Wikis for Lawmaking
What situations is this tool used in?
Wikis are pieces of server software that allow users to create and edit Web page content.
Who is this tool aimed at?
People willing to be actively involved in policymaking and parliaments/ governments eager to improve dialogue with citizens. People can submit specific comments and texts related to a specific bill under discussion in Parliament. Portals can host several other interactive tools, such as video-forums and smart polls.
How Is the Tool Used?
The Wikivote methodology developed by a Russian company offers an example of applications of wikis for lawmaking:
- The initial draft of the bill is passed by the Legislative Committee to the Wikivote team.
- The draft document is dissected into law items and published on the platform.
- Every participant creates one version of an item; each modified version is evaluated by other participants. The initial and new versions are voted for and against.
- Items obtaining the most votes are selected. A new draft is built based on participants’ suggestions.
- The draft law is passed to the Legislative Committee who approves the most reasonable suggestions.
- The new draft is posted on Wikivote for a final round of evaluation and voting.
The draft law is passed to Parliament for approval.
Who has used the tool?
Besides Wikivote, another application of a wiki tool for lawmaking is the Brazilian current legislature’s portal e-Democracia, where citizens can draft ongoing bills. The Internet Civil Rights Bill, guaranteeing the principle of net neutrality, recently underwent the wikilegis process and was approved by the Brazilian Congress in April 2014.
Where to find out more
Overview of wikivote:
‘The Open Parliament in the Age of the Internet: Can People Now Collaborate with Legislatures in Lawmaking?’, publication by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, 2013: http://bd.camara.gov.br/bd/handle/bdcamara/12756
The international Declaration on Parliamentary Openness: http://www.openingparliament.org/declaration