Ming the Mechanic:
Citizen Science Toolbox

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Citizen Science Toolbox2004-01-10 10:09
picture by Flemming Funch

Here is an excellent list of principles, tools and strategies for groups of people trying to make decisions together. They're focusing on situations where there's an amorphous group of stakeholders who're working towards consensus on some particular issue. The emphasis is on tools that encourage the results to emerge organically. As an example, picked from the 63 entries, here's an excerpt about the Fishbowl technique:
Description: A technique used to increase participation and understanding of issues. The fishbowl represents an inner group of participants in a roundtable format involved in a decision-making process that is `witnessed` by a larger group who have the opportunity for input and questioning (see also Expert panels and Samoan circles). The fishbowl can be adapted with the use of role-playing techniques to highlight conflicts and alliances, the patterns that connect different points of view and the previously unrecognised linkages between different aspects of issues or problems. The fishbowl process can be modified to allow participants from the wider audience to join the roundtable (Sarkissian, W. et al, 1999).

Objectives: The fishbowl process aims to increase people`s understanding of other people`s perspectives on an issue or proposal, and to allow them to make connections and recognise links that may have been hidden.

Outcomes: Fishbowls can make a large group feel that their viewpoint has been represented in the discussion, even when they have not themselves had any input. Because they hear and see other people`s contributions, they know whether the issue that are important to them have been considered. As well, participants and observers will leave the fishbowl process with a greater understanding of the range of opinions and experiences that exist within their community on a particular issue or proposal. This provides community groups with options for building on commonalities and sharing resources.

There are detailed instructions and references and pros and cons for all those different approaches.

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11 Jan 2004 @ 03:06 by Jon Husband @ : Fishing for Patterns
Hey, Flemmimg. I'm wondering if you've ever wondered, or if we can wonder together, about adapting techniques like this for use in virtual environments, with blogs and RSS feeds for example, so that emergent patterns (pre-consenses, if you will) can be helped to become more apparent, more transparent.

One tool I've been playing with a little is called Grouputernet (at www.grouputer.com). I used it a number of times in the mid-90's with groups, when it was for face-to-face meetings, multiple participants sharing one screen with multiple workpsaces on the screen. It's only recently been adapted for use on the Net (bith synchronous and asynchronous).

It seems to me that one of the next steps to moving forward with the use of blogs and feeds towards purposeful action is to be able to identify convergences of voice.

Any thoughts ?  

11 Jan 2004 @ 07:16 by ming : Online Collaboration Patterns
I'm VERY interested in that. Collecting patterns and looking for better ways of arranging online collaboration are both key interests of mine. And, yes, I've thought about it, but not done anything terribly organized in that regard. So, let's at least wonder together, and more things might happen. I can think of other people who have a good deal to say about it as well.

For example, this pattern I quote there. It might simply be a workgroup that is public for reading, but only writable by a smaller group. And, of course, if the pattern is made more explicit, if it is explained that this is the pattern we're playing out, it sort of takes on a bit more significance.

So, for one thing, deliberately collecting and presenting patterns that apply to online collaborations would be a worthwhile activity.

Also, describing existing arrangements in a similar fashion. Like the blog of an individual, a group blog, an RSS aggregator - what patterns are involved, and what are they promoting. What is likely to happen, what is not so likely to happen? What are the pros and cons, etc.  

12 Jan 2004 @ 09:38 by Jon Husband @ : Towards a More Colorful Public Space
Hey, Flemming. Re: your interest.

Here's more - there's been a growing conversation on Wealth Bondage the the blog re: conversation and Emergent Democracy, and Tom Matrullo has just produced an interesting post that makes me think more about the ways in which online connections and conversation might be used to identify patterns.

See [link]

I'm starting to wonder how some of the group process techniques you have dug up might truly be adapted in service to this - I wonder how the NCN might grow into another version that would help, or XpertWeb, or some such.  

12 Jan 2004 @ 12:43 by ming : Public Spaces
Hm, yeah ... (I'm thinking). Indeed, powerful colorful public spaces can bring back power to the people, and emergent democracy. And some of that is happening. But we probably need more. Becoming more aware of which patterns do what. And have some more infrastructure amongst the pieces. Maybe it is happening organically by itself. But I certainly feel called to help it along a bit by identifying patterns and maybe stumbling on some new ones that make a difference.  

12 Jan 2004 @ 12:47 by swanny : Organic Grid
Have a look in the globaltruth.biz
thread for this ....
but what is an organic pattern at its basic
a circle perhaps.....
Circle are more common in nature than
straight lines .....
I speak from observation.....
even horizons are somewhat "bowed"


1 Jul 2008 @ 01:12 by james whelan @ : acknowledging sources
Hi fleming - I'm surprised to see that you haven't acknowledged the Coasta CRC's work in developing the toolbox. You've not only copied their text, but even the graphics! What's the plan?  

19 Dec 2014 @ 21:52 by Abiegail @ : fHPlnTZkSnI
I just created a brand new SC 6.2 site and added the CustomItemGenerator socure to my solution as another project. I installed the package into my site, then built the socure to overwrite the package's CustomItemGenerator.dll. I tried to generate custom item classes for a sample dummy template and the generate button doesn't seem to do anything still.I checked what the button does in the core and saw it calls devtools:generatecustomitem(id=$Target) so I'm thinking maybe something isn't hooking in. I looked in the CustomItemGeneratorCommand class and saw that if you try to generate custom items on any items other than a template or template folder, there should be a sheer alert in SC, which I don't get.  

23 Dec 2014 @ 12:33 by Jorge @ : UlMosaBZPg
This looks very promising! I have had the same ideas and aclualty built an implementation of this for a client, but without the automatic generation of the classes. I was aclualty checking out how to do this, but it seems that it is already done. Great work!In our code we have a Factory that delivers a hand-written class which is typesafe for the item's template. Like:var item = TemplateFactory.GetTemplate(Sitecore.Context.Item);litTitle.Text = item.Title;Not too much work, but automatically generating these classes is wonderful.BTW. You forgot to mention how useful this is in databinding contexts:Cheers, Matthijs  

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