NOTE: This website describes and demonstrates a potential system and is not actually in use. Topsy-turvy changes will occur regularly. Updated 09/17/2020.
Stick to the Subject      constructive civic discourse through deliberative democracy   Details    /td>
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Stick to the Subject is proposed as a regional knowledge-sharing program wherein the people of the Rogue Valley could enjoin their concerns and ideas on matters of public policy in a systemic, public, non-partisan, open-minded, measured, respectful, and focused manner.  Why?

It would use small group, live, in-person discussion events combined with an online knowledge base to collect, compile, organize, and report information and points of view on regionally important topics.

Key Program Features:
  • A Discussion Society would form through open enrollment and run a course of twelve weekly debates.

  • All interaction among participants would be in-person. There would be no chat rooms or discussion forums in the knowledge base, nor links to social media. With the exception of the formal debates, discussions would be held in small groups in informal, comfortable settings.

  • A goal of the discussions would be coming to mutual understanding among people who disagree on important matters, sometimes strongly, and not necessarily on the changing of minds. Civility is maintained by focusing attention on the ideas rather than personalities.

  • Anonymity is balanced with accountability. Voting is private. Submitted concerns and ideas are considered objectively using identity masking. Material contributed for the knowledge base is attached to the real names of contributors.

  • So that people feel at ease to speak freely, none of the events would be recorded or broadcast and participants would turn off their phones and any recording devices.

Proposed: a Rogue Valley live discussion society combined with an online, regional knowledge base   Details
The Discussion Society
the human arts to study, discuss, debate
The Knowledge Base
the technical crafts to collect, compile, report
1. Study Teams would prepare the list of discussion subjects, give the most common arguments for each, and provide online study materials and guides.
  • They would compile a list of discussion subjects submitted by members. The final list would be voted on by all members with the highest rated subjects becoming the calendar of discussions for the term.
  • Team members are local people with academic and experiential expertise in areas included in the Knowledge Base.
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
2. Conversation Groups would meet for discussion in small, public gatherings at pre-arranged times.
  • Ideal meeting places would be comfortable, low key social, cultural, and entertainment settings where people can feel at ease, such as library meeting rooms, community centers, and restaurants.
  • The groups would be small - six to thirty people - to promote civility and to give all participants an opportunity to express themselves fully.
An Example Course of Discussion Topics
Copy and paste Grandma Should technology to transfer human consciousness be allowed?
Cutting out the middleman Does the Electoral College need reform?
Dancing with A.I. and Robotics How will people fare in a post-human social order?
Don't fence me in What reforms are needed in the federal land management system?
Money for nothing How will people make a living in a jobless future?
Pick and Choose Should immigration criteria weigh skills or assets higher than family reunification?
The Facts of Life How should we understand economic and quality of life indicators?
The High Cost of Insulin Insulin prices have risen significantly over the last 15 years leading to rationing and preventable death. What can be done?
The New Pariahs Has the DUI stigma unfairly created a shunned group?
Trust but verify Can there be gun violence prevention without gun laws?
Who Dies? What laws will govern auto-driven vehicles in accidents when making qualitative decisions on human life?
Wildfires and logging Would increased logging reduce wildfires without causing environmental harm?
3. Debates, large-scale town hall style events, would be held on select subjects.
  • Debates would be formal events that would use the BBC Question Time format. Representatives from Study Teams would present arguments on the topic question from the dais and then would take questions from the audience members.