Finding the Best Information on Congress, TogetherJuly 2, 2008 - by Donny Shaw
Our blog post last week announcing 13 new features was pretty lengthy, so I want to take a moment to stress the new feature I am most excited about. As you know, one of the core functions of OpenCongress is to connect official government information about bills and legislators with citizen-generated coverage from the blogs, news, and comments that help bring the information alive. Our new feature opens this core function up to the public to make sure that the best information about Congress bubbles up to the top.
For some bills, OpenCongress has gathered thousands of articles and comments, some of which are better than others. So, to help people find the best information from among it all, we’ve added a system for voting on and ranking all the news articles, blog posts and user comments.
Voting on the information is quick and easy – after you’ve read an article or comment on OpenCongress, just click “yes” or “no” where it asks, “Was this article/comment useful?” Then, to see the most useful articles, choose “sort by most useful” in the upper right corner of any blog, news or comments page.
It’s incredibly rewarding to choose “sort by most useful” on a list of blog posts about a bill and see a really good and informative article – exactly what you were looking for – show up at the top. I’ve already found some great articles through this new feature, for example, on the Farm Bill, the Global Warming Bill and the Orphan Works Act. I love how the articles on the top of these lists really get at the heart of what matters in these important and politically-complex pieces of legislation.
Consider this a plea from me to you. Please, when you’re using OpenCongress, remember to rate the information on Congress that you find on the site. Making sure that the best information about Congress rises to the top is essential for creating more informed citizens and a more responsive government.