'Government Not Always the Solution'

Macon Phillips, the White House director of new media, has a proposition for open government advocates who want a federal Web site that will let them suggest recommendations for a forthcoming open government directive:

Updated at 6:31 pm on Tuesday, April 28.

Macon Phillips, the White House director of new media, has a proposition for open government advocates who want a federal Web site that will let them suggest recommendations for a forthcoming open government directive:

Do it yourself.

"I don't think it's something we have to create," he said. "Government is not always the solution."

On Jan. 21, the day after President Obama was inaugurated, he issued a memo to all agency heads that requests recommendations on how to create a more transparent, accountable and participatory government. Recommendations are due May 21. The administration then will issue an open government directive based on the recommendations.

Phillips said the advocates' desire for a voice presents a perfect opportunity for them to reach out on new media platforms.

The Sunlight Foundation did so a couple months ago by creating a Web page

"to add a public element to the crafting of this Open Government Directive that is itself transparent, participatory, and collaborative." The organization has been encouraging visitors to submit ideas for what should go into the directive - and to vote on their favorite submissions.

Only time will tell if the White House listens.

As of Tuesday evening, the most popular recommendation was: Application Programming Interfaces and bulk data access must be implemented for government data sets.

On Tuesday, OMB Watch said in its assessment of Obama's first 100 days that "implementation of the transparency and open government memo has raised concerns. . . . There has been no formal public process to discuss the directive, creating concern that public access topics might be developed without public input, defying the very principles that the Obama memo called for."