Federal webmasters onboard for online government

Federal webmasters onboard for online government


or, "Another step toward nerd rule"…?

Looks like the folks who run Federal web sites got the idea of more effective and honest government years ago, but didn't get heard 'til recently. The deal is that as a community, we're ready to seriously move ahead towards networked, grassroots democracy. That means increasing involvement from the citizenry and public servants, probably in many public/private partnerships.

Micah Sifry of TechPresident.com just published a letter from them at Putting Citizens First: Transforming Online Govt White Paper. The bottom line:

President-elect Obama should be able to promise the American people that when they need government information and services online, they will be able to:

  • Easily find relevant, accurate, and up-to-date information;
  • Understand information the first time they read it;
  • Complete common tasks efficiently;
  • Get the same answer whether they use the web, phone, email, live chat, read a brochure, or visit in-person;
  • Provide feedback and ideas and hear what the government will do with them;
  • Access critical information if they have a disability or aren’t proficient in English.

Tom Watson points out:

The new Administration should "need to build on the groundswell of citizen participation in the presidential campaign and make people’s everyday interactions with their government easier and more transparent," says the paper.

Running this gargantuan online network means empowering a vast cadre of managers to do their work – it means giving them the power to make decisions about email and social media, for example.



Gwynne Kostin

I dunno, Craig. "Nerds" is pretty strong words. Don't know that the Fed Web Council is worthy of your crowning–you being a chief nerd and all. :-)
It's more likely that the folks in this group are just web folks. People who see the interconnectedness of content and organizations and who think that collaboration is much more important than competition. (Not to say that this is a group of slackers as far as friendly competition goes–we all have NASA.GOV envy!).
It's great to have a boost for the work that we have been doing in the background for years, thanks. But the best boost is the Fed Hurricane widget you have on your right column. This is an example of reaching across agencies to try and make government work for its citizens.
Thanks for your support.


In the past, I was aware that the GAO did many reports related to Native American Indian issues, yet basically did not have any Native American Indians, at least ones who embraced the culture and/or where full blooded or near full blooded.
So you there were persons of european, asian, black backgrounds making decisions from the perspectives of THEIR backgrounds and value systems and IGNORING the Native American Indian way of life, beliefs, reverence for Mother Earth and living with natures laws in mind as opposed to materialism etc.
So it would seem there needs to be a people component so that the folks making decisions include folks from ACROSS the different races, different socio economic backgrounds, or even from different parts of the country.
We used to call the folks in Washington D.C. the "Golden Brains on the Potomac" or something to that effect, as the folks who live in D.C. can be removed from the realities of life, yet they make all these decisions.
Also I noticed in GAO at the time, as an example, focused their hiring mainly at East Coast or Ivy League or Liberal Schools.
That said, glancing over the Citizens First website looks like a good job.
I know out here in Riverside, CA we are fighting a City Council that doesn't think a Greyhound Bus Service that serves 80,000 passenger trips a year is worth keeping. The City Redevelopment Agency just spent about $625,000 to force Greyhound out of their remaining lease of 15 years, because they don't want the Greyhound near the Fox Theatre that they hope will become a performing arts center catering to the rich and famous. So when the City Council cannot support keeping a basic transportation system –, Greyhound — you know they are NOT putting citizens first. Oh and all their work to shove Greyhound out of Riverside was doen WITHOUT ANY PUBLIC comments or hearing on the issue of whether Greyhound should stay or go. Our City Attorney said they did not need to tell us about the decision to settle with Greyhound UNLESS someone asked. Well how CAN you ask if the City give NO information.
Basically in Riverside in my opinion, we are in a dictatorship, run by our City Manager, as people say that our City Council works for the City Manager and not vs versa.
Most everything on the Council or Redevelopment Agency agenda is listed on the CONSENT CALENDAR, say 20 or 40 agenda items, and the City Council passes it all with one vote, and citizen are denied the right to speak for 3 minutes on these items.
Technically the CONSENT CALENDER item are supposed to be normally recurring items, but that is not the case.
The City of Riverside is spending $2 billion, and that number is growing, and they are spending on WANTS like making the City Hall cushy, and not NEEDs, such as sewers, libraries.
One problem is that the City of Riverside does not have a prioritized list of NEEDS for current plus a specified number of years into the future. Kind of like paying household bills, you need to pay the basic bills and take care of basic maintenance before you update, and decorate or take expensive vacations etc.
Our City Council just spends and spends and spends, such as putting grass and watering systems in the center dividers though we are a high desert and should be conserving water, and not creating an ongoing expense for grass in the median. Drought resistant plants etc should have been used instead in those type of locations.
Perhaps my musings will provide food for thought for the Citizens First deal on the Federal level.
I believe in Riverside CA it is citizens or middle class and less affluent citizens last or never or get out of town for the most part.

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