After the huge copy-cat success of Nasza-klasa – a FriendsUnited rip-off -, a new (and original) project is aiming for Polish Internet fame. Nasz-parlament.pl (Our Parliament) invites its users to become members of an e-parliament, voting on current affairs and new bills.
In a way, Nasz-parlament exposes the Polish wisdom of the crowd. Maybe the “real citizens” active in the community strongly disapprove of Polish latest bills. As Sylwia Presley from Global Voices Online highlights, some members of the e-parliament strongly disapprove on say, a law about torture and terrorism:
I think it’s time to deprive humanity of the basic freedoms using a dishonest excuse of terrorism. We’ve never had any terrorist attacks in Poland. God save us from the lies ruling the West, where people are losing their rights and freedom after every said-to-be terrorist attack. (Bozena)
Last month, 636 members started 128 threads and posted 722 reactions.
Initiatives like Nasz-parlament stir up discussions about the people versus the expert. Tessa Sterkenburg addressed this discussion on The Next Web earlier, asking whether the majority is always right, or that experts know better. One of the examples she gives concerns the death penalty in the UK.
In 1995, a poll on capital punishment in the UK showed us that 76% of British respondents supported the death penalty the UK. Yet, I am very glad that the British government then decided not to re-instate capital punishment.
In this light it’s fair to ask: what do the Polish citizens know about these complicated political issues? They’ve chosen experts as representatives, now leave it up to them.
For now, I think I’ll ignore this discussion and look at it this way: Nasz-parlament.pl exposes the Polish wisdom of the crowd, which is bloody interesting. Every citizen can now compare the parliament’s decisions with the opinions of his fellow citizens. I wish I had that possibility in Holland.