Agora is an idea of civic gathering that endures but has few modern equivalents.

from wikipedia

The Agora was an open "place of assembly" in an ancient Greek city-state. Early in Greek history (900s–700s BCE), free-born male land-owners who were citizens would gather in the agora for military duty or to hear statements of the ruling king or council. Later in Greek history, the agora served as a marketplace where merchants kept stalls or shops to sell their goods under colonnades.

Institute for 21st Century Agoras

wiki deals with many of the issues in this group. Agoras’ signature methodology, Structured Dialogic Design (SDD), has been crafted over 35 years to achieve effective collaboration and social change. The process is explained in our book www.harnessingcollectivewisdom .com. The process is built upon seven laws:

  • Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety;
  • Miller’s Law of Requisite Parsimony;
  • Boulding’s Law of Requisite Saliency;
  • Peirce’s Law of Requisite Meaning;
  • Tsivacou’s Law of Requisite Autonomy;
  • Dye’s law of the Requisite Evolution of Observations.
  • Laouris’s law of Requisite Action.

Requisite Variety asserts that a group can gain control over a design situation only by attending to all dimensions of the design. This law is violated if relevant perspectives and types of observers are not permitted to present their observations.

Requisite Parsimony asserts that human beings can deal simultaneously with only 5 to 9 observations at a time. Therefore, in any social system design situation, however complex, the design should not require the designers to deal with more than nine items simultaneously and usually should involve fewer.

Requisite Saliency requires that good designs highlight the different ways that group members judge the salience of design options, and provide specific ways to reach communal accommodation about relative saliency.

Requisite Meaning expresses in explicit terms the objective of inquiry and design: to discover the essence of problem situations and to plan desirable futures for communities of stakeholders.

Requisite Autonomy of Distinction-Making asserts that power in the design situation derives to the person who makes the distinction accepted by the group.

Requisite Evolution of Observations asserts that the elemental observations offered tin dialogues have not been properly processed until key leverage points are found that can direct effective intervention. A group proceeding to action on the basis of individual and group preferences without assessing their relative influence on each other falls victim to the Erroneous Priorities Effect.

Requisite Action asserts that action plans that are not founded on the authentic engagement of the stakeholders in dialogue and deliberation are unethical and are bound to fail.

SDD was developed for face-to-face dialogue, but is being adapted for Internet and hybrid uses. An example of hybrid asynchronous Internet and synchronous face-to-face dialogue is the Cyprus Reunification Project /Cyprus+Civil+Society+Dialogue.

We are presently moving to create a completely web-based version of SDD that will make the process easily available to any group interested in participatory democracy.

Kenneth C Bausch, PhD
Institute for 21st Century Agoras
8213 Hwy 85 #901
Riverdale, GA 30274
www.harnessingcollectivewisdom .com