Some time back David Miliband did a public consultation wiki and it was over-run by the, errm, public. The public who over-whelmingly mocked him and wrecked the consultation process. It was a bit of fun.
Surprise, surprise this government is trying the same thing and it is getting suggestions that don’t go well down with Guardian readers. Like cutting off one finger per pickpocketing offence – which will clearly have a deterrent effect.
Some suggestions are just fun: Repeal the law of universal gravitation.
One suggestion Guido would really like to see happen : Decriminalise Cannabis. The laws on cannabis in this country are ridiculous, the Prime Minister was a dope-smoker in his Eton days, he knows that the scaremongering about it is ridiculous. Possession and growing for personal use, at the very least, should be decriminalised, as should medical use.
The fact that the public’s suggestions are often illiterate and ill-thought out ideas doesn’t mean that in among the jokes and madness there won’t be some good ideas. It will be messy, it will be a bit chaotic, so what? It doesn’t matter so long as we find some diamonds in the mud.
It is the same with comments on this blog. Temperamentally Guido would prefer it to be totally free without any limits. In practice the place would be over-run by 9-11 troofers, Jew-haters, Jihadis, muslim-haters, old fashioned racists and loonie lefties, who unable to get an audience of their own, try to parasite off Guido’s readership.
The limited software moderation we have was introduced to stop them and to prevent the likes of Derek Draper accusing Guido of deliberately promoting whatever was written in the comments.
In truth Guido is sceptical that it really matters what some window-licker writes in the blog’s comments and the majority of the blog’s readers don’t read the comments. People who complain to Guido that they are offended really have (a) no right to not be offended (b) no obligation to read the blog. Some of the comments can be tear-jerkingly funny – one BBC staffer confided that reading the comments here was “bad for her soul”. Does it really matter that much?
See also Get Your Own Blogs, The Economics of Blog Comments.