back to article Minister wants more mashups

The new minister for transformation has advocated the cause of user generated content on public websites. Tom Watson said one of his priorities for the transformation of government is that data mashups, in which users can take and combine data to meet their own preferences, becomes embedded in the thinking of all departments …


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  1. Mike Richards Silver badge

    "We need to build stuff small, test it, then iterate, iterate, iterate,"

    Oooh I'm getting flashbacks to 'Developers! Developers! Developers!'

    So he's Minister for Transformation is he? I want him to turn into a giant crime-fighting bendy bus.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    must be why

    the Government have been moving so much data into the public domain recently

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    excuse me

    What the f--- is a minister for transformation?

  4. Steve

    Change for changes sake

    It's a sure sign that the government has run out of real ideas. They continually go on about the importance of change but never actually say what they want to change things to. Identify the problem and specify the solution first or just leave things the hell alone.

    They either just want to make their mark and look as if they are doing something or they know we wouldn't like what their ultimately planning. Either way, we'd be better off stopping them - the fewer things they touch, the fewer they can break.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @excuse me

    A minister for transformation is clearly a robot in disguise ... either that or someones been reading too many Harry Potter books

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    So embarrassing

    when a cabinet minister tries to get down with the kids.

    Paris can mashup my data anytime

  7. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Galileo Quantum Networks?

    "What the f--- is a minister for transformation?"... By Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 11th March 2008 11:39 GMT

    IT is a Novel Initiative, AC, in AI and ITs QuITe Nobel Turing Prize Territory.

    Change in Deed?

    Think Virtualised Governance for a Flavour 42 Savour.

  8. Gary F

    ...then make OS data free for public use

    If that man represents the government then why doesn't he do away with the fortune that OS charge for using their map data? Even if you want to use it for a free public website you have to pay £ tens of 1000's for licensing it. Then perhaps we'll start to see some truly amazing and very interesting mashups using *OUR* data that the government keeps locked up and will only let you use for a ridiculously expensive license fee.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wiki Goverment!?!?!

    Well that explains the last 10 years at least. Cant wait to see the user generated content which will either be "Your a bunch of fat lazy power hungry marxist bastards" or "Sodd off" or "why am i even bothering, your not going to listen anyway"

    Heres me thinking that letters / email to MP's were an already established means of "User generated content"

    Oh and by the way, i am not a user i am a tax paying voter, treat me as such.

  10. John

    I read this article's title as...

    ‘Minister wants more mishaps’


  11. Mike

    Minister for Transformation

    They should have appointed Optimus Prime instead he was brilliant at transforming

    Bet Teletran One wouldn't have 'mislaid' all that data, either.

    The metallic exo-skeleton that turns into a Harley Davidson, please

  12. Lisa Parratt

    New name for the Ministry Of Alterations

    They... change people. To clarify the website feedback comment boxes.

  13. Nick Palmer

    They already HAVE...

    ...lots of Wiki-thinking

    1) Casual disregard for the truth

    2) Equally casual disregard for expertise in favour of faux-democratisation (if 50 numbskulls say one thing, but an expert in the field says another, the numbskulls must be right - look at Jacqui Smith's stance on the National Identity Register)

    3) Championing of mediocity over excellence (lots of stupid people are better than one smart one)

    4) Willingness to rewrite history into more palatable form

    5) Inability to produce truthful results

    6) Conviction that the solution to their inability to manage the data that they have is to acquire more

    7) Fiscally incontinent managment

    Do I HAVE to go on?

    So far I'm missing the bit where that actually does us any favours...

  14. Paul
    Black Helicopters

    The Hive Mind

    Have got to the Gov.

    As far as I can tell though, all this guy has done is, with appologies to Mitchel and Webb, writen 17 buzzwords on a page and filled in the bits in between. What he wants to do dosent seem to have anything at all to do with change or Wiki's.

  15. bothwell


    "Oh and by the way, i am not a user i am a tax paying voter, treat me as such."

    Yeah, that stuff is getting kinda annoying now. It's all users this and users that. You're a government, not a private corporation (no matter how many little corners you try to wiggle your PFI tentacles into).

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I could take this seriously if...

    ...if Watson actually published all the comments people leave on his blog. Anything contentious goes in the bit bucket.

    And he should forget all the Web 2.0 bollocks because I'd guess that most of the people that "do mashups" are a tiny minority of geeks and not the wider public. If he's serious about making content available more widely he'd start with the BBC and get them to let us ex-pats actually listen or see some of the stuff we've paid for over the years.

  17. Michael

    Will there be cake?

    Personally, I'm looking forward to the owl magnets.

  18. anarchic-teapot



    No, I think you got the correct meaning. It's just the spelling that changes.

  19. Shabble

    Just won't work

    Wiki is fine - it is a law unto itself and so does not need to be policed. If it presents misinformation (and it clearly does) then the only people who suffer are the fools who think Wiki is reliable.

    Government web is different. People rely on this information and need it to be as accurate as possible. If members of the public were allowed to add content to these websites, then it will be necessary to check every fact and detail that is put up there. Sounds like a very expensive way of giving citizens access to government held information.

    BTW, a Ministry for Transformation? Remember what Mao Tse Tung said about the Permanent Revolution in his Little Red Book? Looks like New Labour hasn't abandoned its Socialist roots entirely.

  20. amanfromMars Silver badge

    XXXXPlanaNations ...

    "Heres me thinking that letters / email to MP's were an already established means of "User generated content"" ..... By Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 11th March 2008 12:23 GMT

    No, that would be plagiarising content, AC. It's a slippery slope to madness, that one. Just ask Tony and George, Bill or Hillary. A Sort of Serial Kleptomania for the Love of Money .....

    Hmmmm ... Despicable Junkies? Or Simply Misunderstood?

  21. Elmer Phud
    Thumb Down

    Not a Wiki

    Folks are aiming this one far too high if they are looking at HM Gov. doing a Wiki. Wiki is a bit highbrow for the prospective contributors - I reckon that the grossly overpaid and under-informed ministers are planning their own FarceBook.

    "In a government statement today it was announced that there will be no need for a general election as over half the electorate are our friends."

  22. Nexox Enigma

    Re: Will there be cake?

    Haven't you heard?

    The cake is a lie.

  23. Pat
    Black Helicopters

    It's artificial respiration, it only looks like I'm punching him

    "I genuinely think if anything holds us back it's failing to comprehend the possibilities of what we can do with data mashups. My job is to explain it across government."

    " which content provided by users is the central feature of a website."

    "One of the things for service delivery that we need to know is what customers are saying," he said. "We need a cultural change"

    Yep, you need both, but will persist in ignoring us and doing exactly what you've done before. As exemplified by what has happened with the hunt for Civil Serf.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    RE: New name for the Ministry Of Alterations

    "They... change people."

    That's a Red Dwarf homage isn't it?

    As for "We need to build stuff small, test it, then iterate, iterate, iterate", I think the word that the respectable Mr Watson may be looking for is "reiterate"... cretin.

  25. TeeCee Gold badge

    Wiki thinking?

    So he wants to take the unfettered rantings of drooling fucktards with sod-all better to do and turn it into Government policy.

    One question. Exactly how is this supposed to be a new idea?

  26. Dr Stephen Jones

    Minister not a Reg reader?

    He obciously doesn't read The Register, and prefers the quasi-religious psychobabble he gets from his advisors.

    Any chance of an interview where you could enlighten him? Sending him a link to these comments would be an excellent start.

  27. Geoff Mackenzie

    Orwellian job title

    Man, they really walk into these things don't they? I pity the poor soul who has to read the public's feedback on this deeply unpopular government. Mind you, they already know what we think of them - that's why they postponed the election.

  28. Britt Johnston

    @Nick Palmer, on up and downsides of Wikis


    8) less responsibility

    9) agenda setting

    10) cheap to maintain

    Still, on cost grounds, I'd set wikis before databases any day -

    Hey, why don't we combine the advantages, and have people maintain theit own medical records, footprints, tax returns and the like

    Mine's the cape of knotted string

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