Wikocracy: democratizing law-making

News & Politics

Reader Gene Gurkoff sent in his very interesting concept project yesterday, called Wikocracy. It's only been up for a week, so it's still quite nascent, but the idea of the project is that they have created a wiki (a community-edited and -run website) containing the laws of the land. Everyone is encouraged to go to the site and change what they think ought to be changed about the laws:

To see what happens when everyone can write and revise the law. It may sound like a free-for-all. But that's exactly the point-- to make the process of law-making free for all.

On this platform, you can freely edit the USA PATRIOT Act, The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, your State's law on gay marriage, your city's zoning ordinances. If you'd like to change a law that is not yet on this platform, you can easily create a page and import the text you want to change. You can also write your own laws, post blogs, collaborate and spar with other users. Check out our FAQ if you have specific questions.

Although there are some suggested guidelines and tips that will facilitate this experiment, there are no rules. Nothing on this platform is legally binding. One person's changes can be revised or reversed by the next. Over time, this platform could reflect a collaborative statement of what we think the law should be. Or it could reflect a moment-by-moment statement of the most recent editor's views. This will be as bloody or as civil as you make it...

While it's laden with legalese (you law geeks out there will love this!), and its free-for-all nature ensures that at least a few silly laws make their way onto its "books," it's still an interesting use of the community-based information gathering tools out there on the market right now. It's based on MediaWiki, which is the same engine that the Wikipedia is based on, making it familiar and friendly to many.

Have a go at some good new-fashioned law-editing, and let us know how your experience was in the comments!

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