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Supporting Candidates


Every candidate needs a web site. GreenMaps.US offers instant web sites to any candidate who needs one. Much easier than finding your own developer. This article provides the most recent information, and is targeted at state parties.



 

Every candidate needs a web site.  Indeed in Arizona, every candidate is legally required to have a web site.  The problem is that it takes a lot of time and resources to find someone to build a website, and if all the Green Party candidates have their own web sites, and personal developers,  there are no developer resources left for other activities.  Really the party should be supporting candidates with instant web sites. The solution is to use a web site template.  Then it only takes a few minutes to enter the data, and generate the site.   GreenMaps.us does this.  One just needs to enter the person’s name, the office, their district or their address,  a candidate profile, a photo or logo, social media links, and a few minutes later they have a simple web page.  They can then login and add and edit content.  The site also supports banner ads. And embedded videos.  It supports sub domains   Here is an example.
https://james-conn.greenmaps.us

But we should be doing more than that for candidates.  We should be sharing data with candidates.  Historically the Green Party, and most corporate departments, are very possessive about their data.  This leads to “islands of automation” which do not talk to each other.  Either the candidates do not get access to the state party database, or if they do get access they spam the voters, seeking funds.   Candidates should be able to send approved messages to state party voters in their district.  Data which candidates collect, should be treated as private to them during the campaign, but should be shared with state party after the campaign is over.  This should be written into the candidate contract.

I love Nation Builder, but it has mixed reviews when it comes to  supporting multiple candidates.  They do not have a candidate content type, nor a candidate web site template.  They sell services, they want every candidate to have their own NB account.  That  gets expensive, particularly for new candidates.

Multiple NB servers also leads to data duplication, eventually inconsistencies, and email overload.  On the other hand, the GP AZ is using NB, so we should push it as far as possible.  Here is what I think we should do.

It is easy for me to create a web page for each candidate.  As soon as  a candidate has a way for people to contact them, let me know and I will add them to GreenMaps.  Even if they do not have a photo, they can inherit the state party logo.  As time goes on they can improve their web page, by adding and editing their own content, but no one else’s.  Unlike NB, and WordPress, Green Maps has a very sophisticated security model, maybe its best feature.

Sadly neither NB nor GreenMaps supports fund raising for multiple candidates with the legally required reporting.  GreenMaps candidate templates do support a fund raising page URL, such as on PayPal, which can then do the credit card processing and FEC required reporting.  Other such services can also be linked to.

As for membership,  here is what I believe is technically possible.  On NB, we could create a subscribe page for each candidate.  They would all look almost all the same, but would have a hidden field with the candidate’s name who recruited them.  That field would then be entered as a tag in the database, and we could treat that data as private to that candidate for the duration of the campaign.   I think that is about the best that we can do, with Nation Builder.
Of course the devil is always in the details.  I have not actually programmed this on Nation Builder yet.  If the same person is already in the database thanks to the state party or another candidate it probably will not b e possible to add them as supporters of another candidate.  And it is also not possible for the person to subscribe once and follow multiple candidates.  So this solution is not perfect, but it is simple, fast, doable, and reasonably reliable.  
The other alternative is to sign up on Green Maps, and then at the end of the campaign import the data into NB.  With a few lines of code GreenMaps does allow a person to follow multiple candidates.

The great thing about using a shared template, is that any improvements which one candidate asks for, are instantly shared with all of the other candidates sites.  To date huge numbers of recommended changes have been incorporated into the site.  If a successful candidate wants to push things further, I am most happy to open source the underlying technology.  https://forestwiki.com

In fact I want to do that.   It is very dangerous to be a single point that can be attacked.  Julian Assange made that mistake.  Furthermore global greens needs a web site, supporting 50+ languages, where each translator can only edit the content in their language.   

Questions?  Comments?  
“All of us are smarter than any of us. ”

 




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