What is this session about?

There are three things going on in this planning event.

  1. We are taking a look at Affordability in Yellow Springs.  What are the needs?  What solutions or resources exist to address those needs?  What plan can we create together to put those solutions and resources to work.
  2. We are trying out a time-tested, democratic, decision-making process in an internet forum.  The process has to be adapted to make it work when people aren’t in the same room together, so we’re seeing how the adaptations we put in place will work and what needs to be changed.

  3. We are exploring Zilino in the context of that decision-making process.  What features felt good to you?  What worked?  What do you think would make it a better experience for participants?

Who is organizing this project?

The Aretê Party Committee of Ohio (we just say Aritay Party) initiated the project.  The Aretê Party is a vision for a new kind of political party, a party in which members and discussion participants together craft the policies of the party from the ground up.   When Aretê Party members are elected to office (in some future place), the representatives from the Aretê Party will continue to participate in member dialogues adding fidelity to the content and remaining in touch with member viewpoints.

Intellitics, Inc., the digital engagement startup behind Zilino, is a supporting partner to the project.  They are donating their time and product to support our work and will use the feedback we provide at the end of our time together to further improve the application.

What is the timeline?

The beauty of an online dialogue and  planning session is that it allows us to thoroughly explore Affordability in Yellow Springs over time without it tying us down.  We can engage it the way we do Facebook, a few minutes here and there throughout the day or the week.  The schedule is set up to allow that kind of participation.

The dialogue breaks comfortably into three parts.  We will take about 10 days to raise and  understand the needs surrounding Affordability.  We will take another 10 days to discover and describe solutions to those needs.  There will be another 10 days to create an action plan.

Not all of that time will be discussion time.  Some will be allotted for administrative duties, such as collecting the ideas generated and crafting definitions to clarify what is meant.  We’ll guide people through the steps which are pretty much the same for all three parts.  By the time we starting creating the action plan, we believe everyone will be comfortable with the process.

Who can participate?

Aretê Party by-laws allow anyone to participate in a dialogue.  Here we are specifically focused on Yellow Springs Affordability, so we have been recruiting people who live in or near the Village, and people who would like to live in the Village.

 We also expect there will be people who join who are interested in the new model of a political party, to see how it works.  There may also be people for whom Affordability is a passion or a job.

There is no age limit either.  We have invited middle and high school students to participate.  We want to introduce the idea of democracy as part of daily life.  A great time to do that is when a person is already in learning mode.

About the only people who would not be welcome would be those who choose to attack one another rather than address the topic.  We have guidelines to help us channel people back into the discussion and to see participants emerge from the process enlightened, not damaged.

What will happen with the input?

Aretê is built on transparency.  We want people to be able to see how policies come about.  So we plan to archive the input as a record of the ideas shared in the discussion.  It will be a resource for non-profits, Village officials, and students who can put our ideas to good use in the future.  Archiving inputs also enables people to re-open the topic when the situation demands it (for example if new funding were to become available), to build on what we’ve done.

What will happen to the output?

We expect the output to be in the form of a time-phased, action plan.  The plan will be shared with Yellow Springs News, Village Council, non-profits in town, and the Yellow Springs Library.   We will post the plan on the Aretê Party web site so people can easily refer back to it when it is needed.

How much time do I have to spend as a participant?

The reason the three parts of the process are 10 days long is to give people flexibility to fit the discussion into their busy schedules.  We have been telling people to treat it like they would Facebook or Twitter.  Jump in for maybe 5-10 minutes a few times a day. See what the others have been saying, add your thoughts.

We expect involvement will vary from participant to participant.  Some people have told me they only check Facebook once or twice a week.  Others are on for hours.  We’ll be working hard to see that everyone who wants to be heard is heard.  It is important to avoid having a few people dominate the discussion.  All too often, it is the quiet voice that provides a unique perspective that changes the way the world is viewed by others or provides the missing link in a chain of ideas.

All that being said, we expect the average will be about 5-10 minutes a couple times a day.

I have another question. Whom can I contact?

If you email sdeal@areteparty.net the email will get to one of the Aretê Party board members.  Board members will be facilitators of the forum, so an email to that address will also reach the facilitators.  If that doesn’t work, a note to info@areteparty.net will also get to us.

Is it possible to join as an observer?

This is a new Zilino feature, so there aren’t a lot of observer seats available right now.  If you are interested in joining as an observer, email sdeal@areteparty.net.

How do I add a link to the Library?

The Zilino Library includes materials by hyperlink reference.  If you want to add to the Library, please email steve@areteparty.net, and we'll add it to the Library.  If you have material that isn't currently anywhere on the web, we can host the item(s) on the Aretê Party website.  Aretê Party is an organizer of this activity.  Email your material to steve@areteparty.net. We'll post it on our site, and add a link to the Zilino Library.