[MG] Spigit

conseo 4consensus at web.de
Sun Jan 23 05:33:56 EST 2011

> Mark Frischmuth wrote:
> > Another link worth looking at re: Spigot is here:
> > http://www.spigit.com/products-and-solutions/products/govspigit/
> > It's the "GovSpigit", which includes a blue button below the fold to see
> > it in action, taking you to a working demo of the software.
> Interesting.  I guess that's partly where the $10M went.  It was over
> a year ago they received it.
> What do you think of it?

I think you are right, esp. with the commercial perspective and the lacking 
commons with what we do. Having a look at the gov-project of them I don't see 
any great concepts that outrule us or that we really have to clone. They don't 
even have interesting examples to help explore their functionality but dumb 
populistic ones. We might keep a look at them and may profit from visualization 
concepts like this: http://spigcity.gov.spigit.com/IdeaFunnel, but even that 
is not really original compared to things like crossforum.

Yet they give an "innovation overview" and this is what it seems to be all 
about: about improving government from an institutional and efficiency 
perspective. If you can build a community of citizens around your executive 
and legislative powers, you likely profit both in legitimacy and in efficiency 
and pull in unpaid labour of those involved. You also are informed about 
critical trends directly and will be able to act best from your perspective. 

But honestly historically this has never worked. There have been many social 
movements build around political parties in the past, but once the party was 
in power it failed to satisfy the social movement's needs and it fell apart. 
This is not a matter of some nice web 2.0 platform but of content. Content is 
always king and if the platform does not allow you to really drive the power 
it represents nobody will use it. 
There comes their commercial attitude into play. People will see from the very 
start that this is a commercially motivated product and in fact they don't 
offer you special tools or nice integration of their data, but only a lean 
We are already miles ahead with the open-voting-network approach. In fact, if 
they partially succeed, for example by pulling in politically interested 
careerists or some party's youth organization, we can mirror them. We can then 
easily mirror the consensus building going on there and pull all needed data. 
If they lock their users in, parts of them will oppose and try to find 
alternatives... But they might at least not easily lockup the drafts or their 
users will be very angry recognizing that they lose the copyright of their 
ideas to the platform... And if you want to keep your innovation closed on 
such a platform as a user, you are not interested in democratic consensus 
building anyway. I don't think an "idea market" makes any sense.
So, well, this is the wrong approach and therefore I don't fear them. In fact 
I hope they generate some valuable experience and awareness of the needs. 
Similar projects like NationBuilder have failed in the past. Don't focus on 
government institutions, focus on the people.


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