Tools for Transparency: The Vote-to-Promote Model


News aggregation services that use the vote-to-promote model like Reddit and Digg, and Delicious and StumbleUpon to a degree, are potentially very useful tools for finding and promoting fresh content in the fight for open government.  These tools are simple to use, easy to navigate and great for finding and adding further context.

Going one step further, promoting content on these services is almost a necessity. According to SEOMoz, Google considers positioning on sites like Digg, Delicious and Topsy as one of the many ranking signals used to determine the weight of search results.

The biggest challenge at the moment is getting users to actively populate these sites with transparency news and stories while also voting for and commenting on the content that they find.

There are a few ways we can begin fixing this problem; you can add a bookmarklet to your browser, like the ones from ShareThis or AddThis, to start submitting news items and adding share buttons to content, like we do at the bottom of our blog posts which allow you to share posts.

While Digg doesn’t have a transparency category, though you can submit to Political News & Opinion, Reddit does.  I created a transparency category called Sunlight (/Transparency was taken but not in use) to begin aggregating open government news on Reddit.

You can also tag Delicious submissions with keywords like transparency and opengov or Twitter posts with related hashtags using # in front of the keyword.  Adding the appropriate tag to a post makes it easier to find related stories and services like Topsy use those tags and keywords to identify trending topics on Twitter.

These tools, when combined with the passionate people of the open government community, have the potential to be a powerful approach to moving the conversation forward.