Version control in government

I’ve often wondered if version control would be a useful addition to democracy. Imagine being able to get a diff which showed which parliamentarian proposed a particular amendment to a bill or see the entire change history once a bill became law (the later is like a software release).

In the open source software world many people are driven to do excellent work at least in part because there is a public record for the world to see. Perhaps this same transparency and historical record would drive deeper thought and less willingness to propose bills and amendments on behalf of other people and organizations.

With a slightly different angle, Clay Shirky discusses the idea of version control as a tool for government in his recent TED talk. He even provides a basic background on version control which might be useful if if this whole post makes no sense to you.

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