There’s lots of chat about things needing to be ‘transparent’ at the moment – it’s all wrapped up in the ‘web2′ thing, which is stretching across to the ‘enterprise2′ thing. My angle on public/private/personal/political links to it, but is from an emotional source.
Now I’m no educated pundit on this area, but I was in conversation with a charming chap recently and we circled this issue and came to a point (or I did in my head anyway).
Sometimes when people say ‘transparent’ what they really want is ‘accountable’.
We are prepared to trust in decisions (assuming we are working from a ‘community’ basis rather than ‘networked individualism’), and don’t need to actually watch them being made. But we do want to know that if we have valid reason, we should be able to see why and how the decisions were made.
For example: You are all welcome to come to my local allotment association’s AGM tomorrow. We will discuss the intricacies of where we source our supplier of organic manure, who mans the shop on what days, and which plots are available to newcomers and why, what the money situation is, etc. Decisions will come from this, but I bet you don’t want to sit through it, as would many of the allotmenteers. But they do have a right, as part of an association, to know if they want to…
Which makes me wonder – with all this ‘if it doesn’t work, throw it out’ social software culture, how can we have accountability? Are all these cool new collaboration technology mash-ups generating an accountable decision trail?