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Interactive Public Dockets:

Interactive Public Dockets: One Component of the Social Media

CRE Recommendations to ACUS (November 15, 2012)

Colleagues: I would like to provide you with some material in support of my recommendation that ACUS examine the role that non-government organizations could have in increasing the use of social media in rulemaking. I think such an idea is timely for a number of reasons, most certainly the savings realized if the federal government encourages non-government groups to use social media in rulemaking in lieu of federal agencies assuming the responsibility.

When I speak of non-government organizations I do not mean solely NGO's [ 501 (c) 3] organizations but instead any organization which is not a federal agency.

Previous Attempts

The position I am recommending that you examine is not new in that I made the recommendation several times to Regulations.gov more than three years ago. (CRE's comments are no longer available on Regulations.gov as of December 11, 2013). The historic link locations are:

  • Regulations.gov Promotion of Interactive Public Dockets
  • Interactive Public Dockets

    What is an Interactive Public Docket?

    An Interactive Public Docket (IPD) is a series of threaded Wiki-type public generated pages which are seamlessly connected by blog technology, managed by public rules of governance which generates a shadow docket of a federal regulatory proceeding.

    A number of IPDs can be viewed by examining the right hand column of the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness’s website http://www.thecre.com

    One of the more popular IPD's and one that enjoys a very substantial readership is FISMA Focus, which is dedicated to cybersecurity regulation, available at http://www.thecre.com/fisma

    Most IPD's have six components:

    1. Home page: Only the host can post on the home page but the public can comment on the posts
    2. Three Discussion Forums: The public can both initiate a post and comment on posts
    3. A News section: The public can initiate a post and comment on posts
    4. Rules of Governance

    An IPD with Considerable Public Input

    Although, as noted above, IPDs usually have five forums, this one only had one, please see http://www.thecre.com/tForum

    To view the many comments made by the public please see http://www.thecre.com/tForum/?paged=2 and subsequent pages

    Reviews of IPDs The Center for Progressive Reform conducted an extensive review of the IPD's see http://www.thecre.com/pdf/20120809_CPRBlog.pdf

    Also see the comment from a law professor at the end of the article in which he concludes:

    1. "CPR’s response, and the comments appear to be based on inferences from experience and logic. They are not based on evidence..."
    2. "I suggest testing CRE’s proposal, perhaps under the auspices of the recently resurrected Administrative Conference of the United States"

    Also see National Public Radio

    Regulaton 2.0 : Very Limiting

    The Social Media and Public Participation in Rulemaking: 1.0

    CRE Use of the Social Media

    A Proposal to the Committee on Administration & Management of The Administrative Conference of the United States Effective Information Management in the Regulatory State

    Oct. 19 Public Participation At Its Best

    The academic landscape is filled with studies on how to improve public participation in the regulatory process, in particular the treatises on e-rulemaking.

    Some of the studies involve case studies on what motivates individuals to participate in the opaque and somewhat esoteric regulatory process. However few, if any, of the studies provide any data on whether the said procedures actually change anything.

    The kratom Interactive Public Docket sets the gold standard.


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