A Wikimedian approach to digital democracy – next phase

The image is a colour oil painting depicting the House of Commons, filled with members, in 1833. The painting is by Sir George Hayter
The House of Commons in 1833 by Sir George Hayter

Recently the Speaker of the House of Commons established a commission to investigate the opportunities digital technology can bring for parliamentary democracy in the UK. This consultation is a public exercise which attempts to explore various themes relating to digital democracy.

Wikimedia UK and Demos, working with Wikimedians, have been exploring whether the norms and values of the Wikimedia community can be applied to this kind of consultation, especially the consensus-based approach to writing and enacting Wikipedia policy.

The experiment has been going well and led to a community-sourced submission to the first theme which was looking at how technology can facilitate better scrutiny of the work of Parliament. You can view this submission here. The talk page is also worth a look as the discussion offered some really useful insights into how the content was reached.

However, we need your help. The second theme of the consultation has now been published and it is about digital representation. We would love for as many people to take part in this exercise as possible. The Commission was really appreciative of the efforts of the community first time around and it would be great to come up with another excellent community-driven submission. You can view the questions that are being asked, and participate in creating the submission, here. You don’t need to be in the UK, or a Wikimedian, to contribute.

A third theme will follow in the next couple of months and a similar approach will be taken then. Finally, once the Commission closes for submissions, Demos and Wikimedia UK will write up a comprehensive report on the process and what we have learned which we will, of course, make available to the community.

Carl Miller from the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos will be speaking on this topic at Wikimania at The Barbican, London, next week. If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, you can do so here.

Thank you for any and all help, it is very much appreciated.