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Public Net-work 135

Steven Clift writes "I've written up an article titled E-Democracy, E-Governance, and Public Net-work. It illustrates how governments can do more with the Internet to meet public challenges. While the big bad government should be viewed skeptically in terms of censorship and regulation, it also does a million good things related to the non-techie parts of our lives. The question is not whether the government should use the Internet to involve people in meeting their public mission, but how to apply technology in the most effective way."
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Public Net-work

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:55PM (#6881275)
    People... getting together... to solve problems. This sounds like it might end up in a bloody revolution! Better put a stop to it now before it's too late. Don't want this democracy thing to get out of hand.
  • by Soulfader ( 527299 ) <sig@sigspac e . n et> on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:00PM (#6881336) Journal
    ...is not communication between the public and the governing bodies; it is meaningful communication. The greatest advantage of the Internet age--I can talk to anyone and anyone can talk to me without filters or gatekeepers--is also the greatest flaw. Ever try to have a meaningful conversation with a crowd of people?

    Envision government running like "The Price is Right," with the audience screaming out the policy decisions. =)

    I haven't finished the article yet, but I don't have much hope that there is a proffered reasonable solution.

    • so what your saying is that people are not capable of governing themselfs and that we need a ruling class???
      • by Mr_Matt ( 225037 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:17PM (#6881489)
        was gonna mod, decided to post instead...

        so what your saying is that people are not capable of governing themselfs and that we need a ruling class???

        No...what they're saying is "e-democracy" falls short of real democracy insofar as real democracy contains a measure of order, brought about by the inherent limitations of communication IRL. (Notice how parliamentary rules have evolved to address this very issue in our various forms of government.) Grandparent poster's point is that 'e-democracy' removes these communication limitations, thereby removing orderly dissemination of the democratic process, leading to mob-dominated chaos. Thus does 'e-democracy' fall short of real democracy. Kindly remove the aluminum beanie. :)
        • Imagine if any lunatic fringe zealot could filibuster any given issue. How would anything get done?

          The issue is emergency action to be taken due to a hurricaine coming ashore, and some old crank is bitching about the pothole in his back alley.
        • Grandparent poster's point is that 'e-democracy' removes these communication limitations, thereby removing orderly dissemination of the democratic process

          This of course, presumes that e-democracy mechanisms cannot evolve to put the Internet-equivalent of parliamentary rules into place. I strongly feel that this evolution is inevitable.

        • We currently have a representative democracy, not a pure democracy. An e-democracy, with all the issues decided directly by the citizens, could certainly be much closer to a theoretically perfect democracy, where the government exactly matches the wishes of the citizens.

          Note: I do not think such a government is a good idea, but it would be a "real democracy" in the purest sense of the word.
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:09PM (#6881426)
      "Ever try to have a meaningful conversation with a crowd of people?"

      Yeah, I've posted on Slashdot too.

      KFG
    • ...is that despite an ongoing war on terrorism (which has yet to capture the prime suspect for 9/11/01, and a bad guy that was on a list of bad guys we had not bombed yet, so we did since we couldn't find the first guy), a dismal economy, the deficit, and various other major problems around the country, Congress feels that they deserve a raise for a 5th consecutive year. [usatoday.com]
    • Pippa Norris has been doing work in this field for some time, and has amassed a great deal of research. Her book Digital Divide elaborates quite a bit on the problem of "anyone talking, nobody listening" by trying to articulate very specifically what kinds of efforts have been made by governments to incorporate online visibility in decision-making, and what kinds of further institutional changes are needed to make governments accessible to an online polity.

      -schussat

  • The article (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bigman2003 ( 671309 )
    I went to the article...I saw a lot of neat little graphs.

    The conclusion was: To be involved in defining the future of democracy, governance and public work at the dawn of the information-age is an incredible opportunity and responsibility. With the intelligent and effective application of ICTs, combined with democratic intent, we can make governments more responsive, we can connect citizens to effectively meet public challenges, and ultimately, we can build a more sustainable future for the benefit of th

    • by Anonymous Coward
      is that any half-baked nonsense can be published to the world. fortunately, most people ignore it.

      The problem with slashdot is that half baked nonsense gets posted on the front page, and people think that since it made it past the janitors, it is useful substance.

      Usually it isn't.
    • The movie i assume the parent is refering to is Startup.com [imdb.com].

      Strange to watch because I used to work with one of the guys (Tom Herman), but a good documentary nonetheless.

      psxndc

  • by adamruck ( 638131 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:00PM (#6881338)
    Part of the orginal justification of representitive democracy was that it was logisticly impossible to have everyone vote on every topic. But now that electronic voting is an option why do we still need representatives?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      E-voting still isn't quite there... and do you realize how many issues there would be to vote on?
    • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <ardrake79&gmail,com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:08PM (#6881417) Homepage
      "But now that electronic voting is an option why do we still need representatives?"

      1. Because mob-rule (pure democracy) is a bad idea.

      2. Because most people don't even give a shit about who's PRESIDENT, let alone every minor issue our representatives get paid (well) to address.

      • 1. Because mob-rule (pure democracy) is a bad idea.

        Why? When the majority of people want a certain action to be taken then that is what will be voted for. How is this bad? Why is that when the general populace votes for a president then it's democracy and it's a good thing, but when the general populace votes on an issue then suddenly it's mob rule and it's a bad thing.

        2. Because most people don't even give a shit about who's PRESIDENT, let alone every minor issue our representatives get paid (well) t
        • Because a president, legislator, or other elected official (good or bad) is much less fickle (and potentially more compassionate) than a mob.
          • Because a president, legislator, or other elected official (good or bad) is much less fickle (and potentially more compassionate) than a mob.

            I am still looking for the mob here. You have failed to answer my original question as to why direct democracy will result in this so-called "mob".

            How do you figure that 1 person - who as we have seen first hand can be "bought" with campaign contributions will be more compassionate? In that instance we only have to sway 1 person and bam we can ram something down
          • Mob Rules?

            Great Sabbath album.....

        • Why? When the majority of people want a certain action to be taken then that is what will be voted for. How is this bad?

          It's called "the tyranny of the majority".

          Once upon a time, a majority of people thought that owning slaves was ok. I'm not sure that it still isn't that way, at least in some parts of the country. Is it ok to pass laws making slavery ok, or would that be bad?

          In some parts of the country, a majority of people think that killing fags is a fun thing to do on a Saturday night. Would you

          • This is an awesome, insightful reply. (How often does that happen on Slashdot?!) Mod the parent up! (Please)
          • On Sept. 12, 2001, I bet you would have found a clear majority of people that would have voted "yes" on a law that deported every person with a middle eastern heritage. (My God! Who'd serve us the Slurpees?)

            I don't doubt that for a second. However, as you point out the lack of Slurpee servers would result in a vote of "let's bring them back in again" next time around. Either that, or locals would have to fill those positions. Either way it's a win-win situation.

            And just before you go flying off the ha
            • I don't doubt that for a second. However, as you point out the lack of Slurpee servers would result in a vote of "let's bring them back in again" next time around. Either that, or locals would have to fill those positions. Either way it's a win-win situation.

              Either way, you've just demonstrated the inherent instability of direct democracy. Vast overreactions to just about every stimulus, based entirely on the general public perception of reality. Imagine foreign policy--who would want to negotiate any k

              • Vast overreactions to just about every stimulus, based entirely on the general public perception of reality.

                That is exactly right. And that is exactly why the founders of this country were explicit in having a bicameral legislature that would not be driven to (over)react quickly to every twist in the road. Sadly, the folks elected to those august bodies don't seem to recognize this feature of their position and try to knee-jerk to everything that the media is reporting.

            • With direct democracy we wouldn't have politicians as we have today.

              Sadly, even with "direct democracy", we'd still have politicians just like we have today. They'ed be called "administrators", and their laws would be called "administrative rules", and it would be even harder to get rid of them than the current style of politician.

              In fact, we've already got administrators making administrative rules.

              ... not the corporations, because they wouldn't get a vote in the issues affecting the real live humans.

        • Here's one example.

          Women wouldn't be able to vote. Women's suffrage was not a popular idea in the general's public eye. It would have never became an admendment if it was voted on(including if women voted).

          And if the general public voted on taxes, the social and economical majority would be the least taxed with all minority social and economic groups being taxed the highest.

          Mob rule doesn't work. Its too easily influenced, and our founding fathers knew this.

          • Women were forbidden to vote for as long as they were precisely because of representative democracy.

            On what grounds do you assert that women's suffrage would never have been granted had it been voted on by all men and women? Do you have any numbers to back that up?

            You go on to state that direct voting by the whole electorate is "mob rule", without offering any argument to defend the assertion. Please explain: how is direct democracy "mob rule"?

            • Democracy (representative or otherwise) is two wolves and a hen voting on what to have for lunch.
              • That's a funny aphorism, but it only describes a minority of situations where democracy is being built, developed or considered.

                Look at what's happening in Chiapas: radical democracy, empowering lives for the first time in generations. In many other places, democracy is a tremendous blessing, and is being implemented to great benefit by an enthusiastic electorate. But here in the jaded industrialised west, we make jokes about how only "wolves" benefit from democracy, because most "hens" can't be bothered

                • When a multi-national corporation contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to a senator in order to "communicate" its interests, which happen to oppose mine, and the corporation's interests become law, would you attribute this to my laziness?
                  • ISTM you're thinking in terms of individual political action. I'm talking about collective action.

                    When the corporation bribes the senator to further its interests, which happen to oppose yours, chances are excellent that they also oppose that of the majority of people like you.

                    The problem is not *your* individual action or inaction alone, it's the inaction (and/or apathy) of your fellow electors. Single-issue campaigns are a good example of how many individual voters can together persuade a Senator that
          • Women wouldn't be able to vote. Women's suffrage was not a popular idea in the general's public eye. It would have never became an admendment if it was voted on(including if women voted).

            Umm, if it weren't for representative democracy, women would have had the vote 50 years earlier, at least in the western United States. In 1869, Wyoming Territory gaven women the vote. In 1870, Utah Territory gave women the vote, only to have the U.S. Congress take it away from them in 1887. Wyoming nearly lost its b

      • Because mob-rule (pure democracy) is a bad idea.

        Direct democracy does not have to mean "mobocracy" or pure majoritarian rule. Individual freedoms and minority rights can indeed be respected and protected in reconciliation with community interests. Beware the hobgoblins of mob rule, for their existence can be entirely attributed to the deep-seated fears of an arrogant ruling class, their devotees and back-door power brokers.

      • I don't like e-voting any more than you do, as most of the e-voting that's around today is dangerously badly implemented [slashdot.org], and ultimately anti-democratic. However, you argue instead that we need representative democracy because...

        1. Because mob-rule (pure democracy) is a bad idea.
        Mob rule is a bad idea, agreed, but please explain how is mob rule "pure democracy"? Do mobs hold votes on which person to lynch or which building to burn? Mob rule is pure feudalism, not pure democracy.

        2. Because most peopl
    • by *weasel ( 174362 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:10PM (#6881434)
      precisely because it is not feasible for everyone with a vote to be informed on every decision.

      your representative has a team of highly specialized and highly dedicated aides whose job it is to know the entire issue.

      they have the training and the time to do so. you or i, do not. not reliably, and not for every subject. are you going to pretend that having citizens directly vote on every contract extension for every union is a good idea? or how about directly voting on the budget, or social spending plans?

      the collective doesn't have the same burden of responsibility. yes, representative democracy has a flaw (susceptible to corruption) but it also has enough benefits that it's a worthwhile system. it also has a large check (term limits, reelection) to ensure that the citizens have a measure of control over the graft.
      • Then why can't the aide inform citizens about the entire issue, just like they inform the representative?

        While I mostly agree that having slashdot polls for laws are a bad idea, I'm not so sure that informing the populace is one of the major problems. Having an educated populace in the first place would be a good start...
        • Buddy, I have little time enough for my own personal issues, much less the issues of my country. I'd rather vote by proxy by choosing someone to represent me in Congress who follows my general line of thinking and can make more informed decisions than I could, not because I'm not smart enough, but because I don't have the time to invest in becoming informed about every damn little issue that comes up.

          I can personally filter my own mail for spam, but I'd rather delegate that to my automated filter, cause I
        • Oh, come on. We all know that if laws were decided by Slashdot polls, the relevant country would be a logical, sensible, fair, equitious fun place to be right now. With plenty of rights! :-)
      • your representative has a team of highly specialized and highly dedicated aides

        True, but then again, do we really want the specialized and dedicated aides from Disney to decide what the law will be? Or Mirco$oft?

        While you are right, you can also be wrong...

      • ...your representative has a team of highly specialized and highly dedicated aides whose job it is to know the entire issue.

        We call them "lobbyists" for short :-) Yep, highly specialized and highly dedicated.
    • Representatives are still necessary, but for different reasons than "we can't all vote." The major decisions our government make require careful thought, research and consideration. Most voters do not give careful thought, research, and consideration to voting decisions (hell, some of my family vote "party ticket" in every election).

      Ideally, we will elect representatives most capable of the due dilegence required in those important decisions. Think of it as the same reason why you hire a lawyer or a docto

    • Whoa whoa whoa pardner. I hope this reply gets modded up, because your take on history is very common, and very wrong. (Is that Karma whoring? I'm fairly new around here and haven't mastered all the protocols.) Anyway, I'm not slamming you for this, because like I said, it's a very common misconception. But the reason Madison, Jay, Jefferson et. al. chose representative democracy over direct democracy was *not* logistical necessity (though it may very well have been a logistical necessity). The reason th
  • Just imagine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:02PM (#6881366)
    If your local governments started putting public information online in a searchable format. Do a simple search on your local govt web site to get minutes of committe meetings, forclosures, law changes, heck, just put all the local laws and requlations in a database that is easily searchable. That would make it much easier for people to find laws and regulations. In my town at least, you either read about the town meetings in the local, and very crappy newspaper, or you have to trudge down to city hall and ask to see it. Not to mention putting on these websites who these elected and appointed leaders are, and what they have voted for and against. Nationwide, any state, county or city.. Would make it much easier to decide who to vote for, and what they have stood for in the past..
    • My county and city already have this. In fact, the data goes back to '97. I can see the votes on the city council, the school board, etc. Every variance, project, expenditure, etc. I can also find the value (including current taxes) of any piece of property in the city. If the property has been sold in the last 10 years, I can see what it sold for. Court records are next. I've looked up statutes (what is a legal U-Turn) online. It's all there. In fact, I compared the local law with laws across the n
    • Memphis, or TN, (I'm not sure if it's city, county or state) has a website where you can get the names and current addresses of everyone on probation.

      I'm not sure if that's a good thing.

    • I think you will find that most officials want their vote to be as anonymous as possible for a public official. In my last job (public library administrator/netadmin), I was THE force behind getting our library policy manual and board meeting minutes online. To my credit, it is a habit they continue to this day (although it may be because they lack even an ounce of creativity there, which would be required to conceive of doing things differently and removing the documents).

      On another note, I truly believe
  • Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:03PM (#6881371) Homepage
    Where I work, we just did a test-run with the "VClass" software. My boss is big on the idea that such all-in-one software (voice conferencing, whiteboard, app sharing, etc) could be useful for making "Virtual Townhall" meetings, where community members can participate without having to physically show up.

    It would make sense to start this government information technology (GIT) revolution on a small scale and work slowly up, ironing out bugs along the way. Who knows, eventually countries might even use the Internet to host referendums for government policies?
    • I hope not, referendums are a hugely bad idea for all but the most fundamental of constitutional issues. They are more easily bought than elections for the most part, for example, the OS software ballot measures in Oregon that MS bought.
    • Not so long as m$ is a dominant platform -> no one can afford it... and since it's so stable and incredibly error-free ;)

      They couldn't use LINUX because the $$$ to SCO would be greater than the price of m$

      I suppose it'd be worth it to pay more for a better OS - but not when it should have been free...
      • VClass is java-based. This means that it works in Linux, FreeBSD, and OS X as well.

        The organization I work for also sells extremely low-cost Linux (Libranet) machines for users to play with; we're funded by the federal government of Canada to provide no-cost public internet access, as well.

        The "Virtual Townhall" concept is well within the bounds of the organization's goals, and we are working towards making it a possibility.
  • How about no, Scott. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by og_sh0x ( 520297 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:04PM (#6881381) Homepage
    What the government already does online is good enough. You can renew your tabs online, file your taxes, and download forms, and probably a few more things. Anything beyond that will involve national ID cards, electronic voting, and everything else that you could possibly not want. Do you really want to trust the government to put your life online? Haven't you looked at the laws that have been passed lately? Does it make you think they have a clue yet? How about in 50 years? Somehow I don't think I'd even trust them then. But then again, by then it will be inevitable. They will be too tempted to use this power to ignore it. So I guess it's a good thing then, being that it's inevitable and all.
    • What the government already does online is good enough.

      Not that I'm in favor of "national ID cards, electronic voting, and everything else that you could possibly not want," but you're clearly overstating the government's internet presence if you think it shouldn't grow. I can think of several things:

      1. Free access to U.S. District Court filings. You're a shareholder, a class action member, an interested member of the public, whatever- why should you wait for a press release and then take the media's w
  • by rhakka ( 224319 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:08PM (#6881407)
    Obviously there are a boatload of issues with security that, hopefully, could be addressed someday. However I have a dream.

    That dream is for the day where I, as a voter, get to make my voice heard directly on as much or as little of the government's operation as possible, without one catch-all representative doing it for me. Issues come up for voting, and there would be a place where I could go and see the most popular arguements on both sides and the views of critics and pundits and politicos of my choosing regarding the issues in question if I like, and vote directly on the issues. Or, if I am busy, perhaps I could earmark my representatives by expertise. Perhaps I want to earmark a respected doctor as my representative for medical issues, greenspan as my economic representative, nader as my consumer rights representative... and have their votes count for mine as default unless I actively change my rep for a particular issue or earmark an issue as "manual".

    We'd still need a president to handle emergency decisions, diplomacy, and sometimes to override popular views that just are plain bad. But congress and the house of reps could go away completely. The "house of reps" would simply be whoever the people respect enough, either overall or within their area of expertise, at any particular time, to trust with their own vote. No terms or limits or re elections or smear campaigns. Just issues and discussion and participation, directly, on a one person one vote basis.

    Maybe someday..
    • The "house of reps" would simply be whoever the people respect enough, either overall or within their area of expertise, at any particular time, to trust with their own vote

      I think it's more likely the house of reps would be brittney spears and arnold schwartzeneger I like the idea of people I respecting getting influence with key issues but honestly I think it would more turn the government into more of a popularity contest than it already is.
      • I don't see how it's any different than it is now, except for the fact that you could change them instantly if you didn't like how they were voting, and those of us who DO want to be active in a direct manner could do so.

        As it stands now, we have the popularity contest between, usually, two individuals most people don't want anyway and they pick the one they hate least. Then we're stuck with them until the next term, when we get to choose between tweedledee from the last election and the new smiling tweed
    • Rhakka, methinks you just did a mind-meld on me. :) What you just expressed are several of the ideas behind Democracy 2.0 [democracy2.org] and a few similar efforts around the world.

      On the other hand, I do have to shrug when I envision having a President handling diplomacy. Yikes! In terms of how it's handled now, I'd have to ask, "What diplomacy!?". ;)

    • Wow, that is perhaps the most scary thing I've ever heard.

      As much as I would like to believe in the esoteric thought of "educated masses", at least here in America, if you put the choice to the masses, you end up with rediculous results.

      If things were put to popular vote all the time, issues that were somewhat extremest could easily be quietly proposed and pumped up in fairly extremest circles without reaching the mainstream. Because voter turnout would be very low, you could expect extreme viewpoints
      • I hear what you're saying, but for every rush limbaugh there is a michael moore, and for each of them, there are 2 or 3 moderate voters. You could get around voter participation (say, someone sets their preferences and never pays attention again) a bit by requiring regular re-registration. At least you'd know their choices were concious. I agree that most people would probably still give their vote to one representative, in affect emulating the current system, but that wouldn't break the new system eithe


  • This ""E-Citizen says "E-Nough!"

  • by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:12PM (#6881453)
    While the big bad government should be viewed skeptically in terms of censorship and regulation, it also does a million good things related to the non-techie parts of our lives.

    Unfortunately, one goes with the other. You let government do "a million good things" for you and its natural instinct is to do even more. For your own good of course. That includes censorship and regulation. Government thinks you can't handle your own affairs, so it'll just have to do it for you, you stupid clod.

    • If you want the government to quit thinking you're stupid, quit proving them right.

      There's always some dimwit to prove them right on any issue.
      • Just 'cuz some dipstick shoves a pencil up his nose shouldn't mean we outlaw pencils, which is the usual government approach to problems. We're better off abolishing the Ministry of Pencil Shovers, and let the few idiots continue damaging themselves. Think of it as evolution in action.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      National security being the obvious, but far from only one.

      Market economies work a lot better if there are mechanisms for maintaining transparency, and individuals dont have enough influence over markets to make it happen. Even aggregated individuals working through market means (such as through market funds with analysts and so on) cant do it; there is too much power (and profit) to be gained by inside players willing to obfuscate the market. This is inevitably a government task, or markets end up breaki
  • by venom600 ( 527627 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:12PM (#6881455) Homepage Journal

    I like the *ideas* presented in this guys article, but at this point in time I think its still a bit of a pipe dream. Mostly due to the lack of familiarity with the technology by non-technical people and the paranoia of those technical enough to understand what is going on behind the scenes.

    Also, trying to communicate anything meaningful in a public electronic forum is next to impossible any more. There is just too much noise. The only good way to reduce the noise is to make people accountable for their comments and suggestions. But, as we all are well aware, the only good way to make people accountable is to take away their anonymity....which kinda defeats the purpose in the first place.

  • Omission (Score:2, Interesting)

    by akaina ( 472254 )
    The structure is layed out very well, but I have some additions to recommend. Along with citizens should be "special interests", "big corporations". Included with government should be "alterier motives", "barred entrance via campaign costs". These X factors cannot be ignored, granted the scope of this paper isn't a digression on flaws in government, I do believe that flaws are big enough that they cannot be ignored.

    I really like the E-Democracy conceptual model. It shows the cyclical role of citizens as th
    • I agree with you. Electronic networks are mostly the persistent forms of social or logical networks. The things that happen quite often in reality are the best candidates for us trying to duplicate them in the electronic world.

      Thus, broadly I do believe, that the utlimately the real world, with its physical and logical flaws, and goedelian contradictions, will be recreated in the electronic world.

      But there is a wild element, and that is something could be created during this process that shall be influ

  • by 192939495969798999 ( 58312 ) <info.devinmoore@com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:22PM (#6881520) Homepage Journal
    In the tech group, it's easy to say that the Gov't does the "regular daily stuff" ok. However, ask a PETA person, or a Greenpeace person, or any other focus group that is as knowledgable about their topic as we are about tech, and they'll say, "oh the gov't handles tech fine, but as far as MY topic, they're crappy".
  • by bs_02_06_02 ( 670476 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:25PM (#6881537)
    Many people are not terribly considerate when online. People are quick to judge, are too sensitive, anger too quickly, they resort to flamewars or trolling, etc. when online. It's easy to do. There's very little accountability online. The reason? Anonymity. Put your picture and a name/address/phone number alongside online behavior, and the 'Net will become a very polite place very quickly. Occasionally, in a large group of people, you will run into a fearless troll, but they can quickly be shunned by the majority and rendered mostly ineffective. Online, trolls can be more effective at disrupting communications. Slashdot works for those that read regularly. Moderation dies off after several hours of posts to a piece of news. For the readers that catch up occasionally, their chance to be heard and moderated up are slim.
  • by Googol ( 63685 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:30PM (#6881573)
    Why not billions and billions of good things? How about Trillions? The Government should only do one thing well, you know, like good Unix design philosophy. This was known in the 19th century: Bastiat pans Socialism [constitution.org]
  • Net-work (Score:2, Offtopic)

    Steven,
    Why did you use a hyphen in the word "Net-work"?
    It is annoy-ing when peo-ple use hyphens in-corr-ect-ly. Thank-you for your atten-tion.
  • Good:
    It would allow the goverment to quickly pass information to the public and give them a almost instant response to that new information. This could save money, speed up goverment projects, and make goverment more democratic and better for the people.

    Bad:
    It would leave a disproportionate percentage of the poor out of the picture. Its is much harder for a poor person to buy a computer and surf the net, and there are not always computers avaible at public labs and librarys. It might increase the di
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Bad: It would leave a disproportionate percentage of the poor out of the picture. Its is much harder for a poor person to buy a computer and surf the net, and there are not always computers avaible at public labs and librarys. It might increase the divide between the well off and the not so weel off.

      I disagee. Take a look at the inner city projects that offer free internet access to libaries, and other non-profit centers. While I've got an excellent network at home, I can walk into any library in Atlanta
  • by smagruder ( 207953 ) <stevem@webcommons.biz> on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:48PM (#6881740) Homepage
    Meetup [meetup.com] has a topic for E-democracy [meetup.com]. From the description, it reads "Meetup with other local citizens to discuss how technology can enhance the democratic process." Who better than Slashdotters to thoroughly engage their fellow citizens on this very important topic?
  • with the net. I can pay my income tax, parking tickets, speeding tickets, postal bills, toll collections, and a myriad of other fees, fines and charges all online.
  • Much props to Michael for posting another article that has lukewarm response and next-to-no reader interest. Maybe I can pull out some old Decartes book and submit a spin on it...
  • E-Democracy, E-Governance, and Public Net-work

    I dunno, think you could have fit more dahes in there. What about Pub-lic? E-Demo-cracy? a-nd? I mean Net-work isn't a real word so why con-fine your-self to the ru-les of pro-per english else-wh-ere? You haven't even be-gun to ex-plore all th-e poss-ibili-ties!
  • Community networks (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Community networks such as this could be a great thing. Meaning, if implemented properly, a virtual town hall type server storing information about community events, problems, ideas, etc. as well as a controlled way to get in touch with community officials and representitives, would be an excellent thing for nearly every community. The main problem however is immediatly evident: How to get every member of the community access to it, even if they do not choose to utilize it. One could argue that the solut
  • Anybody interested in getting the government online should watch a really cool documentary called Startup.Com. It's about a real company called "GovWorks" based on the idea of paying various government fees online -- parking tickets, drivers license renewals, etc. Most of the story deals with all their business gyrations and personal conflicts, but the idea itself is pretty interesting.

    What struck me about it is the parallel with evolution of information systems in the business world. Companies first start

"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberrys!" -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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