Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Digital Democracy

Your humble Devil receives a number of press releases and, frankly, ignores 99.9% of them: however, DHA Communication's news of a "new social network that puts power directly into the hands of their constituents" looked to be mildly interesting.

At first I thought that I had misjudged the Coalition and Digital Democracy might be an unusually swiftly re-implementation of the short-lived Your Freedom consultation website—the suggestions on which were largely ignored by our lords and masters.

In fact, Digital Democracy is backed by the Nominet Trust and Joseph Rowntree Trust, and focuses more on giving people the power to lobby their local MP.
Site creator Jonathan Elmer said: “Even with Facebook and Twitter, there is no effective social network designed as part of our political system. That’s why Digital Democracy is so important.

“It lets you put your ideas directly to the people who make the decisions and challenges them to respond to the issues that YOU decide are the most important.

“What’s really valuable about it is that the site has been developed to use official constituency boundaries to automatically put users in touch with others represented by the same MP, letting them band together to vote on issues and get their voices heard.”
...

Digitialdemocracy.org.uk boosts local democracy and accountability by providing a new platform for members of the public to lobby, contest decisions and question their representatives. It is unique in that it is targeted directly at MPs. Unlike Facebook, it doesn’t just register levels of support for local issues, but channels that support at those who have a responsibility to act. Every month the most popular user-submitted idea from every parliamentary constituency is sent to that area’s MP to take action on. MPs then get the chance to explain what they’re doing in response.

Proof-reading is apparently redundant in a digital democracy.

This site has, apparently, cost £150,000 and been four years in the making: as such, it is a pity that the design looks as though it has been put together by a total amateur: aesthetically, the site is abysmal, boasting poor text layout and a logo that looks like a refugee from a 1960s hippie commune.

It also doesn't help that clicking on the "Register" button directs you to a form—with a prominent button inviting you to "Regiter". One would have thought that four years of development might have included—if only for an hour or two—some proof-reading.

For a regular denizen of this here interwebs—someone used to seeing opinions expressed pretty strongly—it might also seem strange that all of the suggestions start with the phrase "I am concerned about..."*: far be it for me to suggest that most of the content is currently mere filler (which would, of course, be a scurrilous slur) but I can't help thinking that both the tone and the subject matter of Direct Democracy is skewed towards "concern" over the Coalition's cuts agenda.

The value of this site might be to make heard the voices of those of us who are taxed to buggery in order to fund the pet projects of the shroud-wavers, vested interests, fake charities, moochers and looters who believe that penalising people for working hard is not only economically sensible but morally justified.

But, let's face it, at best it will simply be another front in our war against a monopoly that exists only to extort money from us under threat of menaces—and it is funded by at least one trust that advocates very little else.

I fear that, at best, Digital Democracy will die a death—at worst, we will have to strangle it shortly after birth...

UPDATE: the creator responds most courteously...
My apologies for the spelling mistakes they have been fixed. Please have patience with us, we have tried to design this site such that it is clear and simple to novices of the internet. As for the content, that's completely generated by users - I invite you to make your own proposals on the site and help to get it started.

Jonathan Elmer
Site Creator

As I said, let's see how it goes...

* The wife pointed out that, in fact, the form is pre-filled with this phrase. Still...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

How happy will they be with a comment written in lingua Obnoxio or lingua Devil on one of your better days?

He He He

blingmun said...

Perhaps they've taken your comments to heart...

"Sorry! We could not find digitialdemocracy.org.uk...It may be unavailable or may not exist. Try using the suggestions or related links below, or search again using our web search."

DaveE said...

blingmun:

Try www.digitaldemocracy.org.uk

Anonymous said...

My apologies for the spelling mistakes they have been fixed. Please have patience with us, we have tried to design this site such that it is clear and simple to novices of the internet. As for the content, that's completely generated by users - I invite you to make your own proposals on the site and help to get it started.

Jonathan Elmer
Site Creator

Prodicus said...

Mr Elmer's comment is illiterate, if courteous. He does not know how to write a sentence correctly.

Give up. You are wasting your time with such people. The cause is lost.

Anonymous said...

Did they really misspell their own domain name in the press release, or is that your embellishment?

Adam said...

It's not too good at the moment then? still any press is good press right?