It’s 2012, do you know where your public meetings are?

If you’re a busy person, you’re probably not that concerned with tracking local public meetings. Maybe the last one you attended didn’t leave you feeling completely satisfied. Or maybe you’re just not showing up any more — it’s too hard to find out what’s getting decided at which meeting.

You’re not alone. Meetings aren’t fun. But we think meetings are important — they are often the formal opportunity to give input on important decisions about the place you live. We meet our neighbors at meetings. If more people attended, and were more engaged, could meetings actually be more effective?

In Civic Works, we’re thinking about tools to improve the experience of citizen participation. We see that the liquidity of information about public meetings is pretty bad. Fixing meetings themselves is hard, but maybe we can make it easier to find out about meetings and topics? So, we created Meeting Matters.

Meet Meeting Matters

Meeting Matters is a community-edited directory of public meetings. If there’s a public meeting taking place, we want to get it listed here. Anyone can add meetings or make edits. The site is currently in an early stage of development, but we have some ideas about where it could go from here.

For example, what if it was much easier to find out about meetings—maybe tracking your personal hot topics, or meetings taking place near your home or workplace? Rather than waiting for your municipality to publish info about upcoming meetings in a particular format, what if meeting information could be added and updated by thousands of concerned individuals, for everyone’s benefit? What if making a poster or handout for an upcoming meeting was really easy? What if more people could contribute to meetings, either by coming in person or submitting comments before or after? Meeting Matters can be the foundation for all these ideas.

How can I get involved?

This project is just getting started. Most importantly, you can add some meetings!

We’re also interested in hearing your ideas and criticisms. We want people to take the data and re-use it in many different ways. We hope other open source developers will help us get through our long todo list of possible features, or take a look at the project on Github.