On December 8, the White House Open Government Initiative and General Services Administration with the support of OMB requested your input in helping us design a next generation public engagement platform where public officials pose questions to citizens and obtain useful and informed contributions for consideration and action.
Because the online consultation has been so informative, we are extending the comment period by two weeks until January 23, 2011 and encourage you to participate and to invite others. Keep in mind you can follow additions and changes to the consultation by going to expertnet.wikispaces.com and clicking on Notify Me.
In the next two weeks, we hope that you will continue to inform our thinking by helping us clarify proposed processes, provide additional information on similar platforms, or propose new ways of accomplishing the goal for each step. Together we will work towards creating a next generation citizen engagement platform that enables participatory government in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Even during the busy holiday season, the feedback that we’ve seen has been plentiful and helpful. We hope that an extra two weeks will give everyone who wants the opportunity to give feedback the opportunity to do so.
Since we launched the wiki four weeks ago, hundreds of users from over 70 countries have visited the site, engaging in an interesting dialogue on how to improve ExpertNet. So far, over 500 messages have been posted to the discussion forums. In addition, people have begun to edit our draft description of ExpertNet directly. For example, wiki edits have included “drkarger” adding a reference section at the end of each editable page for the community to contribute resource examples that relate to that process step. Here’s an example of references contributed for the final step in the process. “TimHuegerich” added links to clarify and provide examples of lesser known topics on the Background and Principles wiki page, among other edits, and “kfogel” updated the government feedback section suggesting that a final step be added to close the loop.
There’s even a wiki page where you can suggest an alternative name to ExpertNet. More than a dozen names have been contributed, including AmericaKnows.gov, SynergyNet, OpenGovWiki, CitizensNet, WiththePeople, and UnitedNet. One commenter even suggested using an online poll to decide which name the public likes the best. In the spirit of true collaboration, one commenter even set up a forum to allow the public to discuss their favorite name.
We hope to foster innovation by asking for feedback on the ExpertNet design concept in a new way and hope you will continue to share your best thinking about the future of citizen engagement through January 23, 2011. If you prefer not to access the wiki, you can email your comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David McClure is Associate Administrator for the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at the U.S. General Services Administration