Bram Pitoyo, Portland Creative/Tech Event Review

Friends of DemocracyLab: An Event Review

Friends of DemocracyLab

When: Thursday, March 27, 2008, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Where: East Burn, which has a bar downstairs, restaurants upstairs, patio outside, and a private meeting room so enormous, complete with two large tables and a yellow-tiled pantry, that contains within it several more private meeting rooms, and within it several more meeting rooms, and yet even more rooms within the aforementioned rooms—ad infinitum.

What it’s about: DemocracyLab, to put it simply, is a politically-centered wiki-meets-forum with a tiny bit of social networking thrown in that aims to shake down political apathy by splitting seemingly hard political issues into smaller, more understandable parts (values, positions, policies.) It’s a concept that even I had trouble of fully grasping because of its sheer complexity (even though it’s going to be dead simple to use) and mindset shift that will need to happen. Anyway, thanks to all this, and several other projects involving Oregon150 and school districts around Portland, DemocracyLab needs all the help that it can get. Bonus: Like everything else in Portland, it’s open source, community centered, and filled with some of the nicest and most brilliant individuals on earth.

Technicality (on a scale of 1 to 5): ☝ ☝ ☝ ½
Translation: accessible to everyone. DemocracyLab was trying to get as many people into the game as possible. I put three-and-a-half up there, because the event got one or two fingers up until we discussed how the site should behave, wherein everybody went crazy with suggestions and critiques. All good.

Interestingness (on a scale of 1 to 5): ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝
Translation: I learned from firsthand account that night that the desire to be politically active is dismal, not only among the educated and well-off, but also among the poor and underpowered. About the only people who care about politics are politicians and lobbyists and people with special interests—and, hello, not enough regular citizens.

What I Learned From The Event In Six Words:
With complexity comes possibilities, great ideation.