Stick to the Subject      constructive civic discourse through deliberative democracy
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Bringing good sense, good humor, and respect back to the public square
Primary Goals
  • Organize a Discussion Society to bring about constructive civic discourse among the people of the Rogue Valley through a network of live, face-to face, small group discussions.

  • Create an online, regional knowledge base organized by the societal, cultural, economic, and state topics to be studied, discussed, and debated by the Discussion Society.

  • Reduce the power of political parties by giving citizens the ability to express their will on important policy matters through democratic public debate.
Why?

Key Program Features
  • The Society is a demos: a one person-one vote democracy. There are no groups within the demos. Members advocate for their points of view as individuals.

  • All interaction among the Society would be in-person. There would be no chat rooms or discussion forums in the knowledge base, nor links to social media.

  • A goal of the discussions would be achieving mutual understanding among participants and not the changing of minds. The give and take should be respectful, impersonal, and focused on facts - an exercise in deliberative democracy.

a Rogue Valley in-person discussion society combined with an online, regional knowledge base
   The Discussion Society
the human arts to study, discuss, vote
The Knowledge Base
the technical crafts to collect, store, report
It is proposed that Rogue Valley residents from all backgrounds and points of view come together through a network of small conversation groups to discuss public policy matters and that the results of their discourse be reported out publically for the benefit of the public and public officials.
The essential process would be:
  • Every twelve weeks a new Discussion Society would form and select a slate of twelve discussion topics.

  • The Knowledge Base would be organized to provide online support for the topics.

  • Society members would self-study the topics week-by-week and would attend Conversation Sit-downs to discuss them followed by After Parties to socialize.

  • Society members would vote anonymously on the topics using ranked voting.
Details
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Example Discussion Topics
Who Dies? What laws will govern auto-driven vehicles in accidents when making qualitative decisions on human life? Trust, but verify: Can there be gun control without gun laws? Dancing with A.I. and Robotics: How will people fare in a post-human social order?
The New Pariahs: Has the DUI stigma unfairly created a shunned group? Pick and Choose: Should immigration weigh skills or assets higher than family? Copy and paste Grandma: Should technology to transfer human consciousness be allowed?
Wildfires and logging: Would increased logging reduce wildfires without causing environmental harm? The Facts of Life: How should we understand economic and quality of life indicators? Money for nothing: How will people make a living in a jobless future?
Don't fence me in: What reforms are needed in the federal land management system? Cutting out the middleman: Does the Electoral College need reform? Bring out your dead: Would the Rogue Valley be able to deal with a high mortality outbreak of an infectious disease?
The Network
Stick is a network of Conversation Sit-downs/After Parties held at public locations throughout the valley connected and supported by the Knowledge Base.
  • posts the schedules and locations of the conversation sit-downs
  • provides self-study materials and guides
  • collects subject-related ideas from the sit-downs
  • enrolls Society members and sit-down locations
The Knowledge Base
The Knowledge Base is a browsable and searchable online relational database that stores information on topics related to the Society, Economy, Culture, and State of the Rogue Valley.
  • posts discussion and topic materials selected by local knowledge experts
  • provides members with home pages to organize their study materials and vote on the discussion topics
  • uses the open knowledge format with MLA citation style used for sourcing
Knowledge Base Index
Society Economy Culture State
Health
Housing
Population
Security
Social Problems
Transportation
Commerce
Economic Indicators
Economic Systems
Finance
Land and Natural Resources
Public Finance & Taxation
Education
Recreation
Religion and Beliefs
Theatre and Art
Electoral College
Jackson County Government
Oregon State Government
Political Parties
Tribal Governments in the U.S.
U.S. Federal Government