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Our first three months as a community

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Apps for America's entry period has closed, and we're now busy at work judging the applications. I dropped a note to the list, but want to share here too: because of the sheer quantity of the applications submitted, I'm extending the judging period by one week. There's just no way the judges can spend enough time judging each application (45 of them!) in one week. So we're giving ourselves a bit more time, the judging period will end two weeks from yesterday (Friday).

This has been an exciting period for our community. Over the past three months:

  1. We received 45 incredible applications based on the APIs and data sources we provide
  2. We helped organize TransparencyCamp and made what's being called "The Best Unconference Software ever written" (soon to be released as open source)
  3. Launched a 50 state project
  4. Organized two hackathons, one at (PyCon)[http://us.pycon.org] and the other at Web2.0 Expo
  5. Grew, as a community, from 0 to 460.

So the question is, what's next?

That's what we're starting to figure out here at the Sunlight Foundation-- we're asking ourselves how we can better serve this fledgling community of volunteer developers and designers and also looking ahead to what we think are new, big opportunities for furthering the goals of Open Government. Soon, I think we'll see lots of data being released directly from the Government in better, more developer-friendly formats. And it will largely up to this community to figure out what to do with all that.

Inside the Sunlight Foundation, we're asking ourselves the following questions:

  1. How do we use the sunlightlabs.com site to allow developers to organize and more effectively tackle projects and coordinate with one another?

  2. How do we create ways for non-technical people to help the technical people do things like help clean up data, classify information or other things that need a quick human eye?

  3. How do we keep track of the things inside Government that need to be fixed for us and communicate that effectively.

  4. How do we figure out how not only to parse all of this data, but begin to make sense of it for others?

We'd love your input too.

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