Productive Online Deliberative Discussion


How is this different than Facebook?

We structure the conversation. On FB people can comment on the original post, or they can reply to comments. It keeps going until people tire out. With this, the discussion can be structured. One example is to start out with a Challenge. People can add "Problems" that need to be solved to resolve the challenge. They can agree or disagree with a problem and say why. And, they can vote up the most important problems. After enough people agree on a problem, then people can post solutions to the problem and repeat the process. The Challenge is done where there's are solutions that most everyone agrees to. And there are other structures depending on the topic.

FB also has their own proprietary method for deciding who sees each post. Basically, your post on your time-line will be seen by a few of your friends, and if no one likes or comments on it, then it will not be seen anymore. Conversely, we will show you post among side others to a few random and diverse people and encourage them to give you private feedback and to vote up the best one. We will make sure that in the first round, each post is seen an equal number of times. The posts with the most votes in each round make it to the next round. This is how we make large scale conversations work. A million people, working in groups of 10, could find the best ideas in the crowd, in about 6 rounds.

How is this different from a blog?

A blog can be run with or without moderation. Without moderation the discussion can quickly be taken over by negativity and trolls which discourage other people from participating. With or without moderation, a blog cannot scale to millions of comments. There is just too much for everyone to read.

How is this democratic?

Statements are reviewed and rated by a random group of citizens. As support for statements grows the audience is expanded to the point where it becomes a vote. There is no curator or editor to impose a bias, whether intended or unintended.

How do you manage trolls and negativity?

Members give feedback on each others posts and vote up the best. The better ones will move on, and the negative ones will fade back.

What is Synergy?

Synergy is what happens when people work together and accomplish more than they could individually.