Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Archive for May 5th, 2009 By the numbers:’s National Dialogue

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We’ve been tracking how ‘s National Dialogue has been going — this is the innovative experiment to ask people to help solve the vexing issue of ensuring that there is transparency in the stimulus spending. [The DorobekInsider first posted about it here … and there is more hereand here …]

The National Dialogue wrapped up over the weekend.

20090504-recoveryThe statistics:

* Number of ideas proposed: 542
* Number of votes on those 542 ideas: 2,220
* Number of comments on those 542 ideas: 1,330
* Total number of registered users: 1,806
* Total number of server hits: 4.23 million

I understand that the team is getting together for their next steps — how do they go through all those ideas and assess them — and then determine which are workable.

In the meantime, you can read all of the ideas proposed here … or the top ranked ideas … or the ideas that generated the most comments.

Undoubtedly, one of the solutions will be XBRL, or the eXtensible Business Reporting Language. (I always love the forced acronyms.) XBRL is a mark-up language like HTML, which runs most Web pages, but XBRL is on financial steroids, and many people see it as one of the potentially pivotal tools toward enabling transparency. And yesterday, Federal News Radio’s Max Cacas spoke to folks in Nevada about how they are using XBRL .

Wallin says that with so many nations and agencies around the world now using XBRL extensively for financial reporting, and with all those groups contributing to its design and development using the open source model, it is now possible to build on the work already done on taxonomies (the individual policies that define each of the data tags used to mark up each category of data), and the tags themselves, and reduce the development time.

You can read and hear his full report here .