A very eloquent post this morning discusses the meager situation of several German open data projects, which enjoy a solid following but meager funding basis.

The following points are made in the section „Mehr (Selbst-)Ehrlichkeit, bitte“ (more self-honesty, please) which I would like to discuss here:

  • Community can build prototypes very well, but we can’t do permanent operation. We should stop promising that.

Prototypes represent a genuine interest to get involved, improve the data, make a statement. They are often just a means-to-an-end, and it is rare that they become operational. When it happens, it is often a Very Good Thing, but the sustainability of both the maintenance and continued prototyping should be a much bigger topic for our community and partners.

  • Authorities are good at running things permanently, but currently they fail to collect the well-running prototypes from the community and make them permanent. It’s quite a waste.

I couldn’t agree more. It is the reason why I am eager to build on the experience and create a more resilient platform with better visibility and mandate. It should be connected to the showcases of open data portals, awareness campaigns, and a service desk the authorities can contact.

  • Community work means give and take. In particular, that doesn’t mean that you get a claim to finished applications in return. You get good ideas, ideas that you as a government agency would otherwise have to pay a lot of money for commercially.

I heart this. The new Operations category on this forum has the purpose of bridging some of this gap in both directions.

  • Digital volunteering is also voluntary work and should be hung up and promoted as prominently as other voluntary work.

Yes! x1000. This is an area of work in progress, please contact me if you’d like to help.

  • Companies are not the solution for everything, because companies in a capitalism (have to) earn money first and foremost. But companies can be a platform for doing things together - if companies are controlled and sufficiently paid.

Spreading open data literacy in the commercial sector is not a bad thing - and no small feat. Events and hacktivism helps, but we also need new business models, and the startup support that gives them a fighting chance.

Translated with (free version)