Title / Name of the Project: You’re here!/Voisietequi
Type of project: Community-Projekt
Description of the project: The project is focused on the understanding of one’s political position in respect of the perceived belonging to a political party. This is achieved doing an online political test. The aim is to help people to reflect on his/her own personal values, lifestyle, behaviour and current beliefs in order to confront them with the publicly expressed political positions of the parties’ concurring in the political elections. The matching starts with a political test. Each one must answear online to 25 hot political questions (gay couples, gay adoptions, drug legalization, violence, peace and war, freedom of religion, cultural integration, free market and so on). The overall computer generated output is confronted by our original open source software with the position of each party in respect to each question. Then the software measure your position in the political spectrum and your distance from each party.
URL of the project: www.voisietequi.it
Objectives: The objective of the project is to help people to reflect on their political position and to confront them with the political programme of all parties involved in the current elections.
The common goal is to help people to reflect on the meaning of voting and democracy, to choose which party is better voting according their personal opinions through a better knoweldge of who is closer to their opinons, habits and behaviours.
Language and Context: The context is the italian one. The project is in italian, but the creators and the developers have nurtured their sensitivity travelling, living and learning in northern europe (Holland, Norway, Germany) and in the U.S.
Project history: We said: “Ehi, how can we interfere with the common views about politics? How can we help people to make the best choice voting those who can really represent them? Can we increase political understanding letting people to know more about parties’ programmes?” We started in five, two of us wrote the software adapting a proximity algorythm to measure the distance from one’s political position to that of all parties as it is expressed in their political programme. Others made a severe analisys of italian parties programmes and after we met several political analysts to build up and refine our questions; then we created a mailing list to submit the idea of the political test and the 25 political questions to a larger group of people interested in politics and not interested in it. Then we made several presentations (in Linux club, universities and social centers), and we asked to academics specialized in political communication to become involved. One of the our team created a research group in the University of Rome itself which is now working on the political test. We found many interested in the project and the university group just created made the rest. Then we created a wiki site where the users follow and modify the parties’ positions on the 25 selected items. So far at least 100 people are working online in the project but several hundreds are involved giving us feedback trough our mailing list in order to discuss and refine the topics.
Involved People: The core team of the project is made up of five people: Vittorio Alvino (1966) Ph.d. in Political Sciences. Guglielmo Celata (1968), Physic, Ettore Di Cesare (1965), mathematician. Arturo Di Corinto (1967), psychologist, Luca Marcello Soda(1964), lawyer. All of them are free, open source software activist, media activist, working both in the university and in the media industry.
It’s hard to say how many are currently involved. One group of people is made by students and researchers (10) of Communications Sciences in the University La Sapienza of Rome. Others belong randomly to the world of enterprises, schools, and many are civil servants (20). The list of the users actively involved in the documentation job is here: http://www.openpolis.it/wiki/index.php/Speciale:Listusers. The project is open source, open content, open partecipation or it would be not.
Lessons learned: What has worked very well was teamwork, openness, dialogue and friendship. What has not is the number of servers, too few for the huge amount of people working on the platform to answer the questions. We didn’t expect such partecipation. So far 160.000 people made the political test.
Technological basis: A computer cluster made of three intel/celeron chips, 1 GB of Ram for each server, GNU/linux, Debian operating system, free software (symphony framewrk, Php5, MSQL4, Octave Library (GNU/GPL), T1 connection. Our office is distributed in the matrix.
Implementations: The software is applied in Italy, and in the original code in UK, New Zealand, U.S.. You cand find at www.publicwhip.com or at www.voisietequi.it, or www.openpolis.it, (wikipages)
All the project was developed through and open process since its beginnings.
References can be found here:http://www.openpolis.it/wiki/index.php/Voisietequi.it;
Users: Everybody who wants to better understand politcs and political communication, journalists, politicians, simple citizens.
License: GNU/GPL is the license for the almost all the software or other lesser free licences but not non-free licences.
All the contents (documents, articles) are under a CC licence.
Statement of Reasons: Maybe we deserve the prize because we’ve created a new way of partecipating to the political debate, helping people to focus the idea of society they want and the kind of world they deserve, telling to the politics that they want something new and better.
Planned use of donations: The money would be used to finance the project www.openpolis.it of which www.voisietequi.it is te first step.
Openpolis.it is a project about communitis monitoring what the 140.000 italian politicians do in their work: (laws, declarations, voting in the Parliament and so on).