SXSW: Deliberative Democracy Panel
15 of 51 people in the room female (more people came in – about 30, but I did not count gender, etc.)
I’m live blogging a panel I’m on – a new experiment and hope I don’t look disconnected – too much damn looking down at keyboard. Luckily I touch type. It will NOT include my comments because I can’t blog and talk at the same time. Thank goodness. I create enough noise in one at a time!)
Jerry introduces the panel. I missed a few bits as I was futzing with my computer. We are here to talk about.....
Jerry – itinerant trouble maker, consultant, worked with Esther Dysons 2.0. Interested in participative democracy, move away from consumer capitalism to something more human
In your opinion, about the relationship between online and F2f DISCOURSE, what would you say about the relationship between the two
In Roman Holiday they asked Audrey Hepburn which European city she liked best. She said I like whichever one I’m in, but eventually would declare a favorite. … in many ways we are safer in online dialog, safer to be who we actually are, the internet is not the place people want to spoof and troll as someone else. I think that F2F engagement has inhibition on parts of our selves we ought to bring to deliberation. In online dialog there are things you can do over time that are not possible F2F. F2f you can accomplish more in a short time. A place to care more faster. The incentives of gathering locally, sharing what you care about, like house parties, events arranged online, outcomes that you could not have online. Online offers the way to care more longer. A short time commitment you can spread over years. Persistent community to create change that F2F don’t always do
Tom: Bias towards F2F which I’m trying to outgrow. Most of my experience is F2F> there is a particular kind of F1F that I like particularly. Randomly selected citizen chosen to represent community, study all sides of an issue than pas on their findings to the community. Large one just finished in Canada. Had very little online dimensions, in BC. Controversy over past elections, so convened a panel to make recommendations for election reform. Would be the basis for a referendum. 160 people chosen at random, studied intensively, then designed a new way to do elections in Canada. IN May they will be voting on this. I’m enraptured with this model. Extremely powerful and expensive. Interested in maintaining the benefits of F2F interactions, but hardly any of them use the internet as an information resource How can we develop adequate info sources and feed them into these deliberation groups. How do you choose the issue, chose the people – computer assisted way. The recommendations are seldom as empowered as the BC example. Sometimes the impact is on each individual. I’m interested in figuring out how advocacy systems like Moveone and Blogger linked into, instead of partisan interests, linked into interest for the whole. For We the People. Looking at all the different ways that interactive and intelligent technology and grass roots deliberation; Maybe online deliberation elements. Interested in pros and cons of both.
Nancy: I can’t blog what I say. Ain’t that talented. Told story of women and the coffee tree
Lars; One of the pieces I’m really excited about are the stories people tell about their lives and the impact of policy on their lives. Online media is not quite there in terms of capturing and telling stories so there is a lasting collective memory. Excited to hear about ways those te3chnolgocies can be built in to really help document create a rich and public archive of deliberations happening across the country
Jerry: The businesses don’t want us to have a memory. They want to control that. Implicit in the business model. When you stand up and talk about important issues, face the explosion of issues, we have no memory. This is what I thought, this is the data. So we have conversations over and over again
Kaliya – an early second way adopter. A person who almost never engaged in online conversations with people I have never met in person. I did almost no posting to our joint email list because I had not met the people on this list. Within the spiritual activist community, my focus has been on linking people after they met, a comfort with online, but not random groups of people. That being said I spend most of my time working at home, using the internet to work with my colleagues in a network fashion. I have this thing about meeting people first and this may be similar in other second wave adopters.
Bob Carlitz – I wanted to mention several things that everyone on the panel has in the back of their minds for setting the framework. With regards to doing things online rather than F2F. It scales to talk to vast numbers, and many conversation. We all probably prefer F2F, but it doesn’t scale. Second is online interactions can be completely symmetrical. It’s the possibility that your involved in a discussion, even though it is very large, it can be authoritative, part of the official record. It can also be complete, access to background information. Things impractical in a F2F meeting. Online you can. These three overarching features which really make it exciting and unique. I also realize it leads to problems, we are just beginning to grapple with. If it is complete, authoritative and inclusive, how do you pull out what you want. Sort out info. Get alerted when you get something you want to know. RSS starts to move us in that direction. If you are part of this official proceeding, very large, playing a potentially important role. How do you identify yourself and verified. Issue of privacy? How much do you want part of the record. Underlying technical questions. When we start talking about political interactions, there are three distinct areas. The people, the public participation, there’s the technology, lurking around us, the third is the whole issue of governments structures, bureaucracies, stable, function in a particularly way. They are going to have to change to accommodate this. How do we help people within them, there are humans, trying to do a decent job, how do we help them accommodate the changes.
How can online and offline communities tap their power? Stories, or abstract models. What does that trigger for you.
Jed: A combination is almost always going to be better. Deliberation at the local level in communities with most need and least access to the tools. Rural. Students. Seniors, On a larger scale I believe that context is critical to bring deliberation to community .Something people already care about, something going on, people have a personal context that gets them to the table. Purpose in a sense of narrative. Vincent Price and Paul Resnick around incentives for participation. Purpose narrative. And a sense of outcomes. Not just “I went to my deliberation and look, we did it.” America speaks does this wonderful thing so when you leave a team of writers create a report, an instant preliminary document and you walk out with a piece of paper. After the Listening to the City event, a great document distilling themes was put together. In the online, emails were sent, the Civic Alliance to Rebuild New York, to participants from leaders to participants. Mirror wear. What are the tools we are using them to show themselves. The need for your constituent for them to see a role for themselves in your work. Even in what I’ve just done. A plug for the web. When you post, you see it.
Jerry: It is also momentum wear – connecting before and after F2F events, keeping it actively and livey.
Jed; A sense of self efficacy accrues. As much as civic change
Tom: It’s a funny way in which that is more an inquiry than answer for me. I’m’ interested in ways that online and mostly online could create comprehensive multiple view point information bases which, what’s after blogdom, the creation of multiple view point systems information. All the partisans contribute. How do we build an issue oriented wiki. That information base would be a powerful resource for deliberators, self organized networks, F2f and Online. One of the challenges, I feel there is a resource in the online and computer tech world and interested in hearing from those how to help choose a cross section of the population. How do you create the body of people to deliberate for whom people would say, that really represents us, rather than who shows up. How do you create something legitimate so people say that’s a voice for us. IN that question, the selection process is dependent on technology. Then there is the linking to people power. Would like to see a breakthrough to when the inclusive We the People comes up with something it wants, how does it take action on it’s behalf. Mix between synergy and F2F, such as move on and meetup. So I have mostly questions and intuitive sense of powerful breakthroughs in putting that together.
Jerry: Weaving a whole new fabric. 5-10 years ago it was the phone system. Now being ripped up
Nancy: talked again. Armenia story. Harp story. Imagination
Jerry: The Lenzs simple pop up to remind you to become centered. Tiny, subtle things.
Lars: IN terms of finding a common purpose, there’s two outcomes. Problem solving on their own how they can tap their resources. Groups like study circles. The other side to that is how can they identify a common purpose and press those to their government and hold their governments accountable. How deliberation has spill over effects in social capital formation. Trust building for moving forward, implementation, new problems. The flip side, how can communities loose power, a town divided. If the poor town is heavily mobilized, they stand to lose in a deliberative process. When deliberation is appropriate and when it creates loss.
Kaliya: I think what I’m going to do, one of the things, I’m going to leap into the technical tools to help. Figuring out the digital identity thing is key. How do I authenticate who I am in an online context. How do I take my identity, the handle I sign in, and move it from place to place. Local dialog, online, I’m the same person. We need to think about if we expand the use of these tools. I only have one body. It’s not to say we want people to have one digital identity. WE are schizophrenic. Identity commons. Create more opportunities for geeks and normal people, enormous language barriers, this discussion is happening on the IRC as we speak. There are language barrier. I have to learn to have an effective dialog with geeks, and vica versa.
Jock Gill: We ran a 4000 deliberative process for Al Gore in 1994, the open meeting. I would suggest you google open meeting at MIT. In 1993 we used a taxonomy to allow citizens to subscribe to an information flow. The point I want to make, we played with text and politics long and hard. There are severe limits. I’m dyslexic. There is a literacy issue around text that we are not addressing. If we had 40 gigabit connectivity, then the blending gets really interesting. Thinking about Open Spectrum to carry more bits, we need to rethink how we communicate and regulate our communications. We also need to think about platforms, these are dumb, stupid platforms. To think this is the base for Tech for Democracy is terribly handicapping. If we think about cognitive platforms, each computer knew which others were in the room. Let us try to imagine a much higher, reference set of tools to the primitive, limiting, pathetic text base tools that create literacy barriers. The literacy of the people in India are different than the people in this room. How do we respect each others literacy.
(Nancy throws chocolate into the crowd)
Jerry: Quaker business process. This guy asked us a question, then asked us to sit with it for a couple of minutes in silence, then the answers were calmer and more directed. We’ll go into silence, then we’ll ask questions,
::: silence :: :::munching of chocolate :::
Questions from the audience:
Multi view point systems. 20+ years ago there was worked done on … IBIS the methodology. Jeff Conklin. The IBIS methodology for structuring issues. They had a product called GIBBIS, Corporate Memory systems. It may be an interesting methodology on how we could organize around multiple viewpoints.
Carrie Parker – I’m wondering about, as we start to have thread with multiple view points, it seems like that opens more and more that people go down the thread they agree with instead of looking at multiple view pints. WE see that in the media. How do we keep people open and not getting more bipolar.
Kent Bye – How to link F2F with online. My idea is you have a meeting, you break and do an online poll, you have a digital identity, ask a number of questions and see what people are interested in. Overcome the literacy barrier with tagging. Get people grouped into interest groups in what they are talking about more. Taking breaks to do blog entries, gather more info.
Randy Moss, ACS – As everything moves to the individual and more niche and niche, are we diluting efforts, does the mass become a thin spread where it is impossible to get anything done because everyone has their own personal criteria and we can’t agree because everything is wrapped up in everything else. How do we id the top issues to build a critical mass to move a front. We say in the last election it was about something… missed.. can’t here. Does extreme individualistic democracy get us in vapor lock
Aldon Hynes – I’m wondering what communities of practice can inform us about how deliberative democracy can take place?
Wiki-thataway.org SXSW page
IN addition to looking forward to 4 gig landscape, more immediately look at cellular technology and integrate the two to be more inclusive. IN places without a strong tradition of technology, can we imagine a way to leapfrog the process of democratization, or do we need a strong democratic foundation before bringing in the technology.
Colin, Active free media – how can we facilitate a process, have valuable conversations that move from discussion, to agreement to policy recommendations. So much corporate lobbying is effective is because they write policy. What if people could write policy that goes forward.
LBJ School. As you go online, the difference between adversarial vs. discourse. Right wrong or consensus. As computers get better are we going to have bots who can represent our ideology and go out and play together.
David Isenberg – How do we, going back to Malcolm Gladwell’s talk, how do we take the correct information away so our fundamental ideas emerge more clearly.
Lars: How can we have discussions that move towards policy discussions? One of the things make that critical is when the government is convenor because they have vested interest in outcomes. Finding spaces to have deliberation within government. It does fail, but we are learning more and more to build it in.
Tom: Come up if you are interested especially with technical capacity.