The web is full of articles concerning the politicans, candidates, and other politicos in San Francisco, but they are so scattered that researching even a single race would take an individual until November 7th. Most of us google our brains out, working the midnight hours alone in a vain effort to understand the wacky San Francisco political landscape.When we finally give our weary eyes a break the filtering work we’ve performed is lost and the knowledge we’ve gained exists only in our head and our desktops. Maybe we mention a highlight to Joe and Suzy at the coffee shop but that is the extent of our sharing.
opencampaigns.com is a collaborative website with a goal of allowing the San Francisco community to share their research work. Like wikipedia, anyone can add information to the site. In this case, contributors add links about people involved in politics– their homepage, their blog, and any articles about or by the person found on the web. Contributing is as easy as bookmarking, but instead of bookmarking for just yourself, your bookmarks are shared with the community and organized under the people they concern.
As more and more articles are added, the opencampaigns pages become a one-stop shop for information about each person in the system. For instance, the Chris Daly page lists the various articles that have appeared about Chris in this election year. You could find these articles by googling ‘Chris Daly’, but you’d have to do a bunch of filtering work that has already been performed.
Contributors can also add lists and put people in lists. For instance, there are lists for the board of supervisor races including the very entertaining District 6 soap opera, and a list for politicos in the media. There’s even a list for business leaders involved in politics which includes such notables as the Gap’s Donald Fisher and the head of the SOS political committee Wade Randlett
opencampaigns.com is part of an internet movement towards collaborative tools sometimes referred to as Web 2.0. Techies are quite familiar with such software including the social bookmarking system del.icio.us, the photo-sharing site flickr, and the community publishing site digg. opencampaigns.com is an experiment in applying such collaborative ideas to the goal of transparency in politics.
Currently, the system has basically one SUPER-user, the young and handsome professor who developed the site. But the goal is to involve as many community members as possible, so please try it out at http://opencampaigns.com.You can “consume” information without even registering, and contribute after a simple ten second registration.