Turns out, the folks in Washington have been increasingly working with the private sector to run things more effectively, providing better return for the taxpayer dollar. We don't hear about this much, but I just noticed Designing for Democracy.
The deal is that they're looking for an effective engagement tool for public workers to engage expert citizens in stuff that matters.
This would be serious engagement with citizens, where government workers would take all suggestions and comments seriously, and where there would be actual results. The public would vote good stuff up, hopefully dealing with trolls that way.
This effort goes the extra step, getting questions to people in the online communities where they spend their time. Instead of having people visit government sites, people visit Facebook or LinkedIn or maybe an online support group for cancer sufferers.
Consider a government policymaker wants people to invest in the green economy or promote use of solar energy, and so on. Right now there's no way to find people with expertise in and passion for areas like that. "It's not just about connecting up to people with 3 PhDs but about making sure that people who care about a given topic know about the chance to participate."
You can get directly engaged:
To provide feedback by January 7, 2011, please go to http://expertnet.wikispaces.com where you will find a draft description of ExpertNet. (ExpertNet is a working title. You'll find a page to suggest a better name.)