Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beta Testing

What if there were a way to beta test public policy to attempt to actually gauge how it would do in practice?

I think that would be a good idea. In my mind it would be like a massively multiplayer online game, only instead of knights and elves and stabbing things, it would be a situation in which the proposed law was enacted. People would have a number of things that they could do, as either private citizens or as companies affected or as anyone in between.
The idea being that it could let people play the law as an optimization problem in order to find loopholes, how it could be used and abused, circumvented or worked with.
Heck, maybe it could even be a computer simulation, although normal people are generally much more creative than a computer.
I'm not sure if this is a great idea or a simply terrible one, but it's a thought. In my mind, far too much legislation today ends up with unintended consequences that are hard to see from both a citizen's and a politician's point of view. If there were some way of making proposed legislation into a game so that people could try to break it (use it for things the politicians didn't intend).

That could both be fun and useful.


Kati said...

I would love to have a job beta testing policy.

Cerulean Tatiana von Goethe said...

I think that's a really awesome idea. Maybe this should be our Shakespearian enterprise...