The Rise of Open-Source Politics

The Rise of Open-Source Politics

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Hey, a lot of people have worked really hard, and succeeded, in changing the electoral process and politics.

One of the best articles on this is by Micah Sifty here. the article documents a pivotal moment in these efforts.

Whether you're a Democrat in mourning or a Republican in glee, the results from election day should not obscure an important shift in America's civic life. New tools and practices born on the Internet have reached critical mass, enabling ordinary people to participate in processes that used to be closed to them. It may seem like cold comfort for Kerry supporters now, but the truth is that voters don't have to rely on elected or self-appointed leaders to chart the way forward anymore. The era of top-down politics–where campaigns, institutions and journalism were cloistered communities powered by hard-to-amass capital–is over. Something wilder, more engaging and infinitely more satisfying to individual participants is arising alongside the old order.

I think we at craigslist should learn more from how Markos Moulitsas does dailykos:

By comparison, DailyKos is a multilayered community engineered to reward ideas that bubble up from below. Like many bloggers, Markos Moulitsas, the Gulf War veteran who runs it, requires visitors to register (for free) if they want to post a comment. He also encourages users to set up their own "diaries," or blogs within his blog, where they can post their own entries. Unlike most blogs, the DailyKos is built on a tool called Scoop, which includes peer moderation, where members rank each other's entries and comments. Smart diary postings thus often rise to Moulitsas's attention, and if he reprints them on his main page they gain an even larger audience.

In addition, people with high rankings become "trusted users" who have the ability to recommend that visitors who try to disrupt conversations or simply post right-wing taunts be banned from the site. Only Moulitsas has the power to make that decision, and he weeds his garden carefully. "If somebody posts and I haven't seen them in a while," he told me, "I'll say, 'Where've you been?'" Amazingly, he insists that he has developed personal relationships with hundreds of people. "That's what happens after two years of reading the same names over and over again," he says.

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