The Sunshine Review
The internet can be a powerful tool for open government, but sometimes a great idea doesn’t achieve its potential. For Connecticut, the Sunshine Review is a good example of an opportunity lost for freedom of information.
The Sunshine Review is a “wiki” where anyone can publish a report on transparency in state and local government. For those of you who don’t know what a wiki is, here is what Wikipedia has to say about them.
A wiki is a collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best-known wikis.
Unfortunately, the collaborative and community aspects of the Sunshine Week wiki have not taken off. Few of Connecticut’s cities have been reviewed and those that have been reviewed have not been reported on thoroughly. The page for Connecticut is okay, but it isn’t the go-to resource that one might hope to find for such a website with a grand concept like the Sunshine Review. But the potential is there. Just take a look at the New Orleans review. It may not be flashy, but it gives you the basics. For most people, that’s all they ask to see.
So if you are a local activist or journalist, consider taking a few minutes to update your local city or town’s report. The internet will thank you.