Open Politics

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Open Politics = movement which supports and parallels the free software and open content movements but wants to apply their principles to politics, i.e. more open and transparent means of decision making.



"The open politics movement parallels the free software and open content movements, and relies on both to create what is claimed to be a more "open" and "transparent" means of decision making in politics."

"The open politics movement parallels the free software and open content movements, and relies on both to create what is claimed to be a more "open" and "transparent" means of decision making in politics. It grew from earlier work in online deliberation and deliberative democracy, which in turn drew on research in issue-based argument and early hypertext and Computer Supported Cooperative Work research of the early 1980. Gradually, as there came to be more and more software and content of political and legal interest, there also came to be more and more entities relying on it for decisions.

The Deanspace project is widely considered to be the first serious attempt at open politics. It grew into civicspace and was largely relying on blog and meetup technologies to build some support behind Democratic Party dark horse Howard Dean. It was largely an emergent, unplanned effort. In fact, simply applied its ordinary stupid algorithm to a number of members who had listed "Howard Dean" (a mere text string to that algorithm) in their list of interests. It obediently buzz-clicked out a scheduled time for a live "meetup", and open politics history began, with no intelligence being directly involved at all (which some find ironic, and others, fitting). The Green Party of Canada Living Platform was a much more planned and designed effort at open politics. As it prepared itself for an electoral breakthrough in the 2004 Canadian federal election, the Green Party of Canada began to compile citizen, member and expert opinion in preparation of its platform. During the election, it gathered input even from Internet trolls including supporters of other parties, with no major problems - anonymity was respected and comments remained intact if they were within the terms of use at all. Also, candidates who had answered citizen questionnaires were encouraged to share answers with other candidates. All of this material was intended to provide input to the GPC's next platform. An elaborate process for this, relying on yahoogroups and tikiwiki, was created by staff and advisors, but was derailed by Jim Harris (politician), the party's leader, when he discovered that it was a threat to his plan to make policy without input from the party - a plan in direct contradiction of the party's history and avowed policy of participatory democracy. This was one of many long standing tensions between Harris' clique and the party as a whole, and it remains unresolved. The Living Platform split off as another service entirely out of GPC control and eventually evolved into and a service to set up policy wikis for other groups. Today it is largely at that the theory of open politics is being debated. Their definition of the term itself is "a methodology to achieve good government" but of course any political party claims to have such a method or system." (


Today the project to document all Guantanamo Bay detainees is probably the most notable and worthy open politics project. It is supported by the ACLU and former President of the United States Jimmy Carter.

See Open Politics Canada for a thriving example at

This report on a deliberative democracy project in Perth also has a good definition and references to the literature on the evolution of this movement, at

Political wiki initiatives

... that accommodate people with diverse political views:

  1. Debatepedia,
  2. Campaigns Wikia,
  3. Open Politics Canada,

More Information

Different articles on the `open politics' and `open parties' theme at Open Democracy, at