Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Forums for a civic process -- Seattle Center

Forums for Seattle Center? This should be interesting. It's nice to see that the Forum has some starter content. I also like that there are basic guidelines posted, though I would have made the guidelines a "sticky" post in ideas forum, rather than it being a standalone post in a different forum. While we're talking about suggestions, I also would have waited on the blog post until all of the forum topics as outlined in the welcome message were live. Anyway, I could go on about community building via blogs or forums, but that is way too close to my day job :P

Tech / community strategy aside, it is encouraging to see outreach through a variety of means -- open house sessions, blogs, and now forums. I do wonder how all of this is going to work from a macro level. For example, there are meetings posted (as a pdf) on the 21st Century page of Seattle Center. This schedule lists a "Public Forum for Organizations" on January 30th. The blog, in reference to the same meeting, says that it is a proposal deadline for anyone (individuals and organizations) to submit a one page summary vision for air time with the committee. Based on the content recently posted in the Forums and on the blog post talking about the meeting, it is clear that the public meeting on the 30th was not solely for organizations as originally stated on the schedule. How does an inconsistency such as this get resolved with the venues (blogs, forums, website) present? Is there a definitive place for all of the information? Better yet, is there a way to ensure consistency of information across venues?

Something else to consider...the Forums seem to imply that they exist for capturing other ideas / summaries not already raised (in meetings or elsewhere) while having content for people to discuss. If that is the case, I'm unclear as to why there was a deadline for proposals in the first place if it would all happen online anyway. Granted, I'm not privy to any of the inner workings of the overall plan, so this may make a lot more sense than what I've seen so far.

Of course, I realize that what Seattle Center is undertaking with the blog , and now forums, is still a work in progress. While there are things I would personally change with what I've seen, ultimately I am excited that folks at the Seattle Center are bringing innovation and leadership to a new civic process for the 21st Century. I look forward to working with folks to bring about even more amazing things for all of us.

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