Say Goodbye to Madison

After Seven Years of Helping People Govern Better Together, We’re Shutting Down the Open Source Public Engagement Platform on 2/10/19

The OpenGov Foundation
5 min readFeb 4, 2019

On February 10, 2019 we are shutting down Madison.

If you have used Madison to publish public policy documents and would like to download an archive of your document’s activity, you can do so through the end of Sunday, February 10th (EST). How-to instructions are included at the end of this post.

After February 10th, we will turn Madison into a static website. Published documents, discussions and debates will be permanently archived as they exist today. Should you wish to continue using Madison, you can stand up your own version of Madison. The code is free and open source on Github for you to do so.

Madison’s code remains free and open source for you to reuse and improve.

Since December 2011, The OpenGov Foundation has developed Madison for public servants and citizens to develop better public policy together. Through four major releases, The OGF maintained and improved Madison for thousands of citizen-users and more than seventy-five local, state, federal and international governments. We are honored by every one of those users, and by the hundreds of thousands of additional people who stopped by Madison to witness smarter, more equitable 21st Century democracy in action. It was a helluva run.

Over the past seven years, Madison proved that digital-first and inclusive policy-making is the best way to govern in the Internet Age. Madison helped protect the free and open Internet, channeling and amplifying hundreds of thousands of citizen and stakeholder voices in order to sink SOPA and PIPA. Members of Congress used Madison to publish secretive Internet- and privacy-threatening international trade agreements — ACTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership — for public scrutiny and input. Madison gave birth to the first citizen-drafted legislation — The OPEN Act — and legislative amendments in the history of the United States Congress. Madison also helped to launch dozens of pieces of groundbreaking government reform and modernization legislation, with the 115th Congress’ Hoyer-McCarthy draft bill to create a Congressional Digital Service potentially the most transformative.

Many of those bills have become law. The DATA Act and FISMA and dozens of local open government data laws are some of the most impactful laws made with Madison. Beyond law and legislation, Madison powered efficient and open public engagement on an array of rules and regulations — the City of Syracuse’s body-worn camera policy for local law enforcement and the City of Chicago’s smart city data privacy rules are but two examples. Leading non-governmental organizations leveraged Madison to improve their policy agendas, from the Sunlight Foundation and MapLight to Code for America and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). To top it all off, the Obama Administration used Madison to draft and publish the U.S. Federal Government’s public engagement playbook.

Madison Version 1.0 Circa December 2011

All of this was made possible for significantly less than $1 million, cobbled together from grants and the odd charitable donation.

Click here to say thank you for 7+ years of Madison with a tax-deductible donation to The OpenGov Foundation. We’d be honored to have your support.

Special thanks to the wonderful people who helped create and improve Madison over the years — Aaron Ogle, Tanner Doshier, Patrick Bateman, Seth Etter, Chris Birk, Bill Hunt, Leili Slutz, John Athayde, Aaron Bartnick, Meag Doherty, Mary Kate Mezzetti, Chris Noessel, Kate Faherty, Ross Tsiomenko, Sean Keefer, Matt Steinberg, Michael Hardesty, Bryan Connor, Jayson Manship and the inSourceCode team.

Thank you to the directors and advisors who helped us steer The Good Ship OGF during the Madison years — Phaedra Chrousos, Michelle Lee, Aaron Snow, Laurent Crenshaw, Rich Hirshberg, Bob Sofman, Jo-Marie St. Martin, Janine Gianfredi, Peter Karman, Scout Addis, Patrick Dowd, Darrell Issa, Tom Davis, Lanham Napier, Brandon Andrews, Dr. Anne Washington, Karien Bezuidenhout and Larry Brady.

And we will always remain grateful to the people who financially supported The OGF so that Madison could remain free to all — Darrell and Kathy Issa, The Shuttleworth Foundation, The John S. and James L Knight Foundation, The Consumer Technology Association and The Rita Allen Foundation.

Madison proved that when those who serve in government and those they represent are truly and meaningfully connected, great things are always possible. The OGF family carried that torch for seven long years. I look forward to helping the next group of crazy, compassionate and creative people who take on the endless work of renewing representative democracy for this day, and all the brighter days to come.

Be kind, take care of one another and see you around the Internet,

Executive Director & Co-Founder

The OpenGov Foundation

Instructions for Downloading Public Comments on a Document You Published with Madison

If you have published a document on Madison and would like to download an archive of all the public engagement activity — edits, discussion, debate and comments — you can do so in 4 easy steps.

  1. Log into your document sponsor account at
1. Log into your document sponsor account at

2. Click your user name in the top right corner of the page. From the dropdown menu, click “Sponsors.”

2. Click your user name in the top right corner of the page and select “Sponsors.”

3. Click the icon in the “Comments” column for each document to download a CSV file containing the public engagement activity for that document.

3. Click in the “Comments” column for each document to download a CSV file.

4. If you are a member of multiple “Sponsors” accounts, click each “Sponsor” name and follow step #3 for each account.

4. If you are a member of multiple “Sponsors” accounts, click each “Sponsor” name and follow step #3.



The OpenGov Foundation

Serving those who serve the people in America’s legislatures, from Congress to your city council.