Since the launch of its new online petition system, We The People, earlier this week, The White House has received a flood of petitions. We The People is part of a large push by the Obama administration to have greater transparency and openness in government. (And there is an ongoing debate about whether “Open Is Dead.”)
According to an article over at NextGov.com:
The White House initially promised to respond formally to any We the People petition that received more than 5,000 signatures, but after nearly three dozen petitions crossed that mark in the site’s first week, the administration raised the bar to 25,000 signatures within 30 days.
With so much response, on topics ranging from Forgiving Student Loan Debt to asking the government to repeal the Patriot Act to recognizing the existence of extra terrestrials, the White House has a lot to filter through.
I think this is a step in the right direction toward more transparent government, but I think we’re a few months away from seeing the full potential of this initiative or have any sort of measure of its efficacy.
The White House official responded that even if internal discussions spawned by the site don’t always change policy, it still represents an opportunity for the White House to engage with the public and to explain why it can’t or won’t make a particular change.
Do you think We The People will remain to be a popular feature on WhiteHouse.gov? Do you think it will be effective? Does your agency have any similar crowd sourcing features?