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The One With Some Breathing Space


Live scenes from Democracy Club HQ this week

A week’s a long time in Thursdayblogs. It now looks like we’re (probably…) not going to get an election in October after all… but maybe November? Or maybe they’ll hang on til next May? Who knows? All we can do is Be Prepared… and that’s what we’re up to this week.

For now, we’re assuming a GE2019 is still happening, but with a bit of a longer notice period.

📣 Freelance developer needed! 📣

The above means we might have more time than expected to on-board/train some extra freelance developer help on the polling station finder.

In brief, at the point an election is announced, we’ll ask a lot of councils to send us a fairly giant database each. We then need to do a lot of work per council to check, clean and import that data. That way we get voters the correct information for their address. With six weeks notice, there’s a risk we won’t be able to get through everything that the councils send us. So we need some help!

We’re looking for someone with skills/experience in:

  • Python/Django
  • Postgres/PostGIS
  • Working with Geographic or spatial datasets
  • Version control: Git and GitHub
  • QGIS or other GIS software (e.g: MapInfo/ArcGIS)
  • Working remotely

Pop your details in this form or let us know of anyone that might be good!

🍦 Partners for GE2019 🍦

A longer run-up also gives us more time to try to get potential partners on board.

Partners are vital, because, as of course you know from when you studied our ‘theory of change’ … or the way we assume we make the world better… our plan is to get the People the election information they need, where they are.

The people, bless em, are on facebook. And google. And insta. And snapchat. And so on.

We’ve started to put together a list of organisations that we want to nudge in order to:

(a) use our election data or
(b) help publicise our candidate and polling station finder websites.

These include the usual suspects like the big digital giants*, news media and membership organisations like student unions. It includes a few well-known brands too — like Brewdog or Ben & Jerrys.

But we’re always up for more ideas — or contacts we should talk to. Know someone with a big mailing list? Got an idea for an organisation that really should be encouraging people to vote? Or anyone who could mashup our candidates data with some other interesting data? Etc etc… Let us know!

*Joe met some Facebook folks this week in one of their many London offices and they were asking all the right questions about verified candidate data, what to link to from the newsfeed, and even about open councillor data (for beyond the GE). Fingers crossed that they/we’ll have the time to do some helpful stuff for voters.

🔐 New features on Candidates 🔐

Improving our Candidates crowdsourcing website is a big chunk of work over the next ‘election year’ regardless of the timing of any snap election.

This week we’ve been working on making it easier to flag candidate profiles that we need to keep a particular eye on, or might even need to lock against further edits.

We already have a ‘high-profile’ list of persons in our database, and edits to these persons triggers an alert in our Slack, which is watched over by some top volunteers (superwombles) and the team. But we thought it wise, particularly in these times of heightened political angst, to introduce a lock feature. Very much like Wikipedia then, our database remains open to anyone to edit (a trust-by-default policy), unless it turns into an edit-war and we need to close a profile to further edits. All sensible stuff.

📅 What’s next? 📅

We’ll be watching any legal news… and cracking on with GE2019 preparation in slightly calmer fashion than we were last week. We’ll plan another two-week sprint on Tuesday, so as ever, if there’s something you think we need to be working on, get in touch!



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