Some people may have noticed that the coalition government announced a public reading stage on new legislation back at their manifesto. I’ve been interested in ‘collaborative’ markup for documents for some time now and checking in on the work of Parliament in this area since the initial pilot in 2011.
If you’re new to the concept then essentially this allows joe public to add comments and ideas into the legislation making process by online annotation. These comment are collated and presented in a public reading stage. You can see the sort of report that’s generated here.
Ok, so the technology is a bit crude but the concept is great. Thankfully, this evaluation reportspells out where things went wrong:-
- Not enough time
- Not enough publicity
- Output not noticed enough
- Not easy to understand (it’s a legal text!)
- No way to comment ‘in general’
- No mechanism for streamlining responses (e.g. limit word count)
Don’t be fooled – the overall result was still hailed a success attracting around 1000 comments from 500+ individuals (7000 visits). All that remains is to fix the above and implement some truly glossy technology – both behind the scenes (for moderation, post processing etc) and public facing.
While I love WordPress, it seems to me that solutions such as commentpress have hit their ceiling. Guys, it’s time to stop building your own solutions and look at some really slick commercial equivalents e.g. http://www.co-ment.com/