Participedia is a tool for strengthening democracy. Based on a wiki platform, its main content consists of user-generated articles which describe and assess participatory governance throughout the world. For instance, there will be articles on the British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly of 2004, consensus conferences in Denmark, participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre and other cities, local school council governance in Chicago, municipal evaluation meetings in China, and the People’s Campaign for Democratic Decentralization (under the Panchayati Raj reforms) in Kerala, India. In addition, there will be articles on participatory methods, such as deliberative polling, citizens’ assemblies, and participatory budgeting, as well as articles about the organizations that sponsor, implement, and study participatory governance. Over time, we hope Participedia will garner hundreds and perhaps thousands of such articles.
There are three main kinds of articles in Participedia:
- Articles about cases, or experiences, of participatory or deliberative governance (e.g. British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly of 2004).
- Articles about specific methods of public deliberation, participation, or collaborative governance (e.g. Participatory Budgeting).
- Articles about organizations that design, execute, or support public participation, deliberation, or collaborative public action (e.g. Everyday Democracy).
Please contribute articles! It’s easy — see “How to Create an Article” below.
Participedia’s wiki-based platform is enhanced with a Semantic Wiki extension. This extension enables the organization of articles into databases, thus enhancing the value ofParticipedia for practitioners and researchers. Articles are associated with properties through simple form-based templates. Properties include, for example, geocoded location, dates of operation, cost, number of participants, sponsoring organization or government, policy area or social issue, purposes and goals of sponsors and participants, methods of selection, participation, and deliberation, cost, decisions, implementation, and outcomes. The properties identify the key contextual, design, and outcome variables in order to:
- Provide comparability among cases and methods,
- Support research into the strengths and limitations of particular kinds of methods, and
- Enable users to find the processes that fit their problems and interests.
Participedia is a work in progress. We will be adding and refining form-based properties for cases and methods, which will enhance the value of Participedia as a data base. We will also add an expert survey module to allow informed observers to rate cases and methods according to dimensions such as the characteristics of the issue and the performance of processes, including their inclusiveness, representativeness, deliberative quality, quality of decisions, and level of influence on public policy and action. If you have suggestions for improving Participedia or suggestions for articles, please share with us and the rest of the Participedia community by posting it in the discussion tab at the top of this page.