Steven Clift has written an essay outlining his wish-list for redesigning online democracy.

The central idea is:

"The typical e-government experience is like walking into a barren
room with a small glass window, a singular experience to the exclusion
of other community members.”

I agree.  You’re looking at something online and you don’t know if you’re alone in seeing it, if you’re alone in your view of it’s impact, you’re alone when you want to talk to someone about it.

Steven proposes that government website pages should have "limited public forums" so that people can meet on the "sidewalk" and discuss what they’ve be reading/doing.  Why not ensure that every page has a comments feature?  Make registration a requirement to help weed out the abuse, but let people talk about their government together.

It’s a great idea that needs a cultural change in government.  Let’s start with DirectGov.  Shouldn’t be a problem.


Simon Dickson · 25th June 2008 at 1:45 pm

No promises, but it could be feasible. In a matter of days, you’re going to see a v-e-r-y significant website move from a conventional CMS to a blogging platform. As you’d expect, comments will be ‘off’ by default. But the potential for comments is built in… and is just a tickbox away. With the option in front of them, begging to be used, it’s only a matter of time.
Spot on about Directgov, though. I’m beginning to find it insulting that they can’t find a fraction of their monster marketing budget to run even a basic blog. A parallel, Wiki-fied version of Directgov was suggested at the Barcamp… and would make a lot of sense.

alex · 30th June 2008 at 7:45 am

Shane and Simon
Directgov, SOCITM and others are increasingly guilty of the vested interest disease.
Who guards the guards ?
Answer no-one and the end result is beginning to make people desert these sites and institutions as they do not listed. Communication is all very well, but to be respected needs the occsional nod to listenting.
See this post about SOCITM and their continued intransigence

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