Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Nerd in Every Meshie

Ongoing communication and advocacy issues in the Otautahi rebuild have me thinking about a possible handshake around this bottle neck, at the same time as empowering the people and get things moving up faster.

I mentioned the idea at the Open Government barcamp back in 2009 in a kamikaze public speaking gig, where it was evident that the practice struggled even in theory, and wasn't ready for Beta phase, let alone wasting geek time. Nowhere near as polished as Fix My Street guy, or this Census masher from another barcamp gatecrashing.

There are no such minimum standards for blogging, and maybe someone might pull something useful from the wreckage, so here goes.

New Zealand is filleted into geographic units called meshblocks. I encountered them working the Census before last. Above is a map of what was my territory around Aro Valley in Wellington. You can look up your own household Meshie here.

I tried to float Meshies as subatomic democratic entities, such as the idea of a Recoverable Proxy vote for certain issues. Or a secular Sister Meshie welfare scheme, where wealthy Meshies might co-operate with a poverty Meshie for public good.

It had all sorts of capture issues, or vigilante side effects, and generally more potholes than a Manila suburb. However, it might just work as a sure-fire means of two-way communication that cuts through all strata of affected people in the Disaster Area of Otautahi.

A delegated Nerd in every Meshie could be responsible for locally distributing and collating information (data, stories, complaints, gross injustices) in their superlocal network of residents.

Everyone from EQC, King Gerry, Sideshow Bob, and the rest of the merry band of non-contiguous bureaucracies would have reporting requirements to these Meshie Nerds, and the Nerds would swear a Postie's pledge to deliver both ways, come rain, shine or quake.

Media might have read only access to these lines of communications (e.g. via proactive OIA release) , in order to harvest the good and bad for greater public attention.

Why should terrorists alone understand the usefulness of a cellular network? Why can't the makers use the same tactics for constructive public benefit?