Item: About the Calgary Democracy project

User: Grant Neufeld

Edited at: 2015-03-27 15:12:44 -0600

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Filename: about
Title: About the Calgary Democracy project
content: <h1>About Calgary Democracy</h1> <p>This is an independent collection of information relevant to elections and government in Calgary.</p> <p>At the core, I&rsquo;m currently intending the project to be about the collection of all available information about the people seeking to represent us, or who have already been representing us. I also hope to use it as a tool to foster democratic dialogue in our communities.</p> <p>There are a lot of ideas I have for the website and the project as a whole. I hope others will <a href="" target="_blank">bring even more ideas for this</a>. It is my intent for this project to be built collaboratively to reflect the diversity of viewpoints and interests in this city.</p> <h2>Some of the things I hope to eventually see here:</h2> <ul> <li>Detailed profiles of every candidate and elected representative &mdash; past and present.</li> <li>Profiles on the individual wards, ridings and districts.</li> <li>Archives of, or links to, news and blog stories about the politicians.</li> <li>Voting records of all elected officials (this one is a particularly tall order).</li> <li>Pages covering specific issues. (E.g., a bicycle commuting page might include links to relevant news stories, results from relevant candidate survey questions, the relevant voting history of officials, links to applicable laws/by-laws/policies/etc., &hellip;).</li> <li>Surveys and polls for candidates and community members.</li> <li>Dialogue forums for the community to discuss candidates and issues. This one is kind of scary given how easily it could turn into a shouting match, so I&rsquo;m investigating options for facilitating this in a way that fosters civil dialogue.</li> </ul> <h2>History</h2> <p>The project started during the 2007 municipal election in Calgary when I (<a href="" target="_blank">Grant Neufeld</a>) set up <a href="" target="_blank">a simple little website</a> to list all the relevant weblinks that could be found about the candidates running in that election.</p> <p>The project quickly expanded to incorporate video interviews with candidates, posted online.</p> <p>Following that election, I had a couple of people who told me directly that the reason they voted <em>at all</em> was because of the information they were able to find through that website. This unexpected outcome prompted me to turn what had been a one-off, throw-away, website into an ongoing project I called &ldquo;Calgary Democracy&rdquo;.</p> <p>Since then, I have been working on a website database system for tracking candidate information in elections affecting Calgarians. This has been run, in various incarnations, through elections (most effectively in the <a href="" target="_blank">2010 Municipal Election</a>).</p> <h2>Technical</h2> <p>This website was built using <a href="" target="_blank">Ruby on Rails</a>. Its open source code is found in the &ldquo;<code>democracy</code>&rdquo; branch of <a href="" target="_blank">the Wayground project</a>.</p> <p>Where applicable, <a href="" target="_blank">Microformats</a> are used to make the pages on this website readable by software. For example, the candidates lists are encoded with <a href="" target="_blank">hCard</a> so that the information can be turned into contact lists that can be used by things like address book software.</p> <h2>Copyright &amp; Licensing</h2> <p>All of the text on this website is freely licensed under a <a href="">Creative Commons License</a> requiring attribution for any reuse (including derivative work).</p> <p>For photos and other media, licensing terms may vary. Please see the individual attributions for those works for licensing details.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Ubuntu Font Family</a> and the <a href="" target="_blank">Font Awesome</a> icon font, are open font collections licensed for free use.</p>
description: Information about the Calgary Democracy project, including history.