Apps and other online tools are making it easy to generate campaigns and contest decisions, and can ultimately speed up finding resolutions, too

Create outrage and challenge authority with just a few clicks

My app will be contesting that ticket (Image: CALLUM BENNETTS / MAVERICK)

IT WAS winter in California. Eric Schoffstall, a software developer in San Francisco, was driving through one of the state’s national parks when he found that the road ahead had been closed for the rest of the season – because of snow.

Except that California was and is in the middle of a drought, and there was no snow in sight. The road, Schoffstall figured, had been shut simply as a matter of routine.

“It really bugged me,” he says. He wondered whether he could fake public outrage around the issue, without wasting much money or time. “I started thinking about how I could automate making my voice heard.”

As a test, Schoffstall picked a smaller battle: light pollution at a park near his apartment. He used Amazon’s crowdsourcing marketplace …

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