Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

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Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Woxor » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:31 am UTC

The president-elect has a new website: http://www.change.gov/

It's pretty similar to Obama's campaign website, but it has a place where you can "share your vision" with the new administration-in-waiting: http://change.gov/page/s/yourvision

This feature lets you send a message to the President-Elect & Friends saying what you want out of the American government. In other words, Obama, is already at least paying lip-service to the idea of open government and responsive democracy. I was also a bit touched by the fact that it had a "what country are you from" menu on the submission screen, meaning all you foreign people can play along, too. In the hope that it's at least one part genuine, I posted the following:
The president should elevate the National Science Foundation to a Department of Science and Technology to fund and direct research, with a Secretary of Science and Technology in the president's cabinet. This would demonstrate a commitment to scientific progress and provide a much-needed impetus towards generating the kinds of solutions that do not yield an immediate reward in the private sector, such as inventing ways to combat climate change.

The president and Congress should also move towards decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana. If nothing else, put this issue in the national spotlight for a short time so that the American people see the issue as plausible. Many Americans are a bit libertarian at heart and would be receptive to the idea within a generation.

The president should make it easier for foreign human beings to become citizens of the United States. America shoudl be a beacon of hope to everyone, but that hope must be followed by reality: a country cannot lead the world when it excludes those who would join it.

The president should move towards abolishing institutionalized religious prejudice in America, particularly towards Islamic citizens and atheists. "Muslim" and "atheist" are still pejorative terms in American society, and it is illegal in some states to hold public office as an atheist. This is not right.

Of course, the president should dismantle Guantanamo Bay, end the war in Iraq, move towards universal health care, generate public works projects, etc., but I'm assuming those are already issues that you're considering.


What have you asked Obama for today? :D

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Megatriorchis » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:49 am UTC

I think this is a great idea, although it has the risk of being ineffective. We can probably expect them to look at some of the ideas submitted (if not all of them), if they're submitted by more than just a few people.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Intercept » Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:17 am UTC

I think it will be used. If anything they'll look for key words, or have it count the most used words and see what the general consensus is. Hopefully some (good) unexpected things will come of Obama's presidency.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby pyroman » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:02 am UTC

It would be really nice to see this work. I will compose a full entry tomorrow and post it here. It would be awesome if this set up was more than just a ploy. Considering that this appeared AFTER he was already elected i really want to believe that it holds some promise... keep your fingers crossed people.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Kachi » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:56 am UTC

I sent in a proposal to address obesity and preventative health education. Particularly I emphasized the importance of methodology research in the fields of health and physical education.

It will probably be read and discarded by a staffer, but I figured the closer to the top of the stack it wound up, the better the chance that it won't be entirely ignored.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Chfan » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:00 am UTC

This looks pretty good, but it looks like you'd have to get in quick.
Just FYI, the guy isn't avatar isn't me. But he seems pretty cool.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby clintonius » Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:33 pm UTC

Image
kira wrote:*piles up some limbs and blood and a couple hearts for good measure*
GUYS. I MADE A HUMAN.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby The Reaper » Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:05 pm UTC

I really hope they read some of the stuff that regular users of this site posted :\ It tends to be quite insightful, regardless of the opinion. I also hope the implement some of the ideas that are submitted. It would be a dramatic change from the older style of presidency, in that the president would adapt as the country adapts. Main problem I see is /b/tards. That, and the number of people necessary to read through all the emails. :\ Tedious is tedious.

I sent
Much more emphasis on Nuclear Power, with renewed research on the Integral Fast Reactor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Fast_Reactor and Generation IV reactors.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_IV_reactor

This would allow us to power major cities, while at the same time having a very low nuclear footprint, insofar as waste is concerned. It would also allow us to start using the older, non-useful nuclear weapons as an energy source, further reducing the American need for oil. It has a much larger power to cost output ratio. It's a good thing, nomatter how you look at it.

Pay raises for troops would also be greatly appreciated. As a combat veteran deployed to 2 different warzones, I can assure you, for the hours worked, we made well below minimum wage. 400 hour months, for 2 grand. And that was in a deployment area. Plenty of training areas have soldiers pulling the same hours, without the hazard fire pay and other pay incentives, thus resulting in a pay rate of about $4 an hour. Any other business would have been shut down for such things.

If you do incorporate socialized health care, please, PLEASE, don't run it like the military runs theirs. As much as I love getting talked to like I'm a liar, due to all the system free-riders, seeing a different doctor on every visit, and other such nonsense as that, I don't.

If we could find a way to lower costs of college, and increase a students 'want' to learn while in highschool, that would be greatly beneficial as well. Don't make school funding based on the attendance, like it is in Texas. It's very detrimental to the quality of education.

Oh, and if you don't already, feel free to visit xkcd.com. It has a forum where many science and technology oriented people of various political and social natures gather to discuss a variety of topics, including nuclear power, and the associated risks and benefits. Citations are usually provided within most topics.
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=9149&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Chfan » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:38 pm UTC

Clintonius: you are epic.

I guess I should go tell Obama to try to get Scientology's tax breaks taken away. But that won't happen unless he gets re-elected in 2012.
Just FYI, the guy isn't avatar isn't me. But he seems pretty cool.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby clintonius » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:46 pm UTC

Chfan wrote:Clintonius: you are epic.

Image

. . . sorry
kira wrote:*piles up some limbs and blood and a couple hearts for good measure*
GUYS. I MADE A HUMAN.
*...pokes at it with a stick*

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby GreaterSteven » Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:05 pm UTC

Even if it's not legit, and they don't really listen to any submissions..


It gives people ideas. It opens doors to open democracy. It's a step.


Also, Clintonius--Well played.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Intercept » Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:34 pm UTC

GreaterSteven wrote:Also, Clintonius--Well played.


And... wait for it.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Iv » Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:32 pm UTC

I would be happy to see a public automoderated board with concrete propositions. Sending emails to the president has always been possible, you never get to know what other people say, and to what extent their opinions are popular.

Yes, Ok, I know, I am asking for a slashdot-like government style, goodluckwiththat and all the jazz. Whatever. I still think it would work great.

Anyway, I'll let it to you, I don't live in USA, so I'll just send a rickroll link...

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Kizyr » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:31 pm UTC

Given how effectively the Obama campaign responded to concerns while on the trail, I can see this having some impact, and see it being a pretty good indicator of what the most pertinent issues are in many folks' minds.

It does carry the risk of being spammed and ineffective, but it has potential which can definitely be realized. KF
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Klapaucius » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:42 pm UTC

Kizyr wrote:It does carry the risk of being spammed and ineffective, but it has potential which can definitely be realized. KF


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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Chfan » Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:34 pm UTC

I only hope its existence isn't too well-known, that way less people will be submitting suggestions.
Just FYI, the guy isn't avatar isn't me. But he seems pretty cool.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby jimrandomh » Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:34 pm UTC

A white house web forum would never work; it'd be quickly become the most heavily trolled site in existence, and exposing techno-illiterate voters to that would be a disaster. My guess is that Obama will have staffers pick through the submissions, and produce a series of "X people are for position P and Y are against" statements, plus a few of the gems. The well-known issues have almost all been argued to a deadlock, and you can't really affect those; on the other hand, there are a lot of non-controversial but frequently overlooked issues.

I wrote to point out how every major disaster has led to a meltdown of the cell phone network, which is unacceptable and embarrassing. We should (1) integrate cell phones into the emergency broadcast system, (2) add an 'emergency mode' where text messages (which use very little capacity) are free but voice calls are reserved for emergency personnel, (3) create an aerial platform which can replace a damaged cell tower and reroute messages from a disaster zone to satellites, and (4) have a war room which can track emergency personnel and emergency call locations, even when the phone network is damaged.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Mr. Beck » Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:25 am UTC

I overheard some folks talking about this site while in a Sushi restaurant last night*. One guy was pretty excited, and said that even though he voted for McCain, he thought that a government taking (and asking for) suggestion directly was brilliant. I think that Obama truly will inspire a newfound trust in America's government.

*It tasted fantasic, by the way. If you're ever in Albuquerque, head to Sumo Sushi.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Iv » Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:59 pm UTC

jimrandomh wrote:A white house web forum would never work; it'd be quickly become the most heavily trolled site in existence, and exposing techno-illiterate voters to that would be a disaster. My guess is that Obama will have staffers pick through the submissions, and produce a series of "X people are for position P and Y are against" statements, plus a few of the gems. The well-known issues have almost all been argued to a deadlock, and you can't really affect those; on the other hand, there are a lot of non-controversial but frequently overlooked issues.


That is why I talk about an auto-moderation system that works : the karma-based slashcode.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby The Reaper » Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:58 pm UTC

Mr. Beck wrote:I overheard some folks talking about this site while in a Sushi restaurant last night*. One guy was pretty excited, and said that even though he voted for McCain, he thought that a government taking (and asking for) suggestion directly was brilliant. I think that Obama truly will inspire a newfound trust in America's government.

*It tasted fantasic, by the way. If you're ever in Albuquerque, head to Sumo Sushi.


Mr. Beck wrote:newfound trust in America's government


Mr. Beck wrote:trust ... government


Nokthx. I trust them as far as I can throw them, which, considering how many people work there, isn't very far at all. I will, however, be content with not getting raeped by the government every 5 minutes.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby aleflamedyud » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:09 pm UTC

Iv wrote:
jimrandomh wrote:A white house web forum would never work; it'd be quickly become the most heavily trolled site in existence, and exposing techno-illiterate voters to that would be a disaster. My guess is that Obama will have staffers pick through the submissions, and produce a series of "X people are for position P and Y are against" statements, plus a few of the gems. The well-known issues have almost all been argued to a deadlock, and you can't really affect those; on the other hand, there are a lot of non-controversial but frequently overlooked issues.


That is why I talk about an auto-moderation system that works : the karma-based slashcode.

Damn straight. After years of browsing various web fora and social news sites, the only one that has even managed to stay consistently non-moronic in its moderation system is Slashdot, even as the editors have slowly slipped into stupidity.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Kachi » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:49 pm UTC

Is this the kind of system in which each person can rate other posts, and if the rating goes low enough, it vanishes?

Because I've used that kind of system for a long time, and to be honest, didn't care for the way it turned out.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Torvaun » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:15 am UTC

Kachi wrote:Is this the kind of system in which each person can rate other posts, and if the rating goes low enough, it vanishes?

Because I've used that kind of system for a long time, and to be honest, didn't care for the way it turned out.

No. Ability to moderate is given out based on a number of things, including frequency of posting (and it goes in the middle of the bell curve, it doesn't give out mod points to the people who have every other post), metamoderation, and probably a stack of other things.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Kachi » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:24 am UTC

Hm, so is it a kind of absolute moderating power, in that one person can banninate a troll...? I don't know, I don't really have a good grasp of how this system works.

At the forum I used to post at, if you were at a certain "rating" you could rate other people up or down. There was some complex mathematical equation to determine your karma, but it was based mainly on how other people rated your individual posts, and how many posts you had. If your karma dipped too low on a post, it could be filtered out. Too low in general, and you lost your ability to rate other posts, and your new posts started at a lower karma.

I'm just not much a fan of boards that rely on users rating one another up/down.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Cynical Idealist » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:49 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:Hm, so is it a kind of absolute moderating power, in that one person can banninate a troll...? I don't know, I don't really have a good grasp of how this system works.

At the forum I used to post at, if you were at a certain "rating" you could rate other people up or down. There was some complex mathematical equation to determine your karma, but it was based mainly on how other people rated your individual posts, and how many posts you had. If your karma dipped too low on a post, it could be filtered out. Too low in general, and you lost your ability to rate other posts, and your new posts started at a lower karma.

I'm just not much a fan of boards that rely on users rating one another up/down.

Nope, it works like this (I think, I don't go there often):

Every once in a while (as needed), the Slashdot system looks for people who post often but not obsessively (middle of the bell curve), and who have good metamoderation feedback, and other criteria, and gives them a stack of X "mod points". They can then rate other people's posts up or down, but that uses up their store of mod points. So, they could mod a comment from 2 to 5, but that costs them 3 mod points. Rating posts down also costs mod points. It encourages people to only mod posts that deserve it.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Torvaun » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:24 pm UTC

Actually, you can only mod any given post once, and you can't mod any posts if you've participated in the thread.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Iv » Thu Nov 27, 2008 1:49 pm UTC

The original system (before metamoderation) was easier to explain :
First, it is threaded, a thing that most phpBB forums out there lack, IMHO.
Then, every post has a score between -1 and 5. Anonymous posts start at a 0 score, posts from logged in users start at 1.
The default setting is to hide comments with a score of 0 or -1 (they are still there, it is signaled that some posts are hidden but it requires an active action from the user to make them appear)
It shows the whole body of +5 messages and sometimes (depending on the total messages posted I think) it also shows whole +3 or +4 messages.
It only show the title of posts with low scores (+1 to +3 or +4).

Every registered user as a score named the karma : it goes from -10 (if I recall corectly) to +50.
People with low karma get a -1 malus (maybe even -2, I am not sure) when posting and people with a good karma get a +1 bonus. That means that a high karma guarantees your posts will be at +2 before moderation and thus at least their title will show up.

When you get a positive moderation point, your karma goes up one point, when you get a negative moderation point, your karma goes down one point. Moderation points were given randomly to people with positive karma (I don't think that the post frequency was taken into account). They always come in a pack of 5 points that each allows you to mod up or mod down a single post from a different user than yourself and in a discussion where you didn't post yourself.

Recently they added a metamoderation feature which allows people to review other people moderation. I don't know how they integrated this mechanism in the scoring system. I guess it had become necessary to fight spam bots and sibyl attacks.

If you think that it is impossible to herd internet lolcats, you should take a look at this self-herding thing. It is impressive how simple rules make it work correctly. Admins almost never moderate it and insightful discussion happens nicely. I would really love to see such features in xkcd forums.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby william » Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:07 pm UTC

Trust me. Slashdot only works because all the trolls left for Digg or Reddit.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Iv » Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:35 pm UTC

william wrote:Trust me. Slashdot only works because all the trolls left for Digg or Reddit.

And why do you think that they left ?

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby william » Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC

Iv wrote:
william wrote:Trust me. Slashdot only works because all the trolls left for Digg or Reddit.

And why do you think that they left ?

Because Digg was the hot new thing.

Trust me. I was on Slashdot when Digg was just becoming popular. Slashdot's quality wasn't very high until the trolls left for Digg. The moderation system didn't help much. In fact, if it were applied here, quality would probably go down, because the mods here are pretty damn good.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Iv » Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:57 pm UTC

william wrote:Trust me. I was on Slashdot when Digg was just becoming popular. Slashdot's quality wasn't very high until the trolls left for Digg.

I was there too. While I agree (after checking the -1 posts, because they are not that visible) that there are less trolls now than in 2005, I have to point out that the huge majority of them are modded down at -1.

william wrote:The moderation system didn't help much. In fact, if it were applied here, quality would probably go down, because the mods here are pretty damn good.

Yes, the mods here make an awesome job but there are less users here than on Slashdot
My first request for these forums would be to thread them. I think it helps keep the discussion on rails by allowing people to make a fork to discuss a detail without interfering with the main discussion (like what we are doing currently). I would like to be able to answer various people separately without making a 2 pages answer or by quadruple posting.
I would also like to be able to come in a 20 pages discussion and go directly to the most insightful and informative contributions.

The goal of the moderation on slashdot is not only to filter out trolls, but also to highlight interesting informations. I have the feeling to be stuck in 1-D conversations here while on slashdot 2D conversations are possible.

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Shedek » Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:22 pm UTC

Don't know if anyone is visiting the site regularly, but they actually ARE holding a public discussion about health care concerns:

http://change.gov/page/content/discusshealthcare

I have no idea how effective such a system will be, but it certainly is unique. Though, the fact that it didn't take even two pages of comments before the discussion shifted to government plans covering alternative medicine, even temporarily, makes me sad. :(

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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Philwelch » Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:00 am UTC

jimrandomh wrote:I wrote to point out how every major disaster has led to a meltdown of the cell phone network, which is unacceptable and embarrassing. We should (1) integrate cell phones into the emergency broadcast system, (2) add an 'emergency mode' where text messages (which use very little capacity) are free but voice calls are reserved for emergency personnel, (3) create an aerial platform which can replace a damaged cell tower and reroute messages from a disaster zone to satellites, and (4) have a war room which can track emergency personnel and emergency call locations, even when the phone network is damaged.


The government doesn't run the cell phone networks. I think you should address your advice to the cell phone network providers. Also, your proposal makes no sense. In particular:

1. Would probably require new protocols (let's assume emergency broadcasts would interrupt calls in progress) which would require worldwide coordination to supersede GSM and its successors, which would also require new equipment.
2. Is a bad idea (no way to receive 911 calls, impractical to text while trapped under rubble), plus emergency personnel have their own radios.
3. Rerouting to satellites is a bad idea for latency reasons, though I guess you could replace a cell tower with a blimp.
4. Already implemented in most major cities, plus emergency personnel have their own radios.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby Klapaucius » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:21 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:3. Rerouting to satellites is a bad idea for latency reasons, though I guess you could replace a cell tower with a blimp.


This is a bad idea, because it would mean that we will have crossed over into another timeline.
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Re: Yes We STILL Can: Change.gov

Postby The Reaper » Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:13 am UTC

I'd just like to point out, text messages can already be sent with an emergency flag.... :\


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