Next September, during the Internet Governance Forum, panelists from across the world will discuss and compare their experiences in large-scale constitutional crowd-sourcing, and will suggest best practices in order to extend these efforts in designing participatory platforms to engage users in political discussion and action. Ranging from the Tunisian Constitution and the “Decálogo da Web Brasileira (Brazilian Web Decalogue) to technical standardization at the W3C and the work of the IGF on Internet rights, we hope to learn how to build from these experiences to create a "Magna Carta" for the Web, so that we can build not only the Web We Want, but the world we want.
Could we, as international citizens of the Internet, create a set of general principles, a "Magna Carta" for the Internet? Can we design a platform that enables us to crowdsource from across the world a vision for the "Web We Want"? Could we overcome linguistic, political, and cultural barriers in order to mobilize around issues of net neutrality and pervasive surveillance? How can we design both a technological platform and social process in a way that overcomes rather than increases barriers to inclusion? How can we get the participation of those who are disconnected or otherwise excluded from the Internet itself, the majority of the world?
It seems like such a document should be directly crowd-sourced from the Web itself, yet open-source tools for involving massive amounts of users in collaborative editing, discussing controversial topics, and reaching consensus are still in their early stages. Traditional internet governance bodies work mostly over mailing-lists, but massive volumes of email prevent many people from participating in the age of Facebook and Twitter, and provide little help for structuring debates and issues. How can we build more effective socio-technological scaffolding is needed to let people engage effectively in multi-stakeholder processes?
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