Debug Politics NYC

If you are like many people I know, you are dismayed about the 2016 political cycle, not only the results and how they came about, but with the whole damn thing.

Some hackers have decided to do something about that and created the Debug Politics Hackathon.

The first Debug Politics Hackathon happened this weekend in the Bay Area.

The first NYC Debug Politics Hackathon will happen the weekend of Jan 13-15. You can RSVP to attend here.

Debug Politics Hackathon is also coming to LA and will happen the weekend of Feb 3-5. Details are here.

If you want a better political process for this country, and really any country, and you want to hack on that desire, then consider attending one of these events.


Comments (Archived):

  1. marcoliver

    This is great. Femma – a colleague of mine and I started “Code For Democracy”. We hope to gain some traction in 2017 and wish others replicate our setup/success across the globe. Next time when you are in London, maybe you can chip in with a talk? Please have a look:

  2. William Mougayar

    Not a dull moment in US politics lately; from Trump theatrics, to Clinton drama, and a now Tech injection.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      You are relaxed watching from your balcony and writing. :)Every time I pass through a highway portal here in Santiago and the toll system device or “tag” goes beep, it reminds me of the Canadians. A canadian pension fund owns two of the metropolitan highways here, so when I hear that sound I think I’m making a canadian grandparent happy(er). Why our pension system don’t do the same is a mystery.

      1. William Mougayar

        Which pension fund is it, OMERS?

  3. Rob Underwood

    Will the hackathon be conducted in Russian? All funny until someone loses their sovereignty.Jokes aside, this event looks great. In addition, I’d also encourage folks – especially younger folks – to consider running for local office as well as a way to get involved or, the next best thing, working and supporting a local campaign.Change – whatever form that means to you – starts at the local level by building a “strong bench” (something one party in the US in particular has neglected to do). In NYC that can be the Community Boards, CECs, or county committees as but a couple examples.

  4. Pete Griffiths

    I suspect the core underlying problem is poor education and that’s a tricky thing to hack a solution for.

    1. pointsnfigures

      Or a poor selection process for candidates (See the Illinois Republican Senate candidate-sheesh). Or poor message. Or poor candidate. I was dismayed to read this too:

    2. harvestgrand

      I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, anyone can vote whether they know the facts or not. I have always wanted a system where the voter would have to answer 1 or 2 questions correctly or their vote would not count. Perhaps after you make your selection a similar prompt would appear “Your candidate is Pro-Life, True or False”

      1. Tristero

        It could be as simple as, who is your congressman? Or name your two state senators. I would also like to remove the R and D next to names. If you don’t know your candidate by name, then you don’t know their platform and you shouldn’t be voting for them.

        1. LE

          Unfortunately this also rewards people with memorable or famous names which is already a problem actually.

      2. pointsnfigures

        They had that in the Jim Crow South. Questions at polling places were used to discriminate.

        1. harvestgrand

          What if the questions were chosen by the people allegedly being discriminated against. Would there be conflict?

          1. pointsnfigures

            The questions are asked when you register. Not at the polling place. I am for a blockchain solution to “proof” at the polling place.

          2. harvestgrand

            Not worried about proof in this topic. This is about poor education. How can we get the public to become more knowledgeable before voting. If the public was more knowledgeable neither Donald nor Hillary would have been a contender.

      3. Rob Underwood

        I could go on a rant – and have here on AVC – about how the left’s pedagogical intent in the 80s and 90s that kids didn’t need to learn facts (further emboldened more recently by “you can just google it”) and rather we just needed to “teach kids how to think” got us into this whole mess.I believe very strongly that a mind is nourished on facts, and epiphanies come from pattern matching in the subconscious on facts. Moreover, the scientific method is premised on identifying facts first, and then seeking an explanation – not developing a theory and googling facts to support it. People need to learn boring old facts – state capitals, the periodic table, historical dates and timelines, etc.BUT, I am not down with the idea of a poll test. It’s a step too far for me. Yes, let’s absolutely improve education and by extension the civic literacy of our electorate. But a poll test is for me at least crosses a line. Who conducts the test? How is it conducted? When? In what languages? What material is covered? Very slippery slope.The answer lies not in trying to test the problem away but fix the root cause — public education.

        1. harvestgrand

          I agree. The root cause is public education. How do we fix that? One problem is most people do not care. They do not want to be bothered. Enhancing their political knowledge from watching Saturday Night Live is enough for them.

          1. pointsnfigures

            I think that vouchers and charter schools is a great start. Public school education needs competition. Competition will make it better for everyone. It broke my heart to watch Waiting for Superman.

    3. Pete Griffiths

      I have a horrible feeling we are lost.Here’s the problem.Those of us who live in a post enlightenment bubble, left or right, share something. Facts matter and arguments can make more or less sense. This faith in reason can be twisted and abused but most politicians who are post-enlightenment beings acknowledge that at the end of the day facts and coherent argument matter. But for those of us in the pre-enlightenment bubble this world view -which is so taken for granted by those in the post enlightenment world that they can’t conceive of its opposite – this world view is alien. Facts are not the most important thing. Logic does not prevail. Reason, in other words, that most critical revelation of the Enlightenment, does not hold sway. For a post enlightenment mind to discuss something with a post Enlightenment mind is a dialogue of the deaf.In such circumstances, most proposed remedies are fruitless. They fall on barren ground.To solve this problem is non-trivial.And to make matters worse, bear in mind that the post enlightenment population, whilst enormously influential in the making of today’s world (e.g. all science) are very much the minority of the world’s population!!Today, the internet has given voice to countless pre Enlightenment minds. It’s scary.

      1. Twain Twain

        THIS: to solve this problem is non-trivial.The Enlightenment (Rational Science) movement went amiss, though. They removed the art and heart from the models of our mind and reasoning.That’s why today’s pollsters, techies and AI researchers and their data only get us to 1/2 of the whole picture.The Enlightenment crew of C17th and C18th didn’t grasp Da Vinci’s genius from C16th and take his ideas forward. They also didn’t grasp the I Ching from 800 BC, which codifies the integration of Art+Science, male+female, objective+subjective — and which influenced and inspired Da Vinci’s works (Vitrivuan Man and the compounds he architected being examples).So we’ve been stumbling along with the Enlightenment architects’ mistakes since C17th.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…The main Enlightenment architect who removed the art and heart from our models was Descartes. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…The Enlightenment assumptions of human reasoning being purely about logic and objective facts and functions are wide of the mark.Simulating this logic in the machines is the reason we haven’t been able to solve the Natural Language understanding problem and the reason there are missing data sets (leading to uncertainties and “black swans”).The Enlightenment movements’ rational frameworks are the reason the machines have NO TOOLS TO DEAL WITH REPRESENTATIVENESS OF OUR INTELLIGENCE or to understand natural language enough to filter for fake news.The fact is our biochemistry is a vital source of our reasoning — not simply our logic. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…*…Pretty much all existing systems (economics, search, recommendations, ratings, surveying, AI, Natural Language Processing, psychometrics etc) are based on the Enlightenment methods of amplifying logic and “objective facts” and ignoring our art, heart and biochemistry and pretending that probability is an adequate proxy tool for our subjective biases (when it’s not).That’s why and how the Enlightenment methods of scientific rationality have led to the LOSS OF 1/2 OF OUR INSIGHTS.That’s why and how we have to restore Da Vinci (to replace Descartes) and to augur in a …RENAISSANCE FOR INTELLIGENCE.These are deeper and wider issues than any election results of any one country.This is about human representativeness and the intelligence of our systems.Non-trivial problem indeed. In fact, way bigger and less trivial than the Blockchain to solve.@wmoug:disqus @lawrencebrass:disqus @hymanroth:disqus @adam_sher:disqus @pointsnfigures:disqus @philipsugar:disqus

        1. Adam Sher

          Need heart, and provides a counter point to the problem of solving tech problems with more tech. Those same proponents often scoff at a similar notion that we tried, which was to solve to-big-to-fail (banks) by hiring former bank execs to implement a solution.

        2. Pete Griffiths

          Rhetoric is important.But rhetoric without rationality is dangerous.

      2. Adam Sher

        There was more than enough representation for, what many people who commented called, the right kind of voters that this election could have turned out differently. Similar to previous eletctions, the youngest voting class, those who wrote so many euologies on Medium, is also the most educated by historical standards, and has the lowest voter turnout. If young voters, who tend to vote for liberal candidates, turned out in the same numbers as other generations, this election (and others such as 2000) would have likely turned out differently.Instead of a knowledge test (i.e. literacy), which has been proposed in the comments, and will decrease voter turnout, the solution should be to go the other way. Make it impractical to not vote.@twaintwain:disqus @hymanroth:disqus

  5. kidmercury

    What part of the process (not the outcome) are people dissatisfied with? Honest question. I feel like most grievances are with the outcome and people are seeking to change the process as a result. This is poor logic to the extent it is true

    1. Matt Zagaja

      For the most part I have to agree here. More often than not people cry that the process is broken when it’s actually just the people in the process did not do what they wanted. That being said I think there is a compelling argument for instant run-off voting and/or the abolishment of the electoral college in favor of the popular vote. But those things aren’t going to happen at a hackathon.

      1. pointsnfigures

        After reading, and re-reading Federalist 68: http://www.electoralcollege… the Electoral College seems even more brilliant today than it was in 1789. Back then, no one wanted Virginia to decide for the US. Today, I don’t want five urban areas to decide for the US. Certainly, the problems and solutions that work in a place like New York might not work in Oklahoma. We might want to think about a rebalancing of Federal power instead.

        1. Rob Underwood

          Or maybe we conclude the country is too big and shares too little in common and so we need a constitution convention in which we draft a new constitution that defines a much lighter weight federal government that would allow New York and Oklahoma more autonomy from each other. http://tumblr.robunderwood….

          1. ShanaC

            I’d go in the reverse situation. Part of the lack of commonality is that states don’t have to work together

        2. ShanaC

          Reverse. That would mean disenfranchising 50% of the population based on where they live even more so than today. That number is going to go up. You risk running into another Boston Harbor moment, because you’ll tax with inadequate representation.During the period when the Constitution was written, most of the country was rural and proportionality settled. The fear of Virginia was due to slavery, which if slaves, women, and not property owners could vote would have rendered the apportionment argument inconclusive.

    2. David Semeria

      Well for a start I would like to see a discussion around the most basic tenet: the right to vote. This may seem crazy, but I don’t think it is. I believe people’s votes should be weighted by how much time they have dedicated to researching the arguments.Take Brexit, for example. There was a huge spike in Google queries such as “What is the EU?” coming out of the UK *after* the vote. I don’t think it’s fair that people who dedicated hours of research on the topic have their votes weigh the same as someone who has no idea what the issues are.

      1. kidmercury

        that’s always a very slippery slope. how does one measure research, what if one spends all their time on forms of “research” that are deemed by powers to be of low quality, etc. in any event, in the US, there is an amendment process. in the case of the EU and the brexit story, i don’t think the query necessarily means a lack of education. some may just be seeking a formal definition, while many students may be seeking to do research on current events. moreover the endless implication that the opposing side is stupid can be fun, i question its utility. i’m not sure what these hackathons are attempting to do, unless it is something that is literally revolutionary in a way, though i don’t get the impression that is the avenue that is desired.

        1. pointsnfigures

          I think a hackathon that comes up with a process to stop voter fraud is a good idea. One person, one vote is what we were founded on. A hackathon to come up with equitable redistricting is a good idea. Many states (like mine IL) are so gerrymandered it makes a mockery of competitive elections. Democrats and Republicans need competition. It makes each party better.

        2. David Semeria

          A simple solution would be a short and *very* simple multiple choice test taken before the vote (obviously the questions would be rotated). The citizen’s vote would then be simply weighted by the score.

          1. kidmercury

            who chooses the questions? even in the incredibly unlikely event people can agree upon how questions are chosen and the ideal questions are somehow obtained, it is only a matter of time before the process gets corrupted and is used as a means to oppress lower classes.

          2. David Semeria

            The only people it would oppress would be the ones who didn’t know the answers. I’m talking about seriously simple questions Kid.

          3. JamesHRH

            This is an non-starter.

          4. LE

            Geez you can’t even get people to vote when it’s raining out. Now you think people are going to study up for the right to vote?

          5. jason wright

            So you’re up for redefining ‘citizen’?

        3. LE

          Geez. It was so much easier when the New York Times and other newspapers [1] just told people what to do and how to vote and that actually shaped elections. [2] In a sense they claimed to be the smart people who actually gave thought to the issues and vetted the candidates assuming (perhaps correctly) that the public wasn’t in a position to do the heavy lifting and/or didn’t have the intelligence.[1] Other examples: Churches, Unions and so on.[2] Now we have twitter and facebook.

          1. Manuel Molina

            The sum of the talent and knowledge coming out of the bottom of the pyramid will always be greater than the sum of the talent coming from the upper part (government, institutions, big corporations) or the media). twitter and facebook are great for getting the discussion going, bun not for civic action in a native way.

      2. LE

        I believe people’s votes should be weighted by how much time they have dedicated to researching the arguments.In theory David this is why we have elected officials. And why it’s a bad idea for normal’ people vote on every issue with their crowd mentality and easy to manipulate tendencies. In any case that is kind of what we are moving toward with social media. Everybody is voting on everything. Total squeaky wheel situation.

      3. PhilipSugar

        That’s not even a non-starter. Sorry but it will never happen. How about if we weighted it on how much taxes you pay? (tongue in cheek) I mean that’s more logical, it’s your money getting spent.Never going to happen, never, ever.Thomas Jefferson wanted a rule that you had to own 50 acres of land to vote. Even then people thought that was unacceptable.

        1. David Semeria

          I agree that it’s a non starter Philip. But it’s the best idea to defeat populism that I can come up with.

          1. PhilipSugar

            It would be like putting gasoline on that fire. I live rural which is what swayed the election. You would kill the urban vote. “Populists” would LOVE your suggestion, they would never even conceive saying it because people would rightfully call them racist. Yes rural went 2 to 1 for Trump. Urban??? 4 to 1 for Hillary. And they are 4 times more populated. https://www.washingtonpost…. Hate to be blunt but passing your “test” would be much easier for the rural people, as evidenced by standardized test scores. It would be a “Populist” dream. Landslide. Epic landslide.

          2. David Semeria

            Mine is just a suggestion Philip, I don’t pretend to have an answer. But there is immense frustration in the UK for example with people who freely admit they voted for Brexit without having even a basic idea of what it entails. And while I don’t presume to know anything about US politics, I have a hunch that similar dynamics may be in play there too.

          3. PhilipSugar

            No,this is B.S. People were not happy being a proud independent UK that that won WWII against tyranny, that was a world empire before that, and now being a part of an EU that is controlled by the continent that they sent so many men to their graves on WW1 and WW11 .

          4. jason wright

            Possibly, but they certainly voted against the EU that they had come to know all too well, rampant and uncontrolled immigration being the number one sore point for many voters.

          5. Twain Twain

            I hear and get your idea.Here’s the thing: a core tenet of democracy and of rational science is that every vote is the same. A 0 is a 0 and a 1 is a 1, and Determinism says we eventuate to one of these two binary states.Given Albert’s blog posts on Uncertainty, the uncertainty variables are:(1.) Some people are more informed than others, so the drivers of each vote are different.(2.) The pollsters have no visibility on the drivers (potential black swans) so they survey voters with methods that have been around since the birth of psychometrics and advertising in the 1920s and 1930s, e.g. some variant of Likert’s scale.So then SOME of those drivers become “white swans” because pollsters have measured them.The survey results can then “weight” the value of each vote.Here’s the problem, though … https://uploads.disquscdn.c…I believe Leibniz, Descartes and Bayes’ tools and their application in how we measure things in the Digital Age are unhelpful — particularly given Einstein’s theories and its ideas that all events are in dynamic, entangled and relative flux rather than absolute binaries of 0 or 1.If neither Bell curve nor Power curve and their attendant rating scales are suitable tools to counter populism, then we’ll need to dig deeper to invent better systems.

          6. Lawrence Brass

            “all events are in dynamic, entangled and relative flux rather than absolute binaries”yess :)We can perceive naturally the first order effects, so we are more susceptible to them. This is where the populist invests, usually with very short and ambiguous slogans. System 1 visceral and binary.In Chile these populist tactics had been stressed to the extent of offering money in the form of bonuses during the first month of rule during campaigns. This was actually done by a successful campaign and successive governments had to institutionalize it to neutralize the effect. Instant gratification is hard to beat.Is this a bad thing? Not for the recipients of the incentives surely. If I live in a job depressed area and someone comes offering jobs, what do I lose giving my vote? But the long term effects are second or third order, hard to visualize and measure.We need better systems indeed, that is why we are working on them, right? 🙂

          7. Twain Twain

            Lots of AI research goes into deriving N-order probabilistic edges on the graph or the Deep Learning matrix rather than the first order linear relationship of 0 to 1.However, all their data points and algorithmic approaches remain based on System 2 thinking.Meanwhile, Daniel Kahneman …https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Independently of Kahneman’s work, I’d designed and coded a test to prove we don’t think probabilistically.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…In my maths degree, I’d gotten 99% for the Probability & Statistics exam and summa cum laude (a 1st) for my econometrics project. So I have a reasonable grasp of the maths. In addition, I’d written a paper in the Principles of Management course, entitled ‘Perceptual problems and their consequences.’My *Head of Maths at university will attest to teenage me throwing all sorts of curious balls at him during our meetings, LOL.So my system is informed by all that knowhow and more.——-He’ll also attest to the fact I changed his mind and that he now agrees with me, as he wrote: “Developing qualitative techniques for things that aren’t quantitive in nature must be the right way to go.”Maths can’t explain and model everything (yet). It can’t model love.We don’t go around saying: “I love my mother 88% right now, 33% an hour later and we’re two standard deviations from loving her tomorrow.”Probability is NOT how we make sense of the world. It was just a tool Pascal and de Fermat created to model the random (stochastic) behavior of unbiased dice incapable of thought, feelings, language, consciousness of self+others etc.YUP, non-trivial to overwrite Descartes, Bayes, Gauss, Turing et al.

          8. Twain Twain

            On flux, Einstein said: “It is hard to sneak a look at God’s cards. But that he would choose to play dice with the world … is something I CANNOT believe for a single moment.Interpretation: If God doesn’t play dice, he didn’t apply probability so it’s not a natural law. In fact, it’s a man-made one that is useful as a form of “fuzzy logic” to complement the absolute logic of determinism.Determinism = 0 … 1. The path is one OR the other. Something either doesn’t exist (0) or it does exist (1).Probability = 0 … % … 1. The path is also one OR the other.Einstein+Schrodinger = 0 and 1 co-exist, at the same time. The cat is both dead and alive. This is simultaneously an objective and subjective observation of events.So …https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          9. PhilipSugar

            Why do you need to defeat populism? Maybe a dose of that is good.

      4. Lawrence Brass

        There are people that are not interested in participating in elections. Perhaps it is the lack of incentives or frankly, that they believe that it won’t change anything for them, which is in part true.Weighted votes could be hard to implement for general elections but could work for taking some power back to the voters from the representatives. When discussing new laws or modifying existing ones, the representatives would be required to check back with their voters through some online binding voting system. The informed voter’s votes would weight more and he/she will also receive a weighted incentive. This could help promote better people participating in politics. Now we have the tools, it would be some form of cooperative e-government.Instead of being used to legitimize populism, mediocrity and the lobbies, democracy could be used again for its original purpose.

      5. Adam Sher

        There used to be literacy tests, and we no longer have them for better.

        1. David Semeria

          It’s not about literacy, it’s about basic knowledge of the facts. Such as ‘who occupied Crimea?’ (a) Ucraine(b) Russia(c) Isis

          1. Adam Sher

            See @Dave Pinson for why that won’t fly.

          2. jason wright

            The answer is?

          3. Donna Brewington White

            One of my CEO clients asks job candidates to name two current Supreme Court judges.

      6. Twain Twain

        How do Rational Scientists define fairness?The mathematicians created probability in 1654 to model the random (stochastic) behavior of fair and unbiased dice. A dice is said to be “fair” if there’s an equal chance of any of the 6 faces being shown when the dice is thrown.It’s said to be “unfair” / “biased” if any face appears more than expected.Probability then got generalized over to proxy fairness and biases in humans — the fact that dice and humans are nothing alike being overlooked!!!https://uploads.disquscdn.c…The US election results expose all the flaws inherent in the way we’ve counted votes, surveyed opinions and modeled for human language and reasoning since the birth of democracy itself.@wmoug:disqus — Humans are biased. The core problem is that we’ve either:(1.) Been in denial that bias exists; or(2.) Admitted bias exists but then we proxy it with logic, mechanics and probability and statistics.The technology implications are nothing less than root and branch overhauls of what we understand about democracy and WHY people vote the way we do.

        1. Lawrence Brass

          I am intrigued by this company, https://cambridgeanalytica…. , which by the way I got aware of reading a link you posted a few days ago.How fairness plays when deep data analysis is driving things now likely? Is this the same as the human trader vs the algorithmic trading firms, the human campaigner vs the algorithmic campaigner?

          1. Twain Twain

            Cambridge Analytica’s OCEAN model is basically the 5-factor model borrowed from psychology. They deployed it to psych-profile voters so that Trump’s team could better target them. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…The 5-factor model is what Qualcomm is thinking about to get the robots to care. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…We confer fairness, depth, meaning, natural language understanding and intelligence to data systems when they are neither fair, deep, meaningful, language-enabled nor intelligent in the way humans are.

      7. Dave Pinsen

        Poll tests are verboten in the US because they were once used to prevent blacks from voting, and because any new version would likely have the same effect.

      8. JaredMermey

        I’d argue that is the beauty of this country.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Yup. Scary at times, messy most of the time, and every 4 years about 30-45% of the population is sorely disappointed. And yet we stay. And others go to great lengths to join us. The experiment seems to still be working.

    3. PhilipSugar

      I agree. I think people are so shocked at the outcome they really can’t get their mind around it.I went to Breitbart for the first time (LE you are right about the Streisand effect) It seems it is the National Enquirer for the alt-right (although I really hate using that term)I can remember seeing that rag as a kid at the grocery store.

    4. Richard

      The part where the @nyt give @hrc a 90% chance of winning. Let me guess, not a sole at the @nyt knows what the algo ARIMA stands for

      1. Russell

        Even with biting cuts to news budgets I don’t think the NYT has been reduced to hiring fish.

    5. Manuel Molina

      The current process is outdated. It is based on what we knew about the world many decades ago. But now we know more and the world is different. New times call for new decisions.

      1. PhilipSugar

        Yes, I agree we should not have Washington D.C. be the government center, it needs to be distributed.

        1. jason wright

          Which requires the necessary step of wealth redistribution.

          1. PhilipSugar

            Nope, just out of Washington D.C. and the political elites. They can leave me alone.

    6. Salt Shaker

      Seriously? The process is disgusting–full of negativity, lies, embellishments and wanton spending. The ridiculous sums of money spent on marketing degrade both the candidates and the process to a level similar to Tide or Crest toothpaste. The electoral college, gerrymandering and campaign finance reform are all “process” issues worthy of revisiting.

      1. kidmercury

        sure. i guess i don’t understand how a hackathon will address some of these issues, but i guess we’ll find out soon enough…..

    7. JamesHRH

      People on the left unhappy with who won and how he acted.People who voted for him unhappy with being ignored for 8 years.The sun is setting on the American Age.

      1. PhilipSugar

        Nope, that is the one beauty of America, we fight and fight. BUT. The alternative is worse. It is the least worst alternative.

        1. JamesHRH

          I have a lot riding on this being wrong, but a smarter person than me called it: Jim Rogers.His daughters are being raised in Singapore w a household manager that speaks Mandarin. He grew up in a rural Alabama. And made. Couple of bucks on geo-political smarts.I just hope the end of the era is different from the end of he Euro era …….30 years of devastation via war.

          1. PhilipSugar

            I report to Singapore. Go there a ton. Would not want to live there. If you love Singapore you would vote for Trump not Hillary. Look up their leader. Makes Trump look like a meek, humble guy.

          2. JamesHRH

            Yes, I know. Rogers says he chose there over Beijing due to the pollution.Don’t know why Shanghai was out….I think he actually does not want to live in China.

          3. PhilipSugar

            Shanghai pollution is worse than Bejiing

          4. JamesHRH

            And, there you go.

    8. baditaflorin

      For example, what i worked during the Debug Politics hackaton is a tool to detect fake viral news,before they go viral

  6. jason wright

    Metro elites.Politics *is* bugs.

  7. harvestgrand

    Would “Debug Politics Hackathon” exist if Hillary was elected? Hmmm, I guess we will never know.

    1. jason wright

      No.Debug Politics is yet another political bug entering the ecosystem of political buggery.

  8. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:If a political party lost via the electoral college twice and won the popular vote (meaning more individuals voted for their candidate) they desire change and view the system as antiquated because the United States has outgrown thirteen colonies. And the loss is compounded with an absence of integrity, fake news (The norm by certain bloggers (can’t even classify as contributors) and fair play (relying on a foreign Government for assistance). (Denial with a wink is only coming from one direction)The Progressives (Democrats) are seeking to attach a label and cause to what is actually apparent. The loss is not going over well. (As an Independent we realize every vote for Trump wasn’t racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, Stedford wife supported but very very close) The false narrative of Obama created this racism that has been part and parcel of the United States history for hundreds of years. This was part of the fake news, fake history, scorch the earth, win by any means necessary game plan. It actually worked.Progressives you don’t have the stomach to return the favor for what occurred for eight years. More deflection and refusal to confront this agenda of the Alt-Right. (Review 4chan & 8chan and read what they have been thinking and actually what occurred) Stop being reactionary verses proactive.Better catch up on who are their thought leaders……Thomas CarlyleFriedrich Hegel Othmar SpannOswald Spengler Madison Grant Giovanni Gentile

  9. Tom Labus

    Financial history of the US as a mandatory course for graduating HS or college.

    1. creative group

      Tom Labus:Was that comment serious or sarcastic? Any serious review of what has been occurring for eight years regarding defunding education in America has been to dumb down those in rural areas who couldn’t pass a civics test. This has been the objective all along.

      1. Tom Labus

        Yes, serious. Start at beginning of country. 8 years too short

  10. Erica Gruen

    It’s a multi-faceted problem with many interlocking solutions: education, local political activity, mass civil disobedience, just for starters. However, the rise of worldwide communications and social media as a staging ground for hate and lies is pernicious and, as we now see, deadly to the future of this planet. Surely it can also be used for good. That’s a tech problem and I’m heartened to see this grassroots effort start.

  11. Jess Bachman

    Here is how you hack the entire political system:1. Develop a site called, I dunno, Swingvote, where register voters can sign up and pledge to vote for or against a candidate well before any election.2. Get millions of voters to do this.3. After the election, show the correlation between pre-vote Swingvoters and post-vote election results.Now you have a system where the voters can effectively vote prior to the election by using Swingvote. If the a politician does something bad, voters on Swingvote and elect to vote against them, or pull their future vote. Since the Swingvote and real vote have been shown to correlate, the politician can be shown a real loss of votes due to his actions, and be forced to correct, or lose the next election, as shown my the Swingvote data.The cherry on top is that challenger policitans can effectively kickstarter their campaigns by buidling Swingvotes in advance of the election instead of sucking the teet of special interest to then buy advertising to then try to get votes.The net result is that politicians are simply puppets of their electorate, which may not be the ideal, but is certainly the antidote to the disaster we have going on in Congress right now.

  12. panterosa,

    PLEASE someone the actual voting process. By SSN, digital, open a month before the election.

  13. William Mougayar

    As an outsider, it’s interesting to observe the reactions to this initiative. Although it is a non-partisan initiative that is supposed to explore general ideas/projects with benefits for all, it seems to be perceived as a biased reaction from those who were dissatisfied with the US presidential elections results. I read the list of projects that came out of the SF one, and they are neutral ideas:- Exposes the biases of a publication and offers opposing views.- Hellogov: Makes calling your congressperson incredibly easy.- Get Involved: Helps to find ways to take political action with three simple questions.- Sendvote: Helps politicians slice & dice demographic data to make polling easier.- VeriScope: Verifies the truth of articles in your news feed and empowers journalists to hold one another accountable.- Who Said It?: Tests your knowledge of which politician said what.- American Journal: Connect with other Americans on shared values.- Echo Ellis: Practice your citizenship test with Alexa.

    1. LE

      Oh for sure it’s a dog whistle [1] for people who don’t like the election outcome.In fact the message isn’t even consistent.The website (which by the way doesn’t indicate who is behind this which isn’t really what should be obvious transparency) says this:Debug Politics is a hackathon for anyone dissatisfied with the state of our politics.The meetup page however says this:Debug Politics is a nonpartisan hackathon for anyone dissatisfied with the 2016 election cycle. Transform your dissatisfaction into a unique idea. This seems pretty clear to me.[1]

    2. pointsnfigures informs on down ballot candidates.

    3. Manuel Molina

      Agree, it seems neutral. But most projects connect the government/politicians with citizens (the center with the edges). Real change comes from connecting the edges.

    4. JamesHRH

      None of them have much impact.You want to radically change the US electoral process: take the $$$ out of it.

  14. Salt Shaker

    Political Advertising: Every voter deserves the right to hear the truth. Unfortunately, independent of fake news, political adv today is full of outright lies, half truths and innuendo. It’s a cesspool. There is no system of checks and balances. Every commercial produced should be vetted and fact checked by an independent, bi-partisan board before it can air. If you can’t substantiate a claim, or the language is misleading, then the ad doesn’t air. This pre-approval process will reduce the number of ads, hyperbole and likelihood of politicians jumping on an opponent’s wayward sound bite and turning it into policy.Campaign Spending: Independent of eliminating PACs, take a page out of Major League Baseball (yes, MLB) and create a spending cap and a luxury tax on political advertising. Exceed the cap and any incremental spending is taxed at 20% to a fund to clothe/feed the needy. The bar would be set so that even DJT’s relatively low campaign spending would exceed the cap. Money corrupts. Take the money out of politics starting w/ campaign finance reform.

    1. PhilipSugar

      Hate first idea. Love second.

      1. Salt Shaker

        Ha, I certainly can live w/ a .500 batting avg. HOF numbers worthy of a 10 yr $250+M contract. Where do I sign?

        1. PhilipSugar

          You know we violently agree more than we don’t. 🙂

    2. ShanaC

      Wouldn’t workThe trump campaign used hyper targeted advertising that was continually going through a/b testing. Most of it was taking material from fake and so yellow it’s fake news sources and burnishing it. Basically they didn’t write most of thier advertising material at all

      1. Salt Shaker

        Yeah, there fab digital strat overseen by Jared. Haven’t you heard, he’s gonna solve the Middle East crisis too? The Donald seems to think he’s a secret weapon. Jewish, and Orthodox to boot, int’l diplomacy exp be damned. Sure that’s all we need to fix a 50+ year prob. I get sick to my stomach every time I hear the words “Pres elect” or see DJT’s face on TV. An accident waiting to happen. A loose cannon. Apologies for the rant.

  15. Tom Hart

    Love this

  16. Manuel Molina

    Many of the projects described in the Debug Politics webpage are using technology to connect the government with citizens (the center with the edges). Real disruption will come from connecting the edges among themselves and the creation of tools to transform civic knowledge (open research, open data, P2P knowledge, and other “edge sources”) into civic action.


    The Sabio Nation will be at the LA event 🙂 Thanks for sharing.