2017 Bright Idea
Winners:
City of New York, NY
January 1, 2017
Jurisdiction:
New York

AskThem.io is a free and open-source website for public dialogue, created by the 501(c)3 non-profit Participatory Politics Foundation (PPF), and launched publicly in February 2014. The site is available to any United States elected official, and any user with a verified Twitter account is able to participate in the dialogue. Users ask and share questions, which are shared over e-mail and social media to gather signatures towards delivery. At launch, over 80 elected officials nationwide signed on to participate, and since then the platform has held nationwide question-and-answer campaigns with partners such as OpenSecrets.org, the Student Net Alliance, the Participatory Budgeting Program, and Fight for the Future. In 2014, AskThem was awarded a Knight Foundation Prototype Grant to develop free question-asking widgets for government partners and issue groups to create questions directly on their own web pages and social media accounts. The AskThem open-data model of verified local accounts was later adopted by PPF’s NYC Councilmatic, for city council legislative tracking, where community groups and local media partners come together in monthly public comment programs.