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mySociety

mySociety
MySociety logo.png
mySociety logo
MottoWe make websites that empower citizens worldwide
Founded2003 (2003)
FounderTom Steinberg
FocusGovernment transparency, civic technologies, Freedom of Information, citizen empowerment, open source
Location
  • United Kingdom
ProductsTheyWorkForYou, WriteToThem, WhatDoTheyKnow, FixMyStreet, Pombola, Alaveteli, EveryPolitician, SayIt, Mapumental & more
CEO
Mark Cridge[1]
Employees
25[citation needed]
Websitewww.mysociety.org

mySociety is an e-democracy project of the UK-based registered charity named UK Citizens Online Democracy.[2] It began as a UK-focused organisation with the aim of making online democracy tools for UK citizens.[3] However, as those tools were open source, the code could be and soon was redeployed in other countries.[4]

mySociety's more recent mission has been to simplify and internationalise its code[5] to make it easier for people all over the world to run citizen-empowering websites. Additionally, through the Poplus project, it hopes to encourage others to share open source code[6] that will minimise the amount of duplication in civic tech coding.

Like many non-profits, mySociety sustains itself with a mixture of grant funding[7] and commercial work, providing software and development services to local government and other organisations.[8]

mySociety was founded by Tom Steinberg in September 2003,[9] and started activity after receiving a £250,000 grant in September 2004.[10] Steinberg says that it was inspired by a collaboration with his then-flatmate James Crabtree which spawned Crabtree's article "Civic hacking: a new agenda for e-democracy".[7][11]

In March 2015, Steinberg announced his decision to stand down as the director of mySociety.[12] In July of that year, Mark Cridge became the organisation's new CEO.[1]

Projects

Poplus

Poplus[19] is an international federation of organisations who benefit through the sharing of civic code and online technologies. It was set up in April 2014 by mySociety in collaboration with Chilean e-democracy organisation Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente.[20][21]

Poplus encourages the development of free, open source civic 'blocks' of software, which it terms 'Components'.[22] These are intended to save time for anyone making one of the classic civic tech tools for parliamentary monitoring, accountability, transparency, et cetera.

In 2014 Nominet awarded Poplus a place in the Nominet Trust 100[23]

Poplus components

The following Components were developed by mySociety. Those developed by other organisations may be seen on the Poplus website.[24]

  • SayIt:[25] software for publishing transcripts of debates (e.g. from parliaments, court proceedings and meetings[26]
  • WriteIt:[27] software for running a site that enables users to write to politicians, in public or private.
  • MapIt:[28] software for matching a geographical point with its legislative boundaries. MapIt underlies several mySociety websites such as FixMyStreet and WriteToThem, where it allows for a user to input a postcode and be matched to the correct authority or representative.

Other projects

Active

Discontinued or passed to new owners

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Companies House filing history". Companies House. July 13, 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Overview of UK Citizens Online Democracy". The Charity Commission.
  3. ^ "Of governments and geeks". The Economist. February 4, 2010.
  4. ^ "UK's MySociety Releases How-To Guides, Source Code for Open Government Activists". Tech President. 2012-03-26.
  5. ^ "Is Civic Hacking Becoming 'Our Pieces, Loosely Joined'?". Tech President. 2012-07-25.
  6. ^ "PoplusCon: Lowering the Tech Barriers for Civic Startups". Tech President. 2014-05-02.
  7. ^ a b "mySociety: Open democracy, open source". H-Online. 2008-09-19.
  8. ^ Transparency in Politics and the Media: Accountability and Open Government. 2013-10-28. ISBN 9781780766768.
  9. ^ Robert Jaques (30 Oct 2003). "Calling Coders for the Greater Common Good". The Register. Retrieved 2 Dec 2014.
  10. ^ "Ideas for web activism sought out". BBC News. 5 April 2006. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  11. ^ James Crabtree (6 Mar 2003). "Civic hacking: a new agenda for e-democracy". Opendemocracy.net. Retrieved 2 Dec 2014.
  12. ^ "10 Top Candidates To Become Government Chief Data Officer". Computer World. 2015-08-21.
  13. ^ "MapIt : map postcodes and geographical points to administrative areas".
  14. ^ "Site axes MP over 'fake' e-mails". 21 February 2006 – via bbc.co.uk.
  15. ^ Tempest, Matthew (20 February 2006). "MPs show no haste to post".
  16. ^ "These tools let you map journey times in the world's major cities". Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Mapumental: Travel time maps". Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  18. ^ New Directions in Political Science - Responding to the Challenges of an Interdependent World. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230228481. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  19. ^ "Poplus".
  20. ^ "Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente".
  21. ^ "PoplusCon: Lowering the Tech Barriers for Civic Startups".
  22. ^ "Three key takeaways from the 2014 Open Knowledge Festival".
  23. ^ "Poplus — Social Tech Guide".
  24. ^ "What Components currently exist?".
  25. ^ "SayIt".
  26. ^ MySociety launches SayIt, civic software for publishing 'smart' transcripts (Wired)|date=2014-01-17
  27. ^ "WriteIt".
  28. ^ "MapIt".
  29. ^ "EveryPolitician".
  30. ^ "Gaze – the mySociety Gazetteer web service".
  31. ^ Committee, Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Procedure (22 May 2007). "Public petitions and early day motions: first report of session 2006-07, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence". The Stationery Office – via Google Books.
  32. ^ "MySociety - Participedia".
  33. ^ "The petition, the 'prat' and a political ideal". 13 February 2007 – via bbc.co.uk.
  34. ^ Pledgebank.com Archived 2014-12-01 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ "Ideas for web activism sought out". BBC News. April 5, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  36. ^ "The story of Pledgebank / mySociety".
  37. ^ "HassleMe". Archived from the original on 2007-04-06.
  38. ^ "A future for HassleMe / mySociety".
  39. ^ HearFromYourMP.com Archived 2007-04-11 at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ Dean, Michael February. "HearFromYourMP: a little piece of mySociety history / mySociety".
  41. ^ hearfromyourmp.com Archived 2007-04-11 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ "FixMyTransport".
  43. ^ Arthur, Charles (30 August 2011). "FixMyTransport uses crowdsourcing to solve travel problems".
  44. ^ 29, Cameron January; Pm, 2015 at 12:04. "Running a site like FixMyTransport / mySociety".
  45. ^ "Welcome to PopIt".
  46. ^ "ScenicOrNot".
  47. ^ "A new home—and a new purpose—for ScenicOrNot / mySociety".
  48. ^ "ScenicOrNot".
  49. ^ Groupsnearyou.com
  50. ^ "Not Apathetic - not voting in the 2005 general election?".
  51. ^ "Placeopedia: Wikipedia Meets Google Maps". Lifehacker. Retrieved 7 August 2016.

External links