“EFF and Sunlight Foundation published an open call for help testing a tool and populating an open data format that would make it easier for everyday people to contact members of Congress. We already had a prototype, but we needed volunteers to conduct tests on each and every Congressional website. We expected the project would take about two weeks to complete, but feared it might take a month or longer. We worried that web developers wouldn’t want to spend hours working on a boring, frustrating, often technically complex task. Instead, volunteers conquered the project in two days. Within hours of publishing our blog post, we were flooded by offers of support. People from all over the world contacted us, and many immediately jumped in and started contributing. By 2:30 AM the day we launched, 70 people were already hacking on the project and had submitted over 420 commits. The following morning, we found even more people had gotten involved. More than a hundred people were helping us write the code after hearing about our project on Hacker News, reddit, and BoingBoing. Today, we’re declaring victory. Thanks to the hard work of over a hundred volunteers around the globe, we’re incredibly proud to announce the first-ever public domain database for submitting emails to members of Congress. 142 authors helped us build the code. There were over 1,600 commits to the Github repo in the last few days. And we now have pathways for contacting 530 members of Congress. We did it. We just made democracy a little more functional.”
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