Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Evolving Ideas... by Design

Anyone can join a political party, present their ideas, promote them within the party and they may eventually be presented to Parliament by an MP. This filtering and refining process prioritises vast numbers of ideas so that the best rise to the top.

Interactive Democracy makes the presentation of ideas more accessible to the general public and may increase the numbers of ideas being put forward. It makes the process easy for those not disposed to joining a party for whatever reason: perhaps they are too busy, don't like the parties other policies, don't understand the complexities of party politics, don't feel confident enough to present an idea or don't have the sales skills necessary to promote it. However, filtering the number of ideas that may be generated by the Ideas Engine (or ePetition) may be a problem because easy access may lead to "too many" ideas. There are a number of technological aids to solving this:

  1. ePetitions are approved by the web master before posting, to ensure no duplication of ideas (as happens today with the No.10 system).

  2. A search facility allows access to all relevant "petitions" on any one subject.

  3. "Petitions" may be ranked by most popular or most recent or by relevance to a region (eg Wales or a local authority).

  4. Amendments may be added by the original author (qualified by a separate count of "seconds").

  5. The original author may be contactable by email.

  6. Comments and questions may be posted on the site (moderated for abusiveness by the web master).

  7. 'Other "petitions" you may be interested in' (automatically listed by the search facility) will be presented alongside the one you are reading, giving alternative views.

  8. Reporting on the "petitions" in the media may clarify the issues and lead to amendments.

  9. The "top 10" and "10 most recent" will be listed on the ePetitions home page.

  10. The party political system will engage with the ePetitions system (Ideas Engine), debating and posting new ideas.

  11. The party political system will encourage voting on ideas by party members.

  12. 'Send to a friend' buttons would encourage distribution of ideas (ePetitions) by electronic word of mouth on the Internet.

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