Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

"Birthers" Fouling OpenGovt Interactive Site

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, June 1 2009

Right now, the Open Government Dialogue created as part of the Obama administration's new initiative to engage the public in a participatory discussion of ways to make the federal government more transparent and collaborative looks like it is being overrun by the so-called "birthers"--conspiracy nuts who think the President isn't legitimately a U.S. citizen. Here's a screenshot of recent tweets from @ogovbrainstorm, which automatically shows which ideas have recently gotten 20 positive votes or more:

The site also appears to have experienced a big jump in users and comments in the last few days, which may be coincidental or a sign that more people are hearing about it randomly, but also a possible sign of trouble.

All online interactive sites are subject to gaming, especially when the stakes are high. Presumably the more often government invites public participation and the lower the visibility of the results, the less often these nuisances will occur.

But what the "birthers" are doing is the equivalent of spamming up a public bulletin board, and reducing its utility for everyone else. (This is completely different than Minority Leader John Boehner using the site to push his suggestion that Congress act in a more transparent manner by posting all major legislation online 72 hours before a vote, by the way.)

It will be interesting to see if the open-government community responds in any way. Personally, I've already been on the site voting down the various "birther" suggestions. It's one thing to be tolerant of differences of opinion and have a civil disagreement; it's another thing to let nuts trash a town hall.

AttachmentSize
Picture 136.png143.36 KB

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

First POST: Responding

The aftermath of Ferguson continues to reverberate; how one Senate campaign took advantage of Facebook's micro-targeting tools; the new Congress' tech agenda; and much, much more GO

tuesday >

First POST: Sad Reality

How social media changed the course of the Ferguson story; Ready for Hillary's 3-million-member email list; why Mark Cuban opposes net neutrality rules; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: All Against All

Why Uber isn't "the future" of cities; why journalists lost control of journalism; how Sean Parker is spending his political money; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Power Frames

The differences between "old power" and "new power"; Uber as a new/old power hybrid; debating Clay Shirky's feminist cred; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Creeping

Senator Al Franken's tough questions for Uber's CEO; how the NSA could make its phone metadata program permanent; global privacy groups launch a personal spyware catcher called Detekt; and much, much more. GO

Recreation.gov and other Govt Projects Move Toward Embracing New Digital Approach

A draft request for proposals for the revamping of Recreation.gov will include a requirement that reservation availability data be publicly accessible and that all proposals detail how they will enable third-party sales, as two members of the United States Digital Services have joined the government team overseeing the RFP, meeting some key demands of civic technologists and consumer oriented technology companies. GO

More