Policymakr aims to restore the damage done to political debate and to the process for drafting new policy by the increasingly short-term, confrontationial and aggressive nature of political debate, as citizens in all countries massively shifted to online media and social networks for access to information.
The idea for Policymakr emerged among a group of friends, all passionately interested in politics and in public service, over the summer of 2016, in the wake of the Brexit referendum in the UK and during the primaries for the US presidential election. At the time we didn’t feel the timing for launching Policymakr was right, so we dispersed and engaged in other personal projects.
At the time of the COVID-19 crisis in the spring of 2020, Policymaker’s Co-Founder, Donald Jenkins, felt the time was ripe to reactivate the project. He sought and obtained the other Co-Founders’ agreement to go ahead with preparing Policymakr for launch. A small team is currently engaged in making Policymakr a reality, and it will build up in the next few months.
Yes. Totally. The whole point of Policymakr is that it is scrupulously neutral, fair and open to all political persuasions, except those that demonstrably pursue hate or extremist ideologies.
Of course we do. We’re passionate about politics and the Policymakr team isn’t particularly encouraged to keep its political convictions quiet. But being open-minded is a pretty basic requirement if you’re good material to join Policymakr: we know that one can learn from people on the other side, and certainly that constructive policy drafting requires confronting and comparing different opinions.
The core of what Policymakr is about is trust. We wouldn’t stand a chance of succeeding if we didn’t take all the necessary steps to ensure that will be the case. In practice one of the earliest steps we will take to guarantee our neutrality can’t be impaired will be setting up a Supervisory Board composed of members who have demonstrated impeccable political and leadership credentials.
At present, in order to quickly have a corporate identity and begin operations, Policymakr, Inc. has been incorporated as a C Corporation in the state of Delaware.
We’re aware that politics is a subject which invites online harassment and trolling more than the average. This is why we’ve taken steps to ensure we can effectively enforce zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior. This may seem an impossible task, in the present climate, and because of the spectacular degradation in the serenity of political debate that we have witnessed in recent years.
We profoundly believe that the technological progress that arguably caused, or at least contributed to, the degradation can be harnessed to achieve the precise reverse effect: a restoration of an area where the debate and often complex studies required for policy decisions can be conducted in an informed manner.
We believe people will value, once they have given it a try, giving due consideration for all the parties involved, including future generations and, in certain cases, the planet’s non-human inhabitants.
We aren’t naive and we know fostering a convivial and civil atmosphere, while necessary for Policymakr to be what we envision it to be, won’t be sufficient. Many of the features that most sharply distinguish Policymakr from every other actor in the Internet were included in the project with the specific aim of curtailing, indeed, almost removing entirely, opportunities for offensive speech and uncivil behavior. In particular, (i) membership of Policymakr will be granted only after payment of the full membership fee; (ii) members will be required to submit to an identity verification procedure before membership is validated (such procedures exist and are already in use by sites where, for reasons quite different to ours, the risk of identity fraud cannot be taken, such as AirBNB).
These features make us radically different to any existing online site and explain why we will succeed in being the first site dedicated to politics and the general interest without the experience being ruined by inappropriate behavior.
Policymakr will draw its funds from a combination of member subscriptions, donations and bequests. All of the above will be processed using scriptural currency only and the corresponding movements of funds will be operated by and on behalf of the company’s bankers, exclusively. Any proposed operations not meeting these basic guidelines will be systematically refused and, if appropriate, drawn to the attention of the relevant regulatory authorities.
As part of our pre-launch funding campaign, we do intend (but only once the company has been duly incorporated *and* the initial version of the website is online) to launch a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter. We plan to offer those who back us on Kickstarter life memberships, and to engage good traction for the launch as part of the campaign. Such privileges for Kickstarter backers are common in the digital sector: the highly-successful Font Awesome campaign springs to mind.
The level of the annual membership fee hasn’t been decided. We expect fees to be significantly higher for Experts and Institutions, and also for Policy Maker members, compared with Citizen members. But obviously, they’ll be set at a level ordinary citizens can easily afford.
Opening an account will be free, but until you’ve paid your membership fee and verified your identity, you won’t be able to post any content to the site, or access the Project areas. Unverified free accounts are essentially offered as a way of getting a feel for the service prior to joining. If you haven’t verified your account within a certain time, we will delete it and the associated data.
We firmly believe having only paid membership is what will give the site traction. Having a stake in what you engage in immediately sets it out as more valuable to the user. Policymakr will grow more slowly than Facebook or Twitter, but it will never have the millions of orphan accounts that have become such an issue for these sites.
We hope to start working on projects in the second half of 2020.
You can certainly sign up now, yes, and you won’t be charged for membership until we launch properly.
If you decide to support us in the Kickstarter campaign, you’ll have the added kudos of being categorized a Founder Member, with free membership for life.
Of course you can. Send us a document in text form using the Contact Form, which has a setting for sending attachments.
Just drop us a line on the Contact Form, and we’ll get back to you.