Govloop Guides: Transparency

“How do you take all of the great knowledge and information that is created through discussions, blogs, and forums on Govloop, and share it with peers and colleagues in government?”

This is a common question that people ask about govloop, and one that I’ve been working with Steve on for the past few months.

One idea we’ve been experimenting with is to take the different discussions on a given topic, and consolidate them into 2-3 page how-to guides that can be easily shared with colleagues and across organizations.

We’ve produced one on Transparency, and want to know what you think
(see below). Is the information contained in this document helpful? Is there a better way to consolidate the info from discussions? Do you find these types of documents useful in general and/or would you share them with colleagues? What do you like about this document, and what would you do differently?

We’re eager for your feedback so we can make these Govloop Guides as relevant to your needs as possible. Let us know what you think!

GovLoop Guide – How To Create Transparency

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Chris Jones

Great work, Yasmin. There’s definitely value here.

First, I’m glad you’ve surfaced a dichotomy within Federal service offerings between those w/ a citizen-facing mission vs. those without. That is one of the first and most important nuances that drives variation in Open Gov planning. Great catch. But I think there may be more.

We hope to explore that further in the 2/17 OGD Workshop.

In terms of the GovLoop Guide idea itself –

Establishing relevance to searchable data and sources is a major gap w/ Web 2.0. I’m seeing more and more focus on the role of “aggregation” which is having a person or persons do the value-added research on what’s out there, and providing links to what’s important. That’s the value add. Knowing what’s useful is key. It’s an editorial role, and it’s much needed.

In an effort to be helpful, there may be a tendency to link to everything found. But I think there’s a danger in overwhelming readers. The best compromise is qualify the reasons someone might want to follow a link, along these lines .. “If you’re looking for X or Y to help you do A, B or C, click here” Without the added context, you’d be forcing each reader to check each link .. which essentially takes you back to Google Search. More work for the researcher, true. But the value of the compilation goes up, perhaps exponentially.

That’s probably my ONLY concern about GovLoop. With 23k users and growing, it becomes increasingly difficult to know where to turn next.

Super work here. Thanks for sharing it, and looking forward to where you guys can take it –

Yasmin Fodil

Thanks, Chris, this is really helpful. There’s definitely a balancing act between wanting to make the process as easy as possible so that you can scale it as the amount of information increases, versus making sure you give people enough context so that the information is really useful. I like your idea for giving links…I think being as specific as “if you’re looking for x, check out y” is a simple way to give people an additional piece of info to know whether or not they should click through, without overwhelming the editors.

Chris Jones

Exactly, striking a balance is key. If you guys can do that, I think GovLoop could play a significant role of collecting and aggregating insight. May be even more value in cross-agency aspect, where there aren’t (as yet) many forums for virtual interaction.

I just added a link to your Transparency Guide on the Open Gov Playbook page for Transparency. There are several resource pages on that wiki; thought you’d want specific GovLoop resources to be visible as links there (make sure title & attribution are right, if not, I can fix.)