For the people, by the people, and of the people*
Still working on this! It will be distilled down, but I need to take a break!
Software development, the writing of histories and encyclopedias, the development of law and public policy: each of these areas benefits from fast and flexible collaboration.
When people relax their grip on the ideas they develop, new things emerge. A flexible computer operating system, an enormous and living encyclopedia, forward-thinking public policy.
The “open source” ethos is a valuable tool, and enables these exciting phenomena, and many more. However, it is merely a tool, and an effective “open source”-based project often needs careful planning, leadership, and mentoring to allow its participants to make their best contribution and feel good about doing it.
In Oregon, we have a tremendous political legacy, personified by figures like State Sen. George W. Joseph (whose work resulted in the publicly-owned development of hydropower along the Columbia), Senator Wayne Morse (who dared to say that the American people had the ability and responsibility to weigh in substantively on the Vietnam War and foreign policy), and State Sen. Vicki Walker (who has taken on some of the most powerful interests in the state in the interest of transparency and accountability to the public).
Oregon is known for pioneering the popular ballot initiative, public records laws, and an inclusive vote-by-mail system.
You might think that the ethos expressed by Oregon’s thriving open source software community would fall on fertile soil in the state’s political sphere, but it will take hard work to fully realize that potential.
Topic for discussion: how to describe/advocate for the civic-minded, crowd-sourced value that Oregonians can bring to government, and to improving the state outside the traditional structures of government?
Wiki Strategies, WikiProject Oregon
Pete Forsyth is a co-founder of Wiki Strategies, a consulting business offering services relating to Wikipedia and implementation of wikis, blogs, and social media software. He is also a founding member of WikiProject Oregon, which supports volunteer-based improvement of Oregon-related content on Wikipedia and other web sites; and of the Oregon Transparency Taskforce, which aims to develop and advocate policy proposals that permit ordinary citizens to participate in governing the state.
Pete assists and educates aspiring Wikipedians in making their best possible contribution to the encyclopedia, and has cultivated a sense of community and shared purpose. He has helped found and facilitate monthly and annual networking events, developed a group blog, and led initiatives to reach out to other organizations.
Pete is also engaged with politics on the local, statewide, and national level, and has managed statewide and countywide political campaigns. He proposed this year’s House Bill 3091, a bill which would remove copyright protections from works of the state government.