'Tech for social good' category?

Do people here think a ‘Tech for social good’ (technology to better the lives of others) category would be useful here?
I am suggesting it for the following reasons:

  • to raise awareness of the subject and where it might/does cross over with other categories
  • to profile a few of the groups and events under the category e.g. Net Squared Midlands
  • to enable others like me who are/might be interested in the subject to self-identify
  • to identify any downsides to having a separate category here

All constructive comments welcome


Is that a way of saying ‘work that you don’t get paid for’? I don’t see any reason a project that provides an income can’t be for social good or something unpaid for social good can’t be a project. What advantage do you see in a separate branch in the hierarchy?

I don’t think we need a separate forum category, but I would very much like to see discussions of that nature here. In fact, I have had one percolating in my mind for a couple of weeks, will post it when it is ready!

I don’t mean it as a way of saying ‘work that you don’t get paid for’ - in fact, plenty of people get paid for doing social good and part of the work of my organisation (RnR Organisation) is to encourage people to use tech to do their work for social good better; I guess I think the majority of people here do all or most of their work for personal profit so a Tech for social good category might be of interest to a small but significant minority, and some people might develop an interest if they learn more about the subject so bringing it together under a single heading might be the best way to approach it; I’d be interested to know under which category @halfer was thinking of putting his putative post; anyway it’s the first day for this post so I’d like to let it run and see who (if anyone) else responds :slight_smile:

For what it’s worth, I put my post in “The Lounge”.

I’d certainly have used a “Social good” category, but I’m minded to think we won’t get enough posts in it to warrant a new one. Happy to be proved wrong, though!

I’ve mentioned this to @paulineroche before, but I figure it’s worth saying in public too - generally a new category will be created if there is a perceived need for it - say, because people are talking about a specific topic a lot. All the categories we have at the moment are a bit arbitrary, with some being more successful than others (I don’t think that Geek gets much love), and some of which have already been culled.

But, having said that, due to the way this forum works, I’m not sure the categories are all that important anyway - is there anyone here that will avoid specific posts because of the category they’re in, or maybe only look in specific categories? This might be different if I used the categories page as the homepage, but I’m not sure were large enough to make it worth it.

I certainly welcome ‘social good’ posts, and should there be enough of them created to warrant a new category I’d be happy to create one, but I don’t see that happening just yet.

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To continue this thread, here’s a link to the Oct-Nov Birmingham Council for Voluntary Service (bvsc) Update magazine with an article I’ve written about tech for social good in the digital transformation of the voluntary sector on pp. 16-17 enter link description here- I would welcome comments and questions to me from colleagues here (and aby tips about how to extract my article from the whole pdf so it can stand alone!)

I’ll weigh in. I do use the category as well as the title of a post to decide whether to click on it. Since I only have times like now (Sunday morning, coffee too hot), or whenever a test suite is taking ages to run, or suchlike brief interludes to look at posts I try to go for ones that don’t seem to require knowledge of something I don’t have - even if that is knowledge I would want. Mostly I pick up Lounge posts, sometimes Events seem interesting, but if stuff crops up in the other (somewhat little-used) categories I probably won’t bother with them.

I do get the impression the category system is divided along lines that are not necessarily appropriate to the variety of subject matter we see here, but also I can’t really say anything more substantial or useful than that, because I don’t really know what the problem actually is.

The trouble with categories is that they are deeply intertwingled. Where does a job for social good go?

Sorry if I’m being a bit thick but I still don’t understand what ‘tech for social good’ or ‘social enterprise’ actually mean. Is it about intention (‘good’ is subjective), funding mechanism, funding source or something else? Most of my ideas are tech that I consider to be for social good but I don’t see any way of funding them because I don’t meet the needs of any customer and don’t wish to be an unsustainable charity . Am I missing something?

The Tech for good meetup in London define it like this: …it’s never been easier to use digital technology to tackle some of the world’s toughest social and environmental challenges. Tech for Good is a meetup group that brings together hackers, coders, developers and designers with people who really understand a social problem and want to build digital solutions to social challenges".

Social Enterprise UK define social enterprises as “businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community”. Examples besides my business are The Big Issue, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, The Eden Project, the Co-Op and John Lewis’s,

I’m happy to continue the debate here for a bit longer if it helps more people to understand this as a potential new category here, but not indefinitely as I need to get on with doing it, writing about it elsewhere and building up the community - so if anyone else has thoughts about the subject but been lurking so far, now would be a good time to chip in!

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