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A WikiThinkTank is a political wiki that exists to generate solutions to social/economic/political problems, and then to lobby government with its solutions. The WikiThinkTank must be completely open and democratic, and must have an active body of intellectual politically aware people.

See also PoliticalAction, and WikiOpinionSociety

Aim: To create real political change.

Roles: There would be a number of different roles that members of a WikiThinkTank could take (These roles are in addition to the normal MemberRole's:

Operation: Members and Visitors of the Wiki mention a problem or political situation that they observe or learn about in the media. At this point, the TopicalExpert?'s step in and provide a detailed overview of the situation. The IdeaGenerator's propose their solutions and the DevilsAdvocate's then work on these ideas through argument and discussion until a solution is produced that everyone can agree on. The PoliticalLobbyist?'s then presents this view to RealWorld politicians.

Idea Generator: This role involves producing solutions to problems. For example, if the problem is "The United Kingdom needs to reduce its environmentally damaging emissions". Then the Idea Generators would propose solutions such as "Improve public transport, to encourage the public to use their cars less". But he also must be free to dream: "why not transport the work to the workers?" or "why not let the people live where they work" ...

Political Lobbyist: This role simply involves taking a solution and presenting it to politicians. It is important that a Political Lobbyist has an understanding of the political process of his/her country. For example, in Britain, the lobbyist could suggest to a politician to ask a certain question in the House of Commons, or for them to sign a certain Early Day Motion or propose a Private Member's Bill.

Political movements aren't open and democratic for good reasons. For instance, the Liberal Party of Canada used to have an open membership system until 'pro-life' abortion lobbyists flooded the party and hijacked the policy forum. Instead, membership is given by invitation only. That creates a number of other problems when internal votes are made since it perpetuates a preexisting majority, even if that is unreflective of the general voting population's preference (of those voters who normally vote for the party). In other words, openness leads to dilution, and in politics it's best to be effective rather than large. -- SunirShah

Good point. After everyone has a chance to read this, perhaps the text should be changed to read "The WikiThinkTank must be completely open to all who share the CommonContext of the think tank and democratic in its operation". This is how most political parties work. British Political Parties require no invitation, but members who do not agree with the core beliefs of the party are commonly expelled. --ChrisAnderson?

Perhaps CollaborativeCriticism of the RealWorld politician's statements would serve many of these purposes. There is an InformationAsymmetry between the politicians and the governed. If the issue is important and non-simple enough for politicians to weigh in on, there already exist DevilsAdvocates?, Topical experts, idea generators, and certainly political lobbyists. Rather than seeking to generate solutions, a WikiThinkTank may be more effective by fully identifying the problem (one of the first and most important steps in finding good solutions) though CollaborativeCriticism of proposed solutions. --DavidForrest



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