Civic coding strengthens open source skills

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I’ve been thinking a bit too much lately about GitHub and More broadly, I’ve had my mind on open source + community. Sometimes this is called social coding.

Social coding can take on a variety of shapes and sizes but is short-hand for what I can describe as loosely coupled, sometimes geographically distributed collaboration and coordination around open source projects. Civic coding is a form of social coding focused on municipal projects. Civic coding is a big part of what we do in the Brigade and why we’re running The Great American Civic Hack this summer.

Through this campaign for civic coding we want Brigades and their members to strengthen and show off their open source skills. By strengthening our skills we will make better open source, civic software for ourselves and each other. By showing off our skills we will let others know what civic coding is and what impact it has.

So, what does it mean to strengthen open source skills? Basically it means set a goal and commit to it. Do you have 10 issues that have been nagging? Close them. Have you always been meaning to code that "EZ Button" installer for your software? Code it. Are the best pieces of your project fragmented across forks? Merge or prune. Have you been meaning to update to latest versions? Get it done.

And how do we show this off? Tell us what you’ll be working on this summer by nominating your favorite open source repo from GitHub or It could be a big project used all over or it could be something your local Brigade is hacking together. We’ll monitor and report on everyone’s activities and achievements.

We’re handing out some prizes to say thanks and have a little competitive fun. Who knows, your participation in could even land you a trip to The White House Champions of Change event in July honoring civic hackers for their contributions.

Civic coding is something that Brigade members and other civic hackers do every day for the public good. We think it’s appropriate respect and honor the work. That’s what National Day of Civic Hacking and The Great American Hack are all about.

Originally posted on the Code for America blog. Reposted under Creative Commons.

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Kevin is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he currently lives with his wife and daughter. He is twice graduated from Virginia Tech; with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History (‘92) and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Applications (‘99).

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