Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better begins testing out comments

with 4 comments, which has been criticized for not jumping into the deep end of the government 2.0 pool, is taking its first steps to accepting comments — specifically in connection to the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The White House posted the bill on But Personal Democracy Forum’s’s Micah L. Sifry noticed on Friday that the comment space originally gave people only 500 characters to make their comment. “That’s absurd,” Sifry said on Twitter. A few days later, the White House increased the comment count restrictions to 5,000 characters — “Much better,” Sifry said.

From Sifry’s post on

Though it’s still a far cry from a meaningful use of the web to engage the public in monitoring and improving the legislative process. But I guess you have to take baby steps before you can walk.

Now you can enter the full text of a Maureen Dowd column and still have 500 characters left over for a few Ana Marie Cox tweets…

From the White House page says, “Read [the bill ] by clicking on the links below — then use the form on the right to leave your comments, thoughts, and ideas.”

It’s a big step — and a signal that the White House new media team is working to come up with new ways of reaching out.

Written by cdorobek

February 16, 2009 at 11:25 PM

4 Responses

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  1. Hurray for change! Rock on.

    Chris Guillebeau

    February 16, 2009 at 11:44 PM

  2. […] begins testing out comments « […]

  3. […] for not enabling comments — and I hope they are working on that, but, as I’ve said before , I think that blogging can be very powerful. Having the OMB director post is a powerful toward […]

  4. […] begins testing out comments […]

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