About this Site and Open Government
This site provides a place for the public to share ideas with each other and with the government on how each agency can be more open and transparent. It specifically seeks input from the public as the agency develops its Open Government plans.
Q. What is the Open Government Directive?
A. On January 21, 2009, the President issued the Transparency and Open Government Memorandum, instructing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to provide guidance to federal departments and agencies on implementing the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration, which form the cornerstone of an open government. On December 8, 2009, OMB responded by issuing the Open Government Directive
, which provided specific guidance on fulfilling the vision set forth in the President’s original memorandum.
Q. What is an Open Government Plan?
A. The Open Government Directive requires federal agencies (listed in the CFO Act) to develop – by April 7, 2010 – an Open Government Plan that will act as a roadmap for its plans to incorporate transparency, participation and collaboration into its core mission. The Plan must reflect the input of senior policy, legal, and technology leadership in the agency, as well as input from those outside these leadership positions, including federal employees, agency stakeholders, and the general public. Ultimately, the Open Government Plan will detail the specific actions that an agency will take and the timeline when it will do so.
Our agency’s Open Government Plan incorporating public ideas is due by April 7, 20010, and will be posted at http://www.ostp.gov/open
when it is available.
Q. Why did you create this site?
A. The Open Government Directive requires agencies to create a public feedback mechanism to engage the public during the development of the agency’s Open Government Plan. This website provides a tool that encourages the public to share ideas with agencies while they are creating their Plans, due on April 7, 2010.
Rather than offer a traditional “suggestion box,” this site allows the public to share their ideas on Open Government, discuss them with each other, and vote or express agreement/disagreement with the ideas, and, as a result, the most popular ideas “rise to the top” for closer review by the agency. This site allows you not only to give us your ideas, but for you to review and weigh in on the ideas of others—and, ultimately, enables the government to better understand and respond to your ideas.
Q. Who manages this site?
A. The U.S. General Services Administration administers and supports this site on behalf of a number of federal agencies. The software is powered by IdeaScale
Q. Who moderates this site?
A. Office of Science & Technology Policy
moderates this site and the discussions on the site. To learn more about our moderation policy, please read the Terms of Participation
Q. What is the purpose of this site?
A. Office of Science & Technology Policy wants to collect ideas from the public on how to increase transparency, collaboration, participation, and innovation in its everyday business. You can also share your ideas on how this site can be improved in the future.
This site is designed to collect and organize ideas from the public, create useful discussions, and allow ranking of the ideas through voting an idea up or down. You can use the site in three ways:
- Share - Contribute an idea for others to comment on (requires log-in)
- Discuss - Read ideas and comments (no log-in required) or comment on existing ideas (requires log-in)
- Vote - Agree or disagree with an idea, moving it "up" or "down" and increasing or decreasing its popularity (requires log-in)
User ideas, comments and votes will be posted on the site and will be available to everyone. We will not edit your ideas or comments, but they may be deleted by moderators if they violate the Terms of Participation
, or removed from this conversation if they are deemed to be off-topic. To learn more about our moderation policy, read the Terms of Participation
Q. What sort of ideas are you looking for?
A. We are looking for good ideas that we can incorporate into our agency’s Open Government Plan. We need ideas in four major areas:
Q. How can I add an idea?
- Transparency - How can this agency improve the availability and quality of information, improve accountability, and open up the way government works to the public? What “high value” data would you like our agency to make available online?
- Participation - How should this agency solicit feedback from the public?
- Collaboration - How can this agency work better with others inside and outside of government to solve problems together?
- Innovation - How can this agency be more innovative and efficient?
A. Add your idea by clicking on the “Sign-up & Share Ideas” button. If you do this without being logged in, you will be prompted to log in or create a new account. Doing this requires only an e-mail address and the creation of a password. Users also have the option to login using their existing login credentials on AOL, Google, Yahoo! or WordPress.
Q. How can I comment on an existing idea?
A. In addition to submitting ideas, this site lets you discuss others’ ideas. To do this, select an idea you want to comment on and click the “Comments” link below it. Click “Post New Comment.” If you haven’t logged in, you will be required to do so first before entering your comment.
Q. How does voting work?
A. This site provides you with the chance to vote on others’ ideas by assigning either a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” rating. You can vote based on whether you think an idea is useful, innovative, practical, or any other criteria you want to use—it’s up to you! Each user can only vote once on each idea.
To register your vote, click on the “I Agree” or “I Disagree” links in the box next to the idea. If you haven’t logged in, you will be required to do so first before voting for an idea.
The number you see next to each idea is the “net vote,” or the number of votes in favor of an idea minus the number of votes against it. For example, an idea with a rating of 5 might have received 50 positive votes, and 45 negative ones. By using this voting system, we ensure that the ideas with the most net positive votes—the ones that receive the most support from the community—“rise to the top” where the agency hosting the discussion can see and respond to them.
You can view ideas with the most votes by clicking the “Most Popular” tab at the top of the ideas. Alternative, you can view the most current ideas by clicking the “Most Recent” tab.
Q. Why do I need to log in to submit an idea, comment on an idea, or vote for an idea?
A. Anonymous posts and comments are not permitted because the Administrative Procedures Act
for more information.
Q. What if I don’t want the public to see my name?
A. If you post an idea or comment on someone else’s idea, the first part of your e-mail address will be posted next to your comment or idea. For example, if your e-mail address is email@example.com, then next to your ideas and comments, users will see you identified as “john.smith.” Or, if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, users will see “yogamaster” next to your ideas/comments.
If you want to change your name, simply log in and, before posting an idea or a comment or voting on someone else’s idea, edit the first and/or last name fields of your profile. You can create any user name you want to identify yourself by using these fields. Once you do that, users will see the names you selected when you post your ideas and comments. For more information, visit http://www.ideascale.com/help/514.html.
Q. I have an idea that I want to share but I can’t/don’t want to use this tool. Can I share my idea in other ways?
A. If you can’t or don’t want to use this tool, you can send your idea to our agency. Visit our list of contact information
for all agencies to see how to send ideas to this agency.
Q. What is your moderation policy?
A. Our moderation policy is under our Terms of Participation
Q. What internet browser / settings do I need to view this site?
A. This site is best viewed using: Internet Explorer 7.0 and above and Firefox. In order to view and use all options on our site, you will need java script and cookie support enabled on your browser.
Q. I don't want to use this site to share my idea. Can I still submit it?
A. Yes. Visit our list of contact information
for all agencies and you may submit your idea to us directly. You may also subscribe to our RSS feed
if you'd like to get updates to the ideas submitted.