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Request for collaborators for “Macroscope for Online D&D” project

This post is from Ben Roberts of The Conversation Collaborative, who is leading a group of NCDD members to develop a proposal for the Catalyst Awards — and is looking for more collaborators. If you’re interested in getting involved in this project now or down the road, add a comment to this blog post, with your name, organization, email and what role you might see yourself playing in this project.

Dear NCDD Colleagues:

BenRoberts-dialoguewordcloudI am seeking collaborators for the “Macroscope for Online Dialogue and Deliberation” project proposal under the “political bridge building” category of the NCDD Catalyst Awards.  Apologies for the last minute request–the submission deadline is Sunday, so offers need to be in my inbox soon in order for me to include you in the proposal.  We already have a solid team in place, and enough of an initial vision to develop a prototype and test it.  That said, the more collaborators we bring in, the better our chances of developing a tool that can be of value to a broad spectrum of D&D prtactitioners, as well as to anyone who wants to support generative dialogue on their website.

You can read more about the Macroscope concept here.  This is an excerpt from the Overview section of that document.

Can we come up with something that does for online dialogue what the spreadsheet has done for numerical and data analysis?  Can we create a simple, intuitive and highly flexible set of tools that allow for endless creativity in the way online conversations get structured and mapped?  Can we make online conversation so dynamic that it takes on the addictive qualities of a massive multiplayer game? That is the goal of the Macroscope–a term Joel de Rosnay introduced to describe a tool that reveals the complexity of a thing. In the realm of online dialogue, a macroscope would allow us to have highly nuanced conversations of all kinds and purposes.

Please send an email to ben@conversationcollaborative.com if you are interested in being part of the core collaboration team.  You can see the details of what information you need to provide to me on the award submission form (see the “collaborators” section).  In addition, our plan is to host a series of large group design conversations to which all members of the NCDD community will be invited, so if you aren’t part of the formal proposal, you will still have an opportunity to play (if we win, that is!).

Your offer as a collaborator can be as specific or open ended as you wish.  Some areas where we know we will be looking for contributions are:

  • Dialogue mapping
  • Examples of specific conversations you would love to have and how you would want to be able to structure them, if the perfect online tool existed
  • The ability to convene groups for testing out the prototypes we develop, especially in regards to political bridge building conversations
  • Experience programming/coding elegant and accessible visual representations of complex information


Ben Roberts
The Conversation Collaborative
www. ConversationCollaborative.com
(203) 426-1039
Skype: benjamin_j_roberts

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. Ben, I am personally highly skeptical of any tools that attempt to take the human being “out of the loop”. From my experience with Dialogue Mapping, it doesn’t work to do that… at the same time, I don’t want to discourage you in any way… all new inventions are the result of people who tried to do something that others felt “couldn’t be done”! So all best wishes to you with this…

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