Tag Archives: Spain

Use of wikis for political participation > Three initiatives in Spain – Enric Senable Hidalgo [Wikimania 2008 notes]

Those...Image by fataetoile /Cinzia via Flickr

What is political participation:


  • Collaborate for a common constructive objective
  • Practice and defend freedom of speech
  • Freely meet and engage with people and causes
  • Discuss in order to obtain census
  • Engage in non-economic initiatives
  • Consume with responsibility
  • Watch the watchers
  • [and much more..]


Voting from time to time is also a form of political participation.


What’s the political participation with involvement of ICT?



  • New ways/tools of interaction
  • New public spheres for discussion
  • New and easy platforms for publishing


This can lead to



  • Identity empowerment (Castells)
  • More critical and self-reflective culture (Benkler)
  • Networked individualism (Wellman)
  • Smart mobs (Rheingold)


Example: “pasalo!” (pass it on)


As a response of 11th of March 2004 bombing in Spain, there were big demonstrations. Vast majority of people were summoned through a viral SMS and/or word of mouth.




  • Official web pages
  • Online administration
  • Online petitions
  • Electronic votes
  • Referendums/polls


Civils/grassroot organisations:


  • News
  • Forums
  • Mailing lists
  • Chats
  • Chain emails
  • SMS
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Social networks
  • 3D worlds
  • Wikis


Interesting problem of electronic voting: it requires electricity. This can be a real problems in some parts of the country.



Coordination: Vivienda digna (Street demonstrations for a decent house)


Origins started in an email chain message. Calling for a sit-in demonstration, positive demonstrations. Wiki of a famous blogger hosted the content and it was increased and more detailed crosspostings.

There was organical growth of related issues:

Open lists (organizing other places, blogs, press, logos, etc.)

Collaborative creation of content (manifestos, SMS messages, safety measures, legal issues)

It was a successful use of wiki and impact on public propaganda. But it failed to change the political decisions.


Memory: Lo prometido es deuda (A promise is a promise)

Similar to Wikiquote, but the objective is exclusive to find and archive campaign promises.

It got coverage in all major online Spanish newspapers.

It was a successful use of a wiki. It had impact on public opinion. Yet it did not impact political agenda.


Modify: Wikiconstitucion (Altering a common text)

Objective was to let anyone alter the original constitutional text, even for vandalism.

First two months: daily changes to the more controversial issues (crown of Spain, Spanish military forces, official languages, autonomous regions)

Progressive inactivity and finally closed due to massive spam.

It was partly successful use of Wiki, but it didn’t have impact in public opinion or a political agenda.

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