• GITocracy Roadmap

last modified April 8, 2016 by strypey


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GITocracy Development Roadmap v0.1 - 13 May 2015

Vision

Building GITocracy will help Aotearoa transcend our current adversarial, boxing match political culture, cross-pollinate and harvest our collective wisdom, and apply it to governance issues across the country.

Method

We want to set up a forum for constructive public debate about public policy, a policy drafting website (working title " PolicyHub ") which is open to participation from political parties, lobby groups, community groups, and individuals, interested in cooperatively developing policy for Aotearoa/ New Zealand. A user-friendly interface, based a common language and culture of practice around collaborative policy development, and built on top of a GIT back-end, will allow users to "fork" a policy they want to build on from a public-facing repository - whether from their own group's or another group's - and either push their changes back to the original, or maintain their own "fork" (or both). The package of free code we use to run the site will be maintained as an open source project; GITocracy, which will allow groups wanting to replicate our platform for other jurisdictions to re-use and contribute back to our work.

Stage 0.1 Community Building

Social
* Circulate lay language brief to a range of tech and policy people from a range of political parties and organisations.
* Assemble a steering group representing as diverse a range of political organisations as possible.
* Talk to tangata whenua about the tikanga of using Hui in the domain name.
* Spitball other possible domain names.

Technical
* Circulate technical brief and roadmap to tech people who may want to contribute or support.

Stage 1 - Proof of concept

Social
* Get committment from at least 5 groups of test users, who are either willing to do policy devel in plain sight on the platform (we already have the NZ Pirate Party keen), or throw frozen policy over the wall, where other users can fork and make merge requests etc.
* Make final decision about initial domain name.
* Make decision about stewardship organisation structure; Remain informal collective with cross-party steering group? Trust? IncSoc? Cooperative?

Technical
* Web platform
* GIT back-end
* UI designed for non-technical users (we need a third team member to work on UX and graphic design).
* All content explicitly public.
* Authentication for users
* Some ability for groups to have separate workspaces, although any user can fork any piece of content, and offer it as a proposed policy stub (in the Wikipedia sense) for their own group to develop on.
* hosted on whatever devel space we can get use of cheap or free
* all dependencies free code software, any code written for the platform released as free code (AGPL?)
* register domain
* launch alpha

Stage 2 - Develop privacy and peer-to-peer options

Social
* Initial test users are getting value from their user experience and wish to see more devel.
* Another 5 or so groups (at least) have come on board and interest is growing.
* Start planning public launch.
* Finish actioning decisions about stewardship organisation in time for the launch.
* Discuss privacy and peer-to-peer proposal and requirements with test users.
* update project roadmap address development of a cross-platform, peer-to-peer client, allowing users to fork from or push merge requests to our GITocracy platform, another instance of GITocracy, or another user with whom they're peered.

Technical
* develop the means to provide multiple privacy layers, applicable to a user's or group's whole repository, or individual documents. If a private document is forked, all forks remain private, until the original document's privacy is lifted. Possible privacy levels:
 - loud: publicly visible and actively promoted
 - quiet: publicly visible but not promoted
 - silent: not publicly visible

Stage 3 - Roll out privacy options (all private data stored on user computers, not on PolicyHub server, only public-viewable data goes there?)

Social
* Announce roll-out to test users, explaining how they can alter privacy settings, and giving them warning of any downtime or changes happening as a result of shifting server.  
* Public launch!
* Further discuss development of peer-to-peer functionality with test users.
* Recruit more members to UI team, to work with back-end developer on platform-specific UI for peer-to-peer client

Technical
* rebuild platform on a secure server (not shared, maybe VPS?) with privacy options
* redirect domain name to new server
* continue work on peer-to-peer client. Possible architectures:
  - standalone desktop apps
  - browser plug-ins
  - mobile apps