I've just been reading some of the shorter submissions, among those published so far, to the National Human Rights Consultation exercise. I'm not so cruel as to single out individuals - hey, I'm a big pussycat really - but I must say that it would help if more of the submissions came from people whose IQs require expression in at least two digits. Have a browse for yourself ...
Okay, so this post will come back to haunt me. It's doubtless revealing my evil streak, my elitist disdain for the common man (and woman).
Is there a lesson? If so, it seems to be this: any government organisation that gives an opportunity for the public to make submissions via the internet on matters of general interest is now likely to be bombarded with hundreds, or even thousands, of short submissions that are poorly-argued, ignorant of the issues, and unrealistic about what can be achieved - and, in some cases, expressed in written English that verges on the illiterate and is baffling to interpret. This is not hyperbole, folks, just the sober facts about the world we now live in.
But I wouldn't have it any other way. If we tried to filter out submissions that were not going to be useful (because they meet the above description), we'd also end up missing submissions from the general public that might be well-informed and valuable. This would leave the consultation process entirely to organisations and lobby groups, which is hardly satisfactory. So, all the verbal confetti appearing on government websites is the price to be paid for an initiative that's commendable overall.
Happy reading, Committee!
EDIT (9/4/09): To be fair, after thinking about the comment below by Tom Coward, and reading some more of the submissions that are now being published day by day, the above is too harsh. I really was a bit mean yesterday. It was a small number of submissions that annoyed me by saying especially silly/naive/outrageous things.
I keep coming across more of these. On the other hand, some of what's coming in to the site is interesting stuff, so I hope that by the time it does accumulate to thousands of submissions in a couple of months, the overall quality might be a lot higher than implied by my snarky observation from yesterday.