Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wikocracy and Wikitics

What would politics look like if they were actually democratic and the people were able to discuss and decide which goals were the most important to society? And what if they were allowed an active voice in political directions and decisions? Well, it seems at least one representative from Utah, Steve Urquhart is finding out how it should work and is putting it to good use on his Wiki Politicopia! A Wiki where users create summaries of bills, pro and con arguments, comments, links, and more.

Extreme Democracy -- When Wikis Inform Legislation.

To bolster his new effort at interaction and transparency, Urquhart posted his school voucher bill in its entirety on Politicopia before he distributed it to his colleagues in the Utah House. Soon the page expanded with pro and con sections with findings from states like Vermont and Wisconsin accompanied by a section for comments, as wel as links to news articles about the bill.

“For six years we’ve been chasing our tail on this bill, and today the bill passed in very large part because of Politicopia. When private dialogue was made public, the main area of criticism was publicly revealed to be fictitious,” Urquhart told WebProNews in an email.

Modern advocates of direct democracy often suggest e-democracy (sometimes including wikis, television and Internet forums) to address the problem of the lack of direct democracy in this country. There have been tests on this premise of what is sometimes called Wikocracy.
On the Wikocracy platform, you can freely edit the USA PATRIOT Act, The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, your State's law on gay marriage, your city's zoning ordinances. If you'd like to change a law that is not yet on this platform, you can easily create a page and import the text you want to change. You can also write your own laws, post blogs, collaborate and spar with other users.

And there are even experiments in direct democracy on a global scale at Worldwide Direct Democracy Movement. It is a new initiative and there are many obstacles to overcome, but a more worthwhile endeavor I haven't seen in a very long time!


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