Recent activity on WriteToReply

The official consultation period ended last week for the Digital Britain – Interim Report although the ongoing discussion on WriteToReply and the Digital Britain Discussion Forum remains open and welcomed by the @digitalbritain team.

We contacted the Digital Britain Team via Twitter and email about whether your comments should be delivered ‘formally’ by email. Happily, we didn’t have to do this…

…which gave us time to do other things:

If you’re reading this via a feed reader, you may have noticed a draft post accidentally slip out about ‘how you can get involved…’ This was inadvertently published in the process of setting up a new feature on WriteToReply, which will allow you to search and browse by tag and category, every section of every document that we re-publish. In addition, every tag and category has its own RSS feed, so you’ll be able to subscribe to categories of government documents, or even just set up a feed for specific tags which are of interest to you. We’re still working on it, but over time, we think it will be a really useful way of searching through and browsing the full-text of government documents that we re-publish.

Ideally, every government consultation would be published on something like WriteToReply by government workers. Until that happens, it’s down to the rest of us to get involved and help re-publish consultations on WriteToReply. In the meantime, the best way of keeping track on current government consultations is to keep an eye on Tell Them What You Think . (Exploring how WriteToReply can most effectively work with Tell Them What You Think is on our to do list!)

We’ve already had two people step up and ask for their own site. One consultation is nearly ready and another was re-published yesterday by @DJSoup. More on that below.

In addition to evolving the ‘site architecture’, we’ve been working on trying to get funding. We’ve submitted a bid to 4iP and have a bid in development for a JISC Rapid Innovation Grant. The former is a bid specifically for WriteToReply, the latter is a bid based on our work on WriteToReply (but would share benefits for WriteToReply as well as the JISC community).

We’ve also started holding weekly online meetings on IRC. Our first meeting was last week and a last minute annoucement on Twitter attracted two people to join us, who gave us technical advice and advice on registering WriteToReply as a formal entity. We realise we need to do this if we’re to accept funding and develop WriteToReply over the long-term. Our meetings will usually be every Thursday at 11am. If they are poorly attended at that time, we’ll move them to another time. Instructions on joining us are on the wiki as are the agendas and full logs of the meetings.

You may have noticed that we had some planned downtime on the site over the weekend. WriteToReply was first thought up and launched within two days using cheap, shared web hosting. As the site grew in popularity, it groaned under the strain of your comments, so to remedy that, we moved everything to a new host over the weekend which will provide a better level of service and offers us more flexibility, too.

Finally, as I mentioned above, Andrew MacKenzie re-published Lord Carter’s Straw Man, otherwise known as ‘Copyright in a Digital World. What role for a digital rights agency?’ This consultation document has grown out of the Digital Britain – Interim Report and specifically addresses the issues of copyright infringement and the protection of intellectual property in a ‘digital Britain’.  These are discussed under Action 11 and Action 12 in the Digital Britain – Interim Report. The deadline for the consultation is the 30th March. Hardly any time at all…

“Today we have published proposals in the form of a Straw Man on digital rights. That Straw Man could be torched, tolerated or a touchstone for the start point of constructive debate and design. I for one hope it is the latter.” ((From the press release))

Sounds like an invitation to comment on the document paragraph by paragraph to me 😉