Ideas for the online revolution.

CampusActivism Update

I'm currently doing a lot of networking with other activist tech projects. I'm strongly considering working with CivicSpace which is a Content Management System (CMS) based on Drupal. It's popular among politically oriented developers.

CivicSpace emerged from DeanSpace (a website platform used for Dean groups, in Howard Dean's 2004 run for the Democratic nomination).

CivicSpace is still in its early stages (version 0.8), but they have big plans. They have the same goals that I do - namely of creating a network of websites that share activism data. CivicSpace is currently running on 100 websites. Thus it makes sense to join-in on the project. Hopefully I'll fit in!

A Review of

An excellent review of what has been up to recently.
Part I
Part II

Large Chocolate Bar Spotted

Before Christmas, Trader Joes had a massive stack of 10 pound Ghirardelli semi-dark chocolate bars for $19.99. Unfortunately they contained milk.

Very Early Beta of GOAD Works

GOAD (Grassroots Online Activist/m Database), aka "The Network", to a large degree works. You could add, edit, search, and browse - and it will generally work. This makes me *extremely* happy!!!

At first I thought I had a serious slowness issue on my hands (it took 30 seconds to add a person), but now I suspect that the problem isn't so bad and that my webhosting company was partially to blame (the server was running slow). Now the server is doing better and you can add a person in 5 seconds with GOAD. Editing a person takes the same amount of time. By contrast you can add/edit a person in approximately 1 second if you do it directly on Browsing is much less of a problem as that only takes 1 second with GOAD.

Classism in the Student Movement

I recently wrote up some research that I did in 2000 looking at how national student groups (USAS, YDS, SPAN, MDE) have more chapters in elite universities. I used the US and News World Report rankings for universities. For instance, USAS had 11 times more groups in the top quartile of schools than in the bottom quartile. It's just a short note - about a page long.

The most active groups (as evidenced in USAS by the inequality in the schools that had sit-ins which was greater than that of its membership), and probably the organizational leadership as well are even more stratified in terms of class.

Sharing a Database - Ideas Regarding Standards for Developers

I'm working hard on creating a system to share an online activism database between as many websites as want to join in (it's looking like a beta will come out in January - email me if you want to help test it!).

So far, as one of the very few individuals involved in sharing activist data and putting it online, I've been deciding on my own what information to track. With sharing it gets fun because people will have different ideas on what we should be tracking.

I see several options.

1. We can require that everyone tracks the same data. The reason to do this would be to avoid having incomplete data. For instance, if you were tracking student activists and some websites didn't ask for graduation dates - you'd run into trouble. I learned in sociology, doing linear regressions, that missing data is messy.


I turned anonymous comments off, because of all the spam comments (from people who want to generate links to their websites).

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win (A Game): A Civilization Scenario for the US/Canadian Student Movement

This is a feasible idea that would be a lot of fun, but I don't have enough time or motivation to implement. I'd help if someone wanted to work on it.

Civilization III (Conquests version) provides a gaming platform which can be extensively modified to create realistic scenarios. You can recreate the fantasy world of Middle Earth, Star Trek, or the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Or you could create a game where different national student activist groups struggle for organizational supremacy!

I say this having been a member of one organization which challenged another organization to a mud-wrestling competition that was to be held at a big national conference.

Blogging and Internet Activism - the Patriarchy Remains In Tack

Ten years ago when I was studying computer science in college, our program was perhaps 80% men. Since then, I believe significantly more women have entered computer science and the computer field in general.

As an activist, I've learned that men hold disproportionate power in pretty much every progressive organization and probably hold a majority of the power in perhaps 80-90% of organizations that aren't explicity focussed on feminist issues. At least in the student movement, perhaps more so at the national and regional level (ex. at conferences) this gets a significant amount of attention. Not enough that things become magically ok, but at least it gets talked about.

2004 Election Anomalies

Firstly, I would argue that the election was corrupt from the start - as you cannot hold fair elections in a society with such high levels of inequality (class, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc).

But since most people buy into the US electoral system - it is fascinating to observe all of its shortcomings.

CNN exit polls had Kerry winning by about 2.5% (if I recall correctly), whereas he officially lost by 3%. Here is a Research Paper on how likely that difference was to occur.

There is also another paper, more statistics-heavy in nature, that estimates that

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