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From Citizen Data to the Wisdom of the Crowds: The Case Study of Decide Madrid

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In September 2015 the Madrid City Council opened "Decide Madrid", a portal to discuss and decide the city model through debates and proposals. Debates were conceived as discussion threads opened and commented by any citizen. Proposals were designed to allow citizens to publish petitions, receive support from other citizens and finally run a public voting of the entire population.

The present work is the analysis of Decide Madrid conducted within the EU-funded D-CENT project in collaboration with the Area of Citizen Participation, Transparency and Open Government of the City Council. The goal of the study is to reveal insights that provide feedback for the refinement of the platform.

First we address the distribution of activity over time and observed peaks of activity. In the first week, users could only debate and, once proposals were available, activity focused on them rather than on debates. This might be explained because citizens were engaged in the possibility of achieving tangible political goals instead of just debating as they daily do in online social networks. When this pattern emerged, the managers indicated that debates would be improved by the participation of political representatives. Our results prove the success of this initiative. We also identify the community structure of the platform through social network analysis techniques. We find a well-connected structure without well-defined clusters of users: users were not strongly clustered around preferences. However, our analysis detects a cluster partially isolated from the main component of the network: a community of trolls mostly focused on goliardic actions. Finally, we assess a computational model to quantify the degree of deliberation given the structure of discussion threads, and present the results in an interactive visualization as a way to better understand how discussion builds Collective Intelligence.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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From Citizen Data to the Wisdom of the Crowds: The Case Study of Decide Madrid

  1. 1. From citizen data to the wisdom of crowds Assessing the success of Decide Madrid Pablo Aragón Universitat Pompeu Fabra & Eurecat TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  2. 2. D-CENT Europe-wide project creating open, secure and privacy-aware tools for direct democracy and economic empowerment.  develops the building blocks of an open, decentralised, privacy- aware Digital Ecosystem  implements a distributed and standardised identity management giving citizens control over their personal and social data  enable real-time collective democratic deliberation and decision making, sharing of open data, and social digital currencies for the common good  promote large-scale adoption of open standards, free software, open data and open APIs TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  3. 3. D-CENT  builds on Europe’s largest experiments in direct democracy:  Open Ministry crowdsourcing site linked into parliament in Finland  The e-democracy website Better Reykjavik in Iceland  Various platforms used by Spanish grassroots citizen coalitions.  helps social movements developing next generation of public, federated, privacy-aware architectures and tools for direct democracy and economic empowerment .  grows long-term alternatives to today’s highly centralized platforms and power structures and promote …provide a positive vision of collective intelligence in democracy in the XXI century. TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  4. 4. Community engagement and maximising outreach Blockchain ExperimentsSocio-economic Impact & Evidence Open standards Tools tools.dcentproject.eu Large scale pilots Barcelona, Madrid, Helsinki, Reykjavik Multidisciplinary research New citizen movements; economic models based on knowledge commons; distributed identity systems; digital social currencies TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  5. 5. Collaboration with the Area of Citizen Participation, Transparency and Open Government of the Madrid City Council. Data Analysis of Decide Madrid in order to monitor usage patterns, guide the development of the platform and enhance user experience in order to foster citizen participation. Open source technologies to enable the integration of data visualization features. Multidisciplinary Research TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  6. 6. Open Government Portal of Madrid In September 2015 the new City Council of Madrid launched the new Open Government Portal of Madrid:  Participation - DECIDE MADRID Space to discuss and decide the city model (debates, citizen proposals, participatory budgets, collaborative laws, etc…).  Transparency Space to review data related to the City Council management (name and salary of the Mayor and councillors, government plans, contracts, public agenda, etc…) and to request access to additional information.  Open Data Open access to databases owned by the City Council of Madrid. TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  7. 7. Decide Madrid Debates Discussion threads opened and commented by any citizen. Proposals Petitions published by citizens to:  receive support from other citizens through debates  run a public voting of the entire population TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  8. 8. BetaDemIC Research network to provide feedback into Decide Madrid:  Political Framework  Communication  Data Analysis (D-CENT project) Growth Hacking Process
  9. 9. BetaDemIC Data Analysis  Diffusion Campaigns Which quantitative indicators can measure the impact of the November advertising campaign on the platform activity?  Community Structure How can we characterize the structure of communities of users around specific topics and/or profiles?  Proposal Lifecycle Proposals were available since mid-September. What is the performance of this core functionality?  User Lifecycle How do users interact when they sign up?  Online Deliberation Deliberation is one of the key concepts for Decide Madrid. Which metrics can quantify the level of deliberation in the debates? TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  10. 10. Diffusion Campaigns Activity focused on proposals rather than on debates. Citizens were engaged in the possibility of achieving tangible political goals. Debates with representatives improved their performance. Debate Comment to debate Proposal Comment to proposal TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  11. 11. Community Structure Well-connected structure without well- defined clusters of users: users were not strongly clustered around preferences. A cluster is partially isolated from the main component of the network: a community of trolls focused on goliardic actions. TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  12. 12. Community Structure The co-tag network is a very dense graph but relevant tags are clustered in:  Green nodes mobility, health and environment.  Red nodes civil rights and social services,  Blue nodes neighbourhoods of Madrid, TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  13. 13. Proposals Lifecycle Many of the most supported proposals were published in the first days of the platform 0-100 supports 101-1000 supports >1000 supports TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  14. 14. Users Lifecycle Many users signed up when new things happen:  Debates  Proposals  Debates with representatives Diffusion campaign brought many people who published new proposals rather than commenting old ones. Debate Comment to debate Proposal Comment to proposal TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  15. 15. Online Deliberation Representation and Argumentation as prerequisites for Deliberation Gonzalez-Bailon S., Kaltenbrunner A., Banchs R. E. (2010) The Structure of Political Discussion Networks: A Model for the Analysis of E-Deliberation, Journal of Information Technology, 25, 2010, pp 230-243. TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  16. 16. Online Deliberation Visualization Tool for Collective Awareness in a Platform of Citizen Proposals TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  17. 17. Online Deliberation h-index for quantifying Representation and Argumentation TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  18. 18. Conclusions Key principle: Citizens control their own data. To turn citizen data into the Wisdom of the Crowds, citizens must also own open, effective and user-friendly data visualization tools. Join us!  Democracy Lab Workshops, hackathons and open sessions for democratic participation (23-27 May, Medialab-Prado)  The Commons technology and the right to a democratic city Conference (27-28 May, Museo Reina Sofia) TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  19. 19. More info at tools.centproject.eu TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona
  20. 20. Thank you for your time Website: www.dcentproject.eu Twitter: @dcentproject Vimeo: vimeo.com/dcentproject Slideshare: slideshare.net/dcentproject This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 610349. TICTeC 2016 Conference, 27-28 April, Barcelona

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