A tech support approach to a better community

That decaying building on the corner — haven’t you wanted to report it to someone? Those idiots speeding down your block — can you get the city to install a speed bump? How about that gaping hole in the sidewalk outside your neighbor’s house — somebody could get hurt. Why doesn’t someone do something?

If you’ve ever wanted City Hall to work like tech support, your dream has sort of come true. A new website, SeeClickFix, will take your complaint and create a trouble ticket. More than that, in San Francisco they’ll automatically forward the problem to the appropriate SF Supervisor’s office.

Though the site is based in New Haven, Conn., they have a local volunteer who coordinates San Francisco issues. The site already has more than 500 open issues and over 200 closed ones. I think that’s for the whole site, not just San Francisco, but statistics are a little hard to come by.

ow all those open tickets get closed is a little more vague. According to an email from site founder Ben Berkowitz, just as anybody can open a ticket, anybody can close one — or reopen it.

Clearly it’s an idea requiring a certain amount of cooperation and good will. I was concerned that some crank could overload the system with dozens of complaints a day, rendering it useless, but Berkowitz said they have “human moderators to control excessive and possibly fraudulent clicking.”

But hey, I’ll give it a try. Huge semi trucks get lost on my block all the time, because they turned the wrong way on Cesar Chavez and now they’re trying to get back across the freeway… maybe some enhanced signage would help them find their usual destination, the San Francisco Produce Market in the Bayshore industrial district.

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