[openspending-dev] [OpenSpending] Mission of OpenSpending

Tryggvi Björgvinsson tryggvi.bjorgvinsson at okfn.org
Tue Oct 15 20:15:41 UTC 2013

Hey Marc, Chris, and everyone else,

Thanks for the input. This is great!

I think you two are right. I debated this for quite some time before
settling on a slightly more vague edition. However this is the mission
statement so it really should not be vague. I guess I decided
enterprises needed to be more transparent in what they do after seeing
"The Tax Free Tour" [1] and reading about garment factories (and wanting
to know who buys from them) [2].

[1]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4o13isDdfY

I agree with you though. This will muddle our mission so I propose we
focus on government financial data only - then we can leave corporate
transparency to OpenCorporates ;-)

Here's an updated Mission statement. Basically I just swapped out "in
the world" for "of all governments" (please help me out if you can
phrase this better).

I also updated the opportunities section and removed "and enterprises"
so it now only says "accountable governments".

# Mission statement

OpenSpending is a community run project that aims to map, analyse,
understand, and display every financial transaction, plan, and contract,
of all governments.

# Opportunities

A world where everyone understands the financial world around them,
thanks to transparent and accountable governments, and can use that
understanding to affect positive social and political change.

On þri 15.okt 2013 18:34, Chris Taggart wrote:
> I think this process is worth doing, but I'm not sure this is quite right,
> in at least three key areas.
> 1. It doesn't mention government budgets and accounts. This, I think, is
> the core domain of OpenSpending, and there's still a great deal of work to
> do here. Do this comprehensively, and do it well, and make it relevant to
> people, and OpenSpending will have done an awful lot. In short this is the
> MVP.
> 2. 'every financial transaction' is not just overreach, it's also too vague
> to be useful. At the moment OpenSpending (I'm speaking as a friend of the
> project who's been involved from the early days) is falling behind on
> government transactions compared with commercial offerings, both in terms
> of scope and technically. I'm not at all sure that transactions (generally
> cash accounting) should actually be in the same database as accounts data
> (generally accrual accounting), and certainly my understanding is that
> there are already scaling issues with the limited number of transactions
> that are in the system. Broadening the scope will muddy the mission and
> distract from solving these real problems.
> 3. As Marc says, corporate data is a different space with different issues
> (as we at OpenCorporates know well).
> Hope this is useful
> Chris
> On 15 October 2013 17:31, Marc Joffe <marc at publicsectorcredit.org> wrote:
>> Tryggvi****
>> ** **
>> Thanks for laying this out.  I think it is very helpful to codify the
>> project’s general principles and approach. ****
>> ** **
>> One thing surprised me about the mission statement.  I thought that
>> OpenSpending would be limited to government financial transactions. I could
>> see the benefits of also including large corporate financial transactions,
>> but I think it would be too intrusive to gather information on the finances
>> of individuals and small, privately held organizations.****
>> ** **
>> Governments and corporate entities operating under a government charter
>> have a burden of accountability that we could usefully enforce. I don’t
>> think it is appropriate to shine the light of transparency on smaller, less
>> privileged or less powerful entities.****
>> ** **
>> What do you think?****
>> ** **
>> Marc  ****
>> ** **
>> *From:* openspending-dev-bounces at lists.okfn.org [mailto:
>> openspending-dev-bounces at lists.okfn.org] *On Behalf Of *Tryggvi
>> Björgvinsson
>> *Sent:* Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:17 AM
>> *To:* OpenSpending Discussion List; openspending-dev
>> *Subject:* [openspending-dev] Mission of OpenSpending****
>> ** **
>> Hi all,
>> Sorry for cross-posting but this is a pretty big thing.
>> Last summer we worked on a document laying out the project structure (to
>> support growth of the project and the community) [1]. This helped us map
>> the governance of the project and it's principles [2]
>> [1]:
>> https://docs.google.com/a/okfn.org/document/d/12FVxSQQBovNGnGdtujecFoRs54LBqgp4zDgH0tdeQdk
>> [2]: http://community.openspending.org/about/governance/#Principles
>> I've been thinking about this and the future of OpenSpending. Thinking
>> about the future of OpenSpending alone in some corner of the Internet
>> doesn't do any good, especially since this is a community project (as we
>> agreed on).
>> So I thought I'd throw out there what I've come up with and give all of
>> you a chance to participate.
>> What I've been trying to do is step back a little and think about the
>> project itself. What we are and where we're heading and how people can
>> participate (since we've mostly focused on how it is controlled).
>> I've created a first draft of four things which we can see as elevator
>> pitches to answer four different questions:
>> 1. What are we trying to do? (The mission statement)
>> 2. Why are we doing this? (The opportunities if we succeed)
>> 3. How diverse is the project? (What are the areas of collaboration for us)
>> 4. Who can participate? (anybody - but this is about skills we're looking
>> for)
>> One thing you'll notice is that the mission statement has a slightly
>> different focus than the vision laid out in the google doc mentioned
>> earlier. The google doc is more based on the database itself. I
>> intentionally put more focus on what we as a community are trying to do
>> (since I think the project is broader than a single database - even though
>> the database is a central piece of our strategy, the database isn't really
>> our mission).
>> Like I said, this is a first draft and I'd love to get input from you. Is
>> this actually who we are? Is this how you see OpenSpending? Can this be
>> phrased differently? Is something missing, especially collaboration areas
>> or skills? Is there something there that shouldn't be? Just about any
>> thoughts you have would be great!
>> # Mission statement
>> OpenSpending is a community run project that aims to map, analyse,
>> understand, and display every financial transaction, plan, and contract, in
>> the world.
>> # Opportunities
>> A world where everyone understands the financial world around them, thanks
>> to transparent and accountable governments and enterprises, and can use
>> that understanding to affect positive social and political change.
>> # Areas of collaboration
>> Open up/get data, wrangle large datasets, maintain a large database,
>> software development, create visualisations, user experience/interface,
>> help people understand data.
>> # Skills required
>> Advocacy, data wrangling, software maintenance, database administration,
>> software testing, software development, web design, data analysis, writing.
>> ****
>> -- ****
>> Tryggvi Björgvinsson****
>> Technical Lead, OpenSpending****
>> The Open Knowledge Foundation <http://okfn.org>****
>> *Empowering through Open Knowledge*****
>> http://okfn.org/ | @okfn <http://twitter.com/OKFN> | OKF on Facebook<https://facebook.com/OKFNetwork>|
>> Blog <http://blog.okfn.org/> | Newsletter<http://okfn.org/about/newsletter>
>> ****
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Tryggvi Björgvinsson

Technical Lead, OpenSpending

The Open Knowledge Foundation <http://okfn.org>

/Empowering through Open Knowledge/

http://okfn.org/ | @okfn <http://twitter.com/OKFN> | OKF on Facebook
<https://facebook.com/OKFNetwork> | Blog <http://blog.okfn.org/> |
Newsletter <http://okfn.org/about/newsletter>

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