Handyman Bill

Sunday April 10, 2011 by cl0secall

I came up with this crazy idea related to politics. I need to start writing stuff down about it, so I'm starting by putting something out here. The inspiration came from my vague understanding of a couple of aspects of the complex structure of politics in the US, specifically:

  1. Individuals and households largely do no participate in governance or politics, sometimes even in their own communities.
  2. Many pieces of legislation are not generated by legislators, instead they are provided to legislators by interested parties.
  3. Individuals can become deeply invested in governance and politics when it come to specific issues that are important to them.

I had the idea to apply some principles I've seen applied in other fields to the "problem" of disinterest in governance and politics. I mention governance separately and distinctly from politics because while I believe it is important for citizens to be engaged in issues and questions of governance, I don't believe that should necessary entail involvement in politics in general. I suppose I might have to elaborate on that further at some point, but I digress.

So my idea is this: Create a system/framework/template that can be used to essentially "crowdsource" support for particular issues of governance so that individuals can have the same effect in politics as a larger interest group -- but on the scale of individual issues. Initially I had the idea for a single website, named something akin to "Handyman Bill" which would allow for individuals to submit a request -- like a helpdesk trouble ticket -- for a specific issue and have that reviewed and contributed to by the public at large, and ultimately to have that followed through by the network of individuals who participate in the site. It is not necessarily a novel idea but I feel it's important to get it out there. I will continue to work on it and polish it.