Month: 2018-10


npstorey 04:54:05
Hi! Liz - your testimony was excellent, and thanks for sharing the updates Noel. I have spent some time today going through testimony transcripts and translating them into statements on this poll: (I only made it through The Bronx). Before I go any further, I'd like to check in to see if people think this is useful, and if anyone wants to collaborate (I could use some help reviewing testimony). Additionally, the People's Charter reading group ( could be another source for ideas to submit to the commission and add to the poll. Basically, I think there are a lot more people who would engage in the charter review process if there were some easier ways to participate, and I think it's a great fit for a experiment in NYC. Obviously there are many more ways the charter review process could be improved, but I think that it would be powerful if the civic tech and vnyc communities demonstrated a small piece of what a more participatory process could look like. What do you think?

NYC People's Charter

NYC is reviewing our city charter (kind of like our city's constitution). You can submit an official idea on <> But maybe you don't have time for that? Join the NYC civic tech community in a listening at scale experiment. We are reviewing all of the testimony and parsing out statements that you can agree or disagree with. This will generate useful data about what may more New Yorkers think about the ideas being proposed to the charter review commission. Take a few minutes and vote on a few ideas! Want to dig deeper? Join the People Charter reading group at <>

Seems like an awesome idea Nathan! What about putting all candidate statements into a spreadsheet first? That would make review and de-duping simpler.

Lots of different philosophies, but my experience in another pilot was that 100 statements was decent upper limit (although that was before the "number remaining" UI was there, so it is less confusing now)

I have not yet gone through all statements (bc once i view i wont get to review), but what about culling it down to a smaller number of really differentiated seed statements, and let people flesh it out to a larger number based on what they feel missing. I personally feel that the more space there is for engagement (not just voting, but adding new statements), the healthier to dialogue. Seed statements are (in one frame), just intended to be enough to remove the intimidation of the blank canvas, but not trying to nail every possible improvement that participants might add :)

Spreadsheet might also help moderators deduplicate as participants submitted statements start to roll in

Anyhow, love this approach! <3
Thanks for the feedback patcon. Very helpful, especially the insights about limiting the seed statements to 100. Agreed that a good workflow for creating seed statements is to use a spreadsheet first. Luckily I already did this 🙂. There is an Airtable I can give access to anyone who wants to review the statements. I think that a lot of the statements I included were too specific. I was trying to get everything thing I could out of the Bronx testimony, but if this was done for all of the other testimony it would result in too many statements. With that in mind I will look for less specific and more differentiated statements when I review more testimony. Anyone here interested in reviewing testimony to look for seed statements?
Polis crew has been running conversations with more than 100 statements. I recommend less on the seed statement front, part of the design is getting contributions from people
I think this is a great idea though. I don’t have bandwidth until next week. When are you aiming to have it done?
Thanks @itsmisscs and @patcon! I gave both of you full edit rights on the airtable. Anyone else can look at/comment on the table here: (let me know if you want edit rights).
There's no immediate rush on this because no one is asking us to do it, but sooner in the charter revision process is better. I might not have too much time to work on this until next week too. If there's interest do people want to meet up in person about this, maybe late afternoon Friday, Oct 12?
i'll be out of town by then, but i'm still interested in working on this.
The other point id like to offer is that is not as good at voting functions. it's better for parsing out subtle variations in attitude than prioritizing among a list of all pretty good ideas
like, i'm not going to disagree with a pretty OK idea, i'll agree with it the same as i'd agree with a really great idea. So it doesn't prioritize well among a set of pretty decent ideas.
does this make sense?
this platform specifically sets the question then offers two ideas randomly for you to pick among. Out of all the times it was picked over others, an idea rises to the top
I wonder if in the airtable, if we begin adding categories as another tag, and then do a visualization of the idea space
perhaps highlighting which chapters people are very interested in updating VS which ideas are completely novel and are not yet represented anywhere in the current Charter
Liz - glad that you are interested in working on this, and that you for adding your thoughts. As I have been parsing out statements I had started to have the suspicion that polis might not be ideal for the exact reason that you mentioned - most of the ideas are framed in such a way that it's hard to disagree with them. There are ideas that get a little more nuanced, but those end up getting pretty technical. I'm not sure that the allourideas platform would solve this issue (although I agree it could be better and is worth considering). I think you are right that adding categories is a good idea - mass participation using an online tool like polis or allourideas might work better if it is limited to a single category, like land use. I could also see allourideas being more useful for novel ideas. Regardless, I'm going to try to finish a complete parsing of the testimony this week. If anyone wants to jump in on the Airtable, I added a category column as Liz suggested. Could be useful to have somebody else start categorizing the statements I parsed. We can skip trying to meet this week and keep working on this thread.
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dzn 15:47:36
Hi all. This is very exciting 🙂
dzn 15:56:50
@nathan.p.storey what email account did you use to set up the conversation? It doesn’t have the viz. I’ll look into it for you.
npstorey 21:11:22
Awesome! I had a bit of free time yesterday and worked through the testimony from SI, BK, and QN, so now all that’s left is MN. I was looking for differentiated statements and avoiding overly specific statements. I am just working in the Airtable now. The account is connected to my email,, but it will have to be reseeded once MN testimony is reviewed. This hasn’t really been publicized yet, so there are not too many respondents. This could be why there is no visualization, right?


davidmooreppf 04:07:29
my just-published update post on the impacts of Sludge's reporting on good-government in NYC - and a new #AbolishICE Resolution that passed the NYC Council, after a public hearing in the Immigration Committee:
davidmooreppf 04:08:51
(Sludge is our news website covering money-in-politics and corruption, went live on June 11th, but carries forward my previous work in engagement with NYC Council offices [on NYC Councilmatic] and public dialogue and accountability with elected officials and candidates [on AskThem] - and lobbying in Congress, of course, from old OpenCongress days, 2007-2013. Feedback welcome.)
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kjcl 12:10:48
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lizbarry 21:31:48
I pulled this gif out of the #general channel yesterday during Ethan Zuckerman's speech when he referenced Lawrence Lessig's 1999 book:
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mlncn 02:09:29
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itsmisscs 08:01:47
hi @ben612 !! Welcome :))
mlncn 14:16:12
@itsmisscs hello! Wonderful to be here, in a little english-speaking side channel of an awesome movement!
funny you should mention, they recently implemented simultaneously translation of #general and #vtaiwan to various languages, ex. #general-en #vtaiwan-en



robin 02:18:14
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robin 02:18:42
Hi! i’m based in nyc. just found out about this channel cuz i was searching for messages related to
robin 02:19:12
do you all meet up in person in nyc?
Hiya! I live in Toronto, but I visit nyc regularly. I don't think there are often weekly meetings right now, but ppl are still active and interested, for sure! (Many of us are independently away from the area right now for extended periods: me in Taiwan, Liz in China, CS in mexico.)

I'm sure there'd be interest in meeting up, once the timing is right, and ppl are back in NYC :)
Great to meet you Robin! There are periods where we meet regularly, at a great co-working community called Orbital in the Lower East Side. We are also collegial with many other groups like BetaNYC, ProgHackNight, Civic Hall,...
It will be great to connect in person and hear more about what ideas you are interested in
gotcha! ive been to proghacknight once and some events at civic hall
Hi Robin! Great to virtually meet you! Welcome.
robin 03:00:03
Has anyone here used the platform Kialo? I’ve used allourideas survey tool to let meet-up participants to rank different event ideas.
Heard about it from @kevinphy, but haven't yet used it! I have some questions about the way it frames the problem based on marketing and intro video, but it looks worth investigating!

Do you have experience with it yet?
i used Kialo once for a crowd-sourced research project. We used it to evaluate claims and arguments.

The debate tree feature is something that stood out to me.
it has a very different philosophy from doesn’t allow for comment, while Kialo is about making supportive or counter argument to claims.