources you may need. To get there, please complete and check off the following:

  • Post an update at least once a month to this issue. Use BASEDEF for ideas, but it's ok even if your update is just "nothing new happened this month" or "we saw a small increase in traffic to our app this month". If there's no activity for two months, that's no problem, life happens. We'll just label this as backlog so others know you'll get back to it when you have the time. If nobody hears from you at all in more than two months, we may mark it as abandoned so that others can pick up this idea and run with it.
  • Create a GitHub repository and Slack channel for work.
  • Create issues to describe each task that you plan to do or need help with and how a contributor can get started on that task. You might start and stop a lot, so consider issues as your to-do list.
  • Create a team for your core contributors
    • This will make it easier for you to manage your github repo access. People on a team have the same level of access. Admin access will allow your trusted contributors to make changes as needed.
    • You can remove and add people to your team as needed.
    • Note: You can also allow collaborators outside of your team and give them more limited access.
  • Create a Google Drive, Dropbox, or other cloud storage to share larger files
    • Github and Data.World are good for code and data, respectively, especially when you need version control. But they're not good for very large files, documentation, articles, etc. A cloud storage option will allow you to easily share, create, and collaborate on documents with your team and help organize ideas and thoughts.
    • Doing this early on can help your team stay organized and to onboard new contributors who wouldn't have access to files you all have shared over email.

If you get stuck at any point, feel free to reach out to the leadership team with an email to or come find an organizer at a HackNight. We're here to help bring great ideas to life!

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@noneck noneck commented Mar 15, 2018

Other things to consider:

  • Organizations
  • Project stubs / ideas
  • Events
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@noneck noneck commented Mar 15, 2018

Other tool / resources are:

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@werdnanoslen werdnanoslen commented Mar 15, 2018

Here's a start to my list of locals I'd be interested in working with...

AIGA NY Citizen Designer Now! Pledge & Fellowship
Code for Jersey City and other NYC metro area expats
Data for Democracy (including NYCx)
Progressive Coders Network
Coalition for Queens
Code for Queens (meetup)
Blue Ridge Labs
Data & Society
Civic Hall

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@werdnanoslen werdnanoslen commented Mar 26, 2018

@noneck seems to be having some server errors, but that field guide is 💯. The only way to get to it (other than a direct link) is from this low key blog post: Is that how you found it?

It was posted over a year ago, but it still gets updated daily with a few people lurking on the doc right now, so I'd say it's active and has some great content to accomplish my first goal (i.e. Anyone interested in civic hacking can discover, join, and understand how to meaningfully participate in a network of like-minded people.) Only issue is making the thing more visible and ideally more usable than a google spreadsheet. I'd love to see it rendered as a website in a periodic release cadence. I'll reach out to the folks to see if they'd be into that.

But before I do, @noneck, would adding NYC info and the ability to filter things by city (either functionally or just visually) effectively be the same as "having something like this for NYC"? Or do you think there should be something separate?

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@noneck noneck commented Apr 2, 2018

@werdnanoslen - filtering by city would be a great start! MVP this data and see if we can make a yahoo of sorts. ;-)

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@werdnanoslen werdnanoslen commented Apr 6, 2018

Great, I've messaged the guide's organizers, I'll reply here when we've reached an agreement

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@ibrand ibrand commented Apr 8, 2018

Hey @werdnanoslen, is this a project that you'd wanna hold a discussion group around at the 4/10 HackNight? If so, ;et me know so I can help direct people at the event!

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@werdnanoslen werdnanoslen commented Apr 9, 2018

@ibrand definitely at the next one, but i've already got plans for this tuesday

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@werdnanoslen werdnanoslen commented Apr 10, 2018

Another really cool way for folks to get involved in this project is to get up to speed on GetOrganizedBK's project #17. They're designing a better way for "Brooklyn residents working together to defend democracy and human dignity" to handle ad hoc project/skill matching.

For this project (#3), though, GOBK's work is a great model that could be copied to some extent so that it's open to all civic hacking opportunities in all boroughs and maybe JC. It'd be great if #17 itself eventually extends to overlap significantly or even encompass all civic hacking opportunities, regardless of borough and political philosophy. But they've got great momentum on a nicely scoped plan right now, so I'd still consider this two distinct (but overlapping) projects.

@cgalbiati cgalbiati added this to the Active milestone Jan 30, 2019
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@olliebeannn olliebeannn commented Dec 7, 2019

Hey @werdnanoslen ! Are you still working on this? If so I'd love to learn more about it!

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@werdnanoslen werdnanoslen commented Dec 9, 2019

I am not since I've moved to Boston, but GOBK's Digital team can onboard you!

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