Ask your political candidates about Free Software
Challenging local, regional, and national politicians on their position on Free Software is a very important ongoing activity. Particularly in the run-up to elections, engaging candidates and parties in software related questions can have a big impact.
How to ask your candidates
When to ask
Any time is a good time to ask your candidates about Free Software, but the run up to elections provides a particularly good opportunity as more attention is paid to the policies, intentions and promises of politicians and their parties. FSFE maintains a wiki calendar of European elections which can be used to determine the best time to initiate your own 'ask your candidates' campaign. The calendar relies on community contributed data, so please update and improve it if you can.
What questions to ask
Before you start asking questions you should think about what you want to ask. We encourage you to dive into our different areas of activities, our news items, and take a look at already asked questions as an inspiration for your own questions.
How to contact political candidates
- Identify candidates working in an area where an election is taking place, and ideally who have knowledge or experience relating to Free Software and/or Open Standards. Such a person is more likely understand and respond to your question.
- Send the candidate your questions by email, post, or both.
- Publish your message (eg. on blogs.fsfe.org) in order to increase the incentive for the candidate to reply.
- Let us know that you've sent it so that we can raise awareness of your actions and help to follow them up.
How to contact political parties
- Create a survey, and send a printed copy to the party's postal address..
- For each response that you receive read through the answers to your questions and summarise them on the dedicated survey answers wiki page.
How to increase the impact of your actions
- Inform us of your plan to contribute to the campaign so that we can notify you of previous attempts and provide assistance.
- Create a wiki page with the questions that you asked and the answers that you received (examples: German parliamentary elections 2009, Viennese communal election 2010
- Blog and microblog regularly about your activities in order to give others the opportunity to follow what you're doing. Some ideas for what to blog about include what prompted you to begin contacting candidates in the first place, your experiences composing and sending the questions or survey, any interesting enquiries you receive as a result of sending them, and what responses you expect to receive.
- Once you've gathered responses from enough candidates or parties we will create a page on fsfe.org summarising them, possibly with a coinciding press release (example: German Federal election 2009).
- 2013-07-03: [Germany] Parliament elections: The parties' positions on Free Software, and the complete answers.
- 2012-05-13: [Germany] State parliament election in Nordrhein-Westfalen, and the complete answers.
- 2012-05-06: [Germany] State parliament election in Schleswig-Holstein, and the complete answers.
- 2012-03-25: [Germany] State parliament election in Saarland, and the complete answers.
- 2011-10-23: [Switzerland] Elections for the national and city council in Switzerland
- 2011-09-18: [Germany] State parliament election in Berlin, and the complete answers.
- 2011-05-22: [Germany] State parliament election in Bremen, and the complete answers.
- 2011-03-27: [Germany] State parliament election in Baden Württemberg, and the complete answers.
- 2011-03-27: [Germany] State parliament election in Rheinland-Pfalz, and the complete answers.
- 2011-03-20: [Germany] State parliament election in Sachsen-Anhalt, and the complete answers.
- 2010-10-10: [Austria] Elections for the municipal and district council in Vienna
- 2009-09-27: [Germany] Elections to the Bundestag