If you are thinking of developing something around digital democracy for this hackathon, and would like to use Din Riksdag as a host or as a data source for your project, here's a few things I gathered to help you to get started.
Din Riksdag is a project whose aim is to create a platform where citizens and their representatives can converse together and more specifically in the case of the Swedish parliament, write the Swedish law together. Eventually, in addition to co-constructed legislative processes, it will be able to host massive electronic elections and participatory spaces with advanced functions for any organisation that want to interact with their members in a more open and effective way.
You can find a short presentation here.
You might also want to read the result of a first hackathon we did (CivicTechGbg on the 10th of March 2018), where several citizens and a representative tried to imagine a new lawmaking process where citizens are involved at any step of the process.
Finally, whether you are new or not to digital democracy, you might be interested in learning more about other initiatives around the world.
You convinced me, I want to work on Din Riksdag this weekend!
If you are a developer and would like to enhance the platform by editing its code, here's a few things you should know:
- the project is on Github and hosted on Heroku. You can clone the project and run it locally.
- it is based on Decidim, a tool developed by the city of Barcelona for its own participatory needs.
- it is a complex piece of software written in Ruby on Rails with an important codebase and broken in various functional bricks. Although the whole thing is really well documented, it is recommended to dive in the code only if you are proficient in Ruby on Rails and have previous experience of using it in hackathons. If that's the case, I encourage you to contact me as soon as possible.
- some developments that are already in my backlog if you are looking for ideas: integrating the platform with the national census, SPAR (Statens PersonAdressRegister), with BankID. More details can be found here. Note that although not being directly related to open data, these tasks are critical to the success of Din Riksdag which is eligible to participate in the competition as it is using open data and solving a social challenge.
If you are a developer/data scientist and would like to use the platform as a source of open data, you might be interested in knowing this:
The platform will hopefully in the future host large scale participatory processes, votes and assemblies so our hope is that it will become an invaluable source of citizen opinions and democratic expressions. All the content of Din Riksdag is public (apart from the personal info of members) and can be queried through an API. Anyone is free to extract data to build visualisations, integrate it somewhere else or process it with artificial intelligence, and any experiment bringing an added value could be integrated in Din Riksdag. That being said, this is purely theoretical because the platform is empty and not yet used for real use cases. Some test data is already present in the platform and you can automatically create more if you desire.
Here's some info to get started:
- the API uses GraphQL and can be found at dinriksdag.se/api.
- the API documentation can be found here and an interactive sandbox here to test your queries.
- using the API will probably require to understand better the concept of spaces and components in Decidim, which are featured in the functional documentation.
- you can create any local test data you want to try your visualisations. Some already exist and will be created with the seeds task but you can automate the creation of more by writing a new task on the same model.
- if you are knowledgable about law and would like to make it easier to understand for citizens, your contribution is particularly welcome! Government law proposals, for example, are extremely technical documents that are hard to read even for people who know what they are about. Moreover, the Swedish government has trouble doing what it requires its agencies to do and only publishes the proposals as PDF that are hard to parse. There has been several projects to use machine learning to sum up legislation or to structure it in a way that makes it easy for citizens to give their opinion or suggest modifications on a part of a bigger bill.
I'm not a coder but I'm still interested in contributing to the project!
No problem. Quite the contrary, actually! Din Riksdag is only starting and we have an exciting election year ahead of us! And what we need most in the near future are people to make it live and grow!
Here's a few things on the roadmap that you could shape and turn into reality:
- design the participatory processes that citizens and representatives will use to collaborate. You can find inspiration in what we already discussed at another hackathon and in other international initiatives but we're interested in hearing your fresh ideas too!
- define a roadmap for 2018 and further in the future. Where do you see Din Riksdag and the Swedish democracy in a few year's time?
- think of a communication strategy to get our current and future representatives and their parties onboard! The campaign is about to start and the coming months will be a unique opportunity to question politicians about their practices and to convince them that they have everything to gain in adopting more open and participatory methods. If you can read French, you can learn here about the operation that Parlement&Citoyens conducted on Twitter to convince more than 250 candidates for the French legislative elections of 2017 and its results (25 elected MPs right after the elections, close to 50 now).
- give a frame to Din Riksdag and write its status. Should it be an association? What should be the principles that guide it? This weekend, you have a unique chance to lay the cornerstone of a movement that might change our society.
You are of course welcome to think of anything else and to start making it happen.