Online forum slow for Regulations.gov

The site has collected only about two dozen comments

The Obama administration’s new Web forum for soliciting ideas to improve the online portal for federal rule-making information is getting off to a relatively slow start: It has collected about two dozen comments in its first week of operation.

The new forum site, Regulations.gov/exchange, was launched May 21 to stimulate public discussion of how to improve Regulations.gov, is the federal government’s Web site for review and comment on rule-making dockets. The discussion site will operate until July 21.

As of today, the new forum on regulations had collected 22 ideas. By contrast, a previous Obama administration Web forum — an economic stimulus law information technology discussion sponsored by Recovery.gov -- drew more than 500 comments in its week of operation that ended May 3.

The lower participation for the new forum might have been anticipated because federal regulations are highly technical and often arcane, according to a transparency advocate.

“We work on regulatory stuff all the time and it does not tend to get a lot of attention,” said Matthew Madia, regulatory policy analyst for OMB Watch, a watchdog group for government transparency. “This is much less sexy than stimulus spending, so it’s not surprising.”

The Regulations.gov/exchange site offers an opportunity for forum participants to comment on a new layout for Regulations.gov, expanded RSS feeds, customizable features for the site and downloadable information.

“Gone are the days where concerned citizens must examine a paper edition of the Federal Register and send comments by snail mail,” Madia wrote on his blog May 26. “Utilizing the internet to promote public participation makes perfect sense, but Regulations.gov has yet to live up to its potential.”

Madia and other advocates have suggested changes to Regulations.gov that include the option to limit RSS feeds to a single agency or docket, improved searches, links with agency regulatory sites and capabilities to allow people to make their own interfaces with Regulations.gov.

“Any kind of dialogue they can build around this is good, ” Madia said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1996, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Wed, Jul 29, 2009 Nick Norris

The reason they have only got that many comments is because their site is not user friendly, and it gives only vague explanations of everything. This is how you run a site: http://1800recycling.com

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group