Strategic Plan – Using Open Source, Sharing Knowledge, Building Partnerships – Goal 3 Best Practices and Tools

This section of our Strategic Plan is straight forward. E-Democracy.Org is now one of the most strongly open source projects in the e-participation and citizen media world. We seek to share what we know and learn from others. We will work to ensure that our investments can be leveraged by the broader community seeking to meet similar goals.

One related piece of e-democracy networking is the Democracies Online Newswire or DoWire.Org site that I (Steven Clift) run as a personal public service. DoWire Groups is one the only truly active international online crossroads for people in government, civil society, and politics interested in this field (big thanks to OnlineGroups.Net for hosting). With my Ashoka Fellowship, I no longer have the time/incentive to use the main Newswire as an indirect marketing tool to gather speaking and consulting invitations (how I used to subsidize my extensive donated time to E-Democracy.Org). While the Newswire still has posts, my main focus is on prompting more direct peer-to-peer sharing via online communities of practice. I am now positioning donations in support of DoWire as a fund raiser for E-Democracy.Org. The continuation of DoWire will directly relate to how supportive this community is in a future donation drive.

Goal 3 – Best Practices and Tools: Develop and disseminate best practices and tools to promote community conversation and engagement, civic education, and information exchange

* Strategy 3.1 Use open source tools to the greatest extent possible and work to ensure that major investments in our primary software platforms are released under common open source licenses

a. Engage Issues Forums leaders and participants in envisioning future forum technology enhancements
b. Actively support the formation of a developer community for Groupserver (and other open source software used by E-Democracy.Org) to help it become a leading open source tool for civic engagement and community participation
c. Experiment with and evaluate the potential of new or emerging open source tools for online citizen media and citizen engagement, as well as commercial services with open APIs (YouTube, Flickr, Google Maps, etc.)

* Strategy 3.2 Share knowledge and learn from others

a. Participate in national/international conferences, online communities of practice, and national/international organizations supporting democracy and citizen engagement.
b. Play a leadership role in the democracy and online citizen engagement field by convening other leaders online and in-person
c. Promote innovation across the field and work closely with researchers to build and document knowledge and experiences of E-Democracy.Org
d. Engage leaders in e-participation, e-advocacy, online campaigning, and related fields from across the political spectrum and around the world, in united non-partisan efforts enhancing democracy for all

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