The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an Op-Ed this weekend about the prospects of using the Internet for more deliberative public reasoning, discussing one of the projects we are considering for a minigrant — MorePerfect.org. More Perfect is a new wiki-forum for collaborative law and policy development:
Will a Web-based, wiki-democracy work? I don’t know. I’m skeptical of the open platform because it can be manipulated by a special interest. On the other hand, the More Perfect group requires registration and that at least limits temptation. I also think we need a wider range of public policy options. Too many of our political discussions are locked into an "either, or" framework. We build a new viaduct or a tunnel. I’d rather see a variety of ideas — and then debate the logic. There is the potential for a richer discussion, say, about reforming a bus or ferry system, when the people who use that system add their everyday perspectives. Users could give quick feedback about what works in a system — and what’s a waste of time. More Perfect — or any wiki-democratic venture — might not change the way we govern ourselves. But it’s worth experimenting to see if we get any new ideas.