Matt Baca of the New York University School of Law and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Olin Grant Parker, also of the Kennedy School, have posted Collaborative, Open Democracy with LexPop, on the VoxPopuLII Blog, published by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School.
In this post, Mr. Baca and Mr. Parker describe LexPop, a new wiki that enables the crowdsourcing of legislative drafting. LexPop appears to be the first legislative crowdsourcing platform in the U.S.
The authors explain how LexPop works by reference to the current legislation being developed at the site, a net neutrality bill to be introduced in the Massachusetts State Legislature.
In their post, the authors lay out the key ideas motivating LexPop: (1) collaborative democracy, or the empowerment of citizens to make laws that serve the public interest, rather than the needs of special interests; and (2) the application of social media technology — Gov 2.0 — to achieve this.
The authors also discuss the two methods that the public can use to write legislation on LexPop: Policy Drives, which are structured, multistage processes that facilitate deliberation during the drafting process; and WikiBills, which are unstructured drafting exercises.
Finally, the authors respond to skeptical questions frequently posed to them about LexPop. In their responses, the authors explain how successful Web-based crowdsourcing projects — including Wikipedia, Linux, and Mozilla Firefox — serve as valuable models for LexPop. The authors conclude by encouraging readers to become involved in LexPop.
This post will be of interest to all citizens who wish to participate more fully in policy making; to the public policy community; to government technologists; and to the legal informatics community.