Peter Robinson Manager • about 10 years ago
Propose a solution idea
Want to help software developers and others to better understand the problem and potential solutions? Propose a potential solution or identify a problem area related to partisan gridlock and legislative productivity. How can software play a role?
Please keep your suggestions constructive.
Comments are closed.
Dave Jarvis • about 10 years ago
I have an idea for a software solution to the problem of creating policies.
Thoughts? Feel free to join the discussion:
Robert Medeiros • about 10 years ago
I happen to think that legislation should be prepared using a distributed version control system like git:
in conjunction with a friendly web interface:
The last one, Gitorious, is itself open source and might make a good starting place for developing a specialized web interface for drafting legislation.
This is an idea that is in the air right now:
Dave Jarvis • about 10 years ago
That's an interesting idea, Robert.
Frankly, I hadn't through much about the drafting side of policies so much as the discussion side.
One of the things that irks me about "modern" web design is the waste of space. The last links in your note (Glorious and Authorea) both have a massive amount of whitespace that goes underused. Most sites for repositories (including bitbucket and github) are beyond suitable for the general public.
Interfaces should be as simple as possible -- advanced options should be available, but they need only be available to advanced users when required. Consider:
The first is a simple UI. You type the name of a Canadian city. The second is a complex UI. Both use the same code base, but expose different features at different levels of expertise.
Chris Hartpence • about 10 years ago
Okay...it has taken me DAYS to work up the courage to post here.
I have something.
It is...a "game." A game that, when you play it, you ACTUALLY change things in the world around you.
The idea is, people come for the game, and inadvertently make huge strides in solving most of the problems that have plagued societies since we first began forming them. :)
PS: well...maybe not so inadvertently...by design, but that's not what the players are thinking about...like hiding the veggies in the gravy to get your child to eat 'em....
Rand Strauss • about 10 years ago
I've been working on a solution to:
Gridlock and partisan politics
Not being able to hold government accountable
Government not being responsive
People being resigned about politics and government
Elections being expensive
It all hinges on us not being able to all communicate about what we want. So we don't know what we want. So our politicians don't know. So they seek the shelter of parties. And, in this environment, the voices of the parties and special interests come in loud and clear, giving them the power.
The solution begins with voting on what we want- not a one-time vote, but have access to our ballot at any time so we can change our votes, and as consensus forms, further questions can take shape. Also, these aren't always one-of-many votes, but also, what do you think, and which solutions would be tolerable?
Currently, politicians can't be accountable because we don't know what they're accountable for, and they don't know. We do have polls, but they're not very detailed, and they are national, so an individual rep doesn't know if it accurately reflects his specific constituency.
Plus, we can't enforce accountability because we don't know what they're accountable for, plus we don't have much choice in elections because elections are expensive. If our incumbent isn't performing, we rarely have the choice of throwing them out and choosing someone else from the same party.
What we need is an accountability system, one where voters know what the rep is accountable for, and one where the rep can give an account to the voters.
Reps are reluctant to account to voters because speaking to a mixed audience is difficult. What can you say when your audience consists of pros, cons, extremists and lots of don't cares? So they make short, pithy, content-free statements, and only when they have to.
But imagine on an issue there are roughly 5 positions, and we also ask people if this is an issue where they want to hear back from the rep (and how often.) Then the rep can compose 5 statements for the different audiences. For the pros, the majority, he says what he accomplished. For the cons, he says how he mitigated it, not going too far, to protect minority rights. Now he can actually talk to the specific audiences while not bothering people who don't care.
Plus, challengers can use the system to also communicate with the voters. And the system can be inexpensive, so challengers can communicate with the whole electorate without buying expensive ad time.
All sorts of things become possible. For instance, we can ask people if they want instant run-off elections, or public financing of elections. We can even run rated pre-elections on-line to discover if a 3rd-party candidate has a good chance. And there are some things the polls say people broadly agree on, like doing something about global warming, banning assault weapons, limiting campaign contributions. But we allow govt to do nothing because most of us don't know about the agreement, we just "know" govt is gridlocked.
I have a working prototype on PeopleCount.org. All you need to register is an email address, a password, and cookies turned on - for an iphone or ipad you need 3rd-party cookies enabled (for domain icount.com) because icount.com implements the back-end.
2 other ways of looking at it:
we want a govt of, by and for the people, yet we have no system that gives power to people nor that even allows us all to communicate coherently. Meanwhile, existing organizations (parties, corps, orgs) have built ways to influence the system.
We have no way for millions of people to communicate together to design our future. Millions can communicate with voting, but we're not using it powerfully yet. PeopleCount.org finally does this.
Imagine lots of people use PeopleCount.org. Your opinion is asked for, stored, and counted. Suddenly it MATTERS. It's respected, valued, in stark contrast to today's world. In this new world, people would put more effort into it, treat it as more valuable, talk more about it with others, read more, and vote in elections. That our opinions matter little today is completely consistent with only 1/3 of us voting. Imagine a world where teens engage with issues by voting. The culture will shift to one where we take responsibility for our government, where we change things instead of just point fingers. Imagine we voted on wars. Probably we'd have fewer wars. Even if not, we'd take responsibility for their effects instead of blaming Bush and Obama.
Imagine if all the Israelis and Palestinians could vote on the various proposals for peace- the individual pieces, not just final collections. My bet is that their leaders could reach a compromise much more quickly...
Complete your profiles. What I've heard is that engaging with the issues by voting gives a very different experience of the issues. And, there are even a few informational links.
Jonathan Bean • almost 10 years ago
Program to enable activists and innovators to do their work with others.
This idea is presented on this website:
It is pasted below for your convenience too.
To the government regulators, policy makers, and game developers:
Here is an idea for a game, website, or scenario creator to involve the public on solving problems. I will be using the example of the problem of mass violence and gun violence:
Background information and introduction to the innovative concept.
I am interested in the gamification (or making scenarios and goal oriented activities) of government and of life in general. I am interested in collaborative games (where everyone wins if they participate) rather than competitive ones. I have ideas for games that could improve government, people's lives, and educate people. The Civilization games are some of my favorite ones because they give you an experience of being a leader of a civilization and you learn history in the process. My concept is influenced by this game, other games, and popular books that forecast the future.
In the game called "Your Solutions" for now, players would have the ability to define problems and solutions and the effects the problems and solutions have on an entity, population, or civilization that the player is advising. They would also define the global effects and influences of these problems, solutions, and effects. Other people could make decisions in the scenarios to see what happens according to the user or expert defined rules and results of each action. People could build every aspect of the scenario. They would determine what happens in the scenario and/or make decisions in other people's built scenarios to see what happens. People would learn problem solving and forecasting skills in this game.
The Mass Violence Example:
Defining the problem:
For example, a problem arises in the media, someone wants to try to analyze the problem in the game and scenario maker, so they define the problem as "There has been a problem with mass shootings that has become unacceptable. There are people who are mentally unstable and who have a strong reason or desire to hurt people. They are intent on hurting society and terrorizing everyone. They want to take away our sense of safety and our well-being.
Then the players would provide possible solutions like, "A solution could be to restrict access to guns and increase the availability of mental health".
The results of the solutions:
Then players would define the foreseeable and possible effects the choices would have on the game like, "As a result of restricting gun use there is greater level of safety and greater happiness from the reduction of terror, and a negative effect would be greater chance of invasion from other countries since people are not armed, that would lead to another problem such as the lack of weapons for civilians to protect themselves from invasions, then the solution might be to allow weapons but have a lock on the trigger that can be released by someone who has authority to enable the weapon. Also, the gun would have a video camera and cellular communication device to make requests to use the gun. So someone could press an emergency button and say I need to protect myself from an intruder then point the gun and camera at the intruder and then shoot if the light turns green. The gun would have a stun and lethal option to adjust to the level of danger and emergency. The system would be paid for by a tax for things that increase crime rates such as a lack of housing and healthcare, so if someone advocates against affordable housing and health care then they would pay a higher tax on those choices…"The scenarios would be run in the game and everyone would be involved in defining every aspect of every problem, solution, and effect.
The online aspect and problem/solution/effect grading system
This would have an online aspect where users could download problems, solutions, and the global effects of those problems and solutions. They could also grade the user created systems of problems according to the level/grade of fun, complexity, engagement, difficulty, creativeness, happiness produced, and the amount of change the system has on the society and world. Problem/solution systems could also be browsed by topic and genre. These systems could be presented to the participant according to his/her interests uploaded from Facebook. Then users could browse the systems according to the grade of those qualities. They could also browse the most new systems, most creative and/or most complex systems. The grades would be assigned by expert evaluators chosen by the community. There would be a separate grading system for plain user generated grades and votes. Players could collaborate on the solutions by themselves, or in groups or pairs. The pairing could be made according to similarities in interests, education, and work or a random match maker could be an option. Also a special matchmaker would be encouraged where people are paired with those who are very different from you so that people can discuss and learn about solutions and methods from different perspectives.
Getting the policy makers attention efficiently in the real world:
People could vote up things that need the attention of actual politicians. So if a certain decision/policy/change is successful at improving the quality of life and well-being in a well developed scenario (with many factors accounted for) then the change would be voted on, ranked, and graded. Then the highly ranked, graded and voted upon changes would be placed on a petition to be reviewed by expert policy makers who would review and finally implement the solutions in government. Everyone could upload the problems that arise as a result of the solution and change in real-time. The problem/solution cycle would continue when problems arise, solutions are played out in scenarios, and then successful solutions are implemented in the real world from the best solutions.
Ownership of the game:
The public would own and create the game and it would be open source so it could be modified according to individual/group desires.
Other properties of the game concept:
People would specify what they value and relatively how much they value each value. The game would suggest which policies to try out in your scenario according to your values. This way people would easily guide their scenario if they are inexperienced.
Data from people values would be collected and a scenario would be made that plays the average of everyone's values. So people would be playing their own game and be part of leading an MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game). Everyone could see their effect on the MMOG. People could even vote on who should have the greatest impact with their decisions, values, beliefs, and motivations on the MMOG. The collaborators' decision could be weighted according to their level of skill or expertise as well.
The game would allow people to forecast the future trajectory of the world's development, the future of international relationships, technology, science, violence, terrorism, national/world-wide security, well-being, and health. They would determine what to research and see how each research path has different outcomes and advantages.
There could be a schedule that encourages a time when certain kinds of people will play the game.
In the game people would be discontent when hearing about injustices and human rights violations around the world. This discontentment feature would have a greater effect after social media and the Internet is introduced into the scenario which enables discontent people to organize protests and actions for justice.
People could focus exclusively on certain aspects of the game such as research and development while the rest of the scenario is automated for them.
Global unity and well-being could be a goal to pursue in the game. People would decide what the goals of the civilization should be and what milestones should be reached . Polling technology could measure the amount of happiness and discontentment relative to the most ideal state of happiness where desires are fulfilled as soon as they are created. Great amounts of research and technology would be required to reach this ideal level of happiness.
Space exploration and colonization could be an ultimate goal, or some complex or creative technology.
Transcendence could be a goal, where humans learn to probe other dimension and dark matter and energy. A goal like this would have many smaller steps to the ultimate solution. Goal completion would have to follow what steps are necessary, like creating dark matter machine would be a sub goal to probing and exploring the dark matter.
People could vote on the goals for the civilization of the collaborative MMOG.
The game could analyze everything that a person consists of (values, beliefs, desires, motives) in order to suggest what government policies and decisions they would be most likely to make
This scenario maker / player and game would enhance society and relieve people's discontentment that is caused by the feeling of being incapable of contributing to the solutions of the world's problems. People would be excited to see what problems arise for them to solve everyday. Their time would be spent wisely while making decisions in the game and when making contributions to this game.
This game has the potential to unite the world on solving our problems and on choosing our goals as a society.
R.D. SIRBAUGH • almost 10 years ago
CREATE AN OPEN-SOURCE THINK TANK MOBILE APP WHICH OFFERS REAL TIME SOLUTIONS AS WELL AS A Q&A FORUM. FURTHER, SET GOOGLE ALERTS FOR KEY SECTORS AND UTILIZE TWITTER HASHTAGS EX. #APPSFORWORKINGGOV LIKEWISE, PARTNER WITH SIMILAR SITES http://www.ideaconnection.com AND UTILIZE CROWD-SOURCING.