Archive for September, 2006

Good morning, Barcamp Berlin!

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

Yet another beautiful day in sunny Berlin. Follow the Flickr stream here.

At Pixelpark HQ, Berlin

Friday, September 29th, 2006

I’m at the Pixelpark headquarters (Plaze) in Berlin, holding our little prep meeting with Raju and Sebastian for tonight’s Barcamp Berlin kick-off party.

Plazes SMS Alpha

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Over lunch today, Stefan showed me the new Plazes SMS service (to be released in alpha over the coming days):

Me: planspark password

+4912388888888: Where is ‘planspark password’?
Send: city
Or send: on address in city

Me: At cenacolo in berlin

+4912388888888: Nothing found. Send plaze name or ‘on address in city’

Me: Cenacolo

+4912388888888: You’ve been plazed at Cenacolo, Berlin.

+4912388888888: Your contact stefan is at Cenacolo (there).
In the future to see where your contacts are, send ‘contacts?’
To add people to your list of contacts, send ‘invite name number’ or forward vcard (business card).

+4912388888888: Visit http://plazes.com and login with tim_4 and password to:
change user name
set privacy
edit list of contacts

+4912388888888: stefan has invited you to Plazes! stefan is currently at Cenacolo on Sredzkistr. 23, where are you? Reply to this number: Plaze yourself: ‘at plazename’ ‘on street’ ‘in city’ or any combination of the above or send: ‘leave’

More on this feature: Alpha testers wanted

At Lehmanns Fachbuchhandlung

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

I’m sitting at Lehmanns Fachbuchhandlung in Berlin. I was looking for an internet cafe with free wi-fi and found this one via Qype. A nice quiet place, and the mandarine cheesecake is quite yummy.

In Berlin

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Just got into Berlin, where the weather is nice and — you guessed it — sunny today. The new main station makes a good first impression.

In Munich

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Debating whether I should do some work, get a haircut or check out Oktoberfest.

What we can expect from deliberation

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

From The Deliberative Democracy Handbook (chapter 19, Future Directions for Public Deliberation, by Peter Levine, Archon Fung, John Gastil):

What we can expect from deliberation

Although the earlier chapters of this book raise many questions that remain unanswered, they also substantiate several conclusions. First, people are willing to discuss public issues and can sustain serious, in-depth conversations about technical or highly divisive matters. …

[...]

A second conclusion also can be drawn from the previous chapters: when deliberation is well organized, participants like it. In fact, they find it deeply satisfying and significant. …

[...]

Third, the products of deliberation are often excellent. Deliberators may be asked to develop budgets, design rural or urban landscapes, make policy recommendations, pose public questions to politicians, or take voluntary actions in their own communities. When the tasks are realistic, the questions are clear and useful, and the discussion is well organized, deliberators often do a good job. They can absorb relevant background materials, seriously consider relevant facts, incorporate and balance a variety of legitimate perspectives and opinions, and make tough choices with full awareness of constraints. Experts are often surprised and impressed by the quality of the public’s deliberations, judgments, and actions. … [G]iven the opportunity, ordinary people have frequently proven themselves to be capable of generating impressive outcomes across a wide variety of political contexts and policy issues.

Within the community of deliberation advocates there:

… appears to be broad agreement that a successful deliberative initiative has the following features: (1) the realistic expectations of influence (that is, a link to decision makers); (2) an inclusive, representative process that brings key stakeholders and publics together; (3) informed, substantive, and conscientious discussions, with an eye toward finding commond ground if not reaching consensus; and (4) a neutral, professional staff that helps participants work through a fair agenda. Over time, it is also hoped that deliberative processes can (5) earn broad public support for their final recommendations and (6) prove sustainable. Taken together, these objectives are not easily met, but practitioners have found many ways of managing — if not overcoming — the obstacles to deliberation.

The question is: If citizens are ready, willing and able — why isn’t this being done more often?

Touch-down

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

In Germany, where the weather is nice and sunny today (check out the pics).

Online deliberation research — Berlin, Cologne, Brussels

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

Aside from attending Barcamp Berlin and Blogtalk Reloaded, I plan to do a little research in the area of online deliberation and citizen participation.

I’d like to get in touch with people in the field (members of parliament and their staff, party officials, union members, NGO activists, lobbyists, researchers etc.) to find out where their biggest pain points are today with regard to political participation and decision-making. I will organize two casual evening meetups in both Berlin and Cologne. If you’re interested, please contact me and I’ll share the details with you.

Also, it looks very likely at this point that I’ll be going to Brussels, Belgium to take a look at The European Citizens’ Consultations. Don’t know if there will be time for a quick meetup or what form and shape it would take, but let me know anyway if you’re around and want to get together.

Web Monday Munich, September 25

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

I’ll be attending Web Monday Munich this coming Monday, September 25. If you live nearby and would like to meet — this is a pretty good opportunity. I look forward to finally add some faces to a number of blogs I read from down there.

Our special guest for the night is Marc Canter, who will be talking about PeopleAggregator.