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Writing Working Group

Public Group active 6 years, 8 months ago


Last edited by Wayne on 08 October, 2010 at 19:47

This is version 1.0 of the standards that will be required to implement a new paradigm of communication between citizens and elected officials. Have a look at it and let us know what you think. As we make modifications to it, we’ll come back to you for feedback.

These are the standards that will enable the transition from the current to the ideal system laid out in the goals document via the principles.
Rationale: If contacting elected officials is an easy, open (technically and politically) process, then small groups would be able to assemble, collaborate, and act with great speed and impact.

Standards between Technical Systems

  • Conversations are fragmented across email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Many conversations are also offline. A standard way to ‘import’ current discussions happening elsewhere across systems would help unify the conversation, simplify constituent management, and make deeper analysis possible. Search tools for conversations across all these tools would be tremendously helpful.
    • This may be + salmon, or may be an extension of both.
    • We should build more semantically enabled standards over time
  • Elected officials pay attention only to residents of their districts, therefore verifiable online ID or persistent relationships based on earned trust through participation can open up new avenues for civic engagement.
  • Better data – matching interest with actors – providing a trusted source of my elected officials
    • We need a standard for sharing updates and fixes to this.
    • should be flawless and free
  • Geohashing (really political boundary hash, not geocoding) of participation can provide granularity of citizen preference; a citizen’s preferences could be rolled up by town, Congressional district, state (for senators), and nation (for President and national policies).

Standard Non-Technical Metrics

  • Standard metrics for civic participation could be useful for many purposes, such as allocating funding resources from foundations to leverage points.  The leader in collecting these metrics is the National Conference on Citizenship’s yearly Civic Health Index:
  • If elected officials receive reliable metrics about their public participation AND the metrics show a return on investment (time and money), then they are more likely to engage the public.  We do not know how elected officials want to see this information but perhaps it could include semantic analysis of opinions, polls involving a representative sample of their constituents, large sample sizes, feedback before/during/after the engagement (to see the difference).
    • We need a standard set of metrics, and a standard way to extend those metrics as needed.
  • Accountability is critical, and standard formats are essential to perform track actions at scale.  A centralized accountability system, comparing what you asked for vs. what happened, would give citizens a deeper awareness about whether campaign promises were fulfilled.
    • This would need to be an expandable format that can grow over time, because accountability is most useful when viewed over time rather than in a one-time snapshot.

Standard Vocabulary

  • Public Participation: The process of opening up a decision-making cycle to meaningful public input or deliberation.  See the Core Principles for Public Engagement” by the National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation (below).
  • Engaged Citizen: An engaged citizen takes responsibility for the potential impact he/she can make on government and actively seeks out information and ways to be involved in civic actions.
“The Core Principles for Public Engagement” by the National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation
These seven recommendations reflect the common beliefs and understandings of those working in the fields of public engagement, conflict resolution, and collaboration; they are standard princples to guide the design of public engagements.  Source:
  • Careful Planning and Preparation Through adequate and inclusive planning, ensure that the design, organization, and convening of the process serve both a clearly defined purpose and the needs of the participants.
  • Inclusion and Demographic Diversity Equitably incorporate diverse people, voices, ideas, and information to lay the groundwork for quality outcomes and democratic legitimacy.
  • Collaboration and Shared Purpose Support and encourage participants, government and community institutions, and others to work together to advance the common good.
  • Openness and Learning Help all involved listen to each other, explore new ideas unconstrained by predetermined outcomes, learn and apply information in ways that generate new options, and rigorously evaluate public engagement activities for  effectiveness.
  • Transparency and Trust Be clear and open about the process, and provide a public record of the organizers, sponsors, outcomes, and range of views and ideas expressed.
  • Impact and Action Ensure each participatory effort has real potential to make a difference, and that participants are aware of that potential.
  • Sustained Engagement and Participatory Culture Promote a culture of participation with programs and institutions that support ongoing quality public engagement.

What did we miss?

Let us know below so can modify this and improve it.

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