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Object Lesson in Non-Transparency At Energy.gov 111

Harperdog writes "Dawn Stover recounts her attempts to access information at energy.gov, the U.S. Energy Department's 'cutting-edge, interactive information platform,' which apparently isn't any of those things. Especially frustrating were her attempts to locate important documents related to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. An interesting read for anyone interested in true government transparency."
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Object Lesson in Non-Transparency At Energy.gov

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  • What a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:40PM (#38832359)
    What a surprise, the Administration that touts itself as the most transparent in history, isn't. As a matter of fact it is busy obfuscating as much information about the government as possible.
  • by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <slashdot3@@@justconnected...net> on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:41PM (#38832385)

    I read the article, and he's basically got problems with the search feature, the size of PDFs (or the quality of their previews?), and what happens to agency documents when an agency closes (they go to an agency that handles 'legacy' documents)

    This is a very accusatory article and summary for the problems he's got. Non-transparency? Obfuscation? Or a work-in-progress? If new work is hidden away, or old work isn't made available in a straightforward and reasonable fashion, then complain... but this guy just comes off as complaining.

  • by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @03:58PM (#38832557)

    But but but, let's back up a minute here. The government trying to purposefully obfuscate sensitive data on a website? Realize they wouldn't publish truly sensitive data here... also, when has the government ever made a user friendly, easy to navigate website? There are projects out there that scrape government websites into better websites to present data. It's more a testament to our IT fail than deliberate vagueness.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 26, 2012 @04:02PM (#38832597) Journal

    Or it could be that the site just blows chunks just like their petition site. seriously how can you fuck up a registration input with captcha so damned badly? Please god tell me that was donated to the gov, i'd hate to think we paid for that shite on a crusty roll.

    if there is anything one should have learned about interacting with the government by now it should be its frustrating, often insanely overcomplicated for even the simplest little thing, sucks time like mad, and if you aren't real careful you'll either end up going around in circles or in a catch 22 situation. Frankly most of the nitty gritty is a giant mess that only seems to help spawn more government workers. BTW did you know that government workers now outnumber fishermen,loggers,miners,and about a half a dozen other jobs combined? Blew my mind when i read that but it makes sense, red tape breeds pencil pushers like shit breeds mushrooms. BTW if anybody can find that list of how many jobs combined are less than government workers i never thought to save it and its a pretty damned long list.

  • by decsnake ( 6658 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @05:30PM (#38833605) Homepage
    that which can be attributed to the government procurement process. IME, all federal govt web sites suck, esp. those used for internal purposes, for which conspiracy theories just don't even make any sense. What they do all have in common is that they are developed by contractors, under the competitive procurement process. Just ask anyone that has had to use fedtraveler.com.
  • by dwheeler ( 321049 ) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:26PM (#38834203) Homepage Journal

    The Energy department should not have wasted a dime of public money on a specialized search engine built into their website. Yet it looks like they did just that. Government agencies should focus on getting the documents posted in standard formats (e.g., PDF) and then let commercial engines do all the work. You get bonus points if you mark the documents with key metadata (title, authors, abstract, date), but even without that, most commercial search engines can find lots. I'm not the first to note that, several articles have noted this.

    If an agency just HAVE to have a search engine on the page, they can just reuse a commercial one. For example, if you want to reuse Google, just follow the instructions here: http://www.google.com/sitesearch/ [google.com] which just inserts a few lines of HTML. From then on, all done. You can see an example on my website front page at www.dwheeler.com [dwheeler.com]. I don't actually do the searching... I just redirect to Google. And users don't have to use Google, they can use any search engine they find convenient.

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