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Tag Archive: Community

JSConf, NodeConf, and Open Government

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I was in Portland last week, soaking up back-to-back conferences in JSConf and NodeConf. JavaScript (or just JS) is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Not only are the modern browser wars a boon to client-side JS performance and functionality, but JS is being used on the server side via Node.js. The speakers and attendees are on the cutting edge of software development. It was an inspiring, mind-expanding week.

Reflecting on these two conferences, another important observation comes to mind about my fellow attendees: Many of them are active in the open government and open data community. Our community!

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Sunlight Labs Virtual Office Hours: Jan 28 @ 3pm

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All of us here are always interested in ways that we can better interact with all of you, whether it is contributing to our projects, posting on the Sunlight Labs Google Group, or just contacting us directly we're always impressed with the dedication and creativity of our community.

In addition to these better known channels we also have an IRC channel, but it is usually pretty quiet, so we'd like to try something new as a way to give more of you direct access to our team.

Friday, January 28th at 3pm Eastern we're going to be hosting office hours in #sunlightlabs on irc.freenode.net. This will be your chance to join us to talk about what we're working on, show off what you're working on, ask us questions, or just hang out and chat.

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Sunlight Labs Community Survey

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We've put together a short survey that we'd greatly appreciate your responses on. It shouldn't take more than ten minutes. By answering you'll be a part of this re-evaluation of where we focus our efforts so that we can help ensure that this community stays focused and energized. Tell us what you like about the community and where we're slacking, but most importantly tell us what you need.

Take the Survey

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Mighty Tiny Thomas

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This post is from Sunlight's Policy Counsel, Daniel Schuman who normally blogs on the Sunlight Foundation Blog.

A few months ago, I posted a request on Sunlight Lab's wiki for someone to build a web tool that would make the links on Congress's legislative website, THOMAS, permanent. Although it seems odd, when users look up legislative information on THOMAS, such as bills and committee reports, they usually cannot bookmark or share the links because the URL goes dead after a couple of hours.

I had little faith that someone would answer my request to build permalinks, but Asa Hopkins has done so with a great new program called tinyThom.as.

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Host your Own Hackathon

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We've gotten a lot of inquiries and ideas about how people can have/host a hackathon in their area. We'd love to have your help in hosting them, getting your friends together and writing some code to change America. So we've set up a wiki page that provides a loose shell with some tips and advice for how to host a successful hackathon. Expect the resource to grow as we learn from our own hackathons and others around the country do the same.

We're happy to help provide guidance, too, about specific needs and projects that Sunlight needs help on. So if you're interested in having a hackathon in your area, what are you waiting for? Start planning one now!.

A great way for non-developers or designers to help out is to be organizers and conveners instead, organizing events, providing direction and getting people lined up to help face the great technical challenges of liberating government data. If you'd like to host a hackathon, you don't need to necessarily be technical, you just need to be organized. So take a look, read the documentation, and let us know when and where you're planning on hosting one so we can provide you with support and direction if needed.

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Connect with Congress Online: Brad Miller and Linda Sanchez

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Over the past two days I've been working with Reps. Brad Miller and Linda Sanchez to hold online discussions about a specific piece of legislation (HR 3609). It has been a great experience to work to create a substantive dialogue between congressmen, legal experts, and the general online community and I think there is a real future for this type of conversation. The Internet enables ordinary citizens to actually hold forth with a member of Congress and to have their voice heard and preserved for others to hear. I've compiled a list of links to aggregate the conversation that happened over the last two days below the fold.

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