On Monday, U.S. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra launched a new blog that will serve as a companion to the U.S. federal IT dashboard on the it.usaspending.gov site. This blog will be used to share additional information that you can't glean from just the charts and graphs and to draw out feedback from U.S. citizens.
Kundra published the first post himself at 1:26 PM Eastern on Monday. In it, he explained some more of the details behind building the dashboard:
Leading up to the launch, we tapped the brightest and most innovative minds from Federal agencies, Congress, independent oversight organizations, and the private sector as we built the IT Dashboard. Over 400 federal employees joined our daily open house sessions for a hands-on opportunity to try the Dashboard, check their data, and suggest improvements. Until July 31, CIOs can submit investment evaluations and update other investment data. During this time, you will notice that the site will continue to be in "beta" as we deliver additional key features.
Kundra also stressed that one of the main reasons for adding a blog to the site is to create a dialog with the public. "We can't simply make this an exercise in federal agency reporting," he said. "That is why we started this blog. We want to hear from you about what works and what doesn't with the site."
The problem is that the blog does not allow comments. If a citizen wants to give input, the blog sends the person to a feedback form. That's not a very transparent way to create an online conversation about the issues in the federal IT budget.
The blog would be much better served by creating a discussion thread tied to each post. While you might get a few trolls, that's just part of the Web. Most of the people that would take the time to come to the site will be the ones who care about the subject matter and are invested in it. We would all benefit from being able to view a transparent conversation with those folks - even if it were moderated.
U.S. President Barack Obama takes a look at the U.S. federal IT dashboard. Photo credit: U.S. government