Monday, September 04, 2006

Darn those pesky citizens!

It seems that over in the UK, they're having a spot of trouble with participatory democracy coupled with the Internet - British MP falls foul of wiki-d pranksters:
A British Government Minister may have thought he was keeping up with modern trends when he put a draft policy on the Internet on Friday, but he was soon left red-faced when hundreds of pranksters defaced it.

Weblogging, techno-savvy Environment Secretary David Miliband, tipped as a bright young spark in Prime Minister Tony Blair's administration, had put a draft "environment contract" on his department's website, setting out social responsibilities for people, government and businesses.

But embarrassed administrators were forced to haul it down after more than 170 cyber-jokers trashed the document by adding in bizarre paragraphs for fun.

The page used "wiki" editing techniques, which allow readers to alter the content.
While there were some monkeyshines, a number of additions rather improved it:
Under a list of things citizens should do, one wag added: "Pay a higher proportion of their income to the government, and see little tangible improvement in their standard of living".

One passage said everyone had the capacity to tackle environmental problems, but that people were too often dissuaded by "doubts about whether our actions will make any difference".

One joker swiftly tagged on: "Besides which we just can't help but meddle, interfere, impose our views on others, and generally use taxpayers' resources in ways that are wasteful except in our own self-aggrandisement".
I guess the little people just don't understand the big picture even when the swells explain it to them carefully. Of course, there's an alternative explanation.