The Dark Arts in Civic Tech
March 9th, 2022
Greetings Civic Hackers!
Over the weekend and a good cup of coffee I penned a twitter thread on dark arts in Civic Tech. I was surprised how many folks felt seen or excited by this. I especially enjoyed the responses from folks in other government orgs that shared some of the things they encountered. I called them “dark arts” because I think many people do not feel great about using them, but culturally many of them are acceptable and even common tactics in government. Take a read and ask yourself, how many times have you had one of these used in your workplace, or when have you had to use one?
What We’re Reading and Watching:
- Dan Hon on Continuous Integration and Deployment asks how do we get people to care about technical infrastructure?
- Maja Bosnic’s TED Talk on how to share public money fairly asks us to consider how we can make our budgets gender responsive, and more fair.
Matt & The Code for Boston Team
Group projects can be challenging! How can we develop our fellow volunteers’ potential, keep our groups energized AND adapt to changing needs? In this session we will learn what it takes to get rooted in cooperative relationships in our brigades and organizations, to welcome newcomers, and to start moving and making decisions together. We’ll pick up some helpful tools like depletion/repletion strategizing, one-on-one organizing conversations, Fist to Five for vibe checks and quick decisions, and a practice for appreciations that will keep the power circulating. The new skills (and our discussion) will be super helpful for participant driven and directly democratic groups.
While we encourage anyone to apply, our Web Developer roles are a particularly good fit for experienced developers who want to spend some time working in the public interest in an academic setting, with room to pursue their own priorities relating to our mission.
Work on stuff that matters. Our core projects are about opening access to law; redefining legal casebooks and reducing their cost; and exploring cutting-edge web archival techniques to keep important links working for the next 100 years.
Build open source. All of our projects are open source and otherwise designed to maximize the public benefit of our work.
- Have draft for new Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council home page.
- Working on design updates.
- Pressing ahead on v4 of DocAssemble Testing Framework.
- Presented to stakeholders last week and waiting for them to approve it or not.
Police Data Trust
- Discussion of direction of front end work.
- Working on backend data ingestion work.
- Product is working!
- Looking at what feature enhancements to make.
- Engaging legislators.
- Looking for more software developers.