Open311 is leading the national push for open standards. It is the next generation of civic issue tracking, based on the traditional 311 service. The API is free for cities to adopt and many have followed suit.

While Open311 is celebrated as having the potential to revolutionize public service, how much talk is too much talk? How usable is the API for developers?

Ben, a civic hacker and Code for America fellow, is a skeptic. We asked Ben for an Open311 reality check. Also, if you’re interested in experimenting with Open311, checkout 311 Labs.