Here's a hopeful sign:
We're working to create a more open and less intrusive society. We want to restore Britain’s traditions of freedom and fairness, and free our society of unnecessary laws and regulations – both for individuals and businesses.
This site gives you the chance to suggest how we can do this. Your ideas will inform government policy and some of your proposals could end up making it into bills we bring before Parliament to change the law.
So if there are any laws or regulations you'd like us to do away with, then first, check if there are any similar ideas here already and then add your comments to it and rate it to move it up the list. If it's not here, then add it! And remember - we want you to suggest ideas for removing laws and regulations, rather than ideas for creating them.
That's great from a number of viewpoints. It suggests that the coalition government will go at least some way to freeing us from the oppressive, authoritarian laws that were introduced over the last decade or so – many of which have affected the online world.
It also suggests a new openness to outside suggestions. That's important, because there has already been a flood of comments in the first 24 hours:
We've had an excellent response so far, with over 2,205 ideas, 7,419 comments and 18,000 votes in our first day. It's fantastic that so many of you want to participate - and we apologise if you've had problems viewing pages. We've taken measures to improve the running of the site, and hope that it will run more smoothly now.
For readers of this blog, one of the obvious applications of this site is to seek the repeal of the Digital Economy Act, which was pushed through with such indecent haste just before the General Election, with practically no scrutiny, and a fistful of unworkable proposals.
But searching for “digital economy” produces 28 hits of varying relevance at the time of writing. Some are obviously asking for the same thing, others are in partial agreement. The big problem is that it's not clear which one of them we should be voting for (and if it's not clear to me, I venture to suggest it might not be crystal clear to a few other people too....)
This new site is potentially a wonderful opportunity to show the depth of feeling on this issue. But if the votes are scattered across dozens of proposals, the force of that will be dissipated. With luck, this will help:
One of the measures we took was to hold on moderating on launch day - 1 July 2010, so we're now working on removing duplications and making sure they're tagged properly, according to our moderation policy.
But if that de-duping doesn't go far enough, then I suggest that the leading opponents of the Digital Economy Act need to get together and decide on one and only one proposal that everyone can get behind and recommend to their supporters.