Archive for May, 2013

May 13, 2013

"By dialogic we take ourselves beyond the usual realm of focus groups, which…

"By dialogic we take ourselves beyond the usual realm of focus groups, which tend to be single issue, with one type of person present (e.g. young mothers who live in Harrow). The aim is to bring multiple viewpoints into the room (including scientists and experts) and include a wide diversity of opinion (young and old, north and south, enthusiasts and sceptics etc). By deliberative we recognise that the issues are often complex and controversial, so the dialogue group will need time to ask questions, review evidence and debate."

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Is public dialogue a form of social research?

DES speaks 2 By Daniel Start, Sciencewise Dialogue and Engagement Specialist. I’m often asked how public dialogue differs from public opinion research or social research. It’s a fair point, because there are many aspects that overlap, not least the generation of robust and reliable evidence for …

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May 11, 2013

The architecture of a discourse system

thanks to +Edward Morbius for his comments to <>


Intelligence, knowledge, and ability within the participating community – This is one of many things I mooted / did end-run around.
"Even the fool has his story"; by shifting focus from technical correctness (Note: I wrote "shift focus" and meant it. Of course accuracy matters. But that isn't to say it need be central.) to "valence" i.e. "subjective narrative", the flow shifts. And the tone shifts. I think "This really pisses me off!" is an entirely valid contribution.
To illustrate, "What you wrote here really makes me think that you're malicious, as though you're conniving something nasty." is entirely valid, whereas "You malevolent motherfucker." is not. What a person feels and things is entirely valid. see here. While a person can "know" the impression that has formed, the conclusion they're drawn to, they cannot know another's motives.

So the presence of SME (Subject Matter Expert, yes?) is important. And part of my strategy / business plan is to have institutional input / contribution, e.g. associations of, say, philosophers, economists, and political scientists / policy wonks. But this has to be done carefully as this affects the project's credibility … and concerning credibility, perception is reality.

A common culture – Where do parents celebrate the death of a child? Who enjoys abject poverty, or malnutrition / starvation? Who does not want security, justifice, and fairness? There is already a full platform w/regards to norms.
But this needs to be explored. And, in fact, this is the project's main aim. One person feels indignant at restriction on their ability to purchase and own fire arms. Another person feels indignant that they seem to always be surrounded by angry young men with guns. Point is: easy enough to understand / appreciate both positions, without stretching our "common culture". That doesn't mean that policy can be crude.

An administrator role – I simplified this by reducing it to core i.e. the only statements that appear are those that have surface validity: either statement of fact ("Joe Bloe from Idaho said that the world is flat; see URL") or personal statement ("I don't trust Joe Bloe's post because it appeared in a very biased blog.")
see above re: entirely valid

Noise controls – The design's core inspiration arose from, to a lesser extent, the need to increase S/R (SNR? signal to noise ratio) by reducing noise and, to a greater extent, by increasing signal amplitude/clarity for that reason, by devising threading and something like "routing", so that related propositions would be arrayed / presented in a way that serves discoverability.
see also above "administrator"

Participant choice in access tools – I think I know what you mean.
This was the hard part. It took me years.
FWIW I was using "Web2.0" techniques as early as 1999. Perhaps 1998. But those techniques do not suffice on their own. God knows they make the experience more entertaining / fun … but that's not actual productivity.
There are peripheral / ancillary functions (Have you seen BuddyPress in action? dandy support for building community.) And many of those. But "core" is particular and special. "Discourse-based decision support" … folk usually / often / regularly reframe that, reformulating to suit themselves, but almost never (as in "maybe twice in 15years") ever pay attention to what I'm saying there.

I'm protective of my IP. If I can cash out with $10M, that suits me fine. I'm not aiming for billions, but I want my share. I've plowed years of my life into this.

History – Curation and aggregation.
My line used to be this: "There's 1 war in Iraq, say. There are maybe 10K sites that support discussion on that. And maybe 200K threads. So over a million comments. And then there are blogs with multiple posts, each (perhaps) with more comments. But little of this serves community knowledge."
Hence my emphasis on Hesse's glasperlenspiel see: <>

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To energize collective intelligence … … to magnetize the wisdom of crowds. Your opinion might be wrong, or it might be right as rain … … but either way: the fact is that you have an opinion…

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May 8, 2013

@SimonFParker: "Interesting call for new kinds of civic engagement by @sburall…

@SimonFParker: "Interesting call for new kinds of civic engagement by @sburall but I think too blase about crisis of formal democracy"

@SBurall: Thanks @SimonFParker. Not intended to be blasé, but certainly weary of solutions that focus need for change on citizens rather than govt.

@ITGeek: @sburall w/respect if we expect change to come from "them" then "we" are looking to the wrong source. cc:@SimonFParker

1/2 I think that if got right new forms of participation can be part of solution for the crisis in rep democracy. 
2/2 if got wrong my worry is they push people further from structures of representation thus exacerbating the crisis.

@ITGeek: What I realized so long ago was that "participation" can be manipulated. "Invite; involve; inform; ignore". cc:@sburall

1/2 – In large part yes, but just like public are hugely differentiated, govt is not a monolith.

@SimonFParker: 1/2 – Bigger worry: new forms of participation are right, but don't solve crisis of representative democracy. May even make it worse."

@SimonFParker: 2/2 – We need both – if government is to be our servant, we must be prepared to be a good master
@ITGeek: IMNSHO "self-interest" isn't always malicious, but rarely altruistic. We need alternative. I suggest "discourse". 
@SBurall: There is potential for some change from within too. There are good people working at all levels of govt
@SBurall: Indeed it can and too often is. But can be transformative too in the right hands. It is true thought that it rarely is
@ITGeek: I've been working towards a discourse system that takes "right hands" out of the flow. see <>

Article by Simon Burall (@SBurall)

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