Checking in with four current examples of wiki-based dialogue and deliberation

I’m following a variety of projects in the area of online dialogue and deliberation. This past weekend, I took the time to look in a little more detail at four of the ones that follow a purely wiki-based approach to find out how they have been doing lately (screenshots on Flickr).

Please note that all four projects have slightly different objectives, covering such things as dialogue, deliberation, debate, discussion or argument mapping.

1. More Perfect

About More Perfect: “Imagine an entirely new approach to democracy where everyone is able to participate. Imagine a way to enable more direct public involvement and participation, creating a marketplace of ideas where the public can collaborate with each other on the matters that affect their daily lives. Fundamentally change the way policy makers and citizens approach the creation of laws today. That’s our vision.”

For the ten weeks between April 20 and June 29, 2007, a total of 43 edits occured according to the recent changes page. That’s an average of about 0.6 edits per day for this 71 day period.

2. Politicopia

I had mentioned Politicopia back in January. According to the wiki, Politicopia “gives people a solid handle on the Utah Legislature. Users create summaries of bills, pro and con arguments, comments, links, and more.”

There don’t seem to have occured any edits recently, though the wiki does not allow to examine this in more detail. As a proxy, I looked at number of revisions per page. The wiki currently lists a total of 116 pages. I count 1240 revisions, bringing the average to 10.7 revisions per page. The wiki has been live for roughly six months. Assuming a time period between December 25, 2006 and June 29, 2007 (184 days), the average is 6.7 revisions/edits per day.

To be fair, however, the wiki may have just been a first pilot to prepare for future projects. It was most active during the 45-day legislative session which ended in mid-February. Based on this shorter period (45 days), the average is about 27.6 revisions/edits per day.

3. Debatepedia

About Debatepedia: “Debatepedia is the free wiki encyclopedia of A-to-Z debates and pro and con arguments. It is the home and future of sound reasoning. Debatepedia is a project of the International Debate Education Association’s (IDEA) and Debatemedia, Inc. Debatepedia enables anyone (you included) to click “edit” and engage in a collective endeavor of documenting and structuring unique pro and con arguments on any topic, even topics that you initiate. Debatepedia is quickly becoming an indispensable resource for debaters, students, citizens, and even politicians to uncover salient arguments in important public debates and develop rational positions and perspectives. At its highest level, Debatepedia will help improve the quality of decision-making itself.”

Between March 23 and June 29, 2007, a total of 106 individual edits occured on the wiki. That is an average of about 1.1 edits per day during this 99 day period.

4. Campaigns Wikia

Back in January, I had already noticed a slow-down in activity at Campaigns Wikia. According to their mission statement, “it’s time for politics to become more intelligent, and for democracy to really involve the people. Broadcast media tells you what to think and doesn’t let you get involved. It’s time to focus on what you need, what you care about, and the messages you want to get out.” And: “This website, Campaigns Wikia, has the goal of bringing together people from diverse political perspectives who may not share much else, but who share the idea that they would rather see democratic politics be about engaging with the serious ideas of intelligent opponents, about activating and motivating ordinary people to get involved and really care about politics beyond the television soundbites.”

Between May 12 and June 29, 2007, a total of 447 individual edits occured. That’s an average of about 9.1 edits per day during this 49 day period.

I’m leaving the conclusions and evaluations for a later post, but the obvious question here is why neither of the four projects seems to be able to gain any significant traction.

5 Responses to “Checking in with four current examples of wiki-based dialogue and deliberation”

  1. Ron Lubensky Says:

    Tim, I just want to thank you for using del.icio.us for tagging items relating to deliberation. I maintain an active search feed, so get notified every time you find something, or write a post like this. You have been prolific. As this is my field of study and practice, you have pointed me to some new and interesting items. Please keep it up!

  2. Tim Says:

    Thanks, Ron! Glad to hear I’m not tagging for myself only. Hopefully, there’ll be more to come later this year. ;-)

  3. Tim Says:

    Oh, and I subscribed to your blog. Good stuff!

  4. Planblog » Blog Archive » Virtual Petition Says:

    [...] Interesting, as always, though I have yet to find an example of wiki-based dialogue and deliberation that actually works. [...]

  5. Blast from the Past: Experiments in Wiki-Based Political Discourse from Way Back When Says:

    [...] crafting has been tried before. Well, I thought what better opportunity to reach deep into the archives and dig up a few related examples from around 2007/2008 (including some that tried to tackle [...]

Leave a Reply