Mon 23 Mar


Joe Milton Public Seen by 236

Loomio is a deliberative platform. Everything in my post here should be taken as “In my own humble opinion” rather than factual or advisory. 

Here is some information about trainings FDH has had and will do in future, with recordings of previous trainings attached at the bottom of this post, and some links and paragraphs within this post. I am very sorry that you can see me in most of the videos. 

The FDH training provides only one aspect of helping achieve deliberative democracy. It's great if facilitators can learn different kinds of facilitation, work together, co-facilitate, and organize opportunities for deliberation and practicing active listening to take place.We can increase diversity and engagement by providing access to multiple forms/ methods of facilitation, meeting space and deep hanging out within prototype community networks. 

So far, the Future Democracy Hub has been providing zoom trainings and resources to Local Democracy Working Groups on the following:

Empathy Circles (via Edwin and XREmpathy) - https://participedia.net/method/4582

Thinking Box - http://thinkingbox.info/

Sortition, Citizen councils, dynamic facilitation, diapraxis, common ground - https://www.ted.com/talks/brett_hennig_what_if_we_replaced_politicians_with_randomly_selected_people

Flatpack Democracy and new municipalism, democratic confederalism, use of delegates instead of representatives - https://www.flatpackdemocracy.co.uk/

Online/ virtual facilitation skills - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qvLeHfXakGzS9HbFrB58yhSJ_JWXcYmB_rYKEYY8siI/edit

Skills, tools and workshops to help communities move beyond oppression, assumption about ‘the other’ and overcome dominance hierarchies in meetings/conversations/deliberative sessions.

Sustaining all life anti-oppression/ hard topics/ conflict resolution/ listening workshops - in particular, we’ve had our first anti-oppression workshop on the complex issue of antisemitism. We’ve recently had a weekend training workshop on dynamic facilitation (Rosa Zubizarreta) and dynamic emergence (Clare Hedin).

Dynamic Facilitation Manual - You may be interested in this work if you are:

A professional facilitator, mediator, or consultant wanting to expand your repertoire of ways of working with groups; A layperson interested in learning to facilitate creative group dialogue and/or practical group breakthroughs; Someone who is engaged in an ongoing exploration of self-organization, creativity, collective intelligence, and transformation;

While many professional practitioners have found this work extremely helpful, we would also like to see Dynamic Facilitation become a lay movement. We believe this is possible, given that there are many people in our culture who have been developing the basic skills that we see as foundational for this approach to facilitation. These basic skills include: The ability to listen well to others; The ability to not "take sides" but instead to " take all sides"; The ability to trust, allow, and follow an emergent process, Having enough self-understanding to be able to "get out the way."


Sociocracy incorporates the use of experimental proposals with smaller terms and scales in order to build consensus and generate successful outcomes in the long term. This requires an iterative and learning-by-doing approach with inbuilt communication structures and feedback links. 

The clarifications round in sociocracy is intended to help the conversation so that people don’t talk ‘cross purposes’. Much of what needs clarification is not analytical but naming what we feel and where we are coming from. How do people feel about x or y? What stories and experiences do people want to share?

What else is out there?

Participatory Budgeting: Participatory budgeting also helps promote transparency, which has the potential to reduce government inefficiencies and corruption. Because most citizens who participate have low incomes and low levels of formal education, participatory budgeting offers citizens from historically excluded groups the opportunity to make choices that will affect how their government acts.

Intervision a peer-led reflective group method: The group works together to ensure the values and practices of facilitation are adhered to (they also swap who does the facilitating).

  • https://practice-supervisors.rip.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Intervision-model-of-peer-led-group-reflection.pdf 

  • https://research.gold.ac.uk/24729/1/Staempfli_and_Fairtlough_%28in%20print%29_Intervision_and_professional_development_accepted_manuscript_BJSW_accepted%20authors%20version.pdf 

  • https://organisatieleren.be/intervision 

  • Polis - deliberative - AI - interactive technology/ platforms - This is expensive to get hold of, although it also exists on github. I (Joe) theorize that ‘we’ could experiment with replicating what the AI part of Polis does (which is to find proposals that have a common agreement between groups who normally tend to disagree with each other). So for this, you create two groups; those who tend to agree with a proposal and those who tend to disagree. For example, group 1 - those with concerns with proposal  X, and group 2 - those with creative ideas about going ahead with X. Each group decides what concerns (group 1) or ideas (group 2) to write onto a slido, which then gets sent to the other group who gets to vote. Group 1 gets to vote on the ideas from group 2 and vice versa. The proposals with the most votes potentially suggest where areas of consensus might exist between the two groups. However, further collaboration, deliberation, and rewriting of proposals will also be needed; including re-integrating the two groups with each other via active listening.

VTawain - https://participedia.net/method/4678

Vocal eyes - https://www.vocaleyes.org/login

This deliberative platform is being used for community democracy successfully in Swansea and other areas too. Some info on VocalEyes https://about.vocaleyes.org if you haven't seen it already .. Enabling community organizing (prioritization, organization, and implementation) and coordinated collective action around social and environmental initiatives on a national/global scale within communities, schools, colleges & other organizations.

Citizens Jury

  • Prior to meeting, jurors will usually have been provided with an information pack with background material on the topic. During the first meeting/s, jurors will hear from expert witnesses on the topic at hand and develop a deeper understanding of the various complexities. Opinion - sortition needed at larger scales for addressing multiple questions and complicated issues. 

  • https://participedia.net/method/155

Citizen Action Networks/ Diversity - Deep Hanging Out - 

  • FDH Content Group with other XR groups and advisors to collaborate on a proposed training that helps understand how to connect community assemblies to the diverse community and reach out beyond the ‘usual suspects’. 

  •  We are listening to The Alternative to incorporate a fuller understanding of the shape, prototyping, and design of a network that utilizes multiple aspects of deliberation, inclusion, integrative structure and the embodiment of inclusive deliberative values throughout different forms of participatory life e.g. social, economic, cultural, decision-making, work, political, civil, rebellion. One aspect of this work is the principle of connecting with the community through “deep hanging out” so that XR and people’s assemblies reach out to a more diverse audience than the ‘usual suspects’. 

  • Citizens’ Action Networks - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMHMr_o4y4s

Veil verses Recognition - The ‘veil’ represents a principle of putting those in need first; and it does this as a result of impartiality; it's not always about you, but also the others. But its method is unrealistic - deliberating behind a veil which disguises you from yourself so that you don’t know who you are and so don’t prioritize yourself over the most disadvantaged. 

  • Hence, we rely on finding ways of recognizing the ‘other’, and bringing ‘the experience of the other’ into the deliberative space, and sharing together the experience of oppression and disadvantage. Invite those with unique experiences of suffering relevant to the issue onto a panel or to an anti-oppression workshop. Experiment with new perspectives on the question being asked; what does the question mean to those impacted by this issue, or those who are most disadvantaged.  What do / would those who are the least advantaged bring to this conversation? what would those who are impacted by our behaviors but have a weak voice say?; What would I feel if I was facing the same struggles of those most impacted by the topic we’re deliberating on?”

  •  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veil_of_ignorance

  • https://www.uio.no/studier/emner/sv/sai/SOSANT2210/v15/pensumliste/taylor_the_politics_of_recognition.pdf

Talking stick circles are a great way to start if you don’t have a facilitator or you don’t have a defined facilitation process that everyone agrees to. Circling is also a simple tool that a group or facilitator can fall back on if they feel that the discussion isn’t inclusive or that the group isn’t successfully following an inclusive process. Although everyone in the circle gets a turn, there is no obligation to speak. People are clearly encouraged to honour how they feel from the start, so they can happily pass the stick over or pass their turn If they wish to - if available, a ‘talking stick’ can be passed around the circle from one person to the next and each person gets a turn. Silence and pauses are also an important part of the talking stick experience. Each person pauses for a few seconds before and after they speak. http://www3.sd71.bc.ca/School/abed/resources/teacher/Pages/Talking-Stick-and-Talking-Circle-Lessons.aspx#/=

  • On zoom, people may successfully be able to look after the ‘passing around’ process by just asking, who hasn’t been yet? It has also been suggested that one could take a screenshot of the participant list, paste it into a doc and share it in the chat, and then use this to speak and then ‘pass’ the imaginary stick verbally to the next person below you on the list. This avoids the problem that Zoom participant list order changes depending on who is speaking, and if you depend on visuals only, you disenfranchise those who cannot or prefer not to use video. 

Broader discussion - in my humble opinion (since loomio is a deliberative platform)

  • Principle - Confluence: Tap into what already exists.

  • Principle - Pragmatic Cogency and Consistency - Democracy as an action or part of an action - to tap into the consistency of what XR folks will be doing in the future; be consistent with people’s combined interests in democracy and civil action, so that we can utilize democracy when we next engage in the civil action.

  • Going Online - I previously had questions around people with phobias or other challenges not being able to access in-person meetings. At present many people are self-isolating and so going online may have proven its worth. The issue still remains that technology meetings and platforms aren't accessible to everyone either; and aren't as good for empathy, but they can also sometimes be more accessible and potentially less pollutive (depending on how fast ‘cloud tech’ moves to renewable).

  • Accessibility Principle - FDH is concerned with multiple forms of facilitation that are accessible and appealing to different people in different ways. 

  • Principle - Pauses and Reflection - Not everyone processes at the same speed, letting deliberators take notes on what they hear others say is consistent with active listening; facilitators can sometimes pause before selecting who speaks next. See who else, which different folks, puts their hand up in that space of the pause. Another pause is created when we reflect on what people have heard or felt as part of the listening process. 

 Inclusive Conversations That Anyone can facilitate - Intervision, talking stick, going around in a circle / using a timer and taking notes so that people can have equal opportunity for inclusion. 

  • The talking stick circle in which everyone gets to speak in turn (if they want to), and the question that it answers: Whose turn is it to speak (if they want to speak as they might just want to be a witness)? 

  • The empathy circle, and the question that it answers: Are people listening, engaging?

Removing Barriers To Engagement and Accessibility: Part of the instruction to facilitators and organizers in deliberative democracy should include working together to remove any barriers to engagement that exist within their group. This allows those who have the need to define it to suggest and respond to solutions. It becomes our responsibility to create the conditions needed for those with barriers to identify them, and for everyone involved to be led by them on how to resolve them. Whisper translation can be used to help with language barriers; Being mindful of lip reading and volume

Hive mind - What emerges from democracy is organic in nature and cannot be explained by axiomatic descriptions of the part each has played in the discussion.


The Alternative UK Mon 23 Mar

Amazing work Joe - thanks so much for pulling this all into one space


Joe Milton Mon 23 Mar

Thanks :)


Liz Day Mon 20 Apr

Hey there Joe. Thanks for all the wonderful links and resources. Could you please add the Sociocracy 3.0 link under the Sociocracy heading? Unless there's a particularly reason why you haven't already done so.... Thanks! https://sociocracy30.com/


Rosa Zubizarreta Fri 24 Apr

Joe this is wonderful! I am starting to compile some online resources on Dynamic Facilitation to add to your list: here is the DF manual from 2006 (the book that was published in 2014 has a few more chapters to it, but much of it is basically the same.) We don't yet have a manual for how to use DF online, I will need to create something for that soon. Everything is basically the same, except that 1) we are working with pairs (one facilitator, one recorder); the facilitator reflects back each contribution, while the recorder harvests the solutions, concerns, data, etc. ideally on a Mural board (there are other programs like Miro that serve the same purpose.)

Everything else is just about the same -- still key to invite and welcome "initial solutions", still key to protect creativity by reflecting all parties when differences surface, still key to reframe concerns as caring and redirect toward the facilitator. When we do all this, we create a psychological climate conducive to complex thinking and engaging differences constructively...

with all best wishes,



Joe Milton Fri 24 Apr

Thanks Rosa, this is wonderful and I have added the link.