Crowdgauge represents an open source online public engagement tool offered entirely as a “fork” opportunity on GitHub (meaning that any person with coding expertise can copy and amend the tool’s code at no cost). Because using Crowdgauge currently requires either coding expertise or consultant advising, this platform does not fit neatly within the parameters established for the Online Public Engagement Emporium. However, since the code can be adapted to a specific project with relatively minimal effort, it is included here to give readers a better sense of the emerging opportunities that may arise through open source tools such as Crowdgauge.
Crowdgauge is conceived as an education, gaming and scenario-evaluation tool. Participants walk through a series of screens exploring their personal priorities for their community, the potential impacts of proposed plan elements on their priorities, and the impacts of their conceptual budget choices on their previously-stated priorities. The resulting process allows individuals to explore how their own fiscal stances may reinforce or conflict with their community priorities. A highly visual infographic-based interface uses a system of color and size changes among icons to give a real-time demonstration of the impacts of choices on previously established priorities. Participants can compare multiple scenarios, but there is no existing download or data compilation mechanism (presumably, this could be incorporated where necessary).