MindMixer.com is a new web app + service designed to act as a “virtual town-hall” for municipal engagement. It includes idea rating, commenting, voting and a user score system designed to reward frequent contributors. Its a US base company marketing the tool specifically to community leaders and elected officials. Seem like a cool tool, although I’d assume like any open invitation approach (including traditional town halls), the prioritization of ideas is open to manipulation through strategic online campaigning by large groups. Check out the intro video below.
Mind Mixer from protokulture on Vimeo.
BetterMeans.com has recently released a web based “open and democratic project management tool”, and it looks very promising. Along with basic tools like a wiki, discussion boards and document storage, it has array of tools for collectively prioritizing tasks, estimatating work item complexity, reviewing work, allocating compensation, and voting on motions. The entire system seems to be built around a set of values that enforce and promote transparency, accountability, cooperation, pragmatism, and distributed leadership.
I could imagine it working with open source developers, maybe some collaborative scientists, activist collectives, and dnew not-for-profits. I look forward to seeing how this tool evolves, what kinds of groups use and what for.
I’m on the Board of C2D2 and we needed a mailing list application that could provide for a full bi-lingual (French/English) e-newsletter blast. In my research I could not find any hosted mailing list services that advertise support for multi-lingual email marketing. That said, I did find some acceptable solutions…
PHPlist – a free open source application with internationalization (aka multi-ligual) features. I’ve used this tool with success before, but getting appropriate support and hosting (that won’t be blocked by spam filters) requires further investigation.
CiviCRM – another open source tool designed for campaign management with extensive features for tracking online and offline communications with a mass consituency. I can’t vouch for the mutli-lingual support but there are people in Ottawa working who may have some success.
MailChimp – is an affordable and very easy to use hosted bulk email tool. Although they don’t advertise muti-lingual support, they provide options to customize what seems to be every element of system generated content, so you could make it bi-lingual from the subscribers perspective. See an example by the Canadian Education Association
Many other mailing list providers (e.g. bettermail.ca, ConstantContact.com, icontact.com) have options to customize many fields, but often there have exceptions like the subject field for ‘welcome’ emails that are autogenerated with hard coded English.
If you know of any better suggesitions, please post it in a comment below, Thanks!
Check out this excellent blog created by public involvement consultant Beth Offenbacker:
She has particularly useful articles about contemporary technologies for enhancing public engagement. It’s a new blog and hopefully she will continue to post.