First Post



When gov’t wants to (or has to) crowdfund humanitarian aid; Brigade’s ballot guide; and more.

  • “It remains to be seen whether crowdfunded humanitarianism will “crowd in” or “crowd out” the public variety,” Anand Giridharadas writes in the New York Times about the Obama administration’s decision to crowdfund a portion of the humanitarian aid going to Syrian refugees. “Does it matter if we help one another collectively and by law versus privately and voluntarily?” Giridharada concludes, “Is it old-fashioned to do things in the name of a nation? Is there a difference between a public and a crowd?”

  • Glenn Thrush and Annie Karni of Politico have the behind-the-headlines story of the Clinton email disaster, and how it unfolded in her camp.

  • Brigade has rolled out an interactive ballot guide for municipal elections in San Francisco and Manchester, NH, an experiment they write will “will inform our strategy for building robust and engaging election tools in more cities and states ahead of the 2016 election.”

  • Three cities have blocked Fixed, an app that helps people fight traffic citations like parking tickets, from accessing their parking ticket websites, Sarah Perez reports for TechCrunch, forcing Fixed to suspend some of their operations in those cities.

  • A Motor City Muckraker story by Steve Neavling about an “Improve Detroit” app that led the city to fix over 10,000 problems received thousands of upvotes and hundreds of comments on Reddit this weekend, Ben Berkowitz, CEO of SeeClickFix, notes on Twitter.

  • Edward Snowden and Black Lives Matter leader Deray Mckesson briefly discussed state violence and state surveillance on Twitter yesterday, with the suggestion of more conversation to come.

  • Mesh-network messaging app FireChat has announced a partnership with a city in the Philippines to build a city-wide mesh network for use during natural disasters, Liz Stinson reports for Wired. (H/t Erin Simpson)

  • The New Organizing Institute was folded into Wellstone Action last week, and yesterday Civicist contributing editor Matt Stempeck shared these thoughts on “why we still need what NOI gave me.”

  • Open culture advocates, lovers, and participants might find Paul Ford’s recent ruminations in the New Republic on the creation of Wikipedia pages interesting. On the subject of the Encyclopædia Britannica, Ford writes, “It was impossible to imagine what could displace it, until it was displaced.” I feel like there is something for civic technologists in that as well.