I am half way done with California. It is the biggest state, some 54 local parties, so I thought I would do it myself. Here is their current map.
Initially I wanted to write a web spider to crawl the different web pages. It turns out you really have to do this work by hand The CA green party home page lists all of the local parties. But many are fictitious. They just link back to the CA green party website. Lying makes us look bad, and it makes it harder for real activists to find the real local parties. So those got ignored.
Many had a URL, but clicking on it yielded a 404, a dead page. Those got ignored. Many had a Facebook page. That often happens. But the most recent date was frequently 2011. Those got ignored.
It is hard to test emails. My standard is, if they have a live web page, or twitter Id, or recent facebook page, they get listed. Otherwise not.
Turns out that California has an email list. The best thing is after I am done, I will send them an email, asking for corrections, inviting people to login and manage their own pages, create their own mini website.
That has the added advantage of creating visibility. The more people know about these pages, the more they will be used. There is a positive feedback effect, which appears to be just starting.
It is also good, after a state is done to tweet to everyone in that state. Just append /contact-lists to the state URL. And to email everyone in the state.
And if you have any problems with the software, or any suggestions please speak up. We do not have a dedicated testing staff. Sorry. So your user feedback is critical.
One last point, when we started out, Alex from Pennsylvania did the data entry. I offered to do California, but was too busy fixing bugs to get to it. The east coast had a lot of map pins. The US looked unbalanced. I teased him that he had an east coast perspective. Now the map is looking a lot more balanced. He also pointed out that the map helps us visualize which states are most vibrant. Maybe those are the places which deserve the most investment. It is not for me to decide, but I am glad if this is a useful data visualization tool
Hope this helps.
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