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The wiki-fication of politics, local style
Posted by David Postman at 7:30 AM
Started by two Seattle political activists, more perfect wants to do a lot of what Wales hopes to see from Campaigns Wikia. It is a place for people to collaborate on politics and public policy. To help people understand what this is all about more perfect encourages people to experiment by rewriting the state or U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the state's Priorities of Government.
The site was developed by political consultant Timothy Killian and transportation activist Chad Maglaque. I've known Killian for years through his work on medical marijuana initiatives and other campaigns. He says it was the failure of the first pot initiative that led to the new site.
"In 1997, when the first Medical Marijuana initiative failed, my brother Rob and I sat down to pen new language for a new initiative. After we'd written a simple draft, we took what I've come to learn is an unusual step: we sent our draft language out to those groups who had opposed our previous effort. We asked for their feedback.
For these new collaborative political sites to work people will have to set aside ideological differences at least enough to be able to keep talking to each other. I think these things naturally tend toward liberals, as well, and it seems harder to imagine conservatives jumping in.
Wales doesn't think that's going to be a problem. He labels himself something of a libertarian and says that is an ideology that runs deep in the internet political world. Blogs, the last big internet invention adopted by mainstream campaigns, do best when they are ideological.
Wales said blogs are most often ideological because it usually represents an individual voice "and I think to get noticed you have to say stuff that gets people excited."
He and Killian think the wiki world is different and can foster collaboration among political foes in even the most divisive issues. And they think big, as Killian said:
"I think the process of using a wiki forces a level of collaboration that is previously unknown in all of human history. This application of technology can change the way we think about politics, and the way we interact with each other."
UPDATE: Another approach has also sprung up from local roots. wikiGop and wikiDemocrats divide the partisans up between two different sites. Both are beta sites created by Wetpaint, a Seattle company.