Downing Street says

The first (?) mysociety project goes live: Downingstreetsays.com. Some of the prolific democracyhackers behind Faxyourmp.com were involved, including Tomski, who introduces the site thus:

Downing Street Says turns the online-but-deeply-hidden transcript of each day’s briefings for lobby journalists into a blog where we can all read and comment upon No.10’s official line.

It got built in a couple of weeks by half a dozen people. All in different locations. In their spare time. Co-ordinated almost entirely via mailing lists.”

This is great. The prime minister’s statements permalinked, trackbacked, commented. Taking buried-but-public stuff and turning it into seeds for discourse and deliberation.

The excellent FAQ makes the point better:

“Q. Remind me again, what’s in it for me?

We let you:

  1. Read and search through what the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman actually said at each lobby briefing, in context.
  2. Leave your own comments on what was said, and to read other people’s.
  3. Find out what people across the web are saying about government policy, via those funny trackback links which appear at the bottom of every answer.”

And on how it was built:

“Running a website, contrary to what most highly-paid Net consultants will tell you, can come in very, very cheap. If you can get enough people to volunteer their time and expertise, you can create even quite complex internet projects in double quick time for almost no money. A large proportion of the Internet consists of volunteer projects like ours.”

Finding something like this when one wakes up makes one almost optimistic!

Well done all who built it… and of course well done for launching it on such an auspicious day.

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