Please find below the
Proposal: Structured wikis and #tags as shared topic maps Contest: Fostering Climate Collaboration in Boulder, CO 2016 Thank you for your contest entry. Thank you for your contest entry. We appreciate your willingness to share your ideas and also the time and effort you put into developing a proposal and submitting it to the contest. We have reviewed your proposal and found that it contained intriguing elements; however, have chosen not to advance it to the next round of competition. We encourage you to keep developing your idea. Transfer your proposal to a Workspace to re-open it, make edits, add collaborators, and even submit it into a future contest. You can do so by logging into your account, opening your proposal, selecting the Admin tab, and clicking “Move proposal.” We welcome you to stay involved in the Climate CoLab community: support and comment on proposals that have been named Finalists, and vote during the public voting period to help select the contest’s Popular Choice Winner. Climate CoLab will be opening more contests throughout the year and you are welcome to submit your proposal to those contests as well. Keep up the great work. We hope that by working together, we all can create solutions that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Sincerely, Contest Fellows If there are additional comments from the Judges & Fellows, they will be included below.
Thank you for your submission! This project still feels unclear and like there's no good way to harness hashtags further than what the culture has already adopted.
The proposal presents an interesting idea to pursue: can a community have an transparent and informative discussion on a free and open social media platform?
Which begs the question, if it could happen, why hasn't it?
There was certainly a lot of thought and energy behind this proposal. However, the presentation makes it difficult to understand what exactly would take place, and how feasible it would be.
For the revision period, please address the following:
As a tool to take the pulse of an issue, Twitter has certainly been used around national and global news. Is this a platform like Twitter that could inform local decision makers? However, registration is required for all of these platforms and trolling and inequalities would still present issues from the standpoint of searching for more open engagement methods.
The use of hashtags and wikis is certainly a widespread way of building awareness in a campaign, but I think the difficulty of these tactics is under-appreciated in this proposal. Having to search for #hastags across different web platforms presents an great complication.
How would the campaign be organized?
How would it get the buy-in and network effects necessary to make their a hashtag or a wiki effective? The strategy of simply relying on the city to promote these activities is likely going to be inadequate without strong civil society partners.
What are the goals of the campaign? What metrics would be used to determine success?
The proposal puts a great deal of emphasis on theoretical material, but it would be much stronger if there were more concrete details about how the project should be expected to proceed.
Mar 13, 2016
To the judges: thank you for the constructive comments.
I will respond here to all questions, and indicate where the original proposal would be modified with the response.
To the question "if it could happen, why hasn't it?' my (brief) response is that the prevailing social platforms are proprietary and run by businesses that seek dominant positions in social networks. Free access for the user comes in exchange for the providers' rights to mine and monetize users' data, and some form of lock-in. Social platforms follow a silo logic and the world is made to believe that such silos are necessary for innovation to happen. In conclusion, it isn't happening because there is no investment in it, dominant players would prefer it not to happen.
The second part of the evaluation calls for some clarification:
To the question "Is this a platform like Twitter that could inform local decision makers?" No and yes..: No because it is not proposed to create a new platform. There is only an intention to make better use of existing platforms. Yes because local decision makers can already make use of Twitter to inform decision making. They can invite #tagged comments on an issue, and publish a timeline with the hashtag.
It is true that registration is required for all (major) platforms. The silo logic of such platforms implies that people have to register on every platform on which they want to contribute. If a city adopts one of these platforms as its "preferred platform", intending contributors to a discussion may feel obliged to join that platform.
The use of #tags and (city) wiki is a means for the city to be "platform neutral" (this wasn't explained very well in the proposal), whereas the citizens on the other hand may be using one or more platforms, or no platform at all - "they don't need to re-register somewhere in order to contribute".
The topic of search for #hastags across different web platforms was briefly mentioned in the section What actions do you propose? - the recruiting and engagement - bullet 3. Here I clarify a few of the options for the moderators of a discussion :
In both cases everyone interested in the discussion can follow the cross platform exchange simply by visiting the wiki page of the discussion for the embedded timeline or curated posts. (Observe that contributors to a discussion don't need to hand over control over their contributed content to the discussion's moderator - that content cannot just be "destroyed" by a moderator removing a wiki page or topic. Moreover, anyone can easily verify a moderator's work, which will prevent arbitrary or biased choices.)
The third part of the evaluation calls for a more realistic campaign proposal
The judges correctly notice that simply relying on the city to promote the proposed activities is likely to be inadequate.
In response I would suggest that the city convenes civil society partners to explain the proposed climate collaboration approach, and obtain their feedback regarding the rollout of a number of discussions (which discussions? how to mix the proposed and more traditional approaches, including meetings?
Mar 13, 2016
It is possible that some civil society organisations will have objections to the proposed approach. Such objections must be identified, described and responded to. Objections, and implied modifications to the approach can serve as a reference for other adopters later on.
Regarding the metrics for success, I propose to consider the initial model of "citizen engagement" metrics listed on a Knight Foundation page on measuring digital citizenship:
1. Who participated? • Number of participants • Demographics/diversity • Prior level of engagement 2) Who was affected? • Participants • Targeted beneficiaries • Other stakeholders 3) Did we do what we said? • Stated goals • Unintended consequences • Effectiveness 4) What changed? Impact? • Individual vs. collective value • Short, medium, long-term • Trust and efficacy
Mar 13, 2016
Adding concrete details about how the project should be expected to proceed
The judges rate the proposal average for what concerns its novelty. And, concurring with this rating, I would like to emphasize that only the "systematic" wiki and hashtag represent some novelty that should be added to "business as usual" for what concerns public discussion. Therefore I have emphasized and provided examples of how to use wiki and hashtags, without paying much attention to organizing public discussions. My assumption is that adding smart use social media tools to current practice is indeed a small intervention, yet its cumulative impact is likely to be substantial -(an expectation which rests on theoretical considerations, for now).
There are a few additional concrete points :
- easy social sharing of every page - e.g. via the commonly used addthis buttons, with hashtag in the title of the page > prior to adding a comment, a participant in the discussion may share the wiki page with followers/social network
- multi lingual wiki use, with a single hashtag used for a topic, across different languages
- sharing of background information, including relevant open data, current regulations, court decisions; do all this via wiki (for instance, render regulations with a wiki page per article).
(end of response)
Apr 1, 2016
My response to the “Finalists evaluation comment”: This project still feels unclear and like there’s no good way to harness hashtags further than what the culture has already adopted.
Regarding "what the culture has already adopted"
#HashtagActivism - Turning Whispers Into Shouts and Fighting Stigma With Story (by Eric Yaverbaum, Huffington Post) gives a fair picture, primarily for familiar issues with many persons concerned or moved.
Hashtag campaigns often have a dual focus - on the one hand collective awareness/acceptance, and on the other hand “individual action", for instance new options for those suffering from stigma or other problems.
Regarding further "climate change response needs" :
Charles F. Sabel (Columbia Law School) and David 6. Victor summarize the challenges for the “climate change arena of collective and group/individual action” in the abstract of Governing global problems under uncertainty: making bottom- up climate policy work (Climate Change, October 2015): ..With the failure of integrated, top-down bargaining strategies, analysts and diplomats have now turned to bottom-up methods such as “building blocks” and “climate clubs” to coordinate national climate change policies and to avoid persistent diplomatic deadlock. We agree that decomposition of the grand problem of climate change into smaller units is a crucial first step towards effective cooperation. But we argue that given the great uncertainty of the feasibility and costs of potential solutions, this bottom-up approach will only work if it is supported by institutions that promote joint exploration of possibilities by public and private actors along with the scaling up of successes. As politics precludes creating many of these institutions under the consensus-oriented decision rules of the UN system, engaged outsiders—including especially clubs or building blocks that can learn in the face of uncertainty—working in parallel with the UN diplomatic process will have to provide them..
My comment regarding "use of hashtags beyond what the culture has already adopted" is that the proposed collaborative use of hashtags and wiki “rapidly scales to smaller groups and units" what hashtag activism already achieves for larger groups and familiar/common issues.
For the innumerable “smaller units” that make up the global socio-economic and environmental fabric “facing climate change”, the proposed collaboration can support the joint exploration of possibilities, in a transparent manner, at any level of granularity, effortless blending top-down and bottom-up approaches.
Further background on challenges regarding collective and individual action:
On the relationship between individual and collective action see the aswers to this question at Research Gate: What are some relevant theories that deal with the relationship between individual and collective action? One comment from the popular answer there: “theory shows that collaboration emerges spontaneously in smaller groups, rather than in larger ones (Dunbar’s number).
Community based initiatives are essential on a path to adoption of the proposed collaborative approach.
That's why I have submitted the proposal, after (first) getting right a number of enablers, and providing them as "global" public goods (as open wiki, hashtags definitions in 8 languages so far).