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This page celebrates leaders and communities around the world that have recently embraced participatory and inclusive processes using online forum software to reconnect people with each other and with the processes that affect them, thus restoring our long lost COMMON SENSE and shared humanity.
The New paradigm.
There are 12 posts on this page ordered from the most effective solutions to the least effective platforms towards the bottom of the page).*Please open the comments and the replies on the posts to see additional information and links for further reading.
The world is shifting faster than we can respond and our inability to react timorously is threatening our survival. We desperately need to up-grade our clumsy decision making processes. Large community discussions happen infrequently, are generally inefficient, poorly attended and limited by time constraints, finances, venues, travel factors and so on.
Most people live in villages, towns or cities with populations from 2000 to a million plus. Identifying and holding the main focus of large evolving group discussions requires a complete re-think of the processes needed to enable fluid, effective large online forums.
There are over 120 discussion app/software options available on the net today, each with their own pros and cons.
To simplify this rather complex issue the posts on this page have been arranged starting with the simpler software options leading to the more versatile choices for large to massive groups, cities and nations ...... Liberation is at our fingertips!
THERE IS A COMMENTS SECTION AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE.
Your are welcome to add links to the posts, but if you have questions or disagree with one of the posts, please comment at the bottom of the page. Otherwise the info in the comments sections get drowned in conversation.
The info presented on this page was basically researched and discussed by a group called- The Paradigm Shift
Please join us here-
In 2011 a small town called Jun in Spain began to use Twitter to connect most of the locals and the municipal personal together creating the first online Participatory Democracy in the world!
Everyone on ONE shared platform!
Read the reports in the comments.
At a time when the world is rethinking basic elements of governance, Taiwan’s digital democracy—in which the people take the initiative, and the government responds in the here and now—can serve as a demonstration of new forms of citizen and state co-operation and dialogue for the 21st century. As President Tsai Ing-wen said at her inauguration three years ago: “Before, democracy was a showdown between two opposing values. Now, democracy is a conversation between many diverse values.”
To do that, vTaiwan used a forum software platform called Polis. Taiwan has lessons for democracies all over the world, proving that the character of political debate is partly down to platform engineering. Polarised and angry content keeps us engaged, and that is exactly what platforms have been designed to show us. Design a platform to find consensus, and you see it arise in the debate.
“Once people get the idea that you don’t need a government to do governance, then people get into the true spirit of collaborative governance,” she says. “It may take a generation or more for people to see the state as a useful illusion and only use that illusion whenever convenient.”
(Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Paris, Turin, Jalisco, Valencia, Oviedo,
Following years of decline in public confidence in local government and in the midst of austerity and corruption scandals in Spain, Madrid City Council designed and launched a localized online forum called the Decide Madrid platform in 2015.
It had 400,000 registered users by 2018.
The Consul software is free to use.and institutions from more than 90 cities and regions are replicating the model of Decide Madrid.(mentioned above)
The forum enables citizens to engage with the local government in four ways:
1. Participatory budgeting - citizens can make spending proposals for projects in the city up to a budget of €100 million
2. Proposals - citizens can shape government actions by directly proposing and supporting ideas for new legislation (that fall within the jurisdiction of the city council)
3. Consultations - Madrid City Council gives citizens the opportunity to provide opinions about and vote on council proceedings
4. Debate - a platform for deliberation which doesn't lead to direct decision making but gives the City access to public opinion.
Links in comments below.
The incubator for participatory democracy is based on an alliance of democracy innovators, brought together by the Council of Europe at the World Forum for Democracy and co-ordinated by The Democratic Society. Its purpose is to connect city governments in Europe and beyond with democracy innovators to replicate and scale up democratic innovations.
It has five main objectives:
1. To bring together local governments and democracy innovators from different cultural and demographic perspectives in a network of mutual support.
2. To reduce duplicated effort on development and research around participative democracy by encouraging collaboration and developing linked participation methods in a wide range of settings.
3. To accelerate the spread of participative democracy both within local governments and the democratic innovation community.
4. To improve democracy development and human rights in local government, supporting the goals of the Council of Europe, the cities and the innovation partners.
To research, measure and improve the quality of participation and democracy at local, national and European level.
A democracy with openness, participation and deliberation at its heart would enable a constructive and ongoing dialogue between the public and decision-makers. It would ensure that the public understands the constraints of decision-makers and the trade-offs that must be made. And it would ensure that decision-makers understand people’s views and values, and how they would approach the difficult decisions that must be made.
30 years of Participatory Budgeting Worldwide!
Democracy is indeed a living organism, and we must look after it. This means we must innovate and rise up to face society’s new challenges. Our initiatives will no doubt face tests ahead, but are a valuable step in securing our democracy’s future.
For bigger groups discussing many or very complex issues, BBpress is a good option. It is the grand daddy of all the programs mentioned above and mostly overlooked because it is a ‘senior citizen’ among the new speak youngsters. Nonetheless over the past 12 years people have publish many Wordpress vetted add-ons written for BBpress that have greatly increased it's scope.
BBPress was redesigned in 2010 by John James Jacoby as a WordPress plug-in using all the latest coding standards, conventions, and approaches. * 30% of all websites today are made using WordPress and as a result, it is continually being upgraded and developed.
In 2017, there were 300 000 plus active BBPress Forum installations.
Software written ‘by the people and for the people’.
BBPress software is focused on ease of integration, ease of use, international web standards and speed. It is a well-designed, robust yet flexible and user-friendly communication base.
Customization is easy.
BBPress has a unique advantage over other forum software when it comes to customizing and the styling of the forum. . There are many support forums and the online manuals are very helpful. To fully harness the possibilities BBpress requires a basic php, Block code and CSS design skills.
Consider all the options this BBpress tool kit offers-
Quora is a massive online forum with 80 million participants and over 400,000 topics (2014). Members ask questions and others from around the world respond. Answers can be voted up or down. The topics are well organized can easily be searched.
It has it's uses but because it is a virtual community and the way that it is structured, it is more talk than action orientated.
Loomio is open forum software designed for small scale digital democracy. There are people all over the world, in groups of 3-300, using it to deliberate and make decisions to organise themselves.
Co-ops write their constitution, companies decide on the annual budget and strategy, boards make decisions between meetings, activists coordinate community projects, philanthropists approve funding applications, government officials and experts deliberate with citizens on new policy. Successfully used to resolve major regional issues in the Philippines, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
(Links in the comments below.
Although Loomio offers many useful tools, it is unable to hold the discussions of many topics simultaneously.
If there are many topics that need to be discussed, Loomio has a process whereby 7 topics can be suggested, discussed, and then, by vote the group can decide which of those subjects will be discussed, thus identifying the meeting’s agenda.
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