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Redditors launch ambitious government transparency project

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So many bills pass through the U.S. Congress, it seems no one person could keep track of them all.

But maybe Reddit can.

On Sunday, redditor handsoffme asked if Reddit had a section “where all of the posts were a feed of every bill that goes through the U.S. [C]ongress.”

The answer was apparently no.

So the redditor created r/WatchingCongress, where every thread is a unique bill that’s been introduced to Congress, open to discussion for redditors.

It’s basically a live-stream of proposed legislation, a place to catch bills redditors don’t like—such as the Cyber Intelligence Security Protection Act (CISPA)—before it’s too late.

“I bet as a subscriber I'd read more bills than my [r]epresentative and [s]enators combined” redditor Citisol wrote.

The thread quickly shot to the top of Reddit’s front page, helping r/WatchingCongress collect an impressive 4,000 subscribers and become the hottest new subreddit on the site. Redditors clearly thought handsoffme was onto something great. 

And they didn’t just upvote. They've gotten to work, fast. They’ve designed logos and provided links for other users to see how their representatives are voting. They’re also discussing new proposed legislation, like H.R.2096, a very different cybersecurity bill from the CISPA, which passed the Senate Thursday.

“I was just reading all of the threads on CISPA and started thinking it would be interesting to have discussions on more of congress's' actions on reddit, without all of the editorial bias displayed in /r/politics submissions,” handsoffme told the Daily Dot in a message.

He’s currently creating a bot that will automatically submit new bills as they’re entered into govtrack.us, which tracks legislation as it’s entered into the Congressional Record.

“We'll see where the community takes things from there,” he added, noting that the subreddit’s users have already been actively collaborating—a fact that already makes r/WatchingCongress shockingly different from the organization it monitors.

Photo via Reddit