The Web 2.0 technology is a new way to involve the public in creating policy, and it could be a model for engaging people, said Archon Fung, a Ford Foundation professor of democracy and citizenship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Because the technology is relatively new, Fung said the effort should be looked at as an experiment that can be improved upon.
Ideas that might seem off-topic, such as legalizing marijuana or publicizing information about unidentified flying objects, are probably there because of pent up demand for ways of communicating with government, Fung said.
“Some people are treating the site as a political forum in which to advance their political view and mobilize supporters,” Fung said. “One challenge going forward is figuring out how to distill the very useful input that’s already on this site in crafting the directive.”