Policy Atlas:Contribute a Policy

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PolicyAtlas is designed to be a user-contributed encyclopedia of public policy solutions (i.e., the Atlas). This page serves as a guide for contributors, both volunteer Atlas mappers as well as participants in the PolicyAtlas Student Learning Module.

How to Contribute a Policy

The steps to contribute a policy are as follows:

  1. Create an Account: To contribute a policy, you must first create an account with PolicyAtlas by going to the Special:UserLogIn page. Your username can be whatever you choose and does not need to include your actual name, but we recommend that you provide your email for password reset and other features.
  2. Adopt a Policy: Select a policy from the list on the Adopt a policy page. Once you have identified the policy you wish to create, click "Edit" at the top of the page and add your username next to the policy to reserve it. Make sure to also email PolicyAtlas and your professor to relay your username and document which policy you are adopting, be it on the list or another you wish to cover. For more information on how policies are selected and named on PolicyAtlas, see the Policy Types page.
  3. Create your Page: After you have created an account and selected a policy to create, click on the link for your policy name from the Adopt a policy page. Leave this browser tab open, as you will be pasting text into your page to create its structure in the next step. (Note: if you are proposing a policy not listed on the Adopt a Policy page, you will need to email PolicyAtlas to create it for you.
  4. Add the Page Template: Create the policy page by visiting the appropriate link and then copying and paste all text from http://policyatlas.org/mediawiki-1.22.5/index.php?title=Template&action=edit into your new, to-be-created page. Next, click “Save” at the bottom. You have now created the page outline that will enable you to fill out your article and complete the assignment.
  5. Complete your Page: Complete each section of your article by following the more detailed guidelines below. Simply go to your policy page (i.e., policyatlas.org/wiki/Your_policy_name) and click “Edit” by whichever section you wish to edit. Important: Remember to click "Save page" frequently and do not simply click "Show preview," which will not save changes.

Please read all assignment instructions carefully, as the formatting of dashes, brackets, and so on is critical to create links that work on the page. Don’t be shy with your edits--we promise that you won’t accidentally break the site, and the beauty of a wiki is that any mistakes require simply a click to undo! Nevertheless, please also feel free to email PolicyAtlas at any time with any questions or issues.

Policy Page Components

Each completed policy article includes 14 components. Below is a brief summary of each of the components, followed by more detailed instructions for users to consult as they complete each required assignment component.

  1. SUMMARY. Summarize your assigned policy in roughly 200 words. a) Define the policy concept in the first sentence, b) Describe how the policy is intended to function, and c) Talk about potential variations in how the policy may be implemented in different types of jurisdictions.
  2. GOALS. List all goals that you believe this policy has the possibility to serve. For more information, see the Goals page. (To start, select at least three goals from the List of Policy Area Goals on the Category page, though many more goals may be applicable and added)
  3. EXAMPLES. In a few paragraphs, write: a) A roughly 200-word Conceptual Example of how your policy would be adopted. Rather than a continuation of the “Summary” section, as explained in greater detail below, this section should describe a problem facing the government of a hypothetical town/state/etc. and how that government used this policy to solve the problem. b) A ~200 word Specific Example or brief case study of how your policy has been adopted in the real world.
  4. TRADEOFFS. In short, bullet point-style phrases, list at least five tradeoffs or drawbacks that could be associated with implementing the policy. For example, school district property tax assessments might serve a goal of "Increase funding available to schools." At the same time, due to wealth disparities across school districts, a tradeoff of such a policy could be "Potential increase in economic-based achievement gaps" caused by students in wealthier districts being educated with more resources than students in poorer school districts.
  5. COMPATIBILITY ASSESSMENT. List at least five questions that can be used to guide policymakers in identifying whether or not the policy is right for their jurisdiction. In a sense, these questions are designed to help policymakers figure out whether their own circumstances match the optimal environment in which your policy is likely to be effective. If a user answers most of the questions with "No," it should indicate that the policy is less likely to be effective, either due to the lack of a corresponding problem or because certain conditions may constrain the policy's usefulness. For example, for a policy of school colocation, questions might include: "Is there excess space available at existing school facilities?” “Would colocating schools together result in substantial cost savings?” and ”Is there demand for new schools?” If the answers are "yes," co-location may be more likely to be a worthwhile policy, but if not, the policy likely doesn't belong.
  6. DESIGN. In short phrases, list at least five questions that should be answered in determining how to implement the policy, along with supplementary guidance that outlines choices and specific examples of how other jurisdictions have designed the policy. For example, one Design question might be, "What should be the maximum household income, if there is one, in order to qualify for this policy's benefits?" and an answer might be "Maximum incomes may be applied as a flat amount, or a percentage of area median income. In the City of New York, a household may have no more than 40% of the average median income." These are the questions and design decisions that will have to be addressed in tailoring the policy to a given jurisdiction.
  7. POLICYGRAPHICS. This section focuses on "policy demographics"--when and by whom the policy might most appropriately be adopted. For example, some education policies may be designed for urban primary and secondary schools, whereas others might be more appropriate for rural community colleges, and still others might be appropriate for all of the above. Enter values for each item from the list, and feel free to suggest other values that may be missing from the list. For more information, see the PolicyGraphics page.
  8. ADOPTERS. List at least four known government entities that have adopted this policy and provide a hyperlink to evidence that adoption. Make sure to use the format “City of...” “State of...” “Country of...” etc., including if the policy was adopted by just one department of that city/state/etc. (i.e., do not write, "City of Los Angeles Department of Education;" rather, simply, "City of Los Angeles".) For more information, see the Adopters page.
  9. SUPPORTERS: List at least four types of Stakeholders who may be expected to support or benefit from the policy under typical conditions. For more information, see the Stakeholders page.
  10. OPPONENTS: List at least four types of Stakeholders that may be expected to oppose or be negatively impacted by the policy under certain conditions depending on how the policy is implemented. For more information, see the Stakeholders page.
  11. RESEARCH: List published scholarly research articles, ideally from peer-reviewed journals, that study the policy and evaluate its impacts. Provide a hyperlink to the article wherever possible, include a full citation for each article, and conclude with a one-sentence description of the article and its findings.
  12. RESOURCES: List non-scholarly documents that nonetheless provide useful context or advice with respect to the policy. These documents may be policy white papers, in-depth journalistic reporting, or any other source providing useful and relevant information. (List at least 4 Resources)
  13. FOOTNOTES: List Footnotes to provide full citations for all external sources used in your policy article.
  14. CLASSIFICATION: Identify related policies that may be of interest to readers of your article, tag your policy with its Category, and remember to add the {{Notes}} tag at the bottom of your page.

Note: Whenever in doubt on how to enter the markup text, it may help to compare how the text was entered in the Driverless car allowances page or the Template and, as necessary, copying and pasting that markup text in order to adapt it to your page.

The above instructions are a summary of the policy page components. For full guidance, please review the more detailed walk-through below.

Section 1: Summary

Instructions: Write a summary of your policy. ~200 words.

Detailed instructions for completing the Summary section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

Describe your policy in the simplest terms possible. Begin with a "X is a policy that does Y" definition of your policy. After defining your policy, provide a sentence or two that explain the logic of how your policy is intended to function in order to achieve its intended goals. Finally, provide any additional context or background on how your policy tends to be implemented. The Summary section is arguably the most important section of your article.

As a reminder, your policy should be defined as a general concept and NOT be an article only about the policy being implemented in one specific case. In other words, your summary should use language like "High-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes are policies that restrict the use of designated roadway lanes for vehicles carrying at least one passenger in addition to the driver" and should NOT define your policy with language like "High occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are used on highways in Ohio to..."

In addition, make sure to define and summarize the true policy at work. For example, an article about driverless car allowances should have its summary and definition focused on the specific policies of permitting driverless cars on roadway, and not serve as an article about driverless cars themselves. Similarly, various forms of commuter benefit policies are NOT policies put in place by companies, but rather are typically specific income tax exemptions put in place by a higher-level taxing authority, with the employer participating in its implementation by altering the nature of the compensation it provides and reducing its withholding of employee income.

Summary section Dos Summary section Don'ts
Do concisely define the policy using basic, non-technical, easy-to-understand words Don’t include technical terms, jargon, or acronyms without defining such terms.
Do summarize the problems intended to be addressed by the policy and how it is intended to work. Don’t evaluate the subjective merits of the policy on political or other values.
Do identify variations in how the policy can be implemented. Don’t frame the policy only in terms of how it is adopted in the U.S.
Do include citations to support facts presented.

An excellent example of a Summary section comes from Criminal background check restrictions:

Criminal background check restrictions are policies that limit how and when someone can seek information about an individual's criminal history, such as their prior charges and convictions, as well as how such information can be used. The intention of these restrictions, which are sometimes called "banning the box" when prohibiting the use of the question "Please check this box if you have ever been convicted of a crime" on an application, is typically to prevent the denial of benefits (e.g., employment, housing or public assistance) to individuals based on their criminal history. The specific nature of restrictions placed on entities' ability to perform criminal background checks may vary based on factors such as the nature of the entity requesting the information (e.g., the government vs. a private company), the information that can be requested (e.g., only permitting checks for convictions of serious and violent crimes), the length of history that can be requested (e.g. limiting allowable requests to a defined period, such as the past seven years), the point at which the information can be requested (e.g., not until a preliminary determination has been made based on an application that does not include such checks) and the ways in which that information can be used (e.g., only denying a person a position where their criminal history bears directly on their employment activities, such as a bank denying a fiduciary position to a candidate who has a history of embezzlement or other financial crimes).

Another good example, though perhaps a bit short and also lacking citations, comes from School colocation:

School colocation (sometimes written as "co-location") is the operation of more than one school in a single building. Colocated schools can be in the same school system or in different school systems. As an example, a new public charter school might be colocated into excess space at the same facility currently hosting a public district school. Colocated schools may be separated physically by floors or other physical barriers and may share certain facilities (e.g., auditoriums, gymnasiums, libraries) or services (e.g., custodial, groundskeeping), though the resources shared and the financial arrangements for those uses vary.

List of policies with good examples of Summary sections:

Section 2: Goals

Instructions: Tag Your Policy with at Least 3 Goals (and All that Apply)

Detailed instructions for completing the Goals section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

Goals are the intended favorable outcomes of your policy. More detailed information on how Goals are used on the Atlas is available on the Goals page.

Goals section Dos Goals section Don'ts
Do read the Goals page before starting. Don’t add new goals without first reading about how they are used on the Atlas.
Do check the Category pages listed on the existing Goals page before proposing new goals that may already be covered by existing goals. Don’t add redundant new goals that may hinder usability of the Atlas by fragmenting policies with common goals.
Do propose new, distinctive goals if they are associated with your policy and align with the parameters noted on the Goals page. Don’t forget to add wiki markup for each goal so that your policy will be displayed next to all other policies on the site with the same goal.
Do use the proper wiki markup, which is: [[Has goal of::Goal: Increase the funding available to government operations]]

Below is a good example of a Goals entry from Smart parking systems. What was entered as wiki markup text when editing:

*[[Has goal of::Goal: Increase automobile parking capacity]]

*[[Has goal of::Goal: Increase the efficiency of automobile parking use]]

*[[Has goal of::Goal: Increase the efficiency of automobile traffic]]

*[[Has goal of::Goal: Increase the rates of automobile transportation user comfort, convenience and satisfaction]]

*[[Has goal of::Goal: Decrease average automobile transportation commute times]]

What the Atlas displays as a result:

Note the required wiki markup text to produce the appropriate, hyperlinked goal text above. Specifically, note:

  • Use of an asterisk * before each line to tell the Atlas you need a bullet point
  • Use of surrounding double brackets [[ ]] to to tell the Atlas you are tagging something
  • Use of the Has goal of:: prefix before your Goal to tell the Atlas that you are tagging your policy with a goal.


Section 3: Examples

Instructions: a) Write a ~200 word Conceptual Example of how your policy would be adopted; and b) Write a ~200 word Specific Example of how your policy has been adopted

Detailed instructions for completing the Examples section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

Examples are used to help further illustrate the concept of your policy to someone who is trying to understand how it would be implemented. In general, there are two types of examples: Conceptual Examples and Specific Examples.

Conceptual Examples do not include specifics of a real-life jurisdiction’s context. Often, this section follows this three-part pattern: Jurisdiction A faces a problem, so Jurisdiction A decides to implement the policy, and then Jurisdiction A experiences the benefits of implementing the policy. In highlighting each of these three components, it helps weave an easy-to-follow narrative of how and why the policy would be implemented. Below is an example of a great Conceptual Example from Taxi medallion systems:

A municipality has high traffic and many taxi drivers. Because of this, taxi drivers spend much of their time sitting in traffic without any passengers, which requires them to work more hours to earn an acceptable income. Additionally, drivers spend more time at taxi stops (such as the airport) to increase the chances of getting a customer. This both decreases the ability for taxis to serve a broad range of customers and leads to even more traffic and more time spent by taxi drivers without passengers. To combat this, the municipality caps the number of taxis allowed to pick up customers at 5,000. This reduces the number of taxis on the road, decreases the incentive to spend time at stops, and allows drivers to work fewer hours to earn the same amount of income. As a result, traffic is reduced, taxi service is improved, and the amount of pollutants entering the air from cars may also be subsequently reduced.
Conceptual Examples Dos Conceptual Examples Don'ts
Do explain a hypothetical problem, adoption of the policy, and set of benefits from implementing the policy. Don't describe the policy in a way that mentions a specific locality or government.


Specific Examples supplement the Conceptual Example with an example of how a policy was adopted in a specific case. Below is an effective Specific Example from Participatory budgeting procedures:

In New York City, residents of twenty-seven council districts decide on how to spend $30 million of taxpayer money. It is a year-long process of public meetings in which citizens get an opportunity to discuss local needs and develop proposals. First, public meetings occur in each district where community members learn about the process, brainstorm projects, and select budget delegates. These delegates then obtain training about the budget process, project development, and key spending areas. Delegates then meet in committees and work to develop comprehensive proposals with the support of council member staff and other experts. Next, delegates present draft project proposals to the community and obtain feedback. After revisions, community residents vote on which projects to fund. NYC council members then submit their spending priorities to the City Council’s Finance Division for inclusion in the city budget. Community members can also evaluate the process and oversee the implementation of projects.
Specific Examples Dos Specific Examples Don'ts
Do include a summary of when, where, why, how and by whom the policy was adopted. Don’t use jurisdiction-specific language or acronyms without defining them for a general audience.
Do summarize any information available on the evaluated benefits or negative consequences of the policy’s adoption. Don’t add a personal judgment on whether the adoption was good or bad beyond any specific research findings.
Do use citations

Below is a list of articles with good Examples sections (note that these articles only included one of the two types, but that articles are now required to include both types):


Section 4: Tradeoffs

Instructions: Write at least 5 short, bullet point-style tradeoffs or drawbacks that could be associated with implementing your policy.

Detailed instructions for completing the Tradeoffs section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

The purpose of the Tradeoffs section is to identify potential impacts of a policy that would be secondary to the policy's goal but may not be viewed as favorable -- i.e., a policy’s potential drawbacks, which would be viewed against the potential benefits of a policy.

In short, bullet point-style phrases, list the primary tradeoffs or drawbacks that could be associated with implementing the policy. For example, School district property tax assessments might serve a goal of "Increase funding available to schools." However, due to wealth disparities across school districts, a tradeoff of adopting such a policy could be "Potential increase in economic-based achievement gaps" if students in wealthier districts were educated with more resources than students in poorer school districts.

Tradeoffs Dos Tradeoffs Don'ts
Do add a # sign before each tradeoff to create a numbered list. Don’t omit the # in front of each line to create an automatically numbered list
Do be specific in explaining the tradeoff (e.g., Potential shift from transit system to automobile use among high-income riders due to increase in available parking) Don’t omit important specific, potential causes and examples (e.g., avoid “Creates funding problems”)
Do explain the cause of the tradeoff (e.g., Potential shift from transit system to automobile use among high-income riders due to increase in available parking)
Do add examples or parentheticals to provide readers with examples of the nature of the tradeoffs

Below is a good example of a Tradeoffs entry from Bicycle share programs. By entering the following Wiki markup in editing:

Tradeoffs of implementing this policy may include:

#Decline in public transportation and other modes of travel due to substituted use of bicycle transportation for more trips

#Decline in revenue received from use of public parking facilities due to substituted use of bicycle transportation for more trips

#Tendency for programs to not provide users with helmets, which could incite social controversy (e.g., from bicycle safety advocates) and/or cause an increased rate of rider injuries

#Reduction in available public space for other purposes (e.g., sidewalk, bench, trash and recycling bin space) due to dedication of right-of-way for installation of stations

#Increased rate of transportation accidents due to comingling of more bicyclists with vehicles

#Negative traffic impact on flow and speed of vehicles due to increased prevalence of lower velocity, more slowly accelerating bicyclists

#Negative business and visitor impact in areas that are not served by bicycle stations and become comparatively less accessible

The Atlas displays as the following as a result:

Tradeoffs of implementing this policy may include:

  1. Decline in public transportation and other modes of travel due to substituted use of bicycle transportation for more trips
  2. Decline in revenue received from use of public parking facilities due to substituted use of bicycle transportation for more trips
  3. Tendency for programs to not provide users with helmets, which could incite social controversy (e.g., from bicycle safety advocates) and/or cause an increased rate of rider injuries
  4. Reduction in available public space for other purposes (e.g., sidewalk, bench, trash and recycling bin space) due to dedication of right-of-way for installation of stations
  5. Increased rate of transportation accidents due to comingling of more bicyclists with vehicles
  6. Negative traffic impact on flow and speed of vehicles due to increased prevalence of lower velocity, more slowly accelerating bicyclists
  7. Negative business and visitor impact in areas that are not served by bicycle stations and become comparatively less accessible

Note the required wiki markup text to produce the appropriate text above. Specifically, note:

  • Use of the # sign before each line to tell the Atlas you need a numbered list
  • Use of parentheticals (e.g., sidewalks, benches, trash and recycling receptacles) to provide specific examples.

List of policies with good examples of Tradeoffs sections:


Section 5: Compatibility Assessment

Instructions: Write at least 5 questions that can be used by policymakers to help them determine if your policy is appropriate for their specific jurisdictional context.

Detailed instructions for completing the Compatibility Assessment section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

The purpose of Compatibility Assessment questions are to help the reader determine whether or not a policy is likely to be appropriate for the context of their specific jurisdiction. For example, for the policy of school colocation, questions might include: "Is there excess space available at existing school facilities?” “Would colocating schools result in substantial cost savings?” and "Is there demand for new schools?” If the answer to all three is “No,” then the policy likely does not make sense in that jurisdiction.

Compatibility Assessment Dos Compatibility Assessment Don'ts
Do add a # sign before each question to create a numbered list. Don’t forget the # in front of each line to create an automatically numbered list
Do ask questions that, if answered yes, may indicate a preferred environment in which to implement the policy. Don’t list generic compatibility assessment questions that would apply to any policy (e.g., Does political support exist? Does funding exist?)...unless there are policy-specific concerns (e.g., Would the project revenues be predictable and significant enough to support revenue bonds?)
Do add examples or parentheticals to provide readers with examples


Below is an excerpt of a Compatibility Assessment section from School colocation.

The wiki markup text used is as follows:

If answered yes, the following questions indicate conditions under which the policy may be most effectively implemented:

#Is there sufficient excess space available at one or more existing school facilities?

#Is there demand for space for new or larger schools (public, private or charter), or the consolidation of existing schools for efficiency?

#Does the school facility with excess space possess the appropriate infrastructure (e.g., early childhood vs. secondary student bathrooms, gymnasiums, lockers) to serve--or could it be easily adapted for--the population that is to be colocated?

The Atlas displays the following result:

If answered yes, the following questions indicate conditions under which the policy may be most effectively implemented:

  1. Is there sufficient excess space available at one or more existing school facilities?
  2. Is there demand for space for new or larger schools (public, private or charter), or a desire to consolidate existing schools for efficiency?
  3. Does the school facility with excess space possess the appropriate infrastructure (e.g., early childhood vs. secondary student bathrooms, gymnasiums, lockers) to serve--or could it be easily adapted for--the population that is to be colocated?

Note the required wiki markup text to produce the appropriate text above. Specifically, note:

  • Use of the # sign before each line to tell the Atlas to create a numbered list
  • Use of parentheticals (e.g., ...) to give examples where appropriate

Below are links to a few examples of good Compatibility Assessment sections:


Section 6: Design

Instructions: Write at least 5 decision questions that policymakers will need to answer in the event that they seek to implement the policy.

Detailed instructions for completing the Design section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

The Design section of a policy page exists to help prospective policy adopters identify the key decisions, rules, and regulations to consider should they adopt the policy. Assume in this section that a jurisdiction has already decided to move forward with the policy and is now crafting its details. A few examples of issues types relevant to a policy’s design to considered as you identify the important questions for your own policy include:

  • Administration: what entities or procedures should be used to implement and oversee any programmatic aspects of the policy?
  • Appeals: what administrative judicial procedures, if any, will exist for hearing challenges to rulings under the policy?
  • Controls: what controls or regulatory provisions will be required in order to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse under the policy?
  • Enforcement: how will compliance with the policy be encouraged and enforced?
  • Financing: if applicable, what means of funding are appropriate? What benefits will be offered?
  • Review: what opportunities for public, interagency, and/or intergovernmental review, if any, will be required as part of the policy?
  • Quantities: how much of a given resource or benefit should be provided?
  • Scope: what criteria, standards or rules will be used to determine what parties, organizations, or activities are subject to the policy? What exceptions will exist?
  • Timing: what period(s) of time will be assigned to the policy and its elements (e.g., applications and registration windows, statutes of limitations, sunset periods, etc.)?

Each Design section should both pose key questions as well as provide possibilities for consideration.

Design Dos Design Don'ts
Do identify high-level questions related to the implementation of your policy as if a jurisdiction has chosen to adopt it. Don’t list questions that pertain to deciding whether or not to adopt the policy (e.g., compatibility and tradeoffs), which should have already been covered.
Do provide considerations as to which decisions may be appropriate in different contexts.

Below is a sample excerpt from the Adopters section of Taxi medallion systems:

The following questions and considerations are offered for determining how to implement this policy:

  1. How many taxi medallions should be issued?
    1. If attempting to control the quantity of taxis, this number should be less than the current number of non-medallion taxis.
    2. Jurisdictions might begin with a conservative number of taxis and issue additional medallions as needed. However, though this may increase the uncertainty associated with future supply increases, reducing investor demand.
  2. What process will be used to distribute taxi medallions?
    1. An auction process is often used to attract the highest possible value for medallions.
    2. The value of the medallions will be heavily dictated by the strictness of limitations placed on medallion quantity and the ceiling of the allowable fare rates, both of which will increase the value of an individual medallion.

Below is the wiki markup required to produce the above section:

The following questions and considerations are offered for determining how to implement this policy:

#How many taxi medallions should be issued?

##If attempting to control the quantity of taxis, this number should be less than the current number of non-medallion taxis.

##Jurisdictions might begin with a conservative number of taxis and issue additional medallions as needed. However, though this may increase the uncertainty associated with future supply increases, reducing investor demand.

#What process will be used to distribute taxi medallions?

##An auction process is often used to attract the highest possible value for medallions.

##The value of the medallions will be heavily dictated by the strictness of limitations placed on medallion quantity and the ceiling of the allowable fare rates, both of which will increase the value of an individual medallion.

Below are a few examples of Design sections:


Section 7: PolicyGraphics

Instructions: Tag your policy with its value(s) for all relevant PolicyGraphics.

Detailed instructions for completing the PolicyGraphics section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

The purpose of this section is to describe the scope of the policy's adoption--where, at what level of government, and how commonly the policy is adopted. We call these values PolicyGraphics, which are used on the Atlas to describe characteristics of policies (in a way similar to how the term "demographics" describes the characteristics of people). Further instructions are available on the PolicyGraphics page.

PolicyGraphics are linked to a policy by editing the text of the page and "tagging" a page with an appropriate PolicyGraphic value. The technology that supports this tagging is called Semantic MediaWiki (SMW).

In order to insert a PolicyGraphic, in the parlance of SMW, you must add both the "Property" and "Value" with which you are trying to tag the policy. Properties are the types of information you are trying to track, like what level of government is most appropriate for its implementation, which is entered using the "For Governance Level::" Property. Values are the features of that specific policy--whether the policy can be implemented at any or all of the "Local," "State or Provincial," "National," or "International" levels of government institutions, for example. When you combine a Property such as "For Governance Level::" with a value such as "Local" and surround the two in double brackets, then you will have tagged that policy with the PolicyGraphic.

  • For a policy that is designed to be implemented by a local government, or a state or provincial government, but not a national or international government, the text used to tag a policy with a PolicyGraphic Property and Value would be:
[[For Governance Level::Local]], [[For Governance Level::State or Provincial]]
  • For a policy that is appropriate for implementation in any kind of area, be it urban, suburban, or rural, the wiki text would be:
[[For Area Type::Urban]], [[For Area Type::Suburban]], [[For Area Type::Rural]]
PolicyGraphic Dos PolicyGraphic Don'ts
Do add at least one PolicyGraphic value for all standard properties in proper markup language. Don't omit PolicyGraphics that are relevant for your policy.
Do briefly describe a rationale for your selection of values (e.g., “This policy is most commonly implemented in Rural areas due to...”). Don't forget to add double brackets [[ ]] and the full markup text for each value.
Do include citations backing up your classifications where possible.

Below is a sample excerpt from the PolicyGraphics section of Participatory budgeting procedures:

  • Has adoption of: Limited. There are over 1,500 cities and institutions that engage in participatory budgeting. However, even in large cities such as New York, there are only roughly 18,000 participants per year, and the share of public budgets subject to participatory budgeting is extremely low.
  • For governance level(s): Institution, Local.
  • For area type(s): Urban, Suburban, Rural.
  • For issue type(s): Democracy, Equity, Finance, Infrastructure, Transparency.

The wiki text required to produce the above content was:

*Has adoption of: [[Has adoption of::Limited]]. There are over 1,500 cities and institutions that engage in participatory budgeting. However, even in large cities such as New York, there are only roughly 18,000 participants per year, and the share of public budgets subject to participatory budgeting is extremely low.<ref name="Examples of PB">[http://www.participatorybudgeting.org/about-participatory-budgeting/examples-of-participatory-budgeting/ Examples of Participatory Budgeting]. Participatory Budgeting Project (2015)</ref>

*For governance level(s): [[For Governance Level::Institution]], [[For Governance Level::Local]].

*For area type(s): [[For Area Type::Urban]], [[For Area Type::Suburban]], [[For Area Type::Rural]].

*For issue type(s): [[For Issue Type::Democracy]], [[For Issue Type::Equity]], [[For Issue Type::Finance]], [[For Issue Type::Infrastructure]], [[For Issue Type::Transparency]].


Section 8: Adopters

Instructions: Tag your policy with at least 4 Adopters; You do not need to tag all known Adopters.

Detailed instructions for completing the Adopters section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

Each policy page on the Atlas features an Adopters section, in which known adopters of the policies can be cited. Adopters are defined as the jurisdictions that implement public policies and are also described on the Adopters page.

Adopters should be tagged with specific parameters in order to ensure consistency and avoid redundancy--for example, ensuring that all local government policies adopted in Los Angeles can be found under “City of Los Angeles” to avoid producing scattered tags associating some policies with "Los Angeles," others with "Los Angeles, CA," and still others with "LA City Council." By establishing a consistent naming convention for adopters with consistent naming conventions, it will ensure the usability of the adopter tags as a means of searching for and retrieving their adopted policies.

The standard for tagging Adopters is defined based on the type of jurisdiction they oversee. Examples of types of jurisdictions include:

  • Cities (e.g., City of Tallahassee)
  • States (e.g., State of Ohio)
  • Provinces (e.g., Province of Ontario)
  • Countries (e.g., Country of Canada)
  • International Organizations (e.g., International Organization of United Nations)

In order for a policy to be formally associated with an Adopter in the database, just as with PolicyGraphics, a policy must be tagged with both a property (in this case, "Is adopted by::”) as well as a value (the jurisdiction). Use the following syntax to tag Adopters:

  • [[Is adopted by::City of Tallahassee]]
  • [[Is adopted by::State of Ohio]]
  • [[Is adopted by::Province of Ontario]]
  • [[Is adopted by::Country of United States of America]]
  • [[Is adopted by::International Organization of United Nations]]

If desired, after the specific adopter, you can add a parenthetical with the specific lower-level governmental entity in charge of implementing the policy.

  • [[Is adopted by::International Organization of United Nations]] (U.N. Commission on Human Rights)
Adopters Dos Adopters Don'ts
Do add at least four Adopters of your policy in appropriate markup syntax. Don't feel obligated to add every single jurisdiction that has ever adopted the policy.
Do consider adding a parenthetical after naming your city, state, etc. to indicate the specific agency or unit that adopted it in the jurisdiction--e.g., [[Is adopted by::City of Los Angeles]] (L.A. Unified School District) Don’t forget to use the appropriate markup property and value text for each cited adopter.
Do add a brief statement summarizing the nature of the adoption. (e.g., “Adopted in 2014 across all K-12 schools.”
Do include references that cite the asserted adoption.

Below is a sample excerpt from the Adopters section of Tax increment financing (TIF):

  • Notable entities who have implemented or adopted this policy include:
    • City of Chicago: Chicago operates more than 130 TIF districts with tax receipts totaling in the hundreds of millions, or about one-third of city's total property tax revenue. [1]
    • State of California: TIF was initiated in California in 1952 as a method of raising the local contribution required by a federal urban renewal program. Today, California maintains hundred of TIF districts, many to promote urban redevelopment in cities like San Diego, Oakland, and Los Angeles. [2]

The full wiki text to produce the above section was:

*Notable entities who have implemented or adopted this policy include:

**[[Is adopted by::City of Chicago]]: Chicago operates more than 130 TIF districts with tax receipts totaling in the hundreds of millions, or about one-third of city's total property tax revenue. <ref> [http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/provdrs/tif.html Website of City of Chicago TIF]. </ref>

**[[Is adopted by::State of California]]: TIF was initiated in California in 1952 as a method of raising the local contribution required by a federal urban renewal program. Today, California maintains hundred of TIF districts, many to promote urban redevelopment in cities like San Diego, Oakland, and Los Angeles. <ref> [http://pipta.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/TIF-Best-Practices-Reference-Guide.pdf TIF Best Practices Reference Guide (2014)]. </ref>

Section 9: Supporters

Instructions: Tag your policy with at least 4 Supporters and all that you believe are applicable.

Detailed instructions for completing the Supporters section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

Supporters are those groups that are likely to support or benefit from the adoption of the policy.

Supporters section Dos Supporters section Don'ts
Do add at least four Supporters of your policy in appropriate markup syntax by selecting them from the existing Stakeholders lists. Don't add specific Supporters (e.g., National Education Association); only add Stakeholder types.
Do add a brief statement summarizing the rationale or assumptions under which each Stakeholder would be likely to support your policy (e.g., “Assumption: Support teacher tenure protections if it increases members’ job security.” Don't tag new Stakeholders not yet in existing Stakeholder lists unless your proposed addition is not yet covered and in the aforementioned Stakeholder syntax (e.g., Labor Unions - ___).
Do include references that backup the asserted stakeholder preference if available. Don't tag Stakeholders as both a Supporter and Opponent of the same policy. Pick the most likely side and state the assumption that, if true, would make them on that side of the policy.

Below is a sample excerpt from the Supporters section of Repatriation tax holidays:

  • Associations - Technology. Assumption: Technology companies are amongst the largest beneficiaries of repatriation tax holidays, as they rely on intellectual property for their profits, which makes it very easy to shift production to countries with lower corporate tax rates. Almost half of the repatriations in the 2004 US tax holiday came from companies in the technology and pharmaceutical industries. [3]
  • Associations - Pharmaceutical. Assumption: The assumptions are the same as for the technology sector.

The full wiki text required to produce the above content was:

*[[Is supported by:: Associations - Technology]]. Assumption: Technology companies are amongst the largest beneficiaries of repatriation tax holidays, as they rely on intellectual property for their profits, which makes it very easy to shift production to countries with lower corporate tax rates. Almost half of the repatriations in the 2004 US tax holiday came from companies in the technology and pharmaceutical industries. <ref name="Marr">[http://www.cbpp.org//sites/default/files/atoms/files/6-19-14tax.pdf]. Marr, Chuck and Huang, Chye-Ching. “Repatriation Tax Holiday Would Lose Revenue And Is a Proven Policy Failure.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, June 19, 2014.</ref>

*[[Is supported by:: Associations - Pharmaceutical]]. Assumption: The assumptions are the same as for the technology sector.


Section 10: Opponents

Instructions: Tag your policy with at least 4 Opponents and all that you believe are applicable.

Detailed instructions for completing the Opponents section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

Opponents are those who are likely to resist or experience some detriment from the adoption of the policy.

Opponents section Dos Opponents section Don'ts
Do add at least four Opponents of your policy in appropriate markup syntax by selecting them from the existing Stakeholders lists. Don't add specific Opponents (e.g., National Education Association); only add Stakeholder types.
Do add a brief statement summarizing the rationale or assumptions under which each Stakeholder would be likely to oppose your policy (e.g., “Assumption: Oppose extended school days if not commensurately compensated for additional hours.” Don't tag new Stakeholders not yet in existing Stakeholder lists unless your proposed addition is not yet covered and in the aforementioned Stakeholder syntax (e.g., Labor Unions - ___).
Do include references that backup the asserted stakeholder preference if available. Don't tag Stakeholders as both a Supporter and Opponent of the same policy. Pick the most likely side and state the assumption that, if true, would make them on that side of the policy.

Below is a sample excerpt from the Opponents section of Driverless car allowances:

The full wiki text required to produce the above content was:

*[[Is opposed by::Labor Unions - Taxi Drivers]]. Assumption: Driverless car allowances could reduce or eliminate the need for human taxi drivers. <ref>http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/07/07/self_driving_cars_a_new_department_of_energy_sponsored_report_finds_self.html</ref> *[[Is opposed by::Labor Unions - Truck Drivers]]. Assumption: Driverless car allowances could reduce or eliminate the need for human truck drivers. <ref>http://www.wired.com/2015/05/worlds-first-self-driving-semi-truck-hits-road/</ref>


Section 11: Research

Instructions: List at least 4 Research studies or articles on your policy.

Detailed instructions for completing the Research section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

The purpose of the Research section is to include links to scholarly articles that attempt to evaluate the impact of a policy--factors influencing the outcomes of adopting the policy, and the positive and negative consequences of adopting it that have been found.

In contrast with “best practice guides” and “reports,” Research cited in this section should generally be published by academics and researchers in professional journals. (This includes scholarly articles and working papers.)

Research section Dos Research section Don'ts
Do list at least 4 scholarly articles, policy evaluations or research studies that could help policymakers evaluate the observed impact of a policy and how effective it may be for their context. Don't list practitioner-oriented guides and resources, which should be instead listed in the Resources section of the article.
Do add a full citation for the research source in line with appropriate citation standards (e.g., noting the author, title, publication date, publication source, etc.). Don't simply add a hyperlink without a citation explaining the nature of the Research source.
Do include a brief sentence or two that summarizes the content included in the research source. Don't omit a summary of what the Research includes.
Do include a hyperlink that directs users to the research source wherever possible. Don't forget to add a hyperlink to the Research source, and do not use a hyperlink that blocked behind a university-specific system unavailable to general users (though do consider including links to paywalled articles on sources such as eric.ed.gov)

Below is a sample excerpt from the Research section of Driverless car allowances:

  • Ethical Decision Making During Automated Vehicle Crashes. Goodall, Noah. (2012). Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Vol. 2424. doi: 10.3141/2424-07. This paper proposes a method for creating algorithms that handle automated ethical decisions with regard to driverless cars.

The markup required to produce the entry was as follows:

*[http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965856415000804 Preparing a nation for autonomous vehicles: opportunities, barriers and policy recommendations]. Fagnant, Daniel J. Kockelman, Kara. (2015). Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 77: 167–181. doi:10.1016/j.tra.2015.04.003. The article reviews benefits, costs, and liabilities likely to result from the emergence of autonomous vehicles.

*[http://trrjournalonline.trb.org/doi/abs/10.3141/2424-07 Ethical Decision Making During Automated Vehicle Crashes]. Goodall, Noah. (2012). Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Vol. 2424. doi: 10.3141/2424-07. This paper proposes a method for creating algorithms that handle automated ethical decisions with regard to driverless cars.


Section 12: Resources

Instructions: List at least 4 Resource materials (e.g., white papers, best practice reports, etc.) on your policy.

Detailed instructions for completing the Resources section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

The purpose of the Resources section is to include links to practitioner-oriented guides and resource manuals that attempt to help them adopt and implement the policy. Appropriate materials include best practices guides, manuals, white papers, case studies, and other resources designed to help policymakers understand and adopt policies. It is important that the audience of these Resources is not the "general public" but a narrower audience of people with expertise in the subject matter. That is to say, be careful when including journalism in this section.

This section does not include Research materials, which tend to cover scholarly articles and other papers featured in academic journals or otherwise intending to evaluate a policy.

Resources section Dos Resources section Don'ts
Do list at least 4 best practices guides, manuals, white papers, case studies and/or other resources designed to help policymakers understand and adopt policies. Don't list research, which should be instead listed in the Research section of the policy article.
Do add a full citation for the resource in line with appropriate citation standards (e.g., noting the author, title, publication date, publication source, etc.). Don't simply add a hyperlink without a citation explaining the nature of the Resource.
Do include a brief sentence or two that summarizes the content included in the Resource. Don't omit a summary of what the Resource includes.
Do include a hyperlink that directs a reader to the Resource wherever possible. Don't forget to add a hyperlink to the resource, and do not use a hyperlink that includes a reference to a university-based database unavailable to general users.

Below is a sample excerpt from the Resources section of Tax increment financing (TIF):

  • Tax Increment Finance Best Practices Reference Guide (2007). Council of Development Finance Agencies and International Council of Shopping Centers. A reference guide that addresses what TIF is, why it should be used and how best to apply the TIF tool.
  • Tax Increment Financing: Process and Planning Issues (2007). Weber, Rachel and Laura Goddeeris. The article illustrates the planning decisions that arise during the designation and implementation stages of TIF, and provides a hypothetical example to depict the mechanics of TIF use.

The markup required to produce this entry was as follows:

*[http://pipta.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/TIF-Best-Practices-Reference-Guide.pdf Tax Increment Finance Best Practices Reference Guide] (2007). Council of Development Finance Agencies and International Council of Shopping Centers. A reference guide that addresses what TIF is, why it should be used and how best to apply the TIF tool.

*[https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229000496_Tax_Increment_Financing_Process_and_Planning_Issues Tax Increment Financing: Process and Planning Issues] (2007). Weber, Rachel and Laura Goddeeris. The article illustrates the planning decisions that arise during the designation and implementation stages of TIF, and provides a hypothetical example to depict the mechanics of TIF use.

Examples of Resources sections include:

Section 13: Footnotes

Instructions: List Footnotes to cite all external sources used in your policy article.

Detailed instructions for completing the Footnotes section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

The final policy article component is the Footnotes section. This section is designed to provide a list of sources used in writing your policy article in case users wish to evaluate the sources used to back up certain assertions or learn more about your policy.

When documenting facts or assertions in a policy page, it is always preferred to provide a link to a source backing up your claim. The easiest way to provide citations is to add in-text footnotes. In order to add in-text footnotes, first include the following markup text at the end of your article:

=====Footnotes=====

<references />

Once this text is in place, there are several methods of adding footnotes in text. For example, assume you want to cite a U.S. Congressional Research Service brief to document the prevalence of year-round schools. If you only plan on using this reference once, simply insert a citation between “<ref>” and “</ref>” after your assertion or quote.

Method A: One-time reference: <ref> [Link]. Author (Year). Title. Publication. Pp. X-X. </ref>

As of the 2011-2012 school year, there were 3,700 public schools across the nation operating on a year-round calendar cycle. <ref> Skinner, Rebecca R (2014). ''Year-Round Schools: In Brief'', U.S. Congressional Research Service. Available at: [http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43588.pdf]. </ref>

In another example, let's say you wanted to cite the same U.S. Congressional Research Service brief multiple times throughout the article.

Method B: Repeat reference:

First Use: <ref name="Add a name">[Link]. Author (Year). “Title.” Publication. Pp. X-X. </ref>:

As of the 2011-2012 school year, there were 3,700 public schools across the nation operating on a year-round calendar cycle. <ref name="USCR Brief">[http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43588.pdf]. Skinner, Rebecca R (2014). ''Year-Round Schools: In Brief'', U.S. Congressional Research Service. </ref>

Repeat uses: <ref name="Same name used above" />"

In total, year-round school systems contain more than 2,000,000 students in 45 states.<ref name="USCR Brief"/>

For another example of the use of this advanced citation style, see the Woonerf street construction article.

Section 14: Related Policies and Classification

Instructions: Classify your page by adding Related Policies, a Category, and the Notes template.

Detailed instructions for completing the Classification section can be viewed by clicking "Expand" on the right.

This section is the simplest component of the page. It has three components:

  1. List at least two policies that already exist on the Atlas that might interest readers of your policy page.
  2. Add a category tag for your page.
  3. Add the Notes template to bookend the bottom of your page.

Below is an example of the page for Driverless car allowances:

=====Related Policies=====
*[[Automated parking systems]]
*[[Car speed synchronization systems]]

[[Category:Transportation]]

{{Notes}}

Formatting Tips

The default formatting is included in the Template page, and additional markup instructions can generally be found in the Policy Resources menu on the left sidebar. However, this section includes additional information on text formatting, links and citations.

Bolding: To make your text bold, enter it like this: '''text'''

Italics: To make your text in italics, enter it like this: ''text''

  • Note that this is 2 apostrophes, not 1 quotation mark

Headings: To create a heading (see the word “Concept” on the Template), enter text like this: ====TEXT====

Sub-headings: To create a sub-heading (see the word “Goals” on Template), enter text like this: =====Text=====

Hyperlinks:

  • To link to another PolicyAtlas page, put the page name in double brackets
  • If you want to include a name other than the page name, place it after |
    • Example: Education-->[[:Category:Education|Education]]
  • To link to an outside page, put the url into the page as is
  • If you want to include a different name, put the whole thing in brackets and put the alternate name after the url
    • Example: Google-->[http://google.com Google]

Bulleted lists: Make bullet lists with asterisks

  • Level 1-->* Level 1
    • Level 2-->** Level 2
      • Level 3-->*** Level 3

Numbered lists: Make numbered lists with pound signs

  1. Level 1--># Level 1
    1. Level 2-->## Level 2
      1. Level 3-->### Level 3

Footnotes and Citations

When documenting assertions in a policy page, where possible, it is always preferred to provide a link to a source backing up your claim. It is also vital that you cite sources when borrowing their thoughts or ideas, and you must never plagiarize. For more, see an earlier section of this page: Footnotes.

Assignment Resources

Example of a Completed Assignment

For an example of a completed assignment, see Driverless car allowances. Remember, whenever you see something on a wiki page and aren’t sure how it was created, you can always click “Edit” on the page and then copy and paste the text markup, editing it and adapting it to create whatever you seek to display.

Form for Evaluating a Completed Assignment

The following form is used to evaluate a completed assignment:

File:Policy Article Feedback Template.pdf

Help! I still have questions and issues

Email us at policyatlas_exec@googlegroups.com and one of us will get back to you ASAP.

Footnotes

  1. Website of City of Chicago TIF.
  2. TIF Best Practices Reference Guide (2014).
  3. [1]. Marr, Chuck and Huang, Chye-Ching. “Repatriation Tax Holiday Would Lose Revenue And Is a Proven Policy Failure.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, June 19, 2014.
  4. http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/07/07/self_driving_cars_a_new_department_of_energy_sponsored_report_finds_self.html
  5. http://www.wired.com/2015/05/worlds-first-self-driving-semi-truck-hits-road/