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WeGov

Rethinking Government Services Online

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, November 6 2012

Governments have been talking about how they will deliver services online for over two decades. (Anyone up for some e-government?) The sad truth is, at the national level, few users of online government services believe governments have succeeded - most citizens' experience with government websites are marked with frustration, a sense of loathing, and pretty much the opposite of whatever we imagined e-government would be. But there are three reasons why I waded through not one, but three lengthy UK reports about its vision, and now believe that if you care about government services online or better still, advise a government, there are some things worth knowing about the UK's new Digital Government Strategy. Read More

WeGov

Getting it Right: Gov.uk

BY David Eaves | Monday, October 22 2012

For possibly the first time in my life, I’m actually excited about a national government website. It would appear that in the United Kingdom, the designers, the developers and the content creators of a government have finally beaten the managers. And the result? Not only is it stunning, but it actually stands to be compared against the websites that citizens regularly use. Citizens will compare government websites not to one another but to sites like Google or Facebook, and Gov.uk easily stands up to that comparison. Read More

WeGov

Bridge to Somewhere: Open Data in Public Policy

BY David Eaves | Thursday, October 11 2012

Saveourbridges.com

If you haven't had the chance, check out saveourbridges.com. It's a simple but wonderful example of data journalism that shows both the effectiveness and the limits of opening up data. given the media attention it has received, there is some evidence to show that a well presented visualization of data can engage the public and help prompt a conversation on an important, if fairly mundane, issue. Read More

WeGov

The OGP at Year One: Off the Ground - So Where Next?

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, October 3 2012

In some ways the OGP is like the infamous Spruce Goose: a plane so innovative and big, it was unclear if it could fly while carrying the large and diverse payload it was designed to hold. Thus having generated an international conversation (and sought to spur dozens of domestic conversations) about technology, transparency, openness and engagement can the OGP serve as a vehicle that can simultaneously satisfy the interest of all its stakeholders. Having managed to get this large organization off the ground, can the OGP pilot itself somewhere useful, while keeping its various stakeholders onboard? Read More

WeGov

How to Score Politicians Without Turning Parliament Into a Game

BY David Eaves | Friday, September 21 2012

There is no "right" way to assess the performance of parliamentarians. There is no algorithm that will rank them perfectly, no set of stats that will objectively determine their effectiveness. The problem with parliamentary monitoring websites like NosDéputés, TheyWorkForYou or even OpenCongress is not that they don't measure performance the right way, the problem is that they are the only websites in their respective countries really measuring performance at all. Should the public care how many questions their representatives ask in parliament? Maybe. Maybe not. But if you had a number of sites comparing parliamentarians performance you'd find out pretty fast what the public did care about. And frankly, I could care less if it made parliament more or less effective for the sitting government. Read More

Government Transparency Sites: Moving into the 21st Century

BY David Eaves | Monday, September 10 2012

The new Italian open data portal, OpenCoesione, represents a genuine effort by governments to recognize how an online medium should be used, even if in a narrow context. These sites are never going to attract a million page views, and I don’t think they should be judged by that standard. What they are really doing is replacing the linear, often opaque, and almost always boring PDF or printed reports that detail how a program is delivered. Read More

Opening up the World's Legislative Bodies: The Global Game

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, September 5 2012

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and several partners have launched a Declaration on Parliamentary Openness that seeks, among other things, to make parliamentary information more transparent, accessible and available in bulk online. According to NDI, over 70 organizations in 50 countries, mostly transparency groups, have signed the declaration. Sadly, there are no parliaments or legislative bodies on the list. How effective will such a declaration be?

Read More

WeGov

What to Do When Open Data Is Either Wrong, Scandalous, or Both?

BY David Eaves | Thursday, August 23 2012

David Eaves asks: How do governments and advocates handle open government data if it misreports the facts? Read More

WeGov

Is Sina Weibo a Means of Free Speech or a Means of Social Control?

BY David Eaves | Friday, August 17 2012

Photo: Francisco Diaz / Flickr

Over noodles in Beijing, David Eaves and Michael Anti discussed how Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging platform in China, actually creates a new means of social control for the central Chinese government. While it allows dissent, Anti argues, Weibo serves as a central platform for citizen speech — operated by a company over which the Chinese central government can exert significant influence. Read More

WeGov

Is This the Rise of the Civic Hacker Hub?

BY David Eaves | Thursday, August 2 2012

The tech startup space has a long history of creating work spaces that bring together the various players — VCs, ideas people, business types and developers – necessary to launch new projects. Some of these spaces — the iHub in Nairobi strikes me as the most powerful example — have served as hosts to hackathons and sessions that bring together a similar set of actors in the open government and civic hacking space. It will be interesting to see if efforts to transfer that model to the opengov space develop. Read More