Published in the August 2013 edition of Liberty for America:
LNC at Large member Starchild has circulated a proposal for a petitioning web site, allowing people to petition the LNC or to circulate general petitions. He proposes:
My initial conception of this site was simply as a tool to help me be more organized and effective as a Libertarian National Committee member by enabling me to keep track of which other committee members support which of my ideas, and to mobilize popular support within the party for motions I’d like to get adopted. More broadly however, I believe this can be a mechanism for helping make the LP more bottom-up by providing a tool for LP members to offer feedback and guidance to the party’s leadership and get more involved in running the party, especially to the extent we can hopefully eventually institutionalize this approach (perhaps incorporating the whole idea of this site into the party’s LP.org website). Even more broadly then that, I see it as a potential clearing-house site for pro-freedom petitions, like Change.org currently is for left-leaning petitions (Arvin Vohra remarked a while ago that our movement needs something like that, and I think he’s right.)
What I have in mind is a site that will do the following:
• Allow Libertarian National Committee members to create
petitions in support of specific motions they are trying to get the
LNC to adopt
• Enable people to sign petitions to the LNC in support of various motions
• Enable site users to collaborate on coming up with draft language for potential motions using a Google Docs type feature
• Host Libertarian and pro-freedom petitions soliciting signatures from the general public
• Allow members of the public to sign pro-freedom petitions
and receive updates on these issues if they choose
• Allow LP members and others to protect against others using their names by creating profiles on the site which would list a person’s name, photo or avatar, and state of residence. [This could also be a nascent social networking site which could perhaps be developed more fully down the road.]Registration with the site would be optional. People choosing to register with the site would be given the choice of registering as an LNC member, other LP member, or non-LP member. Persons registering as LP members would be required to click on a check box certifying their agreement with the party’s Pledge. In addition to being able to create profiles on the site, registered signers would also be given the ability to view a list of petitions they’d signed, the dates they signed, and any comments they’d included. Each petition signature on the site would list the time and date it was added, along with the signer’s optional comment, if any, and the signer’s avatar (for registered signers). LP members might also be given some extra room for comments, or some other small perks or recognition/visibility relative to non-LP members, as a way of encouraging people to join the party (the site would have a link for that too of course).
The main page (splash page) would list all the current petitions on the site, divided into two general categories — petitions to the LNC, and other petitions. Preferably unregistered site visitors and persons registered as non-LP members would see the latter category of petitions by default, while LNC members and LP members registered with the site would see the LNC petitions first by default. In either case, visitors would be able to view the non-default category of petitions by clicking a button. LNC members would be given access to create petitions on the LNC portion of the site by registering and creating a profile. The ability to create petitions on the general public non-LNC portion of the site would be limited to persons granted access by the site owner(s)/administrator(s) (generally, trusted and committed libertarian activists).
Petitions on the LNC portion of the site would include a sidebar next to each petition, listing all the members of the LNC and how to contact them (phone/email/snail mail), as well as links to the LP Bylaws, LP Platform, LNC Policy Manual, and LNC Public Discuss list. If an LNC member chose not to provide a particular piece of contact info, it would say under his or her name, “member declined to provide an email address”, “member declined to provide a phone number”, or “member declined to provide a mailing address”. When an LNC member signed a petition, his or her name in the sidebar would turn a different color or something to indicate that member had signed. Petitions to the LNC, unlike petitions in the general public portion of the site, would also list signers by category, with each petition including a list of LNC signers, another list of LP signers not on the LNC, and a third list of non-LP signers. Once four LNC members, or the LP chair, have signed apetition, its title or an accompanying button or somethingwould turn from red to green, indicating it has enough support to be brought as a formal motion to be voted on by the LNC.
I would prefer the site to have a fun, bold, free-spirited and artistically appealing appearance, in accord with Key Value #3 (see http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/grassrootslibertarians ), but the first priority will be to make it functional, since better graphics and other bells and whistles can be added later. Of course I’d also like to have a section with links to learn more about libertarianism and the freedom movement, including the Nolan Chart and various radical libertarian websites, organizations, and blogs.