I have to admit that one of the more fun
aspects of watching what has happened over the past few months with the SOPA/PIPA debate is watching the Reddit community jump on this issue... and evolve with it. The thing with the Reddit community isn't just it's sheer power as a large group of people who are more than willing to stand up for what they believe in, but their willingness to take on big
challenges that most people would back away from. Not all of them work out, but as a community, they like to really jump into things and aim high. Such is the situation with the proposed plan to write a piece of legislation, The Free Internet Act, on Reddit
. As an observer of these things, a reasonable first reaction is to chuckle a bit at what seems like a combination of both hubris and naivete that an online community (mostly of political novices) can create a reasonable piece of legislation. But... then you think of what else Reddit has done, and you begin to realize that if it can somehow pull this off -- or at least influence the debate in a positive way, this could be amazing
(even if it's a long shot).
A specific sub-Reddit
has been set up, where different people are discussing different thoughts on what such a bill might include and other issues related to the bill's central concept: guaranteeing a free internet.
Again, there's a big hill to climb here to make this into any sort of reality, but there's something really amazing and compelling about this self-forming group taking the initiative to try to not just drive the debate, but to actually craft legislation that would protect internet freedom. As much as I've been impressed by the process
of the Wyden/Issa proposed OPEN bill, in which they put it up on a platform that allowed the public to crowdsource thoughts on a bill, they still started with a bill suggested in Congress. What happens when a bill is crowdsourced from scratch
? Possibly nothing at all, but as an experiment, it will be fascinating to watch...