Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy “The Fish” Wales has landed in the thick of it with a Whitehall role – advising civil servants on new technologies to create an ’open source’ government.
Wales has been handed a job in the British civil service as an advisor to the government as part of a move to use the internet and other new-fangled technolgies in the workplace.
Whether we can now expect to see Jimmy ”the Fish” turning up in government departments to dish out Malcolm Tucker style grillings is yet to be seen. But we can at least hope he will flag strings of innacuracies and suspected plagiarism in upcoming whitepapers.
With the controversial NHS Bill on the way, members of the House of Lords will surely be on the look out for any cut and paste jobs or Wiki citations working their way into the final cut.
What Wales will specifically be doing is unclear so far. The Telegraph points to an advisory role, which should go some way to placating the Wikipedia boss after he was mistaken for Julian Assange by customs officers last year.
Wales’ unpaid role will centre around a democratic crowd-sourcing push by the goverment to open up policy-making to the great unwashed of Britain. Such initiatives are laudable, and from a Coalition cost-cutting point of view, crowd sourcing policies would be lighter on the wallet than actually having to pay pension-demanding civil servants to come up with ideas.
Indeed, the government has also opened up commons debates with the opportunity for the public to start e-petitions. So, it may only be a matter of time before ideas such as hanging everyone become central to government plans.