CommunityFDL Main Blog

Re-Introducing the Roots Project


Shorter me:  here's the beta for the Roots Project we've already built with volunteer effort.  It's not debugged, fully functional or ready for prime time, but I'm showing it to you anyway, so you can get a loose idea of what we're after:  a social networking site for people with progressive values, allowing them to form their own groups, sharing information and best practices nationally while acting together locally. 

What we need now is the ability to hire a lead developer to direct the remaining programming effort to make this a user friendly, functional base site for grass roots organizing and information sharing all over the country.  If you'd like to help us hire a developer, please contribute what you can through this link the donation options for credit cards or PayPal at the upper right side of this page (paypal and credit cards accepted) or send a check directly to The Fire Dog Lake Company, 8033 Sunset Blvd. #966, Los Angeles, CA 90046.  Please make your amount a denomination ending in .75. 

We lack the infrastructure yet to respond with thanks to everyone individually, and hopefully, we can get beyond that soon, but let me say, very publicly, thank you thank you thank you!

Last week, 2,962 of you participated in the survey I linked through this post.  Here is where you can view the results in summary format.  I've shielded the comments because some of you gave personal contact information there, but I will say that more than a third of you offered comments, and I can count on my fingers the number of negative or critical comments.  That's humbling and a bit overwhelming.  Thank you.

As you can see, the overwhelming number of you told us you would at least possibly be interested in offering financial support for what we do here, and the most preferred strategies were the recurring optional subscription model and the appeals for special projects funding.  This post re-introducing the Roots Project is one of those special projects.  It comes on the heels of our Plame House appeals to help cover the Libby Trial and our appeals to help finance the publication of Marcy Wheeler's Anatomy of Deceit. Let me pause to thank you all again for your generosity in those efforts.

There's a lot more I could say about the survey data, but I want to stay focused on the Roots Project at the moment.  Suffice it to say it appears we may be able to reach our goal to institutionalize and sustain what we do here at least in substantial part through your direct support, offering a platform that not only continues to advance progressive values nationally, but which also promotes the development of writing, reporting and organizing talent at fair market value.  We need to help build a pipeline for long term movement talent and careers, and no one should have to starve or cheat their families' needs to take part in that. We can't ask for or operate on the basis of garage band, voluntary sacrifice forever, and you can help us change that, in support of a viable, "vaster" left wing conspiracy. Thanks again. 

MySpace and Facebook are great.  They allow people to connect based on their interests and values.  We believe the Roots Project will represent the next great leap forward in that kind of viral, powerful networking based on progressive values.  We'll be able to help you link up with others who feel the same way you do about the world anywhere in the country.  You will be able to learn what activists and organizers are doing, for example, on local environmental advocacy in a far away county, sharing their materials and best practices, to apply in your own neck of the woods.  The possibilities are limitless.  You won't just have the ability to post "diaries," but also the ability to organize according to groups of your own creation, along lines of geography, issue interest or lifestyle.  It's the new, national-cum-local town square for progressives across the country.  Neat.

Many of you have told us you want this.  There have been other attempts to put something like this together, but none so deeply entrenched in the netroots/grassroots community.  I know there are many other worthy efforts out there, and we wish them success.  We're just responding to the needs and requests of our community here, trying to deliver on our promises.  We also intend to keep the platform based on the open source Drupal framework, because we like the philosophy of the open source programming model.

But we need your help to accomplish all this.  Based on your feedback, we know the beta site needs: 

  • better front page design, with more intuitive navigation and less heavy text reliance
  • an assisted sign-on and log in process that will help people join groups of likely interest right up front

We've done a lot to turn those needs into specific project specifications.  What we need now are the resources to pay someone to take this .7 beta to a full 1.0 status. 

For that, we need your help.  If you'd like to support this effort, please  contribute what you can through this link the donation options for credit cards or PayPal at the upper right side of this page (paypal and credit cards accepted) or send a check directly to The Fire Dog Lake Company, 8033 Sunset Blvd. #966, Los Angeles, CA 90046.  Please make your amount a denomination ending in .75.

Once again, on behalf of our whole community here:  THANK YOU! 

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Pachacutec did not, as is commonly believed, die in 1471. To escape the tragic sight of his successors screwing up the Inca Empire he’d built, he fled east into the Amazon rain forest, where he began chewing lots of funky roots to get higher than Hunter Thompson ever dared. Oddly, these roots gave him not only a killer buzz, but also prolonged his life beyond what any other mortal has known, excluding Novakula. Whatever his doubts of the utility of living long enough to see old friends pop up in museums as mummies, or witness the bizarrely compelling spectacle of Katherine Harris, he’s learned a thing or two along the way. For one thing, he’s learned the importance of not letting morons run a country, having watched the Inca Empire suffer many civil wars requiring the eventual ruler to gain support from the priests and the national military. He now works during fleeting sober moments to build a vibrant progressive movement sufficiently strong and sustainable to drive a pointed stake through the heart of American “conservatism” forever. He enjoys a gay marriage, classic jazz and roots for the New York Mets.