The opencare project, launched in early 2016, is nearing its one-year midpoint. The role of Edgeryders in it was to convene a large-scale online conversation on community-delivered care services. In the proposal, we defined “large-scale”: users in the low hundreds, contributions in the low thousands.
It is going well. You can always do better, sure, but we can be proud of our results. As I write this, we already achieved our quantitative goal, one year ahead of schedule. At the time of writing, the opencare conversation consists of 318 posts (mostly long-form), with 1,365 comments, authored by 199 users. It adds up to over 350,000 words, almost all in English. Its diversity is impressive: people chip in from all over the world, and native speakers of English are a minority.
What I like best is the quality of the stories that people are sharing around. They are stories of practical knowledge and lived-out experiences, of ingenuity and struggle. The need to care for one’s loved ones is a great motivator. To do justice to such quality, we built a cutting edge methodology, based on ethnography and network science, to summarize a large-scale conversation.
It comes down to this: Edgeryders is good at building smart, generous, online communities. Part of this is a long experience. Another part is that we do our best not to be exploitative of participants. We did it at all scales, from town to planet, and in many different contexts. We love doing it, because of the incredible people that we get to meet. But it’s hard: we are one of few organizations that can do it reliably. “If we build it, they will come” no longer works.
So, here’s the deal. The European Commission’s DG CNECT is posting opportunities for funded research projects and/or contracts that involve online consultations. Two examples are this and this (letter b). I suppose other organizations, too, will have the same needs. We would like to take part in high-quality proposals. This means joining a partnership; one of our roles on the partnership would be that of leading in the online consultation itself. My guess is that this is an especially difficult box to tick. I am confident we can tick it, if anyone can.
If you are interested, get in touch: alberto [at] edgeryders [dot] eu.