Lots of folks have been making some great recommendations to the
Obama transition team via their transition website, change.gov.
Lawrence Lessig and a cabal of Internet Big Thinkers suggested some Principals for an Open Transition, public.resource.org has Five Suggestions for Change,
and loads of people have been leaving comments and applying for jobs
and in general, the level of interactivity with the incoming Obama
administration is absolutely unprecedented.
What's more impressive is the speed at which change.gov has adopted
some of these ideas. Mere days after Lessig et al. suggested posting
downloadable versions of Obama's public video addresses (along with the
un-downloadable YouTube versions), the videos became available for
download in MP4 format, published under a Creative Commons license.
That's very encouraging and very cool.
So I'd like to add my own little suggestion here, which I'll call Bill Simmon's Single Suggestion for Simplicity.
It's not so much a suggestion as it is a question: Where do I leave
comments? I've been all over the change.gov site and I feel stupid. I
can't find a "leave a comment" link anywhere. I know comments exist,
because people keep talking about how great it is to be able to leave
them and how responsive the transition team has been. And there has to
be commenting somewhere because, using the search feature, I found the
site's commenting policy (which, ironically, is the one place I could find some actual comments).
I think my problem is I'm coming at the site expecting it be like
other sites with comments, where the comments appear under the
individual posts. Apparently, there are certain special posts under the
banner of "Join the Discussion" that the transition team is requesting
public comments on. Here is one example,
where the site is asking how the economic crisis has affected you.
There is no clear navigation to other "join the discussion" topics that
I can see (perhaps there are no others?).
My Suggestion for Simplicity is to just have moderated commenting on
every post on the site. That would solve the confusion problem. Short
of that, the site administrators could make it clear to readers that
there are only certain items for which comments are open. After hearing
so much brouhaha about change.gov responding to reader comments, it was
a pretty frustrating experience clicking around the site looking for
this much-vaunted interactivity.
A+ for the willingness to experiment with this at all, C+ for execution.
x-posted at Candleblog.