Monday, October 26, 2015

November 17 -- NE Wisconsin’s Next Civic Hacker Meetup

The next NE Wisconsin civic hackers’ event will take place on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, starting at 7 PM, most likely in Appleton, Wisconsin, or one of it’s nearby Fox Valley neighbor cities. It was suggested we meet at a location which provides tasty food and beverages, so we’re asking for suggestions of good local places. (I’ll update this post to confirm location once that detail is finalized. Updated update -- We're meeting at Bazil's Pub on College Avenue in downtown Appleton.)

Time:  Official start time is 7 PM, although I’m going to show up by 6:30. If you’re new to civic hacking and want to find out what’s going with the topic in our region, show up before 7 PM, and we can talk about that. No definite end time -- we’ll go as long as people are enjoying themselves. I suspect most people will head home by 9 PM, but if the discussion is worthwhile, a few hackers may hang around much later. Check the #dhmncivichacks channel on the NE Wisconsin Slack team -- we’ll try to make sure and put a message on there when the meetup officially ends. Click here to join this Slack team if you’re not already a member.

Nov 17 Agenda:  This will be an informal, mostly social, more-yakking-than-hacking event, although I’m sure phones, tablets and laptops will show up, and lines of code may be discussed, modified or written. The Garbage Gang, a core group of coders who’ve produced NE Wisconsin’s only civic hacks, mostly related to recycle and trash pickup, suggested it would be a good idea to discuss civic hacks other than recycle/trash at the November 17 event. The goal of that discussion is to identify one or two new interesting and worthwhile civic hacks to work on next for NE Wisconsin. Trash has value, but it’s not the only important topic in NE Wisconsin.

This Nov 17 gathering will be highly valuable meetup if we can identify the next project that a group of civic hackers will work on.

Mike Putnam originally decided to build the “Is It Recycle Week?” Android app civic hack because trash pickup is something that occurs at his house every week, and he occasionally doesn’t remember if it’s a ‘recycle week.’ [Shameless Advertisement: Click here and install the Android app so you can give Mike feedback and suggest improvements for the app.] What city, county, state or national government-related issue is important enough to you that you want to work to resolve or improve the issue? Look around your community -- what isn’t being done well? What isn’t being done at all, and would make life better for you or for citizens around you?

If you want ideas of other potential civic hacks for NE Wisconsin, four blog posts to look at are “Seed Projects For Civic Hackathons,” “Civic Hacking To Help Those In Need,” “DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015: Top 10 Hacks,” and “Ideation Session For Non-Code-Focused Civic Hackers.”

Who Should Show Up:  Everyone who’s interested in civic hacking, or thinks they might be, should come to this event. If you are not familiar with civic hacking, listen to the Catherine Bracy TED video below, “Why Good Hackers Make Good Citizens.”

If you want to read more about what civic hacking is, scan through the titles of other posts from past months on this blog for ones that are of interest to you -- see the list of titles in the right column under Blog Archive.

Coders will enjoy the fun at the civic hacking meetup, but non-coders are also encouraged to participate, as discussed in “What Are Some Non-coder Activities In Civic Hacking?” and “Do Non-Programmers Participate In Civic Hacking?” There will be at least one person who's neither coder nor designer at the Nov 17 event; you definitely don’t need to be a coder to participate in civic hacking.

If you haven’t been at a civic hacking meetup before, no worries. We’ll bring you up to speed and answer your questions about civic hacking. This is a participant-driven event, and we’d love to have YOUR participation.

What Should I Bring:  The main things to bring are (1) yourself, (2) friends or acquaintances who might enjoy civic hacking, (3) smartphone, tablet or laptop if you want to look at websites or code related to civic hacking, and (4) willingness to listen and share your two cents’ worth about which civic hacks are worthwhile and interesting to work on.

As always, if you have civic hacking questions or suggestions, email Bob Waldron at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com.

Hope to see you on the evening of November 17, 2015!


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