You may not have noticed it, but there's a new set of ads running on SO (and maybe other sites) right now:
I guess we got approached by some voter registration org about running these, and it seemed like a good idea... So we're running them. They appear for folks who we think are in the USA, and just link to a tool that helps you get registered to vote in the next election.
Big deal, right? Well... It kinda is.
We run our little elections here on Stack Exchange too, to pick moderators for each graduated site. It's something we've found is absolutely critical to making a site work for the folks who've actually built it. There's something that happens when folks actually get to decide who represents them, something that fundamentally changes their relationship with each other. As much as democracy can be a truly frightening gamble at times, it does actually work. At least, when folks bother to participate in it.
So anyway, we're running these ads as sort of a public service to the folks who read and benefit from these sites - who benefit, indirectly, from democracy - to remind them that participation is a pretty damn good idea. But we're only running them for folks whose country happens to cover a strip of land across North America... And I've heard rumors now that there may be elections held in other places too.
What could we do to provide a similar public service to all the folks who use and benefit from Stack Exchange?
Now, I'm not asking if we should do anything; maybe we shouldn't. I'm definitely not committing to doing anything - this is just some thoughts that came up in a conversation with co-workers. Maybe this little ad campaign is a total failure and no one clicks through. Maybe it's just entirely too much work to scale this out.
But... Could we? How?