Craig Newmark to help SF with problem-tracking

craigblog: reinventing government? or, am I fooling myself?

Hey, if you’re curious, I’ve just agreed to help the city take a look atthe way SF city departments plan to use information tech to provide bettercustomer service and other stuff.
Specifically, the biggest deal is a problem tracking system for the city.You would be able to report a problem, get a tracking number, and actuallysee that it gets resolved.
I’m also interpreting this as helping city department managers makethemselves more accountable to the people who work for them. (I alwaysassume that line workers know more about their jobs than their managers.)
I’m a little worried that this exercise could be taken as a photo op or something like that… but I’m committed to something much more than that.
Does this make sense?
Observations from the first meeting:
First thing… I wonder "what am I doing here?" That’s my inner nerd talking.
The crowd is very ethnically diverse, which might not mean anything beyondthe short run. It does remind me that whatever one does on the Net maynot benefit people without access.
I see a lot of people who are also wondering what this is about, and get astrong sense that people are here out of a vague sense of civic duty. They want things to be better, but have little sense of power.
Some of the more populist folks, including myself, gather together to protect ourselves from unanticipated conservative dangers. We wonder if this is a sting operation designed to separate us from the herd.
I remember the joke about not wanting to know how sausage or law is made.
One reason I’m here is because I trust Mike Farrah, who will either becomethe Leo McGarry or Joshua Lyman for the city. I feel like Toby: I’m the guy who does the thing. Am I fooling myself? Should I dive incompletely, or give myself a day or two off?
More to come …