Crowdsourcing a Magna Carta for the Web at the Internet Governance Forum

At the Internet Governance Forum this week in Istanbul, we’ve been discussing how to answer the question posed by Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web Foundation at the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Web: What is the Web Web Want? How can a “Magna Carta” for Web rights be crowd-sourced directly from the users of the Web itself?

A session on the Magna Carta (panel and Q&A) is part of the agenda this week at IGF on Thursday 4 September at 10:00 CET in Room 8 and folks can participate remotely over WebEx, IRC, and Twitter. Please tweet your questions about the Magna Carta with #webwewant to Twitter or join the channel #webwewant at irc.freenode.org. The session will be livestreamed.

W3C works on open standards so that people can create innovative solutions to hard problems like this. We recently launched the Social Working Group and Annotations Working Group to strengthen the Open Web Platform for collaboration. On the panel, I’m wearing my W3C hat as part of the D-CENT project, a Europe-wide project creating privacy-aware tools and applications for large-scale collaboration and decision-making.

Here are a few ideas for questions:

  • 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?

Here are a few of my thoughts: A Magna Carta for all Web users could 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. We do have to address some challenges: How can we build more effective socio-technological scaffolding is needed to let people engage effectively in multi-stakeholder processes?

In this session, 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 W3C Brazil’s  Decálogo da Web Brasileira (Brazilian Web Decalogue) to new technical platforms such as those engaged by D-CENT, we hope to learn how to build from these experiences  so that the Web Foundation can build not only the Web We Want, but the world we want.