How do we readily create an open source program for campaign tech, so that it doesn’t disappear after a program is over? How do we capture the enthusiasm of technologists who may not know much about the inner workings of campaigns, but just want to help out, especially during high-profile / high-mobilization elections? How do we sustainably fund a community organizer who can keep an open source community engaged and supported both during and after a campaign? How do we create campaign tech projects that are geared towards being long-lasting from the outset?
What do we do about the problem of “leaking” our tech by making it open source - how do we avoid conservatives from gaining access to these tools and using them against us? How do we open source the “data” we use safely - can we make sandboxes available at scale to developers who just want to get their feet wet without wading into turf wars? How do we readily determine whether new contributors to open source projects are in fact progressives who want to help - and not a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”?
Even if we don’t open source our tools, how do we create more “jagged edges” so that we can readily extend them to suit the purposes of one campaign or another? For example, can we create an ecosystem of readily supported Chrome extensions which can be scripted against popular tools, and also safeguarded so that they don’t slam servers or behave maliciously (without intention)? Can we create “hooks”, a la ActionTag, to make it easy for sufficiently-sophisticated campaigns to tailor progressive tools to their use?
There is some prior art here, but not much! MoveOn has had great success open-sourcing its peer-to-peer text messaging program, Spoke. The Movement Coop’s data management tool Parsons is another great example of an open source project. Unfortunately, there are not many others in the progressive space! As a result, we cannot readily bring technologists into our space with ease.