Politics 2.0: Micro-Graft and Wikis

By Ben Charny  |  Posted 2006-05-30 Print this article Print

California registered voters can now take part in an experimental political fantasy camp.

At Wicracy, launched last week, participants create a platform of issues they hope a real political party will adopt as its own.

The exclusively online sausage-making (PDF) at Wicracy involves voting blocks, ad hoc committees, party platforms and the other usual trappings of events as at the Democratic National Convention.

Yahoo, Google and other leading Internet destinations are sure to at least have a casual interest in Wicracy, given how all are now on the hunt for new sources of user-generated content to help differentiate themselves.

There's good reason to find such content. The Pew Internet & American Life Project reported May 30 that 48 million American adults, or about a third of all U.S. Internet users, have posted their own content on the Net.

The technology behind Wicracy is based on the Wiki, an uber-collaborative Web site where anyone can create or edit new or existing content.

What sets Wicracy apart from the 10 other Wikis with a political bent is how it one day wants to serve as a conduit for political donations.

The idea is to get an elected representative or party to notice, then champion, the issues being presented in the forum. This "power of the pocketbook" provides a unique bite missing at other politicized Wiki communities, says inventor Shelly Harrison.

In practice, that could mean donations are handed over to a candidate who shares the same view, or the money could be used to pay for a political function that promotes a particular position, he said.

Wicracy organizers are leaving it up to the party to adhere to the appropriate campaign donation rules and regulations.

"We're not a governmental agency, all we can do is process that credit card," Harrison said. "If it turns out people can't do those donations, we'll leave it up to the parties to decide to do the right thing."

Wicracy also plans to launch a "representativeness indicator" later this year. It can be used to measure just how in-line any public official is with a Wikcracy-created party platform.

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