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I saw this announced in an email, where it was actually described more clearly than on the web page:
How It Works:
1. Automated mediation begins one of two ways. Either an Employer provides Guru with reasons for withholding funds after you’ve requested them be released, or an Employer requests a SafePay refund.
2. You are able to see these reasons, and respond to each with supporting evidence.
3. You and the Employer can then continue going back and forth until you reach an agreement, or until one party decides to escalate to arbitration.

I wonder if they'll release this tool as open-source and/or provide any data on how well it works. I'd guess "no" to both, but one never knows.

Either way, it looks a lot simpler than the Debate Mapper. If something this simple can be effective at resolving real-world disputes involving money, then that would be a good indication that tools like this are worth developing further.

#StructuredDebate -

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This looks an awful lot like a certain +InstaGov component. Unfortunately, it seems to be only available as an app, which will severely restrict its usefulness and adoption. :-/

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Comments? Suggestions?
This idea finally crystallized a couple of weeks ago, but it needed a little polishing. I think it's ready now.

Any desired social or political change must go through several stages before becoming the new status quo. These stages are often lumped together under the heading "how", but the answer to the question "how can we do this" is substantially different depending on which stage(s) one is asking about. 

The stages, to the extent I've been able to discern them so far, are:

1. conception: someone conceives of a goal they find desirable
2. logistics: someone conceives of a plan which could achieve that goal if given access to specified resources
3. consensus: there is consensus among those affected (the citizenry) that the plan is a good one
4. provisioning: those who would implement the plan obtain the resources to do so
5. implementation: the plan is implemented
6. survival: the plan must survive attempts to subvert it

This seems to me like a pretty basic and necessary understanding to have before there can be any productive discussion about effecting change -- but I don't think I've seen it mentioned anywhere else.

cc: +InstaGov 

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This made me wonder how the w3c is governed.

Apparently decisions are made by "members", but the methodology isn't clear. Anyone can apply to be a member, but there are some restrictions on who can actually be one, and no clear guidelines -- and it costs money. The very lowest membership fee (for individuals and small non-profits) is $2250 in the US.

While we've been focusing on democratizing formal government, maybe we should be paying some attention to democratizing public organizations like this whose decisions affect a vast number of people (most of whom have no voice in the process). I don't see anything to prevent them from being swayed by purely monetary concerns -- and that's not acceptable.
cc: +InstaGov 
via +Cindy Brown, who pulled out a choice quote:

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(Is there anyone reading this community who doesn't also read my stream? This reshare is for you. I apologize to everyone else for the repetition.)
PJ clarifies his position and ideas a great deal in this interview. Where it was previously unclear to me whether we were thinking along the same lines, it's now very difficult for me to detect any substantial difference. The ideas and views he expresses here seem extremely compatible with ideas and views I've been expressing lately, including those associated with  #jobsolescence  and +InstaGov.

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I'm thinking this might be a good first use of InstaGov -- a way to get people used to using it in a context where it's mainly for fun rather than serious decisionmaking, where we can find the bugs in a context where they can't damage anything important.

Call it the Trollympics (we get bonus Internet Points if the USOC attempts a lawsuit over the name), have awards for both threads and individual commenters... and everyone gets practice using Liquid Agenda to nominate and vote.
Should we have a regular contest for "flame-war" threads? I have one or two I'd like to submit...

Maybe there could be subcategories for "trolling", "making assumptions", and "fundamentalism", too.

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It's been suggested that I take a look at this -- on my way out the door at the moment, but I thought I'd better save it here, along with where I found it:
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation News Challenge on Open Gov is now open for submissions. Also, we have 8 wonderfully smart people helping us. Come see who they are. 

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Is there anything like this already out there?
Today's Idea: Open-Source Bounty Tracker

Surely someone has already written something like this... it works best where there's only one developer (+Ikey D, I'm looking at you...) but should work well even with multiple developers and should be scalable to much larger projects with some additional helper modules.

1. Users enter bugs they'd like to see fixed and features they would like written (aka "issues").
2. For each issue, any user may pledge to contribute a bounty when the issue is resolved.
3. When one or more developers believes they have resolved the issue, they post it for user approval-vote.
4. If enough of a majority agree that the issue has been resolved, then they pony up. (What constitutes "enough" should be made clear before pledging begins, and non-adjustable on a per-issue basis.)
5. Developers split the proceeds.

In this way, developing open source could become much more profitable.

If you want to prevent money from ruling the process, then some degree of hiding could be done -- let users vote on the most important issues and let the pledges (or some percentage of all pledge money) be apportioned accordingly, rather than directly assigned by the pledger.

I'm thinking +InstaGov could be wired up to do this, though I'd need to design/write a module to handle the pledging process. ...which seems like something that could be useful for quasi-governmental kinds of processes anyway.

In fact, couldn't this be a useful model for solving social problems in general? (You see where my head goes with these things...)
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