Action Network looks very interesting.
First the context.
We started at the very high level abstract nation wide map, and are moving down. The complaint is that the map does not help any particular campaign very much. In contrast, Action network is very focussed on the individual group, emails, texting, events, connecting with users. A great role model for me. There is even an api to connect to it.
In general I am skeptical of existing software packages, but Action Network looks great at first glance.
They really do support a tree of organizations. They have a database for each group, and one can pay more to network those together using syndication. They then copy data vertically, but not horizontally in the hierarchy.
And they use ruby. I use Python and am moving to Ruby. So like I said, all looks good at first glance. Lots of great ideas to copy.
What is their limitation? Well they really have separate databases for each group, a little syndication into trees, and some data copying between syndicated groups. But the hierarchy is only for groups, not for any other content type.
So they could not do the Defund the Police, tree of links.
You also could not really do a Green Party map. You would have to access a separate database for each group. Whereas the maps have a single data model of the whole Green Party, Action Network groups are a bit like data silos. So you would also not want to do a national social graph on top of Action Network. Also any query across multiple groups would be a bit difficult.
I wonder if New Jersey is paying for the syndication feature?
So what should we do? Well that depends on what you want to do. I am in general happy to accommodate your needed customizations. Everyone else needs the same things. What I do not want to do is to integrate with Action Network just for one state. There are just too many systems to interface with for me to do them all myself. So the obvious solution is for me to make the changes you want, and work with a New Jersey developer volunteer to integrate with Action Network.
You may also want to take a look at a politician on the new jersey map. There is an option to endorse the politician. Quite easy to do the same thing for meetings, ask people to click on some buttons to register for a meeting, and get the zoom details by email or text.
So the summary is as follows. Action Network is brilliant for a single group trying to engage the local community. The map is great as a hierarchical model for the whole country. I need to figure out how to merge those two functionalities. Your guidance would be most appreciated, both for New Jersey, and because all of the other states (and countries) need the same thing.
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